Known as a legendary organizer who was always willing to help, Bruce A. Dixon died last week with his family in Georgia.
Dixon was co-founder and managing editor of Black Agenda Report and was a member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago in 1969 and 1970. He lived and worked in Marietta, Georgia, where he served on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.
Ashley Yates, a Black Lives Matter organizer and activist, announced Dixon’s death on Twitter:
“We lost a great organizer, thinker and elder today,” Yates tweeted on Friday. “We gained an amazing ancestor whose work and influence will continue to guide.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, Dixon was a community organizer in some of the poorest neighborhoods in urban America, working on issues of housing and publication. In the 80s and 90s he was a volunteer, staffer and consultant to dozens of community groups and political campaigns, and local government in Chicago, according to Huffington Post.
“We lost a giant on Friday,” wrote Louis Proyect on Counter Punch. “I miss his political clarity, his guidance, his candor, his warmth and his humor. Bruce was a legendary organizer. He was old school – organizing person-to-person and always willing to provide assistance. It’s hard to believe you are gone, Bruce. The world is a better place for you having been in it. Rest in Power.”
Dixon was born to working-class parents and raised on the south side of Chicago. By 1967 he was involved in citywide organizing among Black high school students demanding the first Black history courses.
Writing about his public service in a bio on the Green Party website, Dixon said he joined the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1969. He was responsible for conducting the party’s political education classes. In 1974, Dixon campaigned for Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther Party leader, who was running for election as a committee member on Chicago’s 2nd ward. Rush has been a U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 1st congressional district, serving in Congress for more than 20 years.
In the late ’70s, Dixon was an organizer and activist for improved public housing and voter registration.
“All through the 1980s I worked on campaigns against the Daley Machine in Chicago,” Dixon wrote.
In 1992 Dixon was tapped to be one of three field organizers responsible for the summer and fall voter registration drive leading up to the general election that year.
“Our director that year whose chief responsibility was fundraising was a guy fresh out of Harvard law with no political experience — Barack Obama.”
Dixon described Obama as a quick study and a great fundraiser. “We took him around to the people we’d organized in our previous 15 years, our union folks, our people in public housing, in neighborhood organizations and the like.”
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Later hired to work in the Cook County elections office, Dixon was responsible for registrations and elections in the suburbs. His responsibilities included training deputy registrars and prospective candidates for local office and writing manuals.
Dixon moved to Georgia in 2000, working on the congressional campaign of Rep. Cynthia McKinney. In 2006 he co-founded the Black Agenda Report, a weekly journal of news, commentary and analysis from the Black left.
Joining the Georgia Green Party in 2009, Dixon helped grow the base from a couple hundred people in a room in Atlanta to launching a successful drive for ballot access in Georgia and a presidential campaign. He was on the staff of Jill Stein’s 2016 campaign but had to leave because of illness.
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