Aaron Dixon - My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain
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In an era of stark racial injustice, Aaron Dixon dedicated his life to revolution, founding the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968 at age nineteen.
In My People Are Rising, Aaron Dixon traces the course of his own radicalization, and that of a generation. Through his eyes, we witness the courage and commitment of the young men and women who rose up in rebellion, risking their lives in the name of freedom. My People are Rising is an unforgettable tale of their triumphs and tragedies, and the enduring legacy of Black Power.
About the Author:
Aaron Dixon was co-founder and Captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Born in Chicago, he grew up in Seattle’s Central District. As an adolescent, Dixon marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to end housing discrimination in Seattle, and was one of the first volunteers to participate in the busing program to integrate schools. The assassination of Martin Luther King deeply affected Dixon and propelled him towards the Black Power Movement. In April 1968, Dixon and his brother Elmer were in San Francisco for the West Coast Black Student Union conference, and during that time attended the funeral of Bobby Hutton, a member of the Black Panther Party killed in a confrontation with the police. Following the funeral, Dixon met with some of the Black Panther leadership such as Bobby Seale and Kathleen Cleaver, who made a vivid impression upon him. The time spent in San Francisco lead the Dixon brothers to set up the first Black Panther chapter outside of California in Seattle. He was 19 years old.
While a member of the Black Panthers, Dixon started the Free Breakfast for Children program that fed thousands of hungry African American children; and he helped to open a free community medical and legal clinic. The clinic continues to this day as the Carolyn Downs Clinic, now part of Country Doctor Community Health Center.
Dixon also became involved in electoral politics when he worked on the mayoral campaign of Lionel Wilson, who was elected as the first black mayor of Oakland, California in 1977. After leaving the Panthers, Dixon worked for several non-profit organizations, focusing on drug and gang violence and working with homeless youth. In 2002, he founded Central House, a non-profit providing transitional housing for homeless young adults. Central House also has a Youth Leadership Project that operates at four Seattle public high schools. It teaches youth to think positively, graduate high school, and control their own destinies. It also teaches them the importance of serving their community. In 2006, he ran for the United States Senate in Washington state on the Green Party ticket.
Dixon is the father of six and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
About Nick Estes:
Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an organization dedicated to Native liberation. For 2017-2018, Estes was the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. His research engages colonialism and global Indigenous histories, with a focus on decolonization, oral history, U.S. imperialism, environmental justice, anti-capitalism, and the Oceti Sakowin. Estes is a member of the Oak Lake Writers Society, a network of Indigenous writers committed to defend and advance Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota) sovereignty, cultures, and histories. Estes is the author of the book Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance