Friday, April 12, 2013

The Lazy Prophet Returns to Oakland

The Honorable Khalid Muhammad studied the writings of Marvin while in college. He came to Oakland looking for Huey Newton and Marvin X, to save them from Crack addiction.

Marvin X and Academy of da Corner, Professor of Legal Affairs, Gregory Fields

Today, Friday, April 12, 2013, Marvin X returned to his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Known variously as "The Lazy Prophet" (Eldridge Cleaver), "Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland" (Ishmael Reed), "The USA's Rumi, Saadi and Hafiz" (Bob Holman) "Jeremiah, Mark Twain" (Rudolph Lewis), "The Father of Muslim American literature" (Dr. Mohja Kahf), Marvin X went on a nationwide book tour on September 11 of last year, a journey that took him to Houston, Texas (University of Houston, Texas Southern University), South Carolina (the African Village, Sheldon, SC), Washington, DC, ( Howard University), Brooklyn NY (Black Power Babies).

The Oakland rebellion in response to the police killing of Oscar Grant happened at Academy da Corner, literally and virtually in his classroom at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Marvin X's classroom was the center of the revolt and protest against police murder under the color of law. Marvin X wrote a collection of essays entitled I AM OSCAR GRANT. The night the Oakland pigs shot the Iraqi veteran in the head, Marvin X suffered tear gas. "Tear gas ain't nothing nice!"

His tour continued into 2013 with readings and performances in Philadelphia (Black Power Babies and Black Love Lives Conference, University of Penn.
In Philly at the Black Power Babies Dialogue

 He participated in the Harlem NY Schomburg Library's tribute to revolutionary artist Elizabeth Catlett Mora. When Marvin went into his second exile from American imperialism in Mexico City, Betty Mora was his contact and  gave him refuge. When he walked into her casa, she was working on this piece dedicated to the Black Panther Party.

Returning to the west coast, Marvin gave the keynote address at the Black Caucus of the California Community Colleges, Fresno City College. On May 30, he returns to the central valley to speak at the University of California,  Merced on his role as one of the founder's of the Black Theatre Movement.

This week PBS interviewed him about his relationship with Black Panther leaders Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver.

Marvin X introduced Eldridge Cleaver to the Black Panther Party and officiated his memorial service in Oakland.

PBS: Tell me about the last time you saw Huey Newton.

MX: I saw him in the Acorn Projects of West Oakland. We were both there searching for Crack and ran into each other. He walked past me looking like the Bum of the Week but I recognized him and called him. We embraced and asked him if he wanted to get loaded. He said yes, so I coped and we went to his friend's house were we smoked. Only thing, we smoked very little, rather we talked about revolution. Our conversation is the subject of two plays, my full length drama One Day in the Life and a one-act version of the scene by playwright Ed Bullins. Both plays have been performed from coast to coast. 

But it was an unusual meeting in the Crack house because this is little or no talking in the Crack din. On this occasion Huey and I discussed revolution, our condition as generals on Crack, but Huey told me, "Don't beat yaself, Jackmon, enjoy yaself. We can come out of this, we came out of slavery, see what'm saying?" He asked me had I seen "you know who" lately? I said "your friend?" "No, Jackmon, you're friend!" He was referring to Eldridge Cleaver, of course. I asked him why can't he and Eldridge
reconcile. He replied that there was too much blood on the path, too many comrades went down. So even if he wanted to, he could not reconcile out of respect to the loved ones of those who went down.
I replied that Arabs fight and kill each other every day in the Middle East, yet they come together, pray together in the Mosque. Huey replied, "We ain't A-rabs!"

The sad part of our conversation was that a youth had come with me and as per youth, had no respect for us OGs since they saw the contradiction in our revolutionary words yet dope fiend actions. A youth challenged Huey and I had to tell him shut up. But this incident was a precursor to what happened to Huey a few weeks after our last meeting when a young man murdered him on the street not far from where we had met.     


My friend the Devil added much to our knowledge of the personal life of  young civil rights/black power leaders. That human side we seldom see without sentimentality and without condemnation. Too often there is too much concern for respectability. You are fearless in representations of black life.  Those stances have made all the difference in my own writings.
-- Rudolph Lewis, www.nathanielturner.

Academy of da Corner students, President Davis and Reginald James. President is now at Howard University, Reginald at University of California, Berkeley

His months away from Academy of da Corner made him sorely missed by the people who pass through 14th and Broadway, the crossroads of Oakland. His Facebook friends urged him to return to his Academy of da Corner, a multipurpose educational, mental health and micro loan project.

Today the people were elated to see the Master Teacher back in his class room. They told him he has no idea how much he has been missed. This was humbling to the usually arrogant master teacher with multiple personalities.

The Honorable Dr. Nathan Hare, Father of Black Studies in America

Marvin spent the day giving out free copies of his books and urging people to attend the 80th Birthday celebration of his mentor, Dr. Nathan Hare. The event takes place on Saturday, April 13, 3-5 pm, at Geoffery Inncer Circle, 410 14th Street @ Franklin, down the block from Academy of da Corner.

Marvin X, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Nathan Hare, Attorney Amira Jackmon, agent for the Hare archives

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