Black Panthers Killed at UCLA


On January 17, 1969, Black Panther Party members John Huggins and Bunchy Carter were shot to death in UCLA’s Campbell Hall.  The two men were members of the school’s Black Student Union.  They were in a meeting to nominate a director of the new Afro-American Center at the school.  The meeting got a little contentious.

 The meeting was supposed to iron out the conflict between the two major black power groups operating at the school.  The Black Panthers and the US Organization were in conflict over control of the Afro-American Center.  The feud between the two groups had been growing as the two vied for power in the black rights community.

During the meeting Huggins and Carter made derogatory comments about Ron Karenga, the head of the US Organization.  After the adjournment of the meeting, US Organization member, Harold “Tuwala” Jones entered the room and Black Panther John Huggins confronted him about his harassment of other Panthers.  A fight broke out and Bunchy Carter joined in. Then Claude “Chuchessa” Hubert pulled out a gun and shot Huggins in the back. Huggins fell mortally wounded but managed to pull out his own gun and fired off a few shots.

Chuchessa Hubert then turned his attention to Bunchy Carter, who was trying to hide behind a chair.  Hubert fired through the chair, instantly killing Carter.  Hubert fled the scene and escaped in the chaos of the moment. 

The LAPD responded to the scene and arrested anyone they could get their hands on.  Fear of retaliation was high and police didn’t want another shooting on the campus.  They did not find Chuchessa Hubert.  He immediately went on the run and is still wanted today.  It is believed that he fled the country, possibly to the South American country of Suriname.

One interesting fact about the conflict between the Black Panthers and the US Organization was the FBI’s role in fomenting the dispute.  The FBI used tactics to intentionally heighten the hostility between the two groups.  They allegedly created and sent a fake letter to the US Organization detailing a fictitious plot to kill Ron Karenga.  They also published letters and cartoons to incite division between the groups.  It seemed to work.   

Christopher Flanagan
photo By, Fair use,


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