Posted December 6, 2012 by Cooper Point Journal in Campus Life

Former Black Panther Captain Speaks at Evergreen

“When I decided to write [My People are Rising],” said Aaron Dixon, former captain of the Seattle Black Panther Party, at the beginning of his lecture, “I really wanted to write something different…I really saw this book as part of a long chain of historical events…that created the young men and women that were willing to stand up, willing to sacrifice their lives, willing to sacrifice everything they had, to go up against the greatest empire of the world.”

On November 28, Dixon came to Evergreen to discuss his memoir about his experience being the co-founder and captain in the Black Panther Party. Dixon’s book goes back in time, following his ancestors from Africa to America. From there, Dixon describes how he set forth to create the Seattle Black Panther Party and its eventual dissolution through divided ideals and violence. The Black Panther Party stood against racial intolerance, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Although the Black Panther Party condoned self-defense (or as the mainstream media of the time put it, violence), the party also established many educational and community programs in poor neighborhoods, including reading programs and free breakfast kitchens.

The lecture was co-sponsored by The Freedom Dreams and Nonfiction Media: Sustainability and Justice programs. Dixon’s lecture covered the major history of the Black Panther Party, which began in Oakfield, California in 1966.

“While I believe that everything that he writes about and everything that he spoke about today was important, I wish that he had brought it back to the present to make it real for people,” said Naima Noguera, an Evergreen student. “I don’t think that everyone is aware that all of these issues are still happening, especially…in the black and brown communities.”

“I am from another country, not from here, so this is a learning curve for me, learning about the Black Panthers and what they have been through,” said Patrick Newman, another student at Evergreen. “It was a strange and new thing that I have learned about the African community here…And I am learning though his experience.”

“The fight for justice is a never ending process,” said Dixon after his lecture. “It is a process that takes a lot of dedication, a lot of love, and compassion. None of those things are inseparable. People involved in the movement were very compassionate people. Very loving people. It was Che Guevara that said revolutionaries are pushed by a tremendous love for the people. That really encapsulates what our movement was all about. It was really about love for humanity.”

Dixon plans to continue his book tour at the University of Washington in mid-January.

By Ray Still