Bobby Seale and Marvin X at the Joyce
Gordon Gallery Black History Celebration, 2012
No aspect of the Black Consciousness Movement sprang up in isolation. We cannot discuss the Black Panthers without discussing the African American Association, led by Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour. From the AAA's influence came the Panthers and the establishment of Black Studies at Oakland's Merritt College, even before the violent strike for Black Studies at San Francisco State College, now university.
And would the students at Merritt and San Francisco State have been motivated without the West Coast Black Arts Movement, e.g., Bobby Seale performed in Marvin X's second play Come Next Summer before joining the BPP. Bobby played the role of a young black man in search of revolutionary consciousness.
At San Francisco State College, LeRoi Jones, aka Amiri Baraka's Communications Project enrolled student actors and playwrights such as Jimmy Garrett, Benny Stewart, George Murray, Jo Ann Mitchell, Elleadar Barnes, et al., who went on to participate in the Black Panther Party after BAM consciousness.
At San Francisco State College, now University, Marvin X's first play, Flowers for the Trashman, produced by the Drama Department, 1965, ushered in Black Arts West Theatre, 1966, with X and playwright Ed Bullins. Danny Glover performed in BAW. BAW came under the influence of the Nation of Islam will key players joining the NOI, i.e., Marvin X, Duncan X, Hillary X and Ethna X.
The only known photo of Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X
Upon his return from exile, Marvin X organized his Christian ministry and traveled with him
Upon his release from prison, 1967, Eldridge Cleaver hooked up with Marvin X and they established the Black House, a political/cultural center, along with Ethna X, Ed Bullins and Willie Dale. Again the Muslim influence: Marvin X an d BAW guru and former inmate with Eldridge, Alonzo Batin, forced Eldridge Cleaver out of his white woman's house (Beverly Axelrod, the attorney who took his manuscript Soul on Ice out of Soledad Prison and whom Eldridge promised to marry, who also contracted a portion of royalties from Soul on Ice and won by default while Eldridge was exiled in Algeria). Eldridge died poor while his book is still an international bestseller as we write! You nigguhs keep fucking with Miss Ann and you will receive a similar fate! Marvin X eventually introduced Eldridge Cleaver to Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, Marvin's companions from Merritt College.
But just as the Nation of Islam recruited members of the Black Arts West Theatre, Marvin X would later recruit for the NOI. His biggest fish was no doubt Nadar Ali or Bobby Jones who Elijah Muhammad put over the fish import business.
Islam had a significant role on the East Coast Black Panther Party and the genre Muslim American literature begins with Marvin X and the BAM writers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad Toure, et al.
See My Friend the Devil, a memoir of Eldridge Cleaver by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2009. Also, Somethin' Proper, the autobiography of a North American African Poet, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1998. Somethin' Proper came off the press the day Eldridge Cleaver made his transition to the ancestors, May 1, 1998. Marvin X performed the memorial rites in Oakland. Kathleen and her daughter Joju attended the memorial. Kathleen said, "Marvin, the memorial was great, but there were just too many Muslims!" Alas, their son is Ahmed Maceo Eldridge Cleaver, a Sunni Muslim!