Monday, October 14, 2013

Marvin X Now available for speaking and reading nationwide

 Marvin X was a founding member of the Black Student Union at San Francisco State University, 1964. He fought to teach Black Studies at Fresno State University until removed on orders from Gov. Ronald Reagan, 1969, the same year Reagan removed Angela Davis from UCLA. Gov. Reagan hated Marvin X because he was a Black Muslim who refused to fight in Vietnam. He attempted to ban Angela Davis because she was a Black Communist.

Marvin X, Black Studies poet/lecturer at Fresno State College/now University, 1969. He was twenty-five years old when he was hired to teach three courses, Journalism, Drama and African American literature. Gov. Reagan had him removed by court order!

Ironically, in 1972, he was hired to teach similar courses at the University of California, Berkeley. He later taught at San Francisco State University, University of California, San Diego, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno, Laney and Merritt Colleges, Kings River College. After Kings River College,, 1982,  Marvin X retired from teaching with a 97% student retention evaluation.

Today, he lectures and reads coast to coast at colleges and universities such as Univ. of Penn, Univ. of Virginia, University of Arkansas, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, Moorehouse, Spelman, Howard University, San Francisco State, Fresno City College, and elsewhere.

But Academy of da Corner is his home base, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, which he calls the most dangerous classroom in the world. The Oscar Grant and Occupy Oakland protests were literally in his classroom, along with several homicides on the nearby streets. Writer Ishmael Reeds says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."

On October 3, 1969, The Fresno Bee reported in an article titled "Reagan has his say on concern over Marvin X": Governor Ronald Reagan's concern about Marvin X teaching courses at Fresno State College was apparently satisfied at yesterday's State College Board of Trustees meeting in Los Angeles. On his arrival at the meeting, Reagan said he intended to ask trustees what could be done about the controversial lecturer in Black Studies Program. "If there is any way to get him off campus--that is the question I'm going to ask today" Reagan said at the start of the meeting.... "I'd like to find out."....

 Marvin X speaking at the University of Houston, Texas, Africana Studies Department.

 The poet performs with his favorite musician, violinist Tarika Lewis, first female member of the Black Panther Party.

A rare photo of Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X. Marvin introduced Eldridge to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Eldridge immediately joined the Black Panther Party. See Marvin's memoir: Eldridge Cleaver, my friend the devil, Black Bird Press, 2009, introduction by Amiri Baraka.
photo Kareem Muhammad

 Fly to Allah, 1968, is the seminal work in Muslim American literature, according to Dr. Mohja Kahf, professor of English and Islamic literature at the University of Arkansas.
photo Doug Harris

Dr. Mohja Kahf and Marvin X

Marvin and his mentor and comrade in the Black Arts Movement, Master Teacher Sun Ra. Sun Ra arranged the musical version of Flowers for the Trashman, entitled Take Care of Business, 1972.
Marvin performed on the east coast with Sun during 1968-69, while the poet worked underground in Harlem at the New Lafayette Theatre, serving as associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine. 

 Marvin X praises both Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X as vital to his manhood training.
 Ancestor Dr. Khalid Muhammad studied the writings of Marvin X in college. He told Marvin X often how much he loved the poet's writings, especially from his Nation of Islam period.

Marvin X is one of the outstanding African writers and teachers in America. He has always been in the forefront of Pan African writing. Indeed, he is one of the innovators and founders of the new revolutionary school of African writing.--Amiri Baraka

 Playwright Ed Bullins co-founded Black Arts West Theatre with Marvin X, 1966. Marvin X joined Ed at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, serving as associate editor of Black Theatre magazine, 1968.

 The poet has written 30 books. He's one of the most prolific writers in America if not the world. The Last Poets say he writes a book per month. He penned his memoir of Eldridge Cleaver in three weeks, posting chapters daily on the internet.

 The poet and San Francisco's controversial Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, holding Marvin's even more controversial pamphlet The Mythology of Pussy and Dick. "Every 15 year old boy must be required to read this, "says Rashid Easley. A 16 year old female said, "I wished I'd read it when I was eight!"

 Art by ancestor Elizabeth Catlett Mora, who gave the poet refuge during his exile in Mexico City, 1970.

Marvin X, one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement, is now available for speaking and reading engagements coast to coast. Marvin X began his career in Black or African consciousness almost from birth as a result of having social activist parents. His father and mother published a Black newspaper in the central valley of California, the Fresno Voice. His parents were called a Race Man and Race woman, meaning they were dedicated to the advancement of Black people first and foremost, i.e. Black nationalism.

When Marvin attended Oakland's Merritt College, 1962-64, his Black consciousness was expanded after peer group study with fellow students Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen, Ken and Carol Freeman, Richard Thorne, Maurice Dawson, Isaac Moore and Ann Williams.

In 1964 he transferred to San Francisco State College/now University and became a member of the Negro Students Association. The name was soon changed to the Black Student Union. While an undergraduate in the English department, his first play, Flowers for the Trashman, was produced by the Drama department.  Marvin X dropped out to establish the Black Arts West Theatre on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, along with playwright Ed Bullins, Duncan Barber, Ethna Wyatt, Hillary Broadous and Carl Bossiere. Danny Glover was a frequent actor at BAW.

Upon his release from prison, Soul on Ice essayist Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin hooked up to establish the Black House, a political/cultural center on Broderick Street. Marvin soon introduced Eldridge to his friends, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, who were establishing the Black Panther Party in Oakland. Eldridge joined and became Minister of Information. For more on Marvin X, see his autobiography Somethin' Proper, Black Bird Press, 1998, introduction by Dr. Nathan Hare.

For Booking, call 510-200-4164 or send a letter of invitation to

Marvin X and his comrades from the Black Arts/Black Liberation Movement will gather at the University of California, Merced, March 1-2, 2014. Be There!


  1. This is the communication age -we can reach millions in the spirit of Garvey! Unity is stronger than violence. Violence is an obsolete weapon of choice, use your brains, economic solidarity and build from the ground up to liberate your people!