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Aaron / The Freedom Movement Then and Today

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Interviewer: What are your ideas about leaders and leadership in social movements? Aaron: In the freedom movement today? Interviewer: Back then and today. Aaron: Well, I think yesterday the movement was more intense than it is now and I think it was more I’d say revolutionary than it is now. The ideas that we were expounding back during the seventies, you know, the Black Panther Party, MAYO, the John Brown Revolutionary League—they not being expounded like they was back then. These days, in my opinion, it’s more in line with operating within the existing order. Back then, we was talking about tearing this order up and establishing a new order. Most of the people involved in the movement today is not dealing with that. They dealing with elections and operate within the system. That’s one of the differences I see from the things we was doing back then and what people doing now. You don’t hear the word capitalism no more or communism or socialism as you did back then. At least I don’t. Closest thing I see to that kind of talk is Bernie Sanders outside of some of these few communist organizations that are around putting out a newspaper. That’s one of the things I see—I don’t see the militancy that existed back then. I don’t see the anti-capitalist thinking back then. I don’t see that. I see everything now wants to operate within the system. Ain’t talking about no revolution. See, we was talking about a revolution. I don’t see nobody running around here talking about no revolution too much. They talk about making a change here and there but not talking about no fundamental change. Interviewer: What are your ideas about the Black Lives Matter movement? Aaron: My ideas about the Black Lives Matter movement? They’re a necessary movement initiated out of a need to stop the police murder and brutality of black people. I think they’re a very necessary movement. A very good movement. One that is all to the good. All to the good in my opinion.

Interview Interview with James Aaron
Subjects Citizenship
Citizenship › Civic Engagement
Citizenship › Political Rights
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
Police and Law Enforcement
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Police and Law Enforcement › Community Relations and Law Enforcement
Electoral Politics
Media › Black Newspapers
Historic Periods
Historic Periods › 1970s [Exact Date Unknown]
Historic Periods › 2009-Present
Black Power
Black Power › Black Panthers
Black Power › Local Black Power Organizations
Black Power › Black Power and Community Organizing
Chicano Power › Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO)
Tags John Brown Revolutionary League, Houston, TX
Sanders, Bernie
Black Lives Matter
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Interview date 2016-06-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Aaron, James
Interviewers Enriquez, Sandra
Rodriguez, Samantha
Locations Houston, TX
Duration 00:04:18
Citation "The Freedom Movement Then and Today," 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 April 18, 2024