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Photograph of Richard Dawson speaking with Senator Edward Kennedy and undergraduate Kurt Schmoke, standing behind Kennedy, published in the Yale Alumni Magazine, May 1930.
Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Adam Hirst 10, On the Yale Political Union

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During the early 1970s, the New Haven Black Panther Trials were a series of criminal trials against local and national leaders of the Black Panther Party on charges ranging from felony murder to criminal conspiracy. Fifteen thousand Black Panther Party members and their supporters came to New Haven to protest the trial. Kingman Brewster, President of Yale University at the time, argued that he did not think black revolutionaries could achieve a fair trial in the United States. Many students refused to go to class. With chaos engulfing much of New Haven, the Union took the trial as an opportunity to debate issues regarding the Black Panthers, urban disorder, radicalism, and racism. In this photograph from the Yale Alumni Magazine, one sees Senator Ted Kennedy engaged in a Political Union debate in University Commons with Ralph Dawson, moderator of the Black Students Alliance at Yale speaking, and Kurt Schmoke, the future Mayor of Baltimore, watching.