Saturday, February 22, 2014

Marvin X returns home to West Fresno

 Marvin X was removed from teaching Black Studies at Fresno State University, 1969, because he refused to fight in Vietnam. He eventually served time in Terminal Island Federal Prison.


West Fresno residents left the Hinton Community Center inspired and motivated after hearing Marvin X reading and in conversation with Fresno City College professor emeritus Kehindi Solwazi. Marvin X was raised in West Fresno and reunited with many of his childhood friends at the event sponsored by the local NAACP, headed by his longtime friend Pamela Young-King, president. The event opened with prayers by a Christian minister and the local Imam who recited in Arabic but explained in English. Many had never head the Muslim prayer explained and they appreciated the imam's remarks. A young African dance troop performed and the audience joined. A young lady sang the Black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Marvin X was introduced by Professor Solwazi who praised the poet's classic Black History is World History and his book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. "Marvin's poem is one of the best ever written on Black History. And his How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy is awesome! I read it on the plane to Mississippi and was blown away."

Marvin gave out copies of Black History is World History and asked the audience to read along with him. He also asked them to repeat the lines when he read his pantheistic What If, a poem that suggests that the Divine force is in all things, which is consistent with African religion or spirituality.
For the older residents of West Fresno, he recited a poem about the Hole in the Wall, a hang out at Plumas and Whitesbridge.

Professor Solwazi and Marvin X engaged in dialogue on such issues as the low intensity war against  North American Africans, youth behavior, male/female relations. "As per youth, if you tell them to pull their pants up, 99% will do so, only 1% will respond in the negative. We cannot allow children to terrorize adults in our community. We must be brave enough to stand up to them and guide those who have lost their way."

On male/female relations, he said, "My mother told me I would never have good luck as long as I abused women, especially the mothers of my children. I think I have changed my behavior and my luck has changed. Most of the persons who helped me on my recent visit to the east coast were women. Women are in charge of a lot of things these days so we men better be nice to them so we can receive our blessings."

On Monday, Feb 24, 11am, X will read at Fresno City College and dialogue with Professor Solwazi.
He will participate in the Black Arts Movement Conference at University of California, Merced, Friday, Feb 28 thru March 2. You are invited! Call 510-200-4164 for more information. On Monday, Marvin X will be interviewed on Berkeley's Pacifica station, KPFA, 8am, by Davey D, on his role in the Black Arts Movement and his 47 year friendship with poet Amiri Baraka.


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