Scenes from the funeral of Lauren Watson, who headed Denver’s Black Panther Party

People said their final goodbyes to the Manual High School graduate Tuesday.

Kerrie Joy reads a poem to open a funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kerrie Joy reads a poem to open a funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

KEVIN-lighter

A crowd gathered at Shorter Community AME church in Skyland on Tuesday to pay their respects to Lauren Watson, Denver’s former Black Panther Party leader.

At the gathering of about 60, religious leaders and civil rights activists remembered Watson, who they said contributed significantly to racial justice during his work in the 1960s and 1970s. Some commited to carrying his legacy forward.

Lisa Calerón, a local activist who works for Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, said Watson inspired a generation of warriors. Pastor Terrence Hughes said the community should keep Watson alive by telling his stories.

Watson lay in an an open casket viewing before the service began. The service consisted of poetry and speeches interspersed with songs by James Brown, War and Al Green.

Hasira "Soul" Ashemu peers into the casket of his father, Colorado Black Panther Party founder Lauren Watson, during his funeral, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Hasira "Soul" Ashemu peers into the casket of his father, Colorado Black Panther Party founder Lauren Watson, during his funeral, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Pastor Terrence Hughes speaks during a funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Pastor Terrence Hughes speaks during a funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Yvie Oddly attends the funeral for her grandfather, Colorado' Black Panther Party founder Lauren Watson, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Yvie Oddly attends the funeral for her grandfather, Colorado' Black Panther Party founder Lauren Watson, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A funeral for Lauren Watson, founder of Colorado's Black Panther Party, Aug. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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