Where did the baby name Alprentice come from in 1970?

American activists John Huggins (1945-1969) and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter (1942-1969).
John Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter

On January 17, 1969, on the campus of UCLA, a dispute broke out during a meeting of the African Student Union. The dispute turned violent and, ultimately, two members of the Black Panther Party — Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, 26, and John Huggins, 23 — were shot and killed by a member of a rival group, the black nationalist US Organization.

The next year, the rare name Alprentice appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data. It stayed there for a total of three years:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 5 baby boys named Alprentice
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Alprentice
  • 1970: 7 baby boys named Alprentice [debut]
  • 1969: unlisted

Both Carter and Huggins “had been accepted for UCLA’s “high potential” program for minority students who do not otherwise qualify academically for admission.”

In 2010, a plaque in memory of the men (“slain in the ongoing struggle for student empowerment and social justice”) was hung outside the classroom in which they were killed.

I’m not sure where Alprentice’s first name came from, but his nickname, “Bunchy,” was bestowed by one of his grandmother’s friends when he was a baby. Here’s how his mother, Nola Mae Carter, told the story:

“He was real plump when he was a baby, and she came and she started […] calling him Bunchy. And that’s how he got Bunchy” — like a bunch of greens.

Sources:

Image from the Sun-Telegram [San Bernardino, CA], 19 Jan. 1969, page 1.

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