Thursday, July 19, 2018

Black Reality Think Tank interviews poet/playwright/activist Marvin X

BLACK REALITY THINK TANK PODCASTS

Black Reality Think Tank With Dr.William Rogers; Interview with Marvin X

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Marvin X: Kidnapped, Incarcerated 1970

Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X
Marvin X Kidnapped, Incarcerated
 Marvin X, University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference on Afro-futurism
Notes for Black August 2018
7/14/18
FYI: Marvin X speaks coast to coast live,  this Tuesday, July 17, 8pm EST, 5PM PST.
 Stay tuned for details.

As part of Black August National Conference in Oakland, 2018, he will speak and read on his experience with incarceration.
Marvin X: Kidnapped, Incarcerated 
\

Marvin X, Harlem NY, 1968

He was part of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement, e.g., Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure, Larry Neal, Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Don L. Lee, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Barbara Ann Teer, Ed Bullins, Robert Macbeth and the Lafayette Theatre, Oba Olatunji, et al. 
photo Doug Harris

In 1970, he was deported from British Honduras, now Belize, Central America for teaching Black Power and reporting on the sedition trial of Black Power leaders Evan X. Hyde and Ishmael Shabazz as Foreign Editor of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper. After his arrest and appearance before the Minister of Home Affairs who read his deportation order: Your presence is not beneficial to the British Colony of Honduras, therefore you are under arrest until your flight departs for Miami, Florida at 4PM. "I was taken to the police station and told to sit down in the lobby. I was not handcuffed and after a short time I was surrounded by Black police officers and when the circle was full, one asked me to teach them about Black Power. It was surreal but I replied that from my study of Belize history, Marcus Garvey came here in 1923 and told you to get the Queen of England off your walls. It is 1970, get that white bitch off your walls. The brothers cracked up and said I was all ite. They couldn't understand why the government was deporting me for teaching Black Power, after all the hippies came to Belize and smoked their weed and did other drugs, but they were not deported. When an uncle tom black officer came into the room but did not join the circle, the officers said he was a black mon wit white heart, black mon wit white heart!

I was taken to the airport for the 4pm departure to the USA, and but when I resisted getting on the plane because my wife was five hours up the river, pregnant with no knowledge of my arrest and deportation and I wanted her to leave with me, I was thrown onto the plane and the door shut.

The flight back to USA first went south over Cuba to Spanish Honduras, Tegucigalpa, the capital.  I though about hijacking the plane over Cuba but declined after recalling Cuba's troubling history with North American African revolutionaries Robert F. Williams and Eldridge Cleaver, especially when Cleaver discovered the Afro-Cubans ignited the revolution and identified with them although at the time the Cuban revolution said we are one people, yet it later recognized its African heritage when Cuban decided to assist the African revolution in Angola, South Africa and elsewhere, sacrificing the blood of Afro-Cubans in the African revolution.

FYI, in truth, I can't recall if we crossed Cuba on the way to Tegucigalpa or on the way back, but when the plane landed in Tegucigalpa for a short stop, I got off the plane and even though the airport looked like an American military airport, I walked off the plane and told the soldiers I wanted refuge. One said, "Espera un momento, por favor." He soon returned and marched my black ass back onto the plane and we eventually arrived in Mimai, Florida where two US Marshals met me and delivered me to Dade County Jail in a cell with Niggas who, when I called them my brother, replied they were not my brothers, so I took the silent mode until I was transferred to the Federal facility at Miami City Jail, wherein the white Cuban prisoners, mainly dope dealers, welcomed me with open arms. In contrast to the treatment of my deaf, dumb and blind brothers in Dade County Jail, the white Cubans exclaimed that I was their brother and whatever I needed and wanted, all I had to do was ask them. Did I need any money, they asked. I said yes because I needed to check on the status of my pregnant wife stuck on an island Gales Point. I was able to call her family and learn my father in law had sent for her and she was home. The white Cuban dope dealers asked what I wanted to eat since they were sending out for restaurant food. After being in exile from America, what do you think I asked them to order for me: a milkshake, hamburger and fries!

The Cuban dope dealers treated me with so much love I was depressed when I recalled my treatment with my Niggas so deaf, dumb and blind at Dade County Jail. Truly, it hurt me that the white Cubans showed me so much love but my brothers showed me so much hate!
Each day at Miami City Jail, I watched the Cuban dope dealers go to court and return with 17 years, no matter guilty or innocent. They informed me who was innocent and who was guilty as the white Cubans returned from court. When they were busted, they said a white hippy knocked on their door. They called the police and told them white hippies were at their door, alas, the white hippies were the police.
During my stay in Miami, it was announced there was an attempted prison breakout in Marin at the courthouse. I was joyful about the courthouse shootout to free George Jackson and others of the Black revolutionary prison movement. Actually, as a student at San Francisco State University and on the staff of Black Dialogue Magazine, we made a visit to the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club, 1966, chaired by Eldridge Cleaver and Alprentis Bunchy Carter. We shared our publication and they shared their writings that we published in Black Dialogue, including Cleaver's essay My Queen I Greet You, his love letter to the black woman although much of his Soul on Ice was mostly a praise song of the white woman, especially his white lawyer/lover, Beverly Axelrod, who smuggled his manuscript out of prison.
Most importantly, we now know the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club was in fact the beginning of the Black and American Prison Movement (See the lectures of Prison Griot Kumasi for his minute by minute history of the Black Prison Movement. See my first play Flowers for the Trashman for references to my brother who was in another section of Soledad Prison at this time yet I learned he was part of the prison liberation movement. Kumasi notes, "It was kill or be killed, there was no other choice. You guys had your revolution on the outside, we had ours on the inside and it was kill or be killed!"

Meanwhile in Miami, one morning two gentleman came to deliver me to San Francisco. We stopped in Nashville and I played a game of pool with these US Marshall's. Being a  poor shark from West Oakland, I beat them and then we continued our flight to San Francisco County Jail on Bryant Street where I spent three months going to trial for draft resistance and fleeing from prosecution (see my Court Speech in Black Scholar Magazine, issue on Black Prisoners,1970).

As a political prisoner, I was not allowed to infect the general population on the main line so soon I was moved to C Block or the isolation section for political prisoners, nuts on the way to Napa Mental Hospital, murder suspects and homosexuals. I was put in a cell with a mental patient on his way to Napa. In the next cell was a murder suspect who'd been awaiting trial for over two years and hadn't had a visitor. We became friends and I arranged for my wife's best friend to visit him. Eventually he beat his murder charges and he hooked up with my wife's friend long enough to have a child who is now an international lawyer.

I couldn't understand how copies of Muhammad Speaks Newspapers were dropped in my cell. I soon learned the Black Sheriff Charles Smith, a lieutenant at the time, dropped them in my cell at the request of my Black Arts Movement partner Ethna X, aka Hurriyah Asar. Charles Smith was a Sheriff and also a playwright, so he was sympathetic to Black liberation and especially the Black Arts Movement. Years later Sheriff Smith said he attended an Interpol Conference in Belize at which I was a topic of discussion.

Anyway, after three months in SF County Jail which was a nano dot from hell: I saw black sheriffs abuse black inmates to "prove" themselves to their white comrades. Does it matter if the hangman is white or black?
After writing my court speech on toilet paper and handing it to my P.D. (public pretender), I went to court to discover I'd beat my case on a technicality but the judge said, "Sir, the USA spent a lot of money trying to apprehend you, over five years. We must convict you for something so how much time would you like for avoiding persecution?
I thought about (I'd already served three months), "Your honor, I will do five months." Yes, I gave myself my time!

The judge sentenced me to five months in Federal Prison, with three months served in SF County Jail.
I was sent to Terminal Island Federal Prison, San Pedro, California.

Soon as I arrived in San Pedro, fish factory town, I noticed the fish smell. But once inside Terminal Island Prison, the Muslim brothers informed it was not the fish smelling but the smell of deaf, dumb and blind dead niggas, including fake ass Muslim niggas.  But more importantly, the first thing they told me was don't get sick, whatever you do, brother, don't get sick. We got a prison graveyard full of niggas who got sick in here!
Depending on one's education, one is assigned a job. Some brothers did factory work or hard labor. Since I could type, they assigned me to the Yard Office, yes, from which the big yard and the entire prison is controlled. My job was to call the prisoners when they had a visit, if they did not respond, I would go to their dorm and let them know. Each dorm had a lobby with bookshelves. When I went to tell brothers they had a visit, I would peruse the dorm book collection and take books I wanted to my locker.

One day my dorm buddy, a bank robber named Arthur Ratliff, took it upon himself to announce, "Listen up, everybody, Marvin X got all the best books in the prison in his locker. Any book on any subject you want, just come to his locker. Alas, I also had books in the prison library stamped contraband, meaning if caught with them there would be consequences. I didn't care, some of those contraband books I took with me when I departed Terminal Island, including J.A. Rogers classic deconstruction of White roots, Africa's Gift to America.
One day on the big yard the Nation of Islam held an election. There were three of us but the election organizer was a brother named Marcellous 15X Bey Lee who I observed exercising in chains shortly after I entered TI. That day on the big yard, he said, as per the NOI election, "Marvin X, you the smartest, you the minister." He told the other brother he was the Secretary and he, himself,  was Captain. We did not contest the election results but held our first service in the chapel that Sunday. My lecture was on Black History. A Chicano brother in attendance told me it was the best lecture he’d ever heard. Well, after all, I was coming from Africa’s Gift to America by J.A. Rogers. No one can go wrong citing Rogers, recommended by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and W.E.B. DuBois.
We soon heard that Elijah Muhammad's grandson, Elijah, aka Sonny, was caught smuggling marijuana across the border and was in Lompoc Federal prison. We were told when the brothers tried to bow down to Sonny because of his bloodline, he told them he was just a nigga like them and didn't need any praise or special treatment. I had met Elijah, aka Sonny, during my Mexico City second exile. When I grew impatient for my Fresno State University student, Barbara Hall, to join me in exile, Elijah let me use his birth certificate to cross the border to snatch my wife to be and mother of our daughters Nefertiti and Amira. But when I got pass the US border as Elijah Muhammad and arrived in San Francisco where Barbara was staying, she was in Mexico City at the home of  my Mexico City contact, the painter/sculpturalist Elizabeth Cattlett Mora. When I returned to Mexico City and united with Barbara, Betty Mora educated me, "Marvin, when a woman says she is coming, she is coming!"
--continued in Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 2018.

Marvin X: Kidnapped, Incarcerated, 1970



Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X
Marvin X Kidnapped, Incarcerated
 Marvin X, University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference on Afro-futurism
Notes for Black August 2018
7/14/18
FYI: Marvin X speaks coast to coast live,  this Tuesday, July 17, 8pm EST, 5PM PST.
 Stay tuned for details.

As part of Black August National Conference in Oakland, 2018, he will speak and read on his experience with incarceration.
Marvin X: Kidnapped, Incarcerated 
\

Marvin X, Harlem NY, 1968

He was part of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement, e.g., Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure, Larry Neal, Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Don L. Lee, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Barbara Ann Teer, Ed Bullins, Robert Macbeth and the Lafayette Theatre, Oba Olatunji, et al. 
photo Doug Harris

In 1970, he was deported from British Honduras, now Belize, Central America for teaching Black Power and reporting on the sedition trial of Black Power leaders Evan X. Hyde and Ishmael Shabazz as Foreign Editor of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper. After his arrest and appearance before the Minister of Home Affairs who read his deportation order: Your presence is not beneficial to the British Colony of Honduras, therefore you are under arrest until your flight departs for Miami, Florida at 4PM. "I was taken to the police station and told to sit down in the lobby. I was not handcuffed and after a short time I was surrounded by Black police officers and when the circle was full, one asked me to teach them about Black Power. It was surreal but I replied that from my study of Belize history, Marcus Garvey came here in 1923 and told you to get the Queen of England off your walls. It is 1970, get that white bitch off your walls. The brothers cracked up and said I was all ite. They couldn't understand why the government was deporting me for teaching Black Power, after all the hippies came to Belize and smoked their weed and did other drugs, but they were not deported. When an uncle tom black officer came into the room but did not join the circle, the officers said he was a black mon wit white heart, black mon wit white heart!

I was taken to the airport for the 4pm departure to the USA, and but when I resisted getting on the plane because my wife was five hours up the river, pregnant with no knowledge of my arrest and deportation and I wanted her to leave with me, I was thrown onto the plane and the door shut.

The flight back to USA first went south over Cuba to Spanish Honduras, Tegucigalpa, the capital.  I though about hijacking the plane over Cuba but declined after recalling Cuba's troubling history with North American African revolutionaries Robert F. Williams and Eldridge Cleaver, especially when Cleaver discovered the Afro-Cubans ignited the revolution and identified with them although at the time the Cuban revolution said we are one people, yet it later recognized its African heritage when Cuban decided to assist the African revolution in Angola, South Africa and elsewhere, sacrificing the blood of Afro-Cubans in the African revolution.

FYI, in truth, I can't recall if we crossed Cuba on the way to Tegucigalpa or on the way back, but when the plane landed in Tegucigalpa for a short stop, I got off the plane and even though the airport looked like an American military airport, I walked off the plane and told the soldiers I wanted refuge. One said, "Espera un momento, por favor." He soon returned and marched my black ass back onto the plane and we eventually arrived in Mimai, Florida where two US Marshals met me and delivered me to Dade County Jail in a cell with Niggas who, when I called them my brother, replied they were not my brothers, so I took the silent mode until I was transferred to the Federal facility at Miami City Jail, wherein the white Cuban prisoners, mainly dope dealers, welcomed me with open arms. In contrast to the treatment of my deaf, dumb and blind brothers in Dade County Jail, the white Cubans exclaimed that I was their brother and whatever I needed and wanted, all I had to do was ask them. Did I need any money, they asked. I said yes because I needed to check on the status of my pregnant wife stuck on an island Gales Point. I was able to call her family and learn my father in law had sent for her and she was home. The white Cuban dope dealers asked what I wanted to eat since they were sending out for restaurant food. After being in exile from America, what do you think I asked them to order for me: a milkshake, hamburger and fries!

The Cuban dope dealers treated me with so much love I was depressed when I recalled my treatment with my Niggas so deaf, dumb and blind at Dade County Jail. Truly, it hurt me that the white Cubans showed me so much love but my brothers showed me so much hate!
Each day at Miami City Jail, I watched the Cuban dope dealers go to court and return with 17 years, no matter guilty or innocent. They informed me who was innocent and who was guilty as the white Cubans returned from court. When they were busted, they said a white hippy knocked on their door. They called the police and told them white hippies were at their door, alas, the white hippies were the police.
During my stay in Miami, it was announced there was an attempted prison breakout in Marin at the courthouse. I was joyful about the courthouse shootout to free George Jackson and others of the Black revolutionary prison movement. Actually, as a student at San Francisco State University and on the staff of Black Dialogue Magazine, we made a visit to the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club, 1966, chaired by Eldridge Cleaver and Alprentis Bunchy Carter. We shared our publication and they shared their writings that we published in Black Dialogue, including Cleaver's essay My Queen I Greet You, his love letter to the black woman although much of his Soul on Ice was mostly a praise song of the white woman, especially his white lawyer/lover, Beverly Axelrod, who smuggled his manuscript out of prison.
Most importantly, we now know the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club was in fact the beginning of the Black and American Prison Movement (See the lectures of Prison Griot Kumasi for his minute by minute history of the Black Prison Movement. See my first play Flowers for the Trashman for references to my brother who was in another section of Soledad Prison at this time yet I learned he was part of the prison liberation movement. Kumasi notes, "It was kill or be killed, there was no other choice. You guys had your revolution on the outside, we had ours on the inside and it was kill or be killed!"

Meanwhile in Miami, one morning two gentleman came to deliver me to San Francisco. We stopped in Nashville and I played a game of pool with these US Marshall's. Being a  poor shark from West Oakland, I beat them and then we continued our flight to San Francisco County Jail on Bryant Street where I spent three months going to trial for draft resistance and fleeing from prosecution (see my Court Speech in Black Scholar Magazine, issue on Black Prisoners,1970).

As a political prisoner, I was not allowed to infect the general population on the main line so soon I was moved to C Block or the isolation section for political prisoners, nuts on the way to Napa Mental Hospital, murder suspects and homosexuals. I was put in a cell with a mental patient on his way to Napa. In the next cell was a murder suspect who'd been awaiting trial for over two years and hadn't had a visitor. We became friends and I arranged for my wife's best friend to visit him. Eventually he beat his murder charges and he hooked up with my wife's friend long enough to have a child who is now an international lawyer.

I couldn't understand how copies of Muhammad Speaks Newspapers were dropped in my cell. I soon learned the Black Sheriff Charles Smith, a lieutenant at the time, dropped them in my cell at the request of my Black Arts Movement partner Ethna X, aka Hurriyah Asar. Charles Smith was a Sheriff and also a playwright, so he was sympathetic to Black liberation and especially the Black Arts Movement. Years later Sheriff Smith said he attended an Interpol Conference in Belize at which I was a topic of discussion.

Anyway, after three months in SF County Jail which was a nano dot from hell: I saw black sheriffs abuse black inmates to "prove" themselves to their white comrades. Does it matter if the hangman is white or black?
After writing my court speech on toilet paper and handing it to my P.D. (public pretender), I went to court to discover I'd beat my case on a technicality but the judge said, "Sir, the USA spent a lot of money trying to apprehend you, over five years. We must convict you for something so how much time would you like for avoiding persecution?
I thought about (I'd already served three months), "Your honor, I will do five months." Yes, I gave myself my time!

The judge sentenced me to five months in Federal Prison, with three months served in SF County Jail.
I was sent to Terminal Island Federal Prison, San Pedro, California.

Soon as I arrived in San Pedro, fish factory town, I noticed the fish smell. But once inside Terminal Island Prison, the Muslim brothers informed it was not the fish smelling but the smell of deaf, dumb and blind dead niggas, including fake ass Muslim niggas.  But more importantly, the first thing they told me was don't get sick, whatever you do, brother, don't get sick. We got a prison graveyard full of niggas who got sick in here!
Depending on one's education, one is assigned a job. Some brothers did factory work or hard labor. Since I could type, they assigned me to the Yard Office, yes, from which the big yard and the entire prison is controlled. My job was to call the prisoners when they had a visit, if they did not respond, I would go to their dorm and let them know. Each dorm had a lobby with bookshelves. When I went to tell brothers they had a visit, I would peruse the dorm book collection and take books I wanted to my locker.

One day my dorm buddy, a bank robber named Arthur Ratliff, took it upon himself to announce, "Listen up, everybody, Marvin X got all the best books in the prison in his locker. Any book on any subject you want, just come to his locker. Alas, I also had books in the prison library stamped contraband, meaning if caught with them there would be consequences. I didn't care, some of those contraband books I took with me when I departed Terminal Island, including J.A. Rogers classic deconstruction of White roots, Africa's Gift to America.
One day on the big yard the Nation of Islam held an election. There were three of us but the election organizer was a brother named Marcellous 15X Bey Lee who I observed exercising in chains shortly after I entered TI. That day on the big yard, he said, as per the NOI election, "Marvin X, you the smartest, you the minister." He told the other brother he was the Secretary and he, himself,  was Captain. We did not contest the election results but held our first service in the chapel that Sunday. My lecture was on Black History. A Chicano brother in attendance told me it was the best lecture he’d ever heard. Well, after all, I was coming from Africa’s Gift to America by J.A. Rogers. No one can go wrong citing Rogers, recommended by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and W.E.B. DuBois.
We soon heard that Elijah Muhammad's grandson, Elijah, aka Sonny, was caught smuggling marijuana across the border and was in Lompoc Federal prison. We were told when the brothers tried to bow down to Sonny because of his bloodline, he told them he was just a nigga like them and didn't need any praise or special treatment. I had met Elijah, aka Sonny, during my Mexico City second exile. When I grew impatient for my Fresno State University student, Barbara Hall, to join me in exile, Elijah let me use his birth certificate to cross the border to snatch my wife to be and mother of our daughters Nefertiti and Amira. But when I got pass the US border as Elijah Muhammad and arrived in San Francisco where Barbara was staying, she was in Mexico City at the home of  my Mexico City contact, the painter/sculpturalist Elizabeth Cattlett Mora. When I returned to Mexico City and united with Barbara, Betty Mora educated me, "Marvin, when a woman says she is coming, she is coming!"
--continued in Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 2018.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Men should not vote on women's issues!"--Marvin X


Poet, playwright, philosopher Marvin X at the University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference


I have written that after a man deposits his seed into a woman, he has nullified his right to control the woman's body, simply because it is the woman's body, not his. If a man is against abortion, he should make this clear to the woman. And she should make clear to him she is pro abortion. Maybe they should sign an agreement that she has the human right to her body and the fruit thereof. In short, the man should not have sex with a woman who is pro abortion. And men should stay out of women's affairs.

Men have enough to do handling male matters such as manhood training, including understanding what I said above. Go find your abandoned sons and nephews: tell them to pull their pants up! See my Mythology of Pussy and Dick, Black Bird Press, 2009.
--MARVIN X
7/10/18

Saturday, July 7, 2018

University of California, Merced theatre students interview Marvin X 7/5/18

Poet/playwright, BAM co-founder Marvin X after a previous lecture/discussion with UC Merced students. Marvin X, in his ephemeral academic career, taught at Fresno State University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Mills College, San Francisco State University, University of Nevada, Reno.
He speaks at colleges and universities coast to coast. He spoke at the University of Chicago's Sun Ra Conference (Goggle). He appears in Stanley Nelson's film: Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution, PBS. Marvin's archives were acquired by the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. His archives are currently on exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California's Respect Hip Hop.
Email from Kim McMillan, PhD, University of California, Merced

Hi Marvin,

That was a fascinating read.  Perhaps consider creating a play on your life. My students truly were appreciative and in awe of your fearlessness.  The one student named Wheeldin really wanted to know if you met his grandfather who was teaching Black Studies at Fresno State while you were there.  Normally, I would show your email to my students. They are talented, sweet, and extremely sensitive.  However, I am not sure they would want anyone to know they cried over your work.  *:) happy
In 2015, when we did Flowers for the Trashman at the Merced Multicultural Center, we had an Asian young man playing the role of Joe.  He had the audience in tears, including me.  At the reception, a few audience members told him that they related to the experience of being or knowing someone innocent and incarcerated.  One theatre-goer said, "This was better than going to see professional actors because you knew the students believed what they were saying."  Theatre that speaks Truth to Power is healing.

Thank you for being there for my students.  You have never said no when I have asked you to speak.  You and several others from the Black Arts Movement and the Black Panther Party have come to UC Merced to educate young people about our history.  I am very grateful.  

Peace,

Kim

Marvin X telephone interview with students in Dr. Kim McMillan's Theatre class, UC Merced
7/5/18


After a telephone interview with UC Merced students, instructor Dr. Kim McMillan left a
message on Marvin X's voicemail informing Black Arts Movement poet/playwright and
co-founder of BAM how deeply his plays touched her theatre students, especially his 1964
BAM classic Flowers for the Trashman. She said they were in tears after reading Flowers.
One student cried after reading the script that deals with family relations. She was glad her
family healed before the death of a member as occurs in Flowers when the father suffers a
heart attack before he can reconcile with the son. McMillan said another student cried after
he read Flowers. "And he was a big guy, Marvin, 6'3'."


"I just want you to know how your works affected my students. And I thank you for your
interview with them that was frank and real." During the telephone interview, Kim said she
wished she could have interacted with playwrights while attending San Francisco State
University, Marvin's alma mater as well.


The initial question from students was not about his dramatic works but his Parable of Love,
from The Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Marvin X. When Marvin X asked students
what moved them about the Parable of Love, Kim read the second to last paragraph of the
parable that dealt with family reconciliation:


"...So even parents who are estranged, separated or divorced can and must let children see
they can be civil, even if they are not friends, even if they hate each other. Don't make the
child hate the father because you hate him, or hate the mother. Let's show our children love,
and maybe then they will emulate our positive behavior and raise up from their animal actions...."


Of course Parable of Love is related to his play Flowers. The last lines in Flowers for the
Trashman has the main character, Joe, saying to his ghetto friend, Wes, "I want to talk with
my sons, Wes, know what I mean? I want to talk with my sons...."


Students wanted him to expand on the subject of family love. He said, "Flowers for the
Trashman deals with a young man trying to understand his father but in his college-student
youthfulness and ignorance, it was only in later years that he came to appreciate his father
for what he was and was not!" In a poem, Marvin X wrote
...I did not know my father
until I became him
then I knew him well....

He could have quoted a line from BAM co-founder, poet-playwright, Ancestor Amiri Baraka
who said, "We send our children to these colleges and universities but they come back home
hating us and everything we're about, but they don't even know what we're about!"
The main character in Flowers, Joe, clearly didn't understand and therefore could not
appreciate his father, a self employed Garveyite with a florist shop on 7th and Campbell
Streets in West Oakland, in the 50s known as Harlem of the West!

Marvin told students, "Love and understanding happens over time, with maturity. What we
thought about our parents when we are 20 will not be what we think about them when we
are 40, 50, 60!" "If you have not come to love and appreciate them upon maturity, you
continue to suffer the malady  Amiri Baraka described."


Students asked about his one-act play (co-authored with Ed Bullins), Salaam, Huey Newton,
Salaam. (See Best Short Plays of 1990).The play (a scene from his full length docudrama
One Day in the Life) deals with his last meeting in a West Oakland Crack house with
co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Dr. Huey Newton, with whom Marvin had befriended
at Oakland's Merritt College, hotbed of West Coast Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism,
when he arrived after graduating with honors (He is a lifetime member of CSF, the State high
school honor society) from Edison high school , Fresno CA, 1962.  He told students how
Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and others, especially members of the African American
Association, under the leadership of Attorney Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Tariq
Al Mansour, rapped, i.e., extemporaneous or free-style speaking, about black nationalism on
the steps of Merritt College. The AAA helped give birth to the Black Panther Party, Black Arts
Movement, Cultural Nationalism, including Kwanza, and Black Studies.


But students wanted to know how Huey, Eldridge, Marvin and others succumbed to Crack
cocaine as described in Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam. Marvin said, "When we produced
the full length version of the play in Brooklyn, New York, at Sista's Place, 1996, Viola
Plummer, leader of Sista's Place, said there was no excuse for black revolutionaries
succumbing to Crack addiction, since we had knowledge of America's use of drug warfare,
as used by the Europeans dumping opium on the Chinese, or Alcohol on the Africans
and Native Americas. Now, if you want, I can say I got addicted because I was 40 and in
the mid-life crisis: disillusioned with teaching, marriage, religion, politics, revolution, everything.
Crack came at a time when I was making so much money hustling I didn't know what to do e
except fuck it off on dope!" His father always told him to be the best at whatever he wanted to
do. When he got addicted to Crack, his father said, "Son , you ain't even a good dope fiend!
You so smart you should be a billionaire, but you fucked up, boy; you so smart you
outsmarted yourself!"

Did Marvin X become a good dope fiend?

While on Crack he became a street vendor at the crossroads of San Francisco, Market and
Powell, Cable Car turnaround. He made and hustled incense, oils, drug paraphernalia,
political buttons, cashmere wool scarves, sun glasses, umbrellas, anything to support his
Crack habit contrary to his father.

And a good dope fiend will find a way everyday to satisfy his habit. He is a most
highly motivated individual. After the San Francisco Police Department harassed Black
vendors from selling on the street, Marvin X incorporated his comrade and partner from the
from the Black Arts Movement West San Francisco and at the Berkeley Flea Market,
Ethna X. Wyatt, aka, Hurriyah Asar. soon after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
changed the rules so that only non-profit organizations and street artists could vend on the
streets.

After writing the incorporation papers to establish Hurriyah as a 501 (c) 3 Non-profit, Hurriyah
and Marvin X were still harassed under the color law by the SFPD. The Chief Attorney for the
San Francisco Police Department, Lawrence Wilson, told Hurriyah and I during a court
recess, "If you beat us in court, we'll go to the Board of Supervisors and
change the rules." (FYI, Lawrence Wilson, Chief Attorney of the SFPD was busted for dealing drugs out of his house and was sent to State Prison, eventually he died of AIDS.)

And we beat him, and he went to the Board of Supervisors and they
changed the rules! Alas, Native Americans told you the white man speaks with a forked
tongue! After the SFPD continued to cite Hurriyah and myself for selling on the street
legally, Hurriyah left the Bay Area to live on an island in South Carolina.
Since her non-profit papers were still legal, I used them to become the Chief Street vendor.
Yes,I controlled street vending in downtown San Francisco, especially the lucurative Union
Square shopping district. Yes, the white boys paid me to work under my non-profit papers.
And the SFPD pigs turned beat red when the white boys presented them a niggah's papers.
The SFPD said the same thing about me controlling Union Square that the New York police
said about Malcolm X controlling Harlem, "He got too much powser for a nigger!"

Yes, the white boys were paying me to be on the street legally. And the white boys gave me
more than monthly fees, they gave me all the products I wanted, especially their cashmere
wool scarves their organizations were selling. I was selling Union Square turf like a real
estate broker. We made a map of where and what white boys could sell here and there in
Union Square.

At Market and Powell, the old men, among others, stood around all day watching and
conversing on activities at the Market and Powell Cable Car turnaround. They estimated I
made $300.00 per day and said, "He the richest nigga in downtown San Francisco,"
although all my money was going to the dope men who lined up at my booth daily since they
knew I made cash money daily, thus I was a sitting duck for dope dealers as I wallowed in my
mid-life crisis!
During the 1984 Democratic Convention, he sold so many buttons the San Francisco
Chronicle labeled him The Button King.

When he went to Dallas, Texas to sell at the 1984 Republican Convention, the first night he
sold buttons in Dallas a police officer asked, "Where you from?" When Marvin X replied,
"I'm from here!" The pig said, "Naw ya ain't, ya ain't from here!" Why you say I ain't from
here, Sir? He replied, "Cause ya smart!" After Republicans stood and watched him vend,
one said, "If you make two more dollars, you'll be a Republican!"

Another question from UC Merced Students

What about his trials and tribulations after refusing to fight in Vietnam?

Answer: When his English Professor, John Gardner, the great novelist and Medievalist, gave
his script to the Drama Department (an unusual honor for an undergraduate, although
Professor and Beat Poet Kenneth Rexroth proclaimed Marvin X, "The best playwright to hit
San Francisco State University!"

When SFSU Drama Department Director Thomas Tyrell, suggested Marvin tone down the
script, he refused (tone it down is the story of my life from the consensus of conservative
whites and Negroes),

Although he appreciated the SFSU Drama Department for producing his first play, he soon
dropped out of SFSU to establish Black Arts West Theatre on Fillmore Street, 1966, along with
playwright Ed Bullins, et al. BAWT was at Turk and Fillmore, across the street from Tree's
Pool Hall. On the corner of Turk and Fillmore, the China man sold two/three dolla fish
samishes that we survived on along with the cooking of Ethna X. Wyatt, the radical
Queen of Black Arts West, Marvin X's revolutionary partner from among a group of
revolutionary black young women from Chicago that Summer of Love, although Ethna
arrived in San Francisco around 1965-66.
Just know Ethna's/Hurriyah's feminine/spiritual energy kept us brothers from killing each
other: Marvin X, Ed Bullins, Duncan Barber, Carl Bossiere, Hillary Broadous.
Thank you, Ethna X Wyatt/Hurriyah Asar,


But when Marvin X dropped out of college, his draft deferment was violated and he was sent
draft papers, although he had no plans of fighting in Vietnam for he was in total agreement
with Muhammad Ali, "No Vietcong never called me a nigger!"

Marvin X joined the Nation of Islam in 1967, Mosque #26, San Francisco, after
departing from the Black House Political Cultural Center, founded by Eldridge Cleaver and
himself, later joined by Ed Bullins, Ethna Wyatt, aka Hurriyah Asar, et al.


Elijah Muhammad told his followers to go to prison as he did, rather than fight for the white
devil. But Marvin was also under the influence of the Black Panther Party that said, "We
must not only resist the draft but arrest as well." Marvin X fled the US to Toronto, Canada,
soon joined by fellow draft resisters Oswald X, fellow student from SFSU and Norman
Richmond from Los Angeles.
But once Marvin discovered racism is as Canadian as hockey, he returned underground to
the US.
He is thankful for his Canadian exile that allowed him to be mentored by two of the greatest
Pan African and Caribbean writers: Austin Clarke and Jan Carew.  


Six months in Canada was enough for the poet who slipped underground to Chicago,
connecting with the Chicago Black Arts Movement, Gwen Brooks, Carolyn Rogers, Johari
Amini, Don L. Lee, aka Haki Madhubuti, Hoyt Fuller of Negro Digest/ Black World; Phil
Choran's Theatre, Chicago Arts Ensemble, and Muhammad Speaks Newspaper, edited by
Richard Durnham.


"I was in Chicago when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I was living on the south-
side, 57th and Kimbark, having just moved from the north-side. The west-side burned, but
when I got up the next morning and walked to 63rd and Cottage Grove, the streets were
under National Guard occupation.


Shortly after the death of MLK, Jr., I received a note from my friends on the north-side saying
the FBI had been to their house looking for me. I then contacted playwright Ed Bullins who
was playwright in residence at Harlem's New Lafayette Theatre and his invited me to Harlem
as associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine. Swimming in the sea of my people in Harlem
(never seeing white people for weeks unless one ventured downtown), I had no fear of the
FBI on my tail. But on a visit to see a female in Montreal, Canada, I gave my true identity
returning to the US and was arrested on the bus at a checkpoint and found myself in
Plattsburg jail, upstate New York. After getting releleased through the efforts of the legendary
Civil Rights lawyer Conrad Lynn, I eventually returned to San Francisco to stand trial (See
Black Scholar Magazine for my Court Speech, 1970).
Simultaneously, before leaving Harlem, I was invited to teach Black Studies at Fresno State
College, now University, 1969. Black Studies hired me to teach three classes: black literature,
journalism, drama. Seventy students enrolled. Then it was brought to the attention of Gov.
Ronald Reagan that I was lecturing at FSU even though I refused to fight in Vietnam. As
Governor, Reagan was president of the State College Board of Trustees. The Fresno Bee
reported that upon entering the State College Board of Trustees meeting, Reagan wanted to
know, "How we can get Marvin X off campus by any means necessary?" Yes, he actually
quoted Malcolm X. Also, at this same time he was removing Angela Davis from teaching at
UCLA because she was a Communist. He wanted me removed because I was a Black
Muslim, who would not allow whites in my classes." Yes, under NOI teachings, I believed in
separation not integration. But FSU was full of Mormons who also believed in separation at
the time. Fresno Superior Court banned me from teaching at FSU, issuing a restraining order
baring me from stepping onto campus. But a white Student Christian Center across from the
campus allowed me to hold classes and I gave final grades to my 70 students even though
FSU said I was never hired!


After losing my case to teach at FSU and my draft case in San Francisco, I departed into
my second exile, this time in Mexico City. I told the UC Merced students, "I am thankful that
Mexico gave me refuge along with other young revolutionaries from throughout the Americas.
In Mexico City, I found myself with young revolutionary brothers from Dominican Republic,
Cuba, Belize, Columbia, Venezuela, and elsewhere. My Mexico City contact was the great
revolutionary artist Elizabeth Cattlett Mora, a Black Communist who could only give me
shelter for a short time since she knew she and her famous husband muralist Poncho Mora
were under surveillance. After all, there had been a student massacre at the university a
few months before I arrived. When parents went to the university to check on their students,
the parents disappeared. Then too Tommy Smith and John Carlos had come to the Mexico
City Olympics in 1968 to raise their fists in the Black Power salute that shook up the world.


Elizabeth Catlett or Betty Mora told me I would be all right in Mexico City if  I stayed out of
their politics which I did, for the most part. But after connecting with the African and
Caribbean ambassadors and, selling them black books as my hustle to survive,
they invited me to a party at the American Embassy. Black and bold, I attended even though
the FBI was looking for me. In short, I was unafraid after Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and
Eldridge Cleaver taught me fearlessness, the primary lesson of the Black Panther Party.
Elijah Muhammad taught us to fear no one but Allah.


But I soon tired of Spanish and connected with brothers from Belize, Central America,
against advise of Betty Mora who was horrified I wanted to depart for Belize that was still
a colony of Great Britain, aka British Honduras. "Marvin, please don't go, they are not even
in neo-colonialism, they are still in raw colonialism, don't go!"


Being the hard-headed so-called Negro, I ignored her advice and with my pregnant wife ,
FSU student Barbara Hall, that I snatched from FSU, mother of my daughters Nefertiti and
Amira: when she joined me in exile, we soon married in Mexico City (Betty and Poncho
were witnesses at the civil ceremony).
My sojourn in BH or Belize was short-lived as I did not follow the instructions of my contacts in Belize, Evan X. Hyde and Ishmael Shabazz, leaders of the Black Power Movement. And of course I made the further mistake of covering their sedition trial for Muhmmad Speaks Newspaper of which Herbert Muhammad had made me Foreign Editor after I connected with his sons in Mexico City. They were students at the University of the Americas, described as the din of iniquity by a sista.

We became fast friends and I was invited to party at their casa. Now, in truth, Elijah Muhammad's grandsons were the talk of Mexico City in the North American African community of exiles or expatriates. The consensus was that Elijah or Sonny did not believe in the teachings of his grandfather, which I must confess, he did not from my observation. At his house party, he danced with a white woman, while his brother had a Mexican woman in a long dress. His brother wanted to be an airplane pilot and became the personal pilot of Elijah Muhammad.


In hindsight, I suspect my time in Belize was to be short-lived after reporting in Muhammad
Speaks Newspaper on the sedition trial of Evan X. Hyde and Ishmael Shabazz....



--Continued in Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X, Part One, Black Bird Press, 2018