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Aaron / Community Organizations, Part One

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Interviewer: The Rainbow Coalition, what was the goal of that? Aaron: The goal of the Rainbow Coalition was we understood that we wanted to make a revolution in this country and we understood that it takes people to make a revolution. We was talking about a people’s revolution. Our slogan was “All power to the people.” When we said all power to the people, we wasn’t just talking about black people, we was talking about all people. Best thing to do is have a relationship with all people. Work with all people. Have a Rainbow Coalition and that’s what we did. I said—well we work with John Brown Revolutionary League—we did a lot of things together, John Brown and MAYO. Gloria Rubec was in John Brown Revolutionary League, that’s when I first met her. Interviewer: So you had Gloria Rubec in the John Brown Revolutionary League. In MAYO, do you remember any of the members? And MAYO, of course, is the Mexican American Youth Organization. Aaron: I remember Yolanda Birdwell and her husband. I forget his name. You know Yolanda? Interviewer: Mmm-hmm. What do you remember about Yolanda Birdwell? Aaron: I know she was fiery. She was full of fire. I remember that about her. She was very dedicated to the struggle and she was full of fire. I remember one night, we got arrested. I forget, South Park Place I think it was. It was me, Carl, and a couple other people and Yolanda almost made the police whoop her. (inaudible) why you messing with (inaudible)? Oh she would act up. Yolanda was very fiery back then. Yeah, she was. She later one went on to help get us out of jail, but she was full of fire. That’s what I remember most about her most now. Interviewer: Besides the Space City paper, what other activities did you engage with the Rainbow Coalition? Aaron: Well, we would have rallies, you know. We would participate in different demonstrations in the city. We would have rallies kind of regular back then. We would just gather in the parks around here and Carl was very spontaneous when it comes to a rally. All he needed was a bullhorn. He would get a bullhorn and just go to the park and have a rally. That’s the way we used to do it and MAYO and John Brown Revolutionaries, they would come in the park with us and we’d just have a rally. Just spontaneous. Interviewer: What type of issues were you raising together? Aaron: Kind of issues? We had the issue of police brutality. Poverty, dilapidated housing, poor education. Raising the issues that we had on our program, Ten Point Platform Program. Decent housing, police brutality, poor education, decent housing. We was raising all those issues. Interviewer: Back then, when you were involved in the People’s Party Two, what was your understanding of Marxism and then also your understanding of socialism? Aaron: Well, when I first got into the People’s Party, all this was foreign to me. I had never heard of Marx or Lenin. I had never heard of Mao Zedong until I got into People’s Party. I got into People’s Party, we would study the Red Book. We would study essays on—four essays on philosophy by Mao Zedong. We would study all the works of Marx and Lenin. We would have the political education class that we used to have out of them books. We embraced the theory of Marx and Lenin and the political education class we had, we would have out of the Red Book. That was my introduction to Marx.

Interview Interview with James Aaron
Subjects Citizenship › Civic Engagement
Housing
Housing › Low Income Housing
Community Organizations
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
Race Relations › Black-Brown Race Relations
Geography › Geographic Disparities in Infrastructure
Education
Education › Quality of Instruction
Police and Law Enforcement
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Media
Media › Movement Newspapers
Media › Supportive Journalists and Editors
Ideology
Ideology › Marxism
Direct Action
Direct Action › Rallies
Student Activism › Black Participation in Latino/a-led Actions
Black Power
Black Power › Local Black Power Organizations
Chicano Power › Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO)
Tags Rainbow Coalition
John Brown Revolutionary League, Houston, TX
Rubec, Gloria
Birdwell, Yolanda
Space City Newspaper, Houston, TX
Hampton, Carl
Tse-Tung, Mao
Marx, Karl
The People's Party II
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Interview date 2016-06-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Aaron, James
Interviewers Enriquez, Sandra
Rodriguez, Samantha
Duration 00:05:31
Citation "Community Organizations, Part One," 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, https://crbb.tcu.edu/clips/2503/power-to-all-people, accessed May 25, 2019