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On May 21st, 1969, police found the body of 19-year-old Alex Rackley on a riverbank in Middlefield, CT. Rackley was a member of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary Black Nationalist organization founded in 1966 in California. At the time of Rackleys murder, the organization had several thousand members operating in regional chapters in major American cities; the Panthers growth and their call for violent action against racist institutions made the Party a subject of investigations by local and federal law enforcement agencies. A victim of the resulting paranoia among some Party members, Alex Rackley was murdered by fellow Panthers who suspected him of being an informant. CBS News commissioned Connecticut sketch artist and painter Robert Templeton to produce several large drawings of the trial to broadcast on the television news. Templeton made small pastel sketches from life in the courtroom and prepared larger drawings from these sketches in a helicopter on his way to New York City. Because the courtroom was closed to artists and photographers, Templetons 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. The collection includes small preliminary notebook sketches made in the courtroom as well as larger, finished drawings later displayed on CBS news broadcasts. Defendants Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, Prosecutor Arnold Markle, and Judge Harold Mulvey are among the subjects represented. 23 drawings by Robert Templeton, varying in size, 56.5 x 75.8 cm. and smaller. 1 sketchbook (114 p.) : pencil, pastel, and ink ; 20.3 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 Call Number: JWJ MSS 33
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