While Garry Trudeau was a student at Yale, Bobby Seale, founder of the Black Panther Party, and Ericka Huggins, head of the Party's New Haven chapter, were tried for the murder of Alex Rackley, a 19 year-old member of the Party found dead along a riverbank in Middlefield, Connecticut.



On May 1st, 1970, 15,000 Black Panthers, along with many Yale students, protested the trial. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Trudeau recalled, "All hell was taking place, the Black Panthers were on trial, students were shot in the Kent State protests, war was waging on the other side of the globe, it was very hard not to be swept up in all of that."

In 1971, Trudeau introduced Calvin, a campus radical and Black Panther, to the Doonesbury cast of characters.


March 11, 1971

Connecticut sketch artist and painter Robert Templeton produced 23 drawings of the trial for television news broadcasts. Because the courtroom was closed to artists and photographers, Templeton's sketches were made surreptitiously, without the permission of the court; his drawings are, perhaps, the only visual record of the courtroom during this critical case and are now part of the James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Drawing of an overview of the courtroom

47.5 x 61.2 cm.


The foyer to the Connecticut Superior Court, New Haven

45.7 x 61.2 cm.


Bobby G. Seale with Arnold Markle, State Attorney for the Judicial District of New Haven

24.6 x 20.3 cm.


David N. Rosen and Bobby G. Seale

12.1 x 20.2 cm.


Bobby Seale and Charles R. Garry

12.1 x 20.2 cm.


Catherine G. Roraback

35.7 x 28.0 cm.


Overview of the courtroom

35.7 x 28.0 cm.


Jurors

28.0 x 42 cm.


Ericka Huggins, Warren Kimbro, Bobby G. Seale and George Sams Jr.

62.4 x 50.3 cm.


George Sams, Jr., on the witness stand

42 x 35 cm.


Charles R. Gary standing with hands on table; Bobby Seale; and Gary and Seale seated

56.5 x 75.8 cm.


Ericka Huggins

65.2 x 48.3 cm.


Superior court Judge Harold M. Mulvey, court reporters and clerks, and jurors probably including foreman Robert L. Gaythier, as well as Frank J. Dilger and Jennie Jesilavich

47.5 x 61.2 cm.


Ericka Huggins on the witness stand

48.6 x 42.7 cm.


Superior Court Judge Harold M. Mulvey

35.7 x 28.0 cm.


Bobby G. Seale

35.4 x 27.8 cm.


Jurors

28.0 x 35.4 cm.


Ericka Huggins; possibly Warren Kimbro; and two representations of Bobby G. Seale

42 x 35 cm


Jurors

12.1 x 20.2 cm.


Superior Court Judge Harold M. Mulvey

12.1 x 20.2 cm.


Catherine G. Roraback, Ericka Huggins, and two jurors

12.1 x 20.2 cm.


Superior Court Judge Harold M. Mulvey

20.4 x 24.8 cm.


Arnold Markle, State Attorney for the Judicial District of New Haven

24.8 x 20.4 cm.


Rennie Davis

25.2 x 20.4 cm.

Cite as: Robert Templeton Drawings and sketches related to the trial of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, New Haven, Connecticut. James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (JWJ MSS 33)