Video Oral History
Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project
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. His father worked at Boeing and both parents taught Aaron and
his brothers the importance of fighting for social justice. As a
college student at the University of Washington, Dixon played a key role
in the formation of the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Seattle Chapter of the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC) along with Larry Gossett and others. Through
the BSU, Dixon also helped organize protests and black student
unions at local high schools. In the spring of 1968, at the funeral
of Bobby Hutton in Oakland, California, Dixon met Bobby Seale
and later was appointed Captain of Seattle’s Black Panther Party,
the first chapter outside of Oakland. He was 19 years old. Dixon
led the chapter through its first four years, then moved to Party
national headquarters in Oakland in 1972.
There he worked with Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and served
for a time as bodyguard to Elaine Brown.
Aaron Dixon has written an autobiography, My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain (2012) published by Haymarket Press.
Aaron Dixon shared memories of his experiences
with the Black Panther Party in videotaped interviews conducted by
Janet Jones, Trevor Griffey, and Alex Morrow on May 2 and July 13, 2005.
In these wide-ranging interviews, Dixon recalls the
tension, violence, and excitement that surrounded the Black Panthers. He
also gives a rich account of the day-to-day life of Party members
and describes the social programs that the Panthers developed, including
a free breakfast program for school children, legal aid and medical
clinics, pest control services, and a prison visitation program.
To the right are streaming-video excerpts of the
You may also want to read the transcripts
of an earlier oral history interview.
Scroll for more interview segments