African American Heritage

Ericka Huggins (January 5, 1948)

Ericka Jenkins was born in Washington, DC and attended Lincoln University, where she met her future husband John Huggins, a Vietnam veteran. She joined the Black Panther Party (BPP) in 1968 and she and John became leaders in the Los Angeles chapter. Three weeks after their daughter Mai was born, her husband was murdered in January 1969. Later Ericka, Kathleen Cleaver, and Elaine Brown led the New Haven (Connecticut) chapter of the Party.

That same year, BPP member Alex Rackley was tortured, interrogated, and killed by members of the New Haven Black Panthers because they believed he was an FBI informant. The police obtained an audio tape on which Huggins was heard interrogating Rackley, and Huggins and Bobby Seale were tried for murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. In May 1971, the jury deadlocked 10 to 2 for Huggins’ acquittal, and Judge Harold M. Mulvey of the Connecticut Superior Court dismissed the charges against both defendants. A notable fact about Huggins’ trial is that her jury selection was the longest in Connecticut history.

Ericka Huggins (r), w/Elaine Brown and other Party members

Ericka Huggins (on right) with Elaine Brown and other BPP members from FBI file Los Angeles, [California] - 157-3430- [Classification - Civil Unrest] -- Elaine Brown

 

Selected Records Relating to Ericka Huggins

RG 65: Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files, 1957-1978 [Chicago, Illinois Field Division]

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files, 1957-1978 [Los Angeles, California Field Division]

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files, 1957-1978 [Washington, D.C. Field Division]

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files, 1957-1978 [New Haven, Connecticut Field Division]

 

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