cover image My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain

My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain

Aaron Dixon. Haymarket (Consortium, dist.), $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-60846-178-3

The cofounder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party shares his personal journey through 10 years of the party’s rise and fall, tracing the Black Power movement from 1968 through the late ’70s. At age 18, inspired by Stokely Carmichael and Bobby Seale, distressed over the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., and rebellious, Dixon was swept enthusiastically into a leadership role in the party that fed his passion for political education and helping the black community, while allowing him to participate in stockpiling weapons and fighting against both local white police “pigs” and a U.S. government that saw the militarized Panthers as a serious threat. Dixon paints an intense picture of the party’s next decade, from youth recruitment, through the purge of members involved in criminal activities, and finally to the split between those who wanted to work within the political system and those who felt it was time for a violent revolution. Dixon’s deeply personal writing humanizes the movement: his pride in the success of social programs like free breakfast for school children coexists with his disillusionment and disappointment as top members are lost to incarceration, murder, and especially to internal disagreements and corruption, threatening both the survival of the organization and Dixon’s personal ideals. Photos. (July)