Black Panther - Aaron Dixon - Black History and Literature Library
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  • Black Panther - Aaron Dixon - Black Activist, Black Man, Black Panther - Black History and Literature Library

    Black Panther - Aaron Dixon

    Aaron Dixon (born January 2, 1949) is an American activist and a former captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party for its initial four years. In 2006, he ran for the United States Senate in Washington state on the Green Party ticket.

    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. King's assassination, on April 4, 1968, deeply affected Dixon and propelled him towards the Black Power Movement. That week, 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 on April 6 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.

    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 Family Medical Center. At the same time, according to the Seattle Weekly, the Panthers were involved in the "firebombing [of] businesses and institutions that they considered racist."

    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.

    Dixon is the father of six and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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