Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Marvin X's Great Grandfather, Former Slave, Dies on Madera Ranch

Former Negro Slave Dies on Madera Ranch

Ephraim Murrill, 99, who lived the first twenty years of his life as a Negro slave in North Carolina, died yesterday in his home on a Madera district ranch. Murrill, who was highly respected by both whites and Negroes in the community, recalled having seen Abraham Lincoln when the great emancipator was campaigning for his first term as president.

Surviving him are one daughter, Mrs. J. H. Hall, Madera; a son, John Murrill, Fowler; nine grand children and three great grandchildren. He would be 100 years old had he lived until next February 13. One of his brothers lived to the age of 116.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon in the Jay Parlors and burial will be in Arbor Vitae Cemetery.
--Fresno Bee, Tuesday, December 16, 1941
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 Fresno Bee photo of Marvin X during his struggle to lecture in Black Studies at Fresno State University, 1969
Parents of Marvin X, Marian Murrill Jackmon and Owendell Jackmon I
Marvin X. Jackmon, born May 29, 1944
Ephraim Murrill is the maternal great grandfather of poet/philosopher Marvin X. His mother, Marian Murrill Jackmon, was born in Fowler, about thirty miles south of Madera. Marvin X was born there as well, May 29, 1944. Marvin's parents, Owendell Jackmon and Marian published the first black newspaper in the central valley, the Fresno Voice. They were also real estate brokers who sold many blacks their first homes after WWII.

The Jackmons later moved to Oakland and became florists on 7th Street. Mr. Jackmon was prominent in West Oakland's political and social life. He was a member of the Men of Tomorrow, the Elks Lodge and the American Legion. He was a member of Downs Memorial Methodist Church. Mrs. Jackmon became a Christian Scientist, follower of Mary Baker Eddy.

Mrs. Jackmon later returned to Fresno with her children and opened a real estate business. In 1969, Marvin X became the most controversial black in Fresno history when he defied Governor Ronald Reagan by continuing to teach at Fresno State University, even though the Gov. ordered the college/now university to remove him by any means necessary, especially since he had refused to fight in Vietnam.

According to Marvin X's student and colleague, Ptah Allah El, his great grandfather is one of the legendary men of the Central Valley. He and Col. Allenworth may have been associates. After Col. Allenworth, Murrill is the most prominent black man in the central valley. Something about him crossed the line separating blacks and whites. Negroes in the Valley know about Epharaim Murrill. According to Ptah Allah El, Ephraim Murrill  was well known in Madera, Fresno, Fowler, Hanford, Lemoore. He was a conscious black man.

Marvin X's  cousin Mrs. Latanya Tony (wife of FSU chemistry professor emeritus Joe Tony)  is researching family history.

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