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Feb 1, 2021

Fifty years ago, Ericka Huggins and Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers were on trial for their lives in New Haven. In this episode, Natalie Belanger of the Connecticut Historical Society takes a look back at the New Haven Black Panther trials, using some of the many primary sources available. 


To learn more about the New Haven Black Panther Trials:

To see Robert Templeton’s courtroom sketches of the Black Panther Trials, go here.

The trial transcripts are available digitally through Yale Law School’s Lillian Goldman Law Library.

The online exhibit, “Bulldog and Panther: The 1970 May Day Rally and Yale,” at Yale University Library, covers the events leading up to the May Rally, and its aftermath.

The recording of Alex Rackely’s interrogation can be heard via Youtube through this link to the New Haven Independent’s reporting of its discovery. Editor Paul Bass co-wrote, with Douglas W. Rae, Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Yale, and the Redemption of a Killer.

Yohuru Williams’s essay, “The New Haven Black Panther Trials,” appears in African American Connecticut Explored, published through a collaboration between Connecticut Explored and the Amistad Center for Art & Culture. Williams is also the author of Black Politics, White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Black Panthers in New Haven. And in these two Connecticut Explored articles online below:


You can learn more about this topic by tuning in to a virtual talk by Dr. Yohuru Williams, historian and founder of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, on February 24, 2021. "No Haven: Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven," hosted by the Connecticut Historical Society, will be streamed live on Crowdcast and available after for re-watch. Click here to register


Natalie Belanger is the Adult Programs Manager at the Connecticut Historical Society. You can contact her at

Produced by Natalie Belanger and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan.

Photo Credit: Black Panther Community News Service, CHS Collection, 2018.22.2