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Aaron / Initiation into Politics

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Interviewer: So you grow up in Pleasantville. This is a proud African-American community. Sports, gatherings, fairly good education system. How did you get involved in activism? Aaron: Period I grew up in, way I put it, it was turbulent times. Civil rights movement was going on. Come home in the evening and you have to look at it on the news. I’m a young man looking at all this stuff at the news. This is what was happening all the time. I grew up in a period when activists, civil rights movement and all that. Couldn’t avoid it because it was on the TV every day. I would turn the TV on and see black people getting hosed down and dogs getting sacked on them and all this kind of stuff. It had an effect on my mind. That’s what it did with my mind. It helped turned me to becoming active. Interviewer: What organizations did you first get involved in or what movements did you first get involved in? Aaron: Well, the first organized organization I associated with was the Black Muslims. They was one of the few organizations in the city at that time. They would have people come out on corners where you would be standing on the corner playing or doing whatever we were doing. They’d say, “Hey you brothers. Why don’t y’all come on and go to this meeting with us?” So, I started visiting the mosque with the Muslims and listening to them talk and all that. They’d pick us up and drop us back off. That was my first association with a black organization was the Black Muslims. Later on, started going to these classes at the University of Houston. Gene Locke used to teach black history classes at the University of Houston. Me and some friends of mine, we would fill up the car and go to these black history classes at University of Houston. Interviewer: Was that through the African-American studies program? Aaron: Yeah, yeah. It was. This was back in the late sixties. Interviewer: Do you remember any of the classes and what they were teaching? Aaron: Well, he was teaching a black history class. This was the only class I was going to was the black history class. Everybody once a week. This was organization, activism, you know, political stuff. That was Black Muslims and black history class. That was my initiation to politics.

Interview Interview with James Aaron
Subjects Family › Childhood Experiences
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › National and Regional Civil Rights Organizations
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › Local Civil Rights Organizations
Race Relations
Race Relations › Black-White Race Relations
White Resistance to Civil Rights
White Resistance to Civil Rights › Hate Crimes and Violence
White Resistance to Civil Rights › Hate Crimes and Violence › Assault as Hate Crime
Education › Higher Education
Education › Black Studies
Recreation and Leisure › Consumption of Radio/Television/Film
Historic Periods › Late 1960s [Exact Date Unknown]
Direct Action
Student Activism
Black Power › Local Black Power Organizations
Black Power › Black Power and Community Organizing
Tags University of Houston
Locke, Gene
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Interview date 2016-06-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Aaron, James
Interviewers Enriquez, Sandra
Rodriguez, Samantha
Duration 00:03:28
Citation "Initiation into Politics," from James Aaron oral history interview with Sandra Enriquez and Samantha Rodriguez,  June 08, 2016, Houston,TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed September 26, 2020