Ericka Huggins to speak at Laney College

Educator and activist Ericka Huggins, a former political prisoner and leader in the Black Panther Party will speak at Laney College Tuesday, Feb. 23.

In 1969, at age 18, she became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with her husband John Huggins. Three weeks after the birth of their daughter, John Huggins was killed and Huggins was widowed. After returning her husband’s body to New Haven, Connecticut, Ericka opened a Panther chapter there.

In May 1969, Huggins and fellow Party leader Bobby Seale were targeted and arrested on conspiracy charges sparking “Free Bobby, Free Ericka” rallies across the country.

A lifelong writer and poet, upon release from prison in 1972, Huggins became writer and editor for the Black Panther Intercommunal News Service. Her book of poetry chronicling her experience of imprisonment and liberation, Insights and Poems, co-authored with Huey P. Newton, was published in 1974.

Huggins directed the Panther's reknown Oakland Community School. She created the vision for the innovative curriculum for the school, which became a model for and predecessor to the charter school movement. In 1976, Huggins became both the first woman and the first Black person to be appointed to the Alameda County Board of Education.

She will speak about being a woman in the movement, social justice and economics, as a part of Laney College's Black History Month program.

Huggins speaks Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Laney College in Room E-200.

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