Aaron and Elmer Dixon were both detained on the day of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. They watched the cities burning after Dr. King’s death. Not long after this event, the Dixon brothers went to the Bay Area where they met leaders of the Black Panther Party. Listen in on how the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King not only rocked the country, but Seattle’s Central District youth.
Photo courtesy of Civil Rights and Labor History Project
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. The Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party was the first to be established outside of California. This series highlights some lesser known stories of Seattle’s local Black Panther Party.
KBCS’s Yuko Kodama speaks with Steve Roberson and Aaron Dixon, former members of Seattle’s Black Panther Party. Steve Roberson served as a vista volunteer for the Party in the free community health clinic and breakfast program in the early 70’s, and Aaron Dixon was the former leader of Seattle’s Black Panther Party.
Part 1 – Dixon explains how the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party was founded.Roberson shares about memories about the Black Panther Party health clinic in the late 1960’s.
Part 2 – Black Panther Party members were required to educate themselves about black history. The mission was to serve the community. Dixon describes a day in the life of a Black Panther Party member.
Part 3 – Dixon describes how the Black Panther Party free breakfast program worked and who donated to the organization.
Part 4 – One of the Black Panther Party’s programs was to protect the community from racial aggression. Dixon recounts an incident the orgnanization was involved in at Rainier Beach High School.
Part 5 – Roberson shares about an encounter at the Black Panther Party free community medical clinic that changed his perspective on community.
Part 6 – Dixon illustrates how the organization was supported by the local community during a confrontation with the Seattle Police, and explains the history behind a sculpture at Madrona Elementary school and Library
Part 7 – Dixon shares what happened as Black Panther Party chapters in Los Angeles and Chicago were attacked by federal government entities, resulting in 4 political assassinations of Black Panther Party leaders
Part 8 – Dixon reflects on how the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party weathered the more intense period after J Edgar Hoover proclaimed the Black Panther Party breakfast program a threat to national security.
Part 9 – Dixon describes how former Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman stepped in to keep the local chapter safe.
Part 10 – Dixon gives his take on how civil rights and black liberation movements of the 60s and 70’s compare to the social movements of today.
Part 11 – Dixon shares the Seattle Black Panther Party’s relationship with Jimi Hendrix.