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Aaron Dixon

Political activist Aaron Lloyd Dixon was born on January 2, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Frances Sledge Dixon and Elmer James Dixon. The Dixons were leftist activists and valued the importance of fighting social injustice. Dixon moved to Seattle, Washington in 1958, when his father accepted a job as a technical illustrator for the United States Air Force. In 1961, at age eleven, Dixon walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his march to end housing discrimination in Seattle. He attended Coleman Elementary School, Blaine Junior High School and in 1963, became one of the first African American youth to integrate predominantly white Queen Anne High School.

In 1967, Dixon attended Washington University and joined the local SNCC chapter. As a member of SNCC, Dixon met the black radical Larry Gossett, and co-founded the Seattle Area Black Student Union (SABSU). As members of the SABSU, Dixon, Gossett, and Dixon’s younger brother, Elmer, promoted self determination, self-respect and self defense throughout Seattle’s black community. In 1968, after attending funeral services in Oakland, California for seventeen-year-old Bobby Hutton, a founding member of the Black Panther Party that was shot down by Oakland police, Dixon, Gossett, and others established the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. As founding member and captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party, Dixon helped launch the Free Breakfast for School Children Program, which fed over 10,000 children every day before school. Dixon was also instrumental in the opening of a free medical and legal clinic.

In 1970, Congress began its full scale investigation of the Black Panther Party with much of its focus on the activities of the Seattle chapter. Although the investigation would lead to the demise of the Black Panther Party’s many major city chapters, the Seattle chapter would last longer than most. Dixon moved to Oakland, the national headquarters of the Black Panther Party, in 1972. There, he served as a bodyguard for chairperson Elaine Brown. Dixon worked on the mayoral campaign of Lionel Wilson in 1978, helping him to become Oakland, California’s first African American mayor.

In 2002, Dixon founded the non-profit organization, Central House, to provide transitional housing for homeless young adults. Central House currently contains a youth leadership project that teaches youth to think positively, graduate high school and to control their destinies. In 2006, the Green Party of Washington nominated Dixon for the U.S. Senate. Following his campaign for U.S. Senate, Dixon organized the Center for Social Justice based out of the Seattle Central District. The Center for Social Justice organized an anti-war rally and march in January 2007.

Dixon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 24, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.301

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/24/2007 |and| 6/6/2008

10/24/2007 |and| 6/6/2008 |and| 7/26/2019

Last Name

Dixon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Queen Anne High School

Coleman Elementary School

James A. Garfield High School

University of Washington

Meany Middle School

First Name

Aaron

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

DIX01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico

Favorite Quote

Everything's Going To Be Alright

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Mexico

Birth Date

1/2/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Albuquerque

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apple Pie

Short Description

Political activist Aaron Dixon (1949 - ) was a founding member and captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He founded the non-profit organization, Central House and ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Employment

Central House

S.F. Youth Law Center

City of Seattle

Medona

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Aaron Dixon's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon describes his maternal grandmother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon describes his maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon talks about the riots in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon describes his mother's musical career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Aaron Dixon describes his paternal grandfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Aaron Dixon describes his paternal grandmother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Aaron Dixon describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Aaron Dixon describes his father's experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon describes his father's experiences in the U.S. Army, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon describes his father and his likeness to him

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Aaron Booker describes his father's education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Aaron Booker describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Aaron Booker describes the Burch Village community in Champaign, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Aaron Booker describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Aaron Booker remembers his maternal great-great-grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Aaron Booker remembers moving to Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Aaron Booker describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Aaron Booker remembers his parents' home ownership

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Aaron Booker remembers his father's friendship with artists

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Aaron Booker recalls his father's involvement in the Communist Party

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Aaron Booker remember his parents' conversations about civil rights

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon talks about the representation of African Americans on television

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon describes his family's musical background

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon describes his early personality

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon remembers Queen Anne High School in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers his early mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon remembers joining the debate team

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon remembers his arguments with his parents

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon remembers the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon recalls founding a Black Student Union at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Aaron Dixon's interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon recalls the Black Student Union members at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon remembers the lack of black faculty at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon describes the African American community at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon recalls occupying the president's office at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers occupying Franklin High School in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon recalls being charged with unlawful assembly

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon remembers Bobby Hutton's memorial service

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon recalls forming a Black Panther Party chapter in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Aaron Dixon recalls the expansion of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon describes the history of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's policy on self-defense

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon talks about police brutality in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon describes the ideology of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon describes the ages of the Black Panther Party membership

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers the Mulford Act of 1967

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon describes the discipline of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon remembers Landon Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon remembers a confrontation with the police, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon remembers a confrontation with the police, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon remembers his parents' support of his activism

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon recalls opening a Black Panther Party office in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon recalls the Asian members of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon remembers responding to calls for protection

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon describes the black community's relationship with the police

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers protecting the black students at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon recalls the Black Panther Party's appeal to the United Nations

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's relationship with SNCC

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon recalls meeting the Tanzanian delegation to the United Nations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon remembers his arrest and the ensuing riots, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon remembers his arrest and the ensuing riots, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon describes the rhetoric of revolution

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon remembers the infiltration of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon remembers being protected from the police by a neighbor

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon remembers the deaths of Black Panther Party members

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers meeting Fred Hampton

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon recalls the young leadership of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon describes his trial

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon remembers the deaths of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon describes the relationship between gangs and the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Aaron Dixon remembers Huey P. Newton's leadership

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Aaron Dixon talks about Fred Hampton and Huey P. Newton

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Aaron Dixon recalls protecting himself from assassination

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Aaron Dixon remembers Fred Hampton's assassination

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Aaron Dixon remembers learning of Fred Hampton's assassination

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Aaron Dixon recalls the raid on the Black Panther Party's Los Angeles chapter

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Aaron Dixon remembers being protected by Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Aaron Dixon remembers the purge of the Black Panther Party membership

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's free breakfast program

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Aaron Dixon remembers the boycott of Safeway Inc. stores

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's community programs

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's international presence

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Aaron Dixon describes the Black Panther Party's relationship to the community

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Aaron Dixon talks about the Nation of Islam

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Aaron Dixon remembers the split in the Black Panther Party

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$7

DAStory

10$4

DATitle
Aaron Dixon recalls forming a Black Panther Party chapter in Seattle, Washington
Aaron Dixon remembers being protected from the police by a neighbor
Transcript
And so Bobby Seale gave his speech and he gave one of the most dynamic speeches that I have ever heard, even to this day. I can't say that I've heard a speech that was as profound and as emotional as that speech was. As soon as he concluded, I made a bee line to where he was standing and so did my brother [Elmer Dixon III] and Anthony Ware who was standing in different parts of the auditorium, and we told Bobby Seale we wanted to have a Black Panther Party chapter in Seattle [Washington]. So, a week later, him and George Murray [George Mason Murray] who was the administrator of education flew to Seattle and we met at my mother's [Frances Sledge Dixon] house, my parents' house. About twenty-five other people came up there and we met over a two-day period and we formed the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party, which was the first chapter outside of the State of California. And Bobby Seale at that point asked me to go on tour. Now, he, he was beginning his campaign, his Free Huey campaign and, and what he was doing was opening up chapters and branches all over the country and, of course, we were the first. And he was on his way to the East Coast to open up more chapters and branches, and he asked me to, to travel with him and I, I wasn't really--I wasn't ready to, to do that. You know, I, I just had been appointed as the captain and, you know, I was getting ready to step into something that was extremely different from where I had come from, my family, my community, and all of the comfort that all of that brings, I was getting ready to leave all of that behind and take on a new life. And I had some ideas of how serious it was, and so I think I just needed a little bit of time to think about what I was getting into. So, I always wished I had gone with, with Bobby Seale on that, that, that, that organizing tour. I think I probably could've learned a lot, but I didn't.$$So, you're, you're, what eighteen, nineteen?$$Yeah. Nineteen.$$Yeah. So, so are you--were you the, the, the head of the--$$I was appointed--$$--Seattle chapter?$$Yeah, Bobby said, "Okay, who's gonna be the captain?" After the meeting he said, "Okay, who's gonna be the captain?"$$Okay, so they called you the captain.$$Everybody--you know, most of the people point--pointed to me, which was a surprise for me.$I remember one night, there were three, four Panthers who waited with me for the office to close down and so they said, "We're gonna walk you home," and these are the guys I went to high school [James A. Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington] with, you know, I knew them. But they weren't political. They weren't political. They were all kind of like involved in the criminal--that was always what they were really more interested in. So, they say, "Okay, Aaron [HistoryMaker Aaron Dixon], we're gonna walk you home." So, at that time, things were so bad where our office was, we called it Pork Chop Hill 'cause we were on, on the hill. There was a fire station around the corner, and we used to snipe at the fire station almost nightly to keep the fire trucks from going out to put out the firebombs that we had thrown. So, the police would only come up there three cars deep, four in a car, shotguns hanging out the window. We called it Pork Chop Hill. That was a famous battle in the Korean War. So, these guys say, "Okay, we're gonna walk you home." So, we're walking home, we turn the corner, we're walking down the street late at night, about 10:00, 10:30 at night, and all of the sudden a police car drives by and one of them pulls his gun out and starts shooting. And the next thing I know, I'm by myself. These guys have like scattered and disappeared. I said, shit, I, I better get out of here. So, I--I'm looking for somewhere to run, so I run up in--up these stairs in--into these people's backyard that I know. They lived down the street from me. I, I run in their backyard and I get in the backyard. I forgot it's, it's a backyard where they have these fifteen feet high bushes around the whole perimeter, there's no way out. So, I'm in there and I hear the--I hear the police out front. I hear them getting out of their cars. I hear them talking. Then, I hear them start coming up the stairs and I pull out my, my 9mm. And I said--I was--I said, they got me. I'm, I'm gonna die tonight, you know. And just when I thought I was doomed, this man comes out on his porch, his name is Mr. Melinson and he does like this, (gesture) you know, he signals me to come in. So, I ran into his house and just as he closes the door, the police are all in the backyard looking around. So, I'm sitting up in the window with him and his wife and his kids and I still got my 9mm in my hand and the police are going through all the bushes, looking under cars. So, somebody told him I ran into that backyard, you know. And so they're scrounging all around looking for me, you know. So, finally, they give up and they leave and I leave and I run home.$$So, they never knocked on the door or anything or tried to--$$No, they didn't knock on the door. So, this Mr. Melinson, he was--he was from Texas. He was very light-skinned and he was very conservative. His kids were all in Catholic school. We grew up with his family with his kids. And when we joined the Black Panther Party, he told his kids that they couldn't have anything to do with us anymore 'cause he, he was afraid for their safety, which was understandable. But, you know, he had--he had the courage enough to, you know, come out there and let me in his house and save my life, you know. So, it was something that I always--would always be very grateful to him for.$$Yeah, I think it's like counter what used to be some of the rhetoric in those days about middle class being so against (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.$$--you know, the, the cultural revolution and the--$$Yeah.$$--the paramilitary people like the Panthers and--$$Yeah.$$--and others, RNA [Republic of New Afrika] and being afraid of so-called black militants not being able to get along with them and--$$Yeah.$$--but, here's somebody that actually didn't want to do what you all are doing, didn't want his kids doing it, but he understood what you were doing or something (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah.

Dr. John Cashin

Dentist and political activist Dr. John Logan Cashin, Jr. was born on April 16, 1928 in Huntsville, Alabama to Grace Brandon Cashin, a school principal, and Dr. John Logan Cashin, Sr., a dentist. He and his older brother, Herschel, who were always in the same year at school, were co-valedictorians of their Alabama A&M High School graduating class. He spent two years at Fisk University and then attended Tennessee State University, both located in Nashville, Tennessee. Cashin then received his D.D.S. degree from Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee in 1952.

Immediately after Cashin graduated from medical school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he was made a first lieutenant and Chief of Dental Services for soldiers stationed near Fountainebleu, France. While in France, Cashin became familiar with a number of African American expatriates, including writer Richard Wright and Ollie Stewart, from the "Chicago Defender."

After two years in the U.S. Army, Cashin returned to the United States, where he became active in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1967, he helped found the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA) and was elected as the organization’s first party chairman. He led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1968, challenging the representative nature of the regular delegation and its loyalty to the national Democratic Party.

Cashin ran for Mayor of Huntsville, and in 1970, he was the NDPA’s candidate for governor, where he ran against George Wallace. He received more than sixteen-percent of the votes in that election. Between 1968 and 1974, the NDPA facilitated the election of more than a hundred African Americans to public office in Alabama. In 1974, the Alabama Democratic Party surrendered and integrated their ballot.

Cashin passed away on March 23, 2011 at age 82.

Accession Number

A2007.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/24/2007

Last Name

Cashin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Logan

Schools

Alabama A&M High School

Fisk University

Tennessee State University

Meharry Medical College

William Hooper Councill High School

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

CAS03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alabama

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/16/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit

Death Date

3/23/2011

Short Description

Political activist and dentist Dr. John Cashin (1928 - 2011 ) helped found the National Democratic Party of Alabama, and led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Cashin also served as Chief of Dental Services for U.S. Army soldiers stationed in France in the 1950s.

Employment

United States Army

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:9290,175:9690,180:16590,242:21942,289:22518,297:49866,675:57608,791:58292,802:67620,887:133134,1416:133430,1421:133948,1432:137160,1441:137620,1446:152220,1583:154070,1613$0,0:13043,102:15000,113:15256,118:22619,182:38940,328:49988,472:50552,479:50928,484:53372,513:53748,518:54782,534:55628,545:57978,583:58354,588:58730,593:59106,598:60422,687:60892,693:61456,706:61926,712:66500,731:66820,736:67380,744:76460,845:83118,919:105454,1112:105790,1117:106210,1123:107050,1139:107554,1146:121220,1298:124720,1351:131900,1381:134832,1427:139428,1521:139820,1526:140408,1695:140800,1700:164830,1828:166326,1880:166854,1887:173730,1967:194375,2158:200970,2184:212497,2322:214406,2382:214987,2391:218965,2427:221410,2473
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. John Cashin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin describes the history of Brandontown in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin describes his maternal family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin describes the black business community in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. John Cashin describes his paternal grandfather's book, 'Under Fire with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry'

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. John Cashin talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin describes his relationship with his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his childhood friends

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin recalls the end of his relationship with his white playmates

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the Grove neighborhood of Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin describes his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin remembers Alabama A and M High School in Normal, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin talks about the Alabama Constitution of 1901

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin describes his childhood pastimes

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his experience of discrimination at the YMCA in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin describes his involvement at the Lakeside United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin describes his educational influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin recalls attending Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his reason for leaving Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin remembers learning to fly airplanes

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his workload at the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls taking courses at Fisk University and Tennessee State University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his admission to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his admission to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. John Cashin remembers the American expatriate community in France

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his friendship with Richard Wright

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to leave the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his classmate, Robert Ellis

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to join the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. John Cashin recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. John Cashin recalls his commitment to civil rights

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. John Cashin remembers his marriage

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Dr. John Cashin recalls his decision to join the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. John Cashin recalls the end of his relationship with his white playmates
Transcript
Well let's, let's get back to you going home (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) In other, in other words--$$Let's get back to you going home from, from France. What--$$It was a come down.$$Okay, (laughter) tell me why.$$Well, having lived in a society where race, race didn't matter, it was quite a shock to me 'cause I didn't know people could get along like that, and I enjoyed being a human being. Fifty million Frenchmen can't be all that wrong.$$So you decided to come home. Did you know what you would do or how you would participate in what was going on--$$Yeah.$$--in America? Tell me (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I knew, I knew. As a matter of fact, one of the first things when I hit the doggone concrete was right across from my office, Dr. Fearn, Helen Fearn, our next door across the street neighbor. Told me when I was knocking on the door, within thirty days of the time I got back and Helen Fearn who was a high school principal, looked at me with tears in her eyes, said, "John [HistoryMaker Dr. John Cashin], I don't want you to get in any trouble now. You don't need to get involved in all of that old stuff." This is principal of the high school [William Hooper Councill High School, Huntsville, Alabama]. That I'm not man enough to take care of myself. She don't know me at all. The [U.S.] Army made a killer out of me, but they don't know that. And nobody directs it but me. So, I knew that I was going to take some active role, and I did. And since I was a reformed Army officer, I was privy to a whole lot of things that they don't particularly care for any officers to make.$Up comes eleven, eleven and twelve years old. And at age twelve Herschel [Herschel Cashin] and I were confronted with this racist image that they were white and we were black and if we're going to keep this thing together, we gonna have to call, y'all call Dick [Richard McCullough] and Squirt [James Euclid (ph.)] mister, when that announcement was made by Shelby McCullough, a grocer. Herschel and I started laughing and I don't think we quit laughing yet.$$So you had played with these boys all your life and then when you become eleven and twelve, was it their father's idea to tell them that they needed to start calling (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It was their father, their whole family.$$The whole family. Okay. So they decided that you needed to call them Mr. So and So.$$Mr. Euclid and Mr.--what, I can't remember what Dick's, Richard, that was Dick's name. It's funny.$$Did that stop the friendship because you refused to call them mister?$$Of course. Like I said, it was all over but the laughing.$$Okay.$$It was funny. So, oh man.$$Okay. We were talking about the community. So you had this group even though you played together, even though you were--$$Up to the point that we were lectured by the white grocer's wife, to be sure they understood that we were colored and they were white and Herschel and I, if we were gonna keep your group together, you have to call them mister.$$Where did you play together?$$All over the backyard. We had a big backyard [in Huntsville, Alabama].$$Okay. So they came to your house?$$Yeah, house, like I said our house was the--$$Was the place to hang out.$$--it was the headquarters.$$Okay. All right.$$(SHERYLL CASHIN): How was your house compared to the other houses on the block?$$We were two story brick.$$(SHERYLL CASHIN): Were there any other houses like that?$$Not two story brick, no.$$So think of the, a square block of where you lived. Tell me what you see or what you smelled or what you hear if you walk that square block from your house all the way around the block.$$Well I'll say--I'm still trying to get around the, the language handicap.$$Okay.$$Like I said, mixed in with that laughter. (Laughter) These idiots couldn't draw a straight line without referring to me and Herschel and here we have to call them mister. Where did they get this from? Heck, the only place they could get it from was from the white supremacists. Yeah. And these people actually believed that crap (laughter).

The Honorable Bobby Rush

Congressman Bobby Rush, a legendary figure in modern African American politics, exhibited extraordinary leadership long before his 1992 election to Illinois' First Congressional District. Rush was born in Albany, Georgia, in November 23, 1946, under extremely segregated conditions. Rush’s family moved to Chicago in 1953, when he was seven years old.

In 1963, at the age of seventeen, Rush enlisted in the U. S. Army and served honorably until 1968. Later, Rush made history when he formed the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party after having been inspired by the activism of Stokely Carmichael and others. During this time, Rush formed the Free Medical Clinic in Chicago. It was later that Rush would confront the political establishment with a more traditional approach.

Rush ran for alderman of Chicago's Second Ward in 1975, but lost the election. Rush later won that same seat in 1983; and he continued to serve as an alderman until 1992, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Rush participated on the subcommittees on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protections, and Energy and Power, as well as on the House Committee on Commerce. These three entities accounted for three-quarters of all national legislation. During his term, Rush served as member of the U.S. delegation of the North Atlantic Assembly, and sponsored many community-based initiatives.

In 1999, Rush ran for mayor of Chicago, but he lost to Richard M. Daley.

Accession Number

A2000.035

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/23/2000 |and| 1/18/2001 |and| 5/15/2014

Last Name

Rush

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Benjamin Franklin Elementary Fine Arts Center

Wells Community Academy High School

John Marshall Metropolitan High School

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

Englewood High School

Roosevelt University

University of Illinois at Chicago

Franklin Academy

McCormick Theological Seminary

First Name

Bobby

Birth City, State, Country

Albany

HM ID

RUS01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Tanqueray

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

God Bless You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/23/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Greens

Short Description

Political activist and U.S. congressman The Honorable Bobby Rush (1946 - ) made history when he formed the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Rush became the alderman of Chicago's Second Ward in 1983 and was then elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1992.

Employment

United States Army

Black Panther Party

Chicago City Council

Illinois 1st Congressional District

Beloved Community Christian Church

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Burgundy

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Rush interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby Rush's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bobby Rush remembers his parents and siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobby Rush recalls his early childhood in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby Rush recalls his family's move from Georgia to Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby Rush recalls his mixed Near North Side neighborhood in Chicago during his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby Rush revisits his now-gentrified childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby Rush remembers his childhood heroes and dreams

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Rush interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby Rush talks about the first slaves brought to America

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby Rush discusses his teenage interests in sports and music

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby Rush describes social networks from his youth in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby Rush remembers the musical talent and close-knit community on Chicago's Near North Side

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby Rush remembers a dedicated Boy Scout leader

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby Rush recalls receiving support from community members

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bobby Rush compares the quality of life for youth in 1950s Chicago with that of today

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bobby Rush discusses leaving high school and enlisting in the military

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby Rush recalls his army enlistment and basic training

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby Rush talks about his military service and a racist lieutenant

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby Rush discusses his involvement with SNCC's Chicago branch

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby Rush discusses the rise of black nationalism in SNCC

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby Rush describes founding the Black Panther Party's Chicago chapter

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby Rush explains how his group became the official Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby Rush recalls Fred Hampton, the Chicago Black Panthers' social programs and the assassination of Hampton and Clark

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby Rush discusses the Black Panther Party's direction after 1969

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Bobby Rush's interview, session 3

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about Fred Hampton

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers joining the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bobby Rush recalls opening a Black Panther Party office in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers the arrest of two Black Panther Party members

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bobby Rush describes the formalization of the Black Panther Party's Illinois chapter

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bobby Rush describes the programs sponsored by the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers the assassination of Fred Hampton, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the impact of Fred Hampton's assassination, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the naming of Margaret T. Burroughs Beach in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers the assassination of Fred Hampton, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers living under the threat of violence

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bobby Rush recalls the aftermath of Fred Hampton's assassination

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the impact of Fred Hampton's assassination, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bobby Rush recalls the changes to the Black Panther Party

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the relationships between the Black Panther Party and other organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bobby Rush describes the philosophy of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the leadership of the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bobby Rush describes his decision to attend Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers his transition to electoral politics

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the impact of the free breakfast for children program

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about the members of Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bobby Rush describes his decision to leave the Black Panther Party

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers the start of his political career

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bobby Rush talks about Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bobby Rush remembers the mayoral campaign of Harold Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - The Honorable Bobby Rush reflects upon the leadership of Mayor Harold Washington

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Bobby Rush explains how his group became the official Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party
Bobby Rush recalls Fred Hampton, the Chicago Black Panthers' social programs and the assassination of Hampton and Clark
Transcript
Yeah, we came back and we had the, so we set up an office. I met Fred Hampton at--I think Stokely [Carmichael, later Kwame Ture] came to speak at a place called the Afro Arts Museum which ultimately became the headquarters of the El Rukn street gang at 39th and Drexel. It used to--prior to the El Rukns taking it over it was called the Afro Arts Theater and they had a, a rally and Stokely came to speak. Well I asked, I called Fred and asked Fred to meet us there after the rally and (unclear) and meet Bob Brown and I and we met and we asked him to join with us to organize a chapter of the Black Panther party and he decided to become a member of the Black Panther Party. And so we had the office open, Fred Hampton had become a member and we had the other SNCC people who was, who, who originally were members of SNCC they joined the Panther party also, so we had a functioning little cadre of people here in Chicago. Still didn't have, not had the authorization from [the national leadership of the BPP in] Oakland, California. Well it just so happens that around the first of December of '68 [1968] there were two Panthers on a plane, Landon Williams and Masah (ph.) Hewitt, Raymond Masah Hewitt and they were on their way from New York to Oakland. And they got into this discussion about whether or not this was the same between New York and Oakland and Oakland and Cuba. And so in their naïveté they decided to ask the stewardess. Well when they asked the stewardess during this time you know planes were being hijacked and sent to Cuba and all that. So they went and asked her and she freaked and she called, I mean she went up to the, to the, to the cockpit and told the captain. The captain landed the plane in Chicago rather than going to California. It landed in Chicago, took them off the plane, handcuffed them, put them in jail, all right, in Cook County Jail. They had one phone call, they called Oakland to tell them that they were in Chicago in jail. Oakland had one phone number of anybody in Chicago, not the guys who they said was members of the Panthers. They had our phone number of our headquarters okay, so they had to call us to get these guys out of jail to get you know--so that's how we became an official chapter of the Black Panther party because the--we were the only ones they, who they could contact because we had the, we had the only office, the only operation here and so that's, from that time on we became a recognized chapter of the, of the Black Panther party.$What happened with the whole Fred Hampton and the, you know the Chicago Seven and--?$$Well Fred was a, Fred Hampton was a charismatic, dynamic, courageous, effective, talented spokesman and individual. He was, he had a, had trained himself to speak in the mode of a Baptist preacher so he could move a crowd and he could articulate so well and he could move a crowd and he could simplify complex, complicated ideas and bring them down to a level where the common person could identify with him and be motivated by him. And so, Fred emerged as one of the most dynamic leaders in the, in the [Black] Panther Party based on his leadership or his ability to speak and move people. And so, and the Illinois chapter was becoming so effective through the various programs. We, you know, we used to say that Oakland [California, headquaters of the national leadership] had a lot of theory but Chicago had all the practice okay, and Oakland would come up with these, some of these great ideas and stuff but we were implementing in Chicago. And so we created a vast network of Breakfast for Children programs and we created the, a, a, a very, very strong free medical clinic, actually had a medical clinic here in Chicago on 16th and Avers where the only requirement for people to get service there--through trained professionals, I mean when we talk about medical we just had, we had doctors who during their day were, had their own practice but in the evening they would come over to the free medical clinic. You know we had doctors who were on staff at different hospitals but then they would also be staff in our medical clinics, you know including Quentin, Quentin Young and--there, there were a number of others who I still have very close relationships with. But they would come over and so we had the medical clinic, we had free food programs and various other kinds of programs. So we became a real threat to the power structure here in the city and all across the country and so they, the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] targeted us. They dispatched a lot of informants into the organization, they raided our office on, on a number of occasions and ultimately they set up a plan to murder Fred and myself. And on December the 4th, 1969, they did in fact come onto the West Side in an apartment where Fred was staying at. I was supposed to have been in that apartment. And they shot that apartment up, killed Fred and a guy out of, a Panther out of Peoria by the name of Mark Clark. They wounded seven Panthers in, in that apartment and so he, he was ultimately killed by--because they used an informant, a guy who ultimately killed himself, committed suicide by running in, out on the expressway, a few years after that, guy by the name of William O'Neal who was the informant for the FBI, but they, they killed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark on December the 4th, 1969.$$And what role did you play in the, I mean were the two of you the most, the most--known?$$Yeah, we were. Right, we were. Fred, I was actually the, what they called a deputy minister of defense for a while and then I ultimately became the Illinois chairman. I was deputy minister of defense because I had the military experience okay, and Fred was the deputy chairman. And during that time Huey [Newton] had defined the state of America, of black America as being at war. So at that time the deputy minister of defense was actually the, the, the wartime leader per se and then the deputy chairman during the, the peacetime era and the deputy chairman would emerge. And so I was the minister of defense and Fred was the chief spokesman for the party and also the spiritual leader of the party, really and truly he was. I was more of a theoretician and a person who could, could implement a lot of the things to, cause--but Fred would be able to move the masses in, in a much more effective way you know.$$So were you stockpiling guns and things like that during that time?$$Oh we had guns, I mean yeah. We had--I wouldn't say we were stockpiling them, you know but, yeah but we had guns, yeah sure, yeah we had guns.$$(Simultaneously) (Unclear) Okay, and then--.$$But only for self defensive purposes.$$And then, but at the same time what's interesting the whole thing was growing, empowering and self-help in many ways?$$Oh absolutely. You know we wanted to make a difference. We wanted to make sure that, you know we, again out of that era of the Panther party I mean look at something like sickle cell anemia which most of us know about today. Well during that time nobody really knew about sickle cell anemia. Doctor's didn't know how to diagnose it because they had not been trained about it. So the Panther party understood the contradiction between here you have a disease like sickle cell anemia that mostly affected black people and a medical profession that did not recognize, nor, recognize it (unclear) so therefore they could not diagnose it right. And so we started an effort to test people for sickle cell anemia to raise the contradiction around sickle cell anemia and we in fact were very successful you know because now it's a recognizable disease, most people know about it. There were, at one time there were a plethora of organizations finally just to deal with it but it all came out because of the Panther party's educational and conscious raising the campaign to teach people about sickle cell anemia. You know, the Breakfast for Children program, you know we embarrassed America with the Breakfast for Children program. You know we embarrassed America with the Breakfast for Children program because we felt as though our community should be self reliant enough to make sure that our children were fed before they went home, went to school to, went to school in order to be educated but that wasn't happening. So we decided to you know rather than pontificate over it, work on the problem. So we developed the Breakfast for Children program. We fed thousands of children, you know. The medical clinic came about, around the same thing, free food give away and this was all about organizing our community into an effective force, you know. A lot of the model was borrowed, borrowed from Saul Alinsky you know and also from the Daley machine, political machine, you know--earning the loyalty of your community by providing services to the community.