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Free Ericka!

ID Number: 3233
Maker: Artist Unknown
Technique: offset
Date Made: 1969
Place Made: United States
Measurements: 53 cm x 40.5 cm; 20 7/8 in x 15 15/16 in
Main Subject: Black Panther Party; Political Prisoners; Women; African Americans; Viet Nam War Era
Materials: paper (fiber product); wrapped, corners
Digitized: Y

Full Text:
Free Ericka! And All Political Prisoners

Acquisition Number: /

Copyright Status:
Copyright status unknown; may be protected by copyright law.

Exhibition Annotation:
Ericka Huggins Born and raised in Washington D.C., Ericka Huggins and her husband John Huggins, a resident of New Haven, Connecticut, moved to Los Angeles in 1967. In December of that year they joined the Southern Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Following her husband's murder in January 1969, Ericka and her infant daughter Mai moved to New Haven to live with her in-laws. The community in New Haven requested a Black Panther Party chapter, and the central committee gave her permission to organize it. Ericka Huggins was the first woman to open a Black Panther chapter. The New Haven chapter became functional in April with the establishment of a free breakfast for school children program. She worked with local residents, Yale University students, and conducted political education classes for the community. On May 22, 1969, she along with several other men and women in the chapter were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder Alex Rackley, a former New York chapter member suspected of being a police informant. Their conspiracy trial ended with the dropping of all charges in May 1971. After being released from prison, she returned to Oakland, where she became director of the Oakland Community School run by the Panthers. She was the first black person to become a member of the Alameda County Board of Education. She remained with the Panther Party until 1980. She is currently working part-time at San Francisco State University in the Women's Studies Department. Huggins is now director of a program with the San Francisco-based Shanti Project, for individuals and families with HIV in underprivileged areas of San Francisco.* *[update 2019: couldn’t find her on the directory of SF State or the Shanti Project]

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