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Aaron / Community Organizations, Part Two

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Interviewer: We were talking about these issues, Marxism and socialism, how you got aware of it and how you spread it to other folks through the political education classes. Aaron: Yeah, that was really a big part of our thinking at the time. We based on the theory of socialism and communism. Interviewer: Why did these ideas appeal to y’all? Aaron: Because they seemed to be true. Equitable distribution of wealth. People’s power. It seemed to be the truth. It seemed to be along the lines of what we wanted. Revolution. Interviewer: What women were involved in the People’s Party Two? Aaron: Women were involved in the party from its initiation. Some come and went and some come and stayed, but women was always involved from (inaudible). Women always been involved. I heard y’all mention (inaudible) the other day. (inaudible) Morgan. (inaudible) Women have always been a big part of the party from (inaudible.) Interviewer: What roles did women play in the party? Aaron: Well, I was going to make a joke but I won’t. They did the same thing we did. They worked and sold papers. They passed out clothes. We started a breakfast program later they were primarily workers in that program. They packed their weight. They did the same thing we did. We always had leading women in the organization. We didn’t discriminate against women. We felt women could play just as much role in the struggle as we could. So they had free rein on everything. Interviewer: How did the people of the community respond to the programs created by the People’s Party Two? Aaron: We had a good response. Free clothes we passed out. People would see that. Breakfast program, people loved that. We had a free pest control program. People loved that. People loved our programs because we were serving their needs. How could they not love it? Plus, all our programs were free. We weren’t charging for nothing. We were giving these things away so it was hard for them not to like it. Only program we had that people had a problem with was guns. They had a problem with guns. Lot of people in the neighborhood couldn’t relate to that. Especially older people. That kind of pushes back, the way we related to guns at the time. People weren’t too quick to get involved in that. That kind of, to some extent, alienated us a little bit. Because, like I said, it was a shock. People walking around with guns, talking about using guns against pigs and all that stuff. A lot of people couldn’t relate to that. That was about the only program they didn’t care that much about. Interviewer: Why did you care about guns? Aaron: We emphasized the right of black people to defend themselves. The right to bear arms. We figured we could do that by bearing arms ourselves and you know, packing them and emphasizing to the community that we have this right and that’s what we need to do. That’s what we did. We were trying to exercise the right to self-defense.

Interview Interview with James Aaron
Subjects Citizenship
Citizenship › Civic Engagement
Citizenship › Political Rights
Housing
Housing › Neighborhoods
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
Community Organizations › Community outreach
Community Organizations › Community Organizations and Institution-Building
Geography › Geographic Disparities in Economic Growth or Decline
Ideology
Ideology › Marxism
Black Power
Black Power › Black Panthers
Community Organizations › Community outreach › Volunteering
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Interview date 2016-06-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Aaron, James
Interviewers Enriquez, Sandra
Rodriguez, Samantha
Duration 00:05:28
Citation "Community Organizations, Part Two," 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/2506/power-to-all-people-part-2, accessed November 18, 2019