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."
photo Doug Harris
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!