*This past Friday night the African Student Union sponsored their annual tribute to Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins who were gunned down on the campus of UCLA inside Campbell Hall by members of Maulana Karenga’s US Organization on January 17, 1969.
This all took place during a time of rising tensions as the school was in the process of selecting the head of it’s newly created Black Studies Department. “Bunchy” Carter was the founder of the L.A. Black Panthers and he along with John Huggins, Elaine Brown, and TV Judge Joe Brown, had become students on campus through a program called “High Potential” that enabled people from urban and low income areas of L.A. to enroll.
The night began with the screening of the documentary film by Gregory Everette entitled “41st And Central” which tells the true story of the L.A. Black Panthers and how the Los Angeles Police Department raided their headquarters on December 8, 1969 on 41st and Central Ave., that resulted in a five hour gun battle that left four Panthers and three police officers wounded. This was the very first time that the newly created S.W.A.T. was utilized by L.A.P.D.
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This writer was also a member of the L.A. Panthers at that time, and although I wasn’t inside the headquarters at that time, I did spend several days and nights inside of it the weeks and days leading up to that morning and I remember the tension that had mounted between us and the police as we were under constant surveilance and we knew the police were watching our every move. Fred Hampton had been murdered by the Chicago Police in his apartment along with Mark Clark just three days before. So, coming to this event at UCLA every year is always something special to me.
What an honor it was to participate in this celebration of the life and death of these two men and to be called upon to be keynote speaker this year was also something special because it was John Huggins who recruited me into the L.A. Panthers and I will always remember him.
The night also featured poetry read by some of the students and an art display by L.A. artist Enkone, and myself showcasing oil and acrylic portraits of “Bunchy” Carter, John Huggins, Geronimo Ji Jaga (Pratt), Kathleen Cleaver, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
The night ended with a candlelight vigil and prayer right outside Campbell Hall where they were killed over 46 years ago. It was indeed a night to remember.
Mohammed Mubarak is a former original member of the Los Angeles Black Panthers and an artist as well as a boxing journalist for EURweb.com. You can feel free to go to mubarakart.com or qmubarak06 on instagram and view his works. You may also contact him at [email protected] for your comments.