Seattle 2004

Seattle, WA. (2004)

By Billy X Jennings

Photo of Seattle Washington

I was off to Seattle and Portland for 10 days, doing research on the BPP legacy in those cities. The plane ride was nice and the great views, of the many mountains, including Mt. St. Helens.

Aaron Dixon, founder and captain of the Seattle Chapter of the BPP, picked me up at the airport and it was a short drive to his new house. Different from the last time I was in town in 2003, when Aaron house caught on fire, while we where out reviewing his book at his editor's house. (That's another story). Aaron's is also raising his two lovely daughters whom are in high school.

First thing we did was to go eat and then go to a Jazz club downtown called Jazz Alley, to see David Sanborn, whom was great, Aaron had won some tickets on the radio. The next day we went to the Natural History Museum to see some photo's Aaron had donated to the city. Time was spent learning my way around, where to catch the bus, from downtown to Aaron's and sightseeing.

Statue of Panther and Pig

Before coming to Seattle, I had spoken to some people who directed me to some resources of Panther information in town. Seattle has a new library downtown and I spend a few days there going over newspapers (Seattle Times) and some undergrounds newspapers with Panther News from the late 1960's and 1970's.

Aaron was very helpful with the history of Seattle and I spoke to Michael Dixon, Aaron's youngest brother whom was a Party member, along with his other brother Elmer. Michael filled me in on the period of history of the Seattle chapter, when Aaron was stationed in Oakland.

Aaron Dixon Michael Dixon

Just for note the Dixon Brothers are walking legends in Seattle, they receive love from everyone I seen them come in contact with while in Seattle, that includes former comrades I met, while in Seattle.

Photo of the Wall Photo of the Wall
Photo of the Wall Photo of the Wall

I was taken to many locations where Party history was made; the Peoples Wall, which was located by the Panther office, is a community legacy a famous mural showing, Africa, Africans, Malcolm X and other great leaders. There is a statue put up in Seattle in front of a community center with a Panther and a Pig together on it, by the city. I was taken by the two former locations of the office and locations of medical clinics.

Our clinic is still open it's called Carolyn Downs clinic now after a former Party member whom worked there and later died of cancer. The clinic looks good inside and out, they have some of the same programs we started back in 1970.

Carolyn Downs Family Medical Clinic Carolyn Downs Family Medical Clinic
Carolyn Downs Family Medical Clinic

All work and no play makes life dull, so Saturday we met up with Elmer and his wife at a locate club, where a former Party member band was playing, Jimi Hendrix's cousin's, they were good, he was great and the lead singer was very good. Aaron will talk about the relationship the Seattle Panthers had with Jimi in his upcoming book.

Before leaving Seattle, I was able to go to Garfield High School in Seattle and talk to them about doing a Panther History Program. Garfield was the center of a lot of student protests in the 60's and 1970's a strong hole of Party support, even today.

Had to be in Portland for an Oral History Conference, which started Tuesday, Aaron and I would be doing a presentation and the photo exhibit will be on display.

Portland, is only 3 hours from Seattle, a beautiful drive, passing right by Mt. St. Helens, she was ready to go when we passed her and continued to rumble all the while we were in Portland, Mt. Helens is 48 miles from downtown Portland, you can see the smoke from the mountain from the downtown bridge.

Dr Curtis Austin

I was in town for this conference and research, so after putting up the photo exhibit and meeting some of the sponsors of the program I was off sightseeing. The event was at the Hilton in downtown Portland over 400 people from all over the country came, we were sponsored by Curtis Austin, professor from Jackson, Mississippi.

I love Portland it's a nice looking city, clean and the people are nice, I really like downtown, not to many Blacks I think they're less than 10% of the population. It reminds me of Sacramento, because a big river runs through it like Sac.

In Portland I was able to find Powell's Bookstore I had heard about it from a friend, it was a good bookstore with many books I was looking for and the prices were low. The bookstore I found was Camerons Books and Magazines, 336 S.W. 3rd Ave, Portland. They sold old magazines. I was able to find many magazines from the 1960's and 70's.

End The War
End The War End The War
End The War End The War

Sunday I attended a Anti-Wars protest march in downtown Portland, a nice turn out over 2,000 people, Brother Leroy Haynes of Allen Temple Church and former Party member gave a powerful speak about the Portland Police. I was able to bring home, much material for the archives over 35 new Panther Papers, plus good contacts.

Dr Leroy Haynes