Truth will not make you rich, but it will make you free.
--Francis Bacon

Black Bird Press News

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Haki Madhubuti Honored

We are pleased to learn brother Haki Madhdubuti has been honored with a literary award. He and his Third World Press have been in the forefront of publishing black consciousness literature since the 60s when he was known as Don L. Lee and published Think Black. We wish him continued success in what he does of righteousness.
--Marvin X
Black Bird Press
Berkeley






CHICAGO (Nov. 17, 2010)- Third World Press is pleased to announce that activist poet Haki R. Madhubuti, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University, is one of the esteemed winners of the 9th annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. Professor Madhubuti was honored for his most recent book of poetry, Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009 published by Chicago-based Third World Press. For the first time in the history of the Hurston/Wright Awards two honorees, Professor Haki R. Madhubuti and the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rita Dove were recipients of the award for poetry.

Named for two geniuses of American and world literature, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, the Hurston/Wright Foundation presents the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards annually to authors of African descent for the year’s best works in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. This year was the first time the Foundation named two winners for poetry.

With more than 200 entries submitted each year, the awards are the culmination of a yearlong process involving 12 distinguished judges who serve on four separate juries. Six nominees are selected in each of the four categories. Notables from the literary community who serve on the organization’s advisory board include Toni Morrison, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Chinua Achebe, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Terry McMillan who served as Mistress of Ceremonies at the awards dinner held on Monday, November 15, in Washington D.C. Winners received a statue and a cash prize. The event also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, founded in 1990 by novelist Marita Golden and bibliophile Clyde McElvene as a resource center for writers, readers and supporters of African American literature.

During a career spanning more than 40 years and as one of the prime movers of the Black Arts Movement (1965-75), Professor Madhubuti has published more than 28 books and is one of the world’s best-selling authors of poetry and non-fiction, with books in print in excess of 3 million. His Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The African American Family in Transition (1990) has sold more than 1 million copies. Popular titles include Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption (1994), GroundWork: New and Selected Poems 1966-1996(1996), HeartLove: Wedding and Love Poems (1998), Tough Notes: A Healing Call For Creating Exceptional Black Men (2002), Run Toward Fear (2004), and YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet's Life (2006), a memoir of the people and places that were a part of his early life. His poetry and essays have been published in more than 100 anthologies.

His most recent release, Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009, is the most comprehensive collection of his poetry to date and chronicles a tumultuous period in American history and provides an overview of emerging Black culture. The work borrows language from Black consciousness, hip-hop, political speeches, and motivational talks to help define and sustain a movement that added music and brash street language to traditional poetics. From the angry calls to action from Madhubuti’s earlier work, to spoken-word poetry (which recently garnered the author a Grammy nomination) and “message” poetry aimed at community healing, Liberation Narratives offers a complete collection of Madhubuti’s poetic journey through a troubled era.

“This book represents my life’s work,” says Haki R. Madhubuti of the 500-page collection of more than three decades of his distinctive poetry. “This award confirms that reading Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston as a teenager was indeed my impetus for my life’s work as a poet, educator, institution builder and advocate for social and political justice. After reading Richard Wright’s Black Boy, I was inspired to not only find out who I was, but to start a lifelong search for that which is good, correct and just, not only for Black people, but for the great majority of the world’s people who are poor and oppressed. Art and literature are dependable and powerful weapons in the struggle for social equality.”

A protégé of the late Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, with whom he shared a long friendship, Professor Madhubuti emerged from a long tradition of social activism via the Black Arts Movement to become a pivotal figure in advocating a strong black literary tradition. He is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, American Book Award and others.

Professor Madhubuti founded Third World Press in 1967 and is co-founder of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing and Chicago State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. He is also a founder of the Institute of Positive Education/New Concept School (1969), and a cofounder of Betty Shabazz International Charter School (1998), Barbara A. Sizemore Middle School (2005), and DuSable Leadership Academy (2005), all of which are in Chicago. As the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University in Chicago, he continues to challenge the status quo in pursuit of justice and peace and advocate for the necessity of art in a violent and discouraging world.

Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009 is published by Third World Press, one of the oldest and most highly respected African American-owned book publishing houses. Founded in 1967, Third World Press has been dedicated to publishing culturally progressive and politically insightful works of fiction and non-fiction for more than four-decades.Third World Press has published the works of poet and publisher Dudley Randall, poets Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Mari Evans and Margaret Walker; editor Hoyt W. Fuller; historians, John Henrik Clarke and Chancellor Williams; Chicago writers, Sterling Plumpp, Useni Eugene Perkins and Jacob Carruthers; playwright and producer Woody King Jr.; writers, Kalamu ya Salaam, Pearl Cleage, Ruby Dee, Ruth Garnett, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Derrick Bell, Gloria Naylor and Lorene Cary; artist Murry DePillars; and continues to publish much of the work by the unforgettable Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks.

For more information, please contact Catherine Compton at (773) 651-0700, ext. 30, or email ccompton@thirdworldpressinc.com. For more information on Third World Press titles, visit www.thirdworldpressinc.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The 'Lebanonisation' of Iraq - In Depth - Al Jazeera English

The 'Lebanonisation' of Iraq - In Depth - Al Jazeera English












The Art of Deception in the Middle East


The Middle East is the prime area on the planet for the play out of deception in the political arena. Of course, it is original home of the the Assassins, those deceptive, double dealing Medieval hashish smoking Muslims who killed Christians during the Crusades. And since we are in the midst of the neo-Crusades, including the Jewish occupation of Palestine, the US occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, we should look for a repeat of the art of deception in geo-politics. And we find the practice in full bloom. Imagine, the majority hijackers of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, yet it has not been attacked. Alas, the Bin Laden family members were able to fly out of America when no other plans could fly. The Saudis have not been bombed, though clearly 9/11 was a Saudi theological and mythological adventure. The Saudis are deeply involved in the Iraq Sunni insurgency as well as the Afghanistan Taliban jihad, in coordination with Pakistani Intelligence and USA complicity. Of course in the geo-politics, India is involved to keep the Pakistanis off guard in Kashmir .

So the Saudi offer to mediate the political stalemate in Iraq is subterfuge and political chicanery at best, for Saudi Arabia has no intention whatsoever to allow a functional Shia government in Iraq, especially under the tutelage of Iran, although it is what it is, as they say in the hood.

As per the future, look toward Iran and Turkey to play a vital role, for they are the best answer to any regional solution, even with Iran's present theo-political crisis and its mythological president, though he is no more mythological than the Zionists, the Crusader Americans and the Sunni reactionaries.

Clearly, the time has come for Shia rule, no matter their heretic tendencies. Sunnis, get over it! Swallow the bullet, for the Shias have the guns and shall not give them up any time soon. And war is politics by other means!

We know for a surety that Sunni Muslims have no love for Shia Muslims, never have and never will, for the Shia are heretics of the first order, according to Sunni Muslims, thus, they can be killed at will for heresy, as they killled Hallaj who merely cried Anna Al Haqq or I am the Truth, thus I am Allah--one attribute of Allah is The Truth.

And now the Shia have the grand opportunity to rule in Iraq, across the border from their Shia brothers in Iran, creating a Shia pathway from the Tigress and Euphrates to the Mediterranean.
Hezbollah protects their gateway or "sirata al mustaqim" to the sea.

The Sunnis in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States have conspired with America and the Israeli Zionist entity to insure the destabilization of Iraq if the Shia government refuses to share power with the Sunni. And why should they do so after centuries of Sunni oppression of the Shia?

Yes, the March election has been in a quagmire because the USA, in conspiracy with the Sunni regional powers, have every intention to prevent the installation of a continued Shia regime.

In truth, America doesn't give a damn about Sunni or Shia, all he wants is oil and geo-political domination as required of white supremacy mythology, in unity with Zionist mythology.

And so the latest call for a conference of all parties in Saudi Arabia is but the latest scheme in the diabolical attempt to further the destabilization of the area, mainly to keep the Shia from wielding power history has blessed them with.

According to intelligent sources, it is indeed Shia Iran and Turkey that shall exercise power in the region, especially since they have a history of democratic institutions. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States are Stone Age creatures who are not about to institute democratic reforms. And America is their best buddies as they tread the path of reaction.

We need only recall that in Iran a democratically elected prime minister was overthrown by the CIA and the Shah reinstalled. The Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini ran the Shah out, but then came the Iraq/Iran war that caused the death of millions on both sides, with America supplying the poison gas and other war materials to the Iraqis. Thus America is in no position to play a fair broker. She plays, as they say in hood, dirty pool!
--Marvin X

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Project of the Marian M. Jackmon Foundation, donations accepted































































































































































Black on Black Friday


Why do we lack the economic vitality of Chinatown, Mexico town, white town, gay town? And yet Black America is the 16th richest nation in the world, but most of our money goes out the hood to feed and enrich others. When will we do for self and kind? Of course first there must be love of self and kind that is sorely lacking at this hour, although the economic situation is, as Elijah demanded, forcing black unity. Families are now living together who used to hate each other, but circumstance is forcing them to get along.

We cannot demand others give us economic justice when we don't give ourselves such. Why should the white man hire you when you don't want to hire you, you rather hire a Mexican, yet you would not think of going to Mexican town to ask for a job, nor would you go to Chinatown, white town or gay town. Yet from coast to coast Mexicans are working in Soulfood restaurants and other black businesses because you won't acquire the discipline to hold down a job. You want to tell the boss what to do. Smoke yo blunt and talk on the cell phone at work. One day you will help self and kind first, then help others.

Some of you declined to purchase my $100.00 book, The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Volumes I and II, yet you who went to college bought numerous hunid dollar books that drove you insane, that have you yet addicted to the virus of white supremacy. At least my hunid dollar book was written in an attempt to restore your sanity. Furthermore, the entire contents of the book is available for free on my blog.

You want economic justice, stop spending your money with those who hate you, who won't employ you. Are you some kind of trick sucker? Get a grip on your mind and fly right as the old folks used to say. If you boycotted Black Friday by shopping with your own kind or simply staying at home, America would ask what do you people want? If you boycotted the shops, stores and malls during the holidays, America would beg you to say what you people want!
Why are you spending $200.00 for tennis shoes that cost 50 cents to make in China.

But what do you want, Hamlet, or shall we call you Othello's children! Do you want a job or can you use the mind God gave you to create your own job? Don't you see that even if you possess the skills for jobs in the present era, you are not wanted. This is not entirely a racial matter but a matter of the filthy, greedy, blood sucking capitalist system you want to be part of. Imagine, even with high unemployment, the corporations are doing fine, making mega profits with bonuses.

Yet you are unemployed and possibly homeless since your good job was outsourced to India and China, and you were a victim of the sub prime loan scam. Of course the sub prime pyramid scheme shall ultimately backfire in the face of the capitalists as we see in France, England, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. And yes, ultimately it shall hit America. The shit ain't hit the fan in America yet. Wait until they do title searches on all the foreclosed properties that the new owners attempt to purchase. Yes, they shall indeed be toxic securities, absolutely worthless.

Think of all the black wealth that has gone with the wind, all the real estate blacks accumulated from sweat, blood and tears. The little inheritance our ancestors and elders acquired is gone because we were greedy and did not guard against being deceived, or did not exercise the dictum buyer be aware.

And so, in the Sisyphean tradition, we begin again the climb up the hill with the rock in hand. We should consider establishing micro-loan banks to help our people out of poverty as people are doing around the world. We must become entrepreneurs and do for self. There is no other way out of this conundrum unless we, in the manner called revolution, seize the institutions that have stolen our wealth and divest them in the name of the people, then share the wealth, feeling no sorrow for the blood suckers of the poor, the greedy capitalist swine and their running dogs.

Marcus Garvey told you, Up you mighty Race, accomplish what you will!
--Marvin X

Black Bird Press Books
1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702






















Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality is an enclyclopedia of knowledge.Marvin X is a griot if there ever was one.
--Mumia Abu Jamal, Live from Death Row

Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality by Marvin X is a dangerous book, for it reveals the inner workings of capitalist and imperialist governments around the world. It's a book that stands with and on behalf of the poor, the dispossessed, the despised, and downtrodden. He’s a needed counselor, for he knows himself on the deepest personal level and he reveals that self to us that we might be his beneficiaries. --Rudolph Lewis, editor, Chickenbones





Fly to Allah and Son of Man, proverbs, 1968, established Marvin X as the father of Muslim American literature and one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement.--Dr. Mohja Kahf

$19.95 each
























Marvin X is
guest editor
of the Poetry
Issue, Journal
of Pan African Studies, December, 2010,
an online journal. A print
edition is available from
Black Bird Press.

Donation $49.95
503 pages


In the Crazy House
Called America, essays,
2002. Do you doubt the
title?

People who know Marvin X already know him as a peripatetic, outspoken, irreverent, poetic “crazy nigger,” whose pen is continually and forever out-of-control. As a professional psychologist, I hasten to invoke the disclaimer that that is in no way a diagnosis or clinical impression of mine. I have never actually subjected this brother to serious psychoanalytical scrutiny and have no wish to place him on the couch, if only because I know of no existing psycho-diagnostic instrumentality of pathology of normalcy that could properly evaluate Marvin completely.—Dr. Nathan Hare, Black Think Tank, San Francisco

Donation: $19.95


Land of My Daughters,
poems, 2005.

Consciousness-altering, astonishing -- Marvin X is the USA’s Rumi & his nation is not “where our fathers died” but where our daughters live. X’s poems vibrate, whip, love in the most meta- and physical ways imaginable and un-. He’s got the humor of Pietri, the politics of Baraka, and the spiritual Muslim grounding that is totally new in English –- the ecstasy of Hafiz, the wisdom of Saadi.--Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, NYC


I'm beginning to read your wonderful book (Land of My Daughters, poems) - Aloud! There's no way that the silence(s) in your poems could remain...quiet. There is a spiritual faucet of images, an outcry (un grito), humming deep and wild. And after I read your poetry, a ring keeps bouncing off my ears. Must be that preacher in you, that poet who has learned to dance with hurricanes! Un abrazo, Jose Angel
--jose angel figueroa, New York City

Donation $19.95


Love and War,
poems, 1995.
Dr. Mohja Kahf
said read these
poems for
Ramadan!

Donation $19.95


Youth who otherwise don't read, do read this book and even squabble over ownership, as if it were black gold!

--Paradise Jah Love

This book empowered me. I didn’t know I had that much power!—Young sister

It helped me step up my game!—Young brother

Thank you, thank you, for writing this. I am going to make my son and daughter read it.—A Mother

We are fortunate to witness such openness and honesty, though it makes the smug uncomfortable in their fake comforts….--Lil Joe


Mythology of Pussy and Dick is a compilation of everything Marvin X has written over the past 40 years on male/female relations. There are those who will miss this opportunity to receive wisdom from our brother because of the language he uses to describe the male and female anatomy, his perceived objectification of women and men…. --Delores Nochi, introduction

Donation $49.95
418 pages

Wish I Could Tell You the Truth,
essays, 2005.

Marvin X has been ignored and silenced like Malcolm X would be ignored and silenced if he had lived on into the Now. Marvin’s one of the most extraordinary, exciting black intellectuals living today—writing, publishing, performing with Sun Ra’s Musicians (Live in Philly at Warm Daddies, available on DVD from BPP), reciting, filming, producing conferences (Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair); he’s ever engaging, challenging the respectable and the comfortable. He like Malcolm, dares to say things fearlessly, in the open (in earshot of the white man) that so many Negroes feel, think and speak on the corner, in the barbershops and urban streets of black America….
--Rudolph Lewis, Chickenbones.com
Donation $19.95


Eldridge Cleaver, My friend
the Devil, a memoir, by
Marvin X. Recounts his
thirty year relationship
with the man he introduced
to the Black Panthers. Jimmy
Garrett says it was the funniest
book of 2009. Introduction by
Amiri Baraka.
Donation $19.95



















Tainted Soul
by
Ptah Allah El

A movie script based
on the life of a Black
Panther who hijacked
a plane to Cuba and was
transformed by the Cuban
revolution. $19.95










The Wisdom

of Plato Negro,
Parables/fables
by Marvin X,
Volumes I and II,

2010
. "Marvin X is
Plato teaching on the
streets of Oakland.
If you want to learn about
inspiration and motivation,
don't spend all that money
going to workshops and seminars,
just go stand at 14th and Broadway
and watch Marvin X at work."
--Ishmael Reed

Donation $100.00 (includes volumes I and II)







I AM
OSCAR
GRANT!

essays on
Oakland
by
Marvin X
$19.95





Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez
and Yoself

essays on
Obama Drama
by
Marvin X
2010
$19.95





Notes on the Wisdom of Action

or How to Jump Out the Box
essays
Marvin X
$19.95












Order Now directly from the Publisher. Not available in bookstores or online.
Please send money order to ( free priority mailing):

Black Bird Press

1222 Dwight Way,
Berkeley CA 94702

















To book Marvin X for readings, performance, speaking engagements, please contact his agent:
Muhammida El Muhajir, www.suninleo.com.













When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Too Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express Black male urban experience in a lyrical way. -- James G. Spady, Philadelphia New Observer

His writing is orgasmic!—Fahizah Alim, Sacramento Bee


He comes in the spirit of Imhotep to bring peace of mind to the world. — Ptah Allah El, Richmond CA

He’s the new Malcolm X! Nobody’s going to talk about his book, HOW TO RECOVER FROM THE ADDICTION TO WHITE SUPREMACY, out loud, but they’ll hush hush about it.

—Jerri Lange, author, Jerri, A Black Woman’s Life in the Media


Declaring Muslim American literature as a field of study is valuable because by re-contexualising it will add another layer of attention to Marvin X's incredibly rich body of work. Muslim American literature begins with Marvin X.
--Dr. Mohja Kahf, Department of English, Middle East and Islamic Studies, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Marvin X's autobiography Somethin' Proper is one of the most significant works to come out of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It tells the story of perhaps the most important African American Muslim poet to appear in the United States during the Civil Rights era. The book opens with an introduction by scholar Nathan Hare, a key figure in the Black Studies Movement of the period. --Julius E. Thompson, African American Review

Much of Marvin X's poetry is militant in its anger at American racism and injustice. For example, in “Did You Vote Nigger?” he uses rough dialect and directs his irony at African Americans who believe in the government but are actually its pawns. Many of the proverbs in The Son of Man (1969) express alienation from white America . However, many of Marvin X's proverbs and poems express more concern with what African Americans can do positively for themselves, without being paralyzed by hatred. He insists that the answer is to concentrate on establishing a racial identity and to “understand that art is celebration of Allah.” The poems in Fly to Allah, Black Man Listen (1969), and other volumes are characterized by their intensity and their message of racial unity under a religious banner.
--Lorenzo Thomas, University of Houston, Texas

He has always been in the forefront of Pan African writing. Indeed, he is one of the innovators and founders of the revolutionary school of African writing. --Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)


I welcome reading the work of a “grassroots guerilla publicist” who is concerned with the psychological/intellectual freedom of his people. I think of Walter Rodney as the “guerilla intellectual” who was organically connected to the grassroots. Key book here would be The Groundings With My Brothers [and sisters]. Or Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like. I think though that Dr. M. is closely affiliated with Frances Cress Welsing’s Isis Papers: Keys to the Colors (along with Bobby Wright’s thesis). Of course we need to also consult that classic: The Black Anglo Saxons, and Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie. What I am most impressed with is Dr. M’s Pan-Africanist perspective. We all need to “Detox” as Dr. M states, wherever we are in this world. So the Pan-African element is important. Du Bois knew this, and many of the other giants. Even though they were also, ironically, “infected” like most of us in some way today. I think this citation from Step I is important: “…We are only powerless when we deny who we are and do not recognize we exist in harmony with the universal spirit of peace, justice and mercy. White supremacy is an illusion in the minds of those who believe it and those who accept the scam”….
--Mark Christian, PhD Associate Professor Sociology & Black World Studies Miami University (Ohio)

About the Marian M. Jackmon Foundation



Marian Murrill Jackmon, Marvin X's mother, with her
brother, Clarence Murrill (May they rest in Allah's grace and mercy). She was a business woman and
spiritual counselor. A self educated woman, more than anything, she hated ignorance. She repeatedly told her son, "Use the mind God gave you, boy!"



The Marian M. Jackmon Foundation's mission is spiritual and educational. Its purpose is to preserve and diseminate the writings of Marvin X, also to give scholarships in the name of Darrel P. Jackmon, (RIP, son of Marvin X), in the field of Arabic/Persian and Middle Eastern literature. Also, to give scholarships to women majoring in business, with an interest in spirituality.

Academy of da Corner

A current project is Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. For the past four years, Marvin X has shared knowledge and mentored youth and adults. The Academy is a free speech zone and sacred space for those suffering the trauma of white supremacy and attempting to recover. It is also a micro-loan bank. Send donations to the Marian M. Jackmon Foundation, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702. Your donation can be tax deductible.


Young men at Academy of da Corner, 14 th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Photo Gene Hazzard, Oakland Post Newspaper. Marvin X has given away thousands of dollars worth of his books at the Academy. People have reported seeing youth sitting on the street or riding the bus reading his books intently. Brothers have come from jail saying they read his books and their lives were transformed.







On left, Ptah Allah El, first graduate of Academy of da Corner (University of Poetry) and now a professor. Ptah's oral exam was on teaching teachers, a deconstruction of the Egyptian heiroglyph for "to read."
His thesis was published as Ghetto Folktales, original writings. On right, unidentified student, center Marvin X, aka Plato Negro.
























Left to right, Brother Jermaine, a top student at the Academy. His interest is spiritual consciousness. Next to him is attorney/activist Walter Riley and Blues legend Sugar Pie De Santo.

Student/teacher, Gregory Fields. Gregory is also
working on a video documentary of the Academy.


Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre
Performed at the San Francisco Theatre Festival, 2010

Alona Clifton, reader


















Rashidah Sabreen,
dancer, singer, reader























Paradise Jah Love,
poet, reader






















Mechelle LaChaux,
singer, reader, actress







Hunia Bradley,
reader














Eugene Allen, reader





















Dancers, Rashidah,
Linda Johnson,
Raynetta Rayzetta;
drummers Val Serrant,
Tumani













Ayodele Nzingha
reader
















Phavia Kujichagulia,
reader


The Reader's Theatre is available for performance local and
nationwide. Contact suninleo.com or jmarvinx@yahoo.com








Poet Returns Home to West Oakland for His First Play Flowers for the Trashman












Poet/Playwright Returns Home to West Oakland

Performs at Black Dot Cafe

On Saturday, November 20, Marvin X. Jackmon, poet/playwright/essayist/producer/organizer/teacher, returned to his childhood neighborhood in West Oakland where he attended Prescott elementary and Lowell junior high school.

On Saturday afternoon he had a conversation with actors in the Lower Bottom Playaz who have been performing his first play Flowers for the Trashman, 1965, San Francisco State University Drama Department production while he was an undergrad.

He told the young actors he was flunking an English literature class taught by legendary Medievalist professor/author John Gardner. Gardner asked him what he wanted to do pass the class. The poet said write. The professor said write what. Write a play. Gardner said write it! Flowers for the Trashman was the product. The play became a classic of the Black Arts Movement and established Marvin X as one of founders of the most radical movement in American literature. BAM forced America to include ethnic and gender literature in the academic curriculum. See the Black Arts Movement by James Smithurst, University of North Carolina Press.

The poet described his childhood in West Oakland, Harlem of the West. While I was growing up, West Oakland was the Harlem of the West. I grew up on 7th and Campbell, in my parents florist shop. West Oakland was booming with a vital economic and cultural community on 7th Street, with shops, restaurants, cafes, clubs, associations. It was the end of the railroad line, home of the first black union, the Pullman Porters, led by C. L. Dellums, uncle of Oakland's Mayor Ronald Dellums.

My mother and father were Race people, the name accorded to those who had racial consciousness in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. They were activists in many social organizations, especially the NAACP. Before the family moved to Oakland, his parents edited the Fresno Voice, the first black newspaper in the Central Valley. His maternal great grandfather, E. Murrill, was mentioned in 1943 edition of the Fresno Bee Newspaper. He was so well known the newspaper noted that whites and blacks attended his funeral. His maternal relatives were pioneers to the West coast.

After the war, his parents left Fresno and came to Oakland. There my parents opened a florist shop while my mother worked at the Navy Supply Center as a clerk. The Army base at the end of 7th Street employed many blacks who migrated to the Bay Area during WWII. Seventh Street was bumper to bumper cars, especially on the weekends. The street was crowded with people enjoying Negro life and culture. See Marvin's autobiography Somethin' Proper, Black Bird Press, 1998.

The poet told of his introduction to drama at New Century Recreation Center on 5th Street at McFeely School where he attended elementary school. He recalled a dance teacher at New Century was Ruth Beckford, queen of African choreography in the Bay Area. She was one of the most beautiful women of my childhood with her short natural hair, African body and black velvet skin. I adored her whenever I could catch a glance of her. So fine, so fine.

While doing a play at children's play at Mosswood Park, the poet said he was in the sandbox when a little white girl called him a nigger for the first time and told him to get out of the sandbox. In those days, we didn't go to Mosswood Park often and definitely did go to Lake Merritt, only on holidays such as the 4th of July. A nigguh would get his ass kicked by white boys if caught at Lake Merritt.

Pine Street, where the Black Dot Cafe is located, was the ho stroll, from 7th to 16th by the Southern Pacific train station. There was a hotel near the train station where you could rent a room for a few minutes. Although the area where Black Dot is located is gentrified, someone in the audience informed the poet the hotel is still there.

As a child, the poet used to play up and down the streets in the vicinity of Black Dot Cafe, and later he used to sell black newspapers and magazines in the area, including Jet, Ebony, Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Currier, Detroit Black Dispatch, et al. As a child, he also wrote in the Children's Section of the Oakland Tribune.

As per the play, the setting is a jail cell with the lead character the poet as a young college student with his ghetto friend. They had an encounter with the police coming from a dance and end up in jail for failing the tone test with the police. In jail, the story evolves into a narrative of the father/son relationship, although most critics focus on the rage expressed by Joe, the militant college student who goes off on the white man in the cell. This rage made it a classic of the Black Arts Movement nationwide and worldwide. The play was produced in Europe as well. It appeared in Black Dialogue Magazine and the 60s classic anthology Black Fire, edited by Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka.

In conversation with the actors, they told the poet how the play affected them as fatherless young men, suffering the estrangement and abandonment by their fathers. For them, the play was/is a play within a play, thus giving a level of consciousness as they performed the ritual and were transformed by it. The poet told them this is the purpose of drama, to transform.

He said on one level, the drama reveals his failure as a father since when it was written he had fathered two sons by the age of twenty-one. The play ends with his lines "I want to talk with my sons. I want to talk with my sons." The poet noted that he had been able to talk with one of his two sons, but not with the other who is now almost 50 years old. This son still has feelings of abandonment and neglect. The poet told the young men and women we must break the cycle of such trauma. Otherwise it shall go on forever. Such is the purpose of Flowers for the Trashman, a man-hood training ritual drama to transform lives.

He spoke on the function of ritual drama to transform. This play Flowers for the Trashman is a manhood training ritual so that young men are changed by witnessing it. They will get over some of their hatred and trauma with fathers, for soon they shall be fathers and how shall they behave? Shall their sons hate them, shall they hate their sons, when shall it end?

Truth is, we were not brought over here to have healthy relationships, father/son, mother/daughter. We were brought here for our labor, to be slaves and later wage slaves, coming down to the present. In a 1968 interview with the poet, James Baldwin told him, "For a black father to raise a black son is a miracle. And I applaud the men who are able to do this. It's a wonder we all haven't gone stark raving mad!"

--Marvin X
11/20/10

Bibliography of Marvin X

Books

Sudan Rajuli Samia (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan Publishing, 1967)
Black Dialectics (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1967)
Fly To Allah: Poems (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1969)
Son of Man: Proverbs (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1969)
Black Man Listen: Poems and Proverbs (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1969)
Woman-Man's Best Friend (San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan, 1973)
Selected Poems (San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan, 1979)
Confession of A Wife Beater and Other Poems (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1981)
Liberation Poems for North American Africans (Fresno: Al Kitab Sudan, 1982)
Love and War: Poems ( Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 1995)
Somethin Proper: Autobiography (Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 1998)
In The Crazy House Called America: Essays (Castro Valley: Black Bird Press, 2002)
Wish I Could Tell You The Truth: Essays (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2005)
Land of My Daughters: Poems (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2005)

Works In Progress

It Don't Matter: Essays (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2006)

You Don't Know Me and Other Poems (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2006)

In Sha Allah, A History of Black Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1954-2004 (Cherokee: Black Bird Press, 2006).

Seven Years in the House of Elijah, A Woman's Search for Love and Spirituality by Nisa Islam as told to Marvin X, 2006.

Play Scripts and/or Productions

Flowers for the Trashman, San Francisco: San Francisco State University Drama Department, 1965.

Flowers for the Trashman, San Francisco: Black Arts West/Theatre, 1966.

Take Care of Business, musical version of Flowers with music by Sun Ra, choreography by Raymond Sawyer and Ellendar Barnes: Your Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972.

Come Next Summer, San Francisco: Black Arts/West, 1966.

The Trial, New York, Afro-American Studio for Acting and Speech, 1970.

Resurrection of the Dead, San Francisco, choreography by Raymond Sawyer, music by Juju and Sun Ra, Your Black Educational Theatre, 1972.


Woman-Man's Best Friend, musical, Oakland, Mills College, 1973.

How I Met Isa, Masters thesis, San Francisco State University, 1975.

In The Name of Love, Oakland, Laney College Theatre, 1981.

One Day In The Life, Oakland, Alice Arts Theatre, 1996.
One Day In The Life, Brooklyn, NY, Sistah's Place, 1997.
One Day In The Life, Manhattan, Brecht Forum, 1997.
One Day In The Life, Newark, NJ, Kimako's Blues, 1997.
One Day In The Life, Oakland, Uhuru House, 1998.
One Day In The Life, San Francisco, Bannam Place Theatre, North Beach, 1998.
One Day In The Lifee, San Francisco, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 1999.
One Day In the Life, Marin City, Marin City Rec Center, 1999
One Day In the Life, Richmond, Unity Church, 2000.
One Day In the Life, San Jose, San Jose State University, 2000.
One Day In the Life, Berkeley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2000.
One Day In the Life, Sacramento, New Colonial Theatre, 2000.

Sergeant Santa, San Francisco, Recovery Theatre script, 2002.

Other

Delicate Child, a short story, Oakland, Merritt College Student Magazine contest winner, 1963.

Delicate Child, a short story, Oakland, SoulBook Magazine, 1964.

Flowers for the Trashman: A One Act Drama, San Francisco, Black Dialogue Magazine, 1965.

Flowers for the Trashman, Black Fire, An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, (New York: Morrow, 1968).

Take Care of Business: A One Act Drama, aka Flowers, (New York: The Drama Review, NYU,1968)

The Black Bird (Al Tair Aswad): A One-Act Play, New Plays from the Black Theatre, edited by Ed Bullins with introduction (interview of Ed Bullins) by Marivn X, (New York: Bantam, 1969)

"Islam and Black Art: An Interview with Amiri Baraka" and foreword by Askia Muhammad Toure, afterword by Marivn X, in Black Arts: An Anthology of Black Creations, edited by Ahmed Alhamisi and Haroun Kofi Wangara (Harold G. Lawrence) (Detroit: Black Arts Publications, 1969).

"Everything's Cool: An Interview with Amiri Barka, aka, LeRoi Jones", Black Theatre Magazine, New Lafayette Theatre, Harlem, NY, 1968.

Resurrection of the Dead, a ritual/myth dance drama, Black Theatre Magazine, New Lafayette Theatre, Harlem, 1969.

Manifesto of the Black Educational Theatre of San Francisco, Black Theatre, 1972.

The Black Bird, A Parable by Marvin X, illustrated by Karen Johnson ( San Francisco: Al Kitab Sudan and Julian Richardson and Associates Publishers, 1972).

"Black Justice Must Be Done," Vietnam and Black America: An Anthology of Protest and Resistance, edited by Clyde Taylor (Garden City: Double-day/Anchor, 1973)

"Palestine," a poem, Black Scholar magazine, 1978.

Journal of Black Poetry, guest editor, 1968.

"The Meaning of African Liberation Day," by Dr. Walter Rodney, a speech in San Francisco, transcribed and edited by Marvin X, Journal of Black Poetry, 1972.

Muhammad Speaks, foreign editor, 1970. (Note: a few months later, Marvin X was selected to be editor of Muhammad Speaks until it was decided he was too militant. Askia Muhammad (Charles 37X) was selected instead.)

A Conversation with Prime Minister Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Black Scholar, 1973.

VIDEOGRAPHY OF EVENTS/PRODUCTIONS

Proceedings of the Melvin Black Human Rights Conference, Oakland, 1979, produced by Marvin X, featuring Angela Davis, Minister Farakhan, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Cobb, Dezzie Woods-Jones, Jo Nina-Abran, Mansha Nitoto, Khalid Abdullah Tarik Al Mansur, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Oba T-Shaka, and Marvin X.

Proceedings of the First Black Men's Conference, Oakland, 1980, John Douimbia, founder, Marvin X, chief planner, Dr. Nathan Hare, Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Oba T'Shaka,Norman Brown, Kermit Scott, Minister Ronald Muhammad, Louis Freeman, Michael Lange, Betty King, Dezzie Woods-Jones, et al.

Forum on Drugs, Art and Revolution, Sista's Place, Brooklyn, New York, 1997, featuring Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Sam Anderson, Elombe Brath and Marvin X.

Eldridge Cleaver Memorial Service, produced by Marvin X, Oakland, 1998, participants included Kathleen and Joju Cleaver, Emory Douglas, Dr. Yusef Bey, Minister Keith Muhammad, Imam Al Amin, Dr. Nathan Hare, Tarika Lewis, Richard Aoki, Reginald Major, Majidah Rahman and Marvin X.

One Day in the Life, a docudrama of addiction and recovery, filmed by Ptah Allah-El, produced, written, directed and staring Marvin X, edited by Marvin X, San Francisco: Recovery Theatre, 1999.

Marvin X Interviews Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, former actor in Marvin X's Black Theatre: Berkeley, La Pena Cultural Center, 1999.

"Abstract for An Elders Council," lecture/discussion, Tupac Amaru Shakur One Nation Conference, Oakland: McClymonds High School, 1999.

Marvin X at Dead Prez Concert, San Francisco, 2000.

Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, produced by Marvin X at San Francisco State University, 2001, featuring Dr. Cornel West, Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare, Rev. Cecil Williams, Destiny, Phavia, Tarika Lewis, Askia Toure, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Rudi Wongozi, Ishmael Reed, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Marvin X, et al.

Live In Philly At Warm Daddies, a reading accompanied by Elliot Bey, Marshall Allen, Danny Thompson, Ancestor Goldsky, Rufus Harley, Alexander El, 2002.

Marvin X Live in Detroit, a documentary by Abu Ibn, 2002.

In the Crazy House Called America, concert with Marvin X and Destiny, San Francisco: Buriel Clay Theatre, 2003.

Marvin X in Concert (accompanied by harpist Destiny, violinist Tarika Lewis and percussionists Tacuma and Kele Nitoto, dancer Raynetta Rayzetta), Amiri and Amina Baraka, filmed by Kwame and Joe, Berkeley: Black Repertory Group Theatre, 2003.

Marvin X Speaks at the Third Eye Conference, Dallas, Texas, 2003.

Marvin X and the Last Poets, San Francisco: Recovery Theatre, 2004.

Proceedings of the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair, produced by Marvin X, filmed by Mindseed Productions, San Francisco, Recovery Theatre, 2004, participants include: Sonia Sanchez, Davey D, Amiri Baraka, Sam Hamod, Fillmore Slim, Askia Toure, Akhbar Muhammad, Sam Anderson, Al Young, Devorah Major, Opal Palmer Adisa, Tarika Lewis, Amina Baraka, Julia and Nathan Hare, Charlie Walker, Jamie Walker, Reginald Lockett, Everett Hoagland, Sam Greenlee, Ayodelle Nzinga, Suzzette Celeste, Tarika Lewis, Raynetta Rayzetta, Deborah Day, James Robinson, Ptah Allah-El, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Marvin X, et al. (Note: let me please acknowledge some of the historic personages in the audience: Gansta Alonzao Batin (mentor of the Bay Area BAM, made his transition shortly after the conference), Willie Williams of Broadside Press, Detroit, Gansta Brown, Gansta Mikey Moore (now Rev.), Arthur Sheridan, founder of Black Dialogue magazine, also co-founders Aubrey and Gerald LaBrie, Reginald Major, author of Panther Is A Black Cat. Thank you all for making this event historic, ed. MX)

Get Yo Mind Right, Marvin X Barbershop Talk, #4, a documentary film by Pam Pam and Marvin X, Oakland: 2005.

Marvin X Live in the Fillmore at Rass'elas Jazz Club, A Nisa Islam production, filmed by Ken Johnson, San Francisco, 2005.

Marvin X in the Malcolm X Room, McClymonds High School, accompanied by Tacuma (dijembe and percussion, dancer/choreographer Raynetta Rayzetta, actor Salat Townsend, filmed by Eddie Abrams, Oakland, 2005.

AUDIOGRAPHY

In Sha Allah, interview with Nisa Islam, Cherokee, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Nadar Ali, Fresno, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Manuel Rashid, Fresno, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with John Douimbia, Grand Ayatollah of the Bay, San Francisco, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Minister Rabb Muhammad, Oakland, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Antar Bey, CEO, Your Black Muslim Bakery, Oakland, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Norman Brown, Oakland, Oakland, 2004.
In Sha Allah, interview with Kareem Muhammad (Brother Edward), Oakland, 2004.
Love and War, poems, Oakland, 1995.
One Day In The Life, docudrama, Oakland, 1999.
Jesus and Liquor Stores, Marvin X and Askari X, Oakland, 2002
Wake Up, Detroit, Marvin X interviewed by Lawrence X, Detroit, 2002..
Wish I, interview with Pam Pam, San Francisco, KPOO Radio, 2005.
Wish I, interview with Terry Collins, San Francisco, KPOO Radio, 2005.
Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement, interview with Professor James Smethurst of UMASS, Oakland, 2003.