Saturday, January 31, 2015

Marvin X in Stanley Nelson's documentary film on the Black Panther Party

Note: Marvin X received a phone call from producer, Laurens Grant, letting him know he survived the cutting and is indeed part of the people interviewed by director Stanley Nelson. There will be a private showing in the Bay soon, followed by a public screening. The film was recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Next weekend it will be in Los Angeles at the Pan African Film Festival.

"Marvin X was my teacher. Many of our comrades came through his Black Arts Theatre: Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier."--Dr. Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party



Marvin X concluded his Revolution on the Rocks Book Tour 2012 with a lunch interview with producer Laurens Grant who is working on a documentary on the Black Panther Party, directed by Stanley Nelson. Marvin X has urged her to include how the Black Panther Party in particular and the liberation movement in general was influenced by the Black Arts Movement. According to Marvin X, there was cross fertilization between the Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, Black Arts Movement and the Black Student Movement that led to Black Studies.

Bobby Seale and Marvin X at the Joyce
Gordon Gallery Black History Celebration, 2012

No aspect of the Black Consciousness Movement sprang up in isolation. We cannot discuss the Black Panthers without discussing the African American Association, led by Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour. From the AAA's influence came the Panthers and the establishment of Black Studies at Oakland's Merritt College, even before the violent strike for Black Studies at San Francisco State College, now university.

And would the students at Merritt and San Francisco State have been motivated without the West Coast Black Arts Movement, e.g., Bobby Seale performed in Marvin X's second play Come Next Summer before joining the BPP. Bobby played the role of a young black man in search of revolutionary consciousness.

At San Francisco State College, LeRoi Jones, aka Amiri Baraka's Communications Project enrolled student actors and playwrights such as Jimmy Garrett, Benny Stewart, George Murray, Jo Ann Mitchell, Elleadar Barnes, et al., who went on to participate in the Black Panther Party after BAM consciousness.

At San Francisco State College, now University, Marvin X's first play, Flowers for the Trashman, produced by the Drama Department, 1965, ushered in Black Arts West Theatre, 1966, with X and playwright Ed Bullins. Danny Glover performed in BAW. BAW came under the influence of the Nation of Islam will key players joining the NOI, i.e., Marvin X, Duncan X, Hillary X and Ethna X.

Upon his release from prison, 1967, Eldridge Cleaver hooked up with Marvin X and they established the Black House, a political/cultural center, along with Ethna X, Ed Bullins and Willie Dale. Again the Muslim influence: Marvin X an d BAW guru and former inmate with Eldridge, Alonzo Batin, forced Eldridge Cleaver out of his white woman's house (Beverly Axelrod, the attorney who took his manuscript Soul on Ice out of Soledad Prison and whom Eldridge promised to marry, who also contracted a portion of royalties from Soul on Ice and won by default while Eldridge was exiled in Algeria). Eldridge died poor while his book is still an international bestseller as we write! You Marvin X eventually introduced Eldridge Cleaver to Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, Marvin's companions from Merritt College.

But just as the Nation of Islam recruited members of the Black Arts West Theatre, Marvin X would later recruit for the NOI. His biggest fish was no doubt Nadar Ali or Bobby Jones who Elijah Muhammad put over the fish import business.

Islam had a significant role on the East Coast Black Panther Party and the genre Muslim American literature begins with Marvin X and the BAM writers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad Toure, et al.

Marvin X and his mentor and associate, Master Sun Ra,outside Marvin's Black Educational Theatre on O'farrel Street, between Fillmore and Webster, 1972. Sun Ra and Marvin X were both teaching Black Studies at UC Berkeley. They produced a five hour concert without intermission and a cast of fifty at San Francisco's Harding theatre on Divisadero St.
 Eldridge and Alprentice Bunchy Carter, his prison buddy and later leader of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party, murdered on the campus of UCLA, along with John Huggins by members of the US organization, headed by Ron Karenga.

 Huey P. Newton in wicker chair, rug, shield, spear; these items came from Eldridge Cleaver's room at Beverly Axelrod's house. Marvin X and Alonzo Batin (BAM guru) moved Eldridge from Axelrod's  White House to the Black House on Broderick St., San Francisco.

 Marvin X at Fresno State College/now University. He was removed as lecturer on orders of
Governor Ronald Reagan who also removed Angela Davis from UCLA the same year, 1969.

 My Friend the Devil, Marvin's memoir of Eldridge Cleaver.

 Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X outside the house where the Panthers had a shoot out with the OPD. Little Bobby Hutton was murdered by OPD, Cleaver wounded and later fled to exile. When he returned as a Born Again Christian, Marvin X organized his ministry. photo Muhammad Al Kareem
See My Friend the Devil, a memoir of Eldridge Cleaver by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2009. Also, Somethin' Proper, the autobiography of a North American African Poet, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1998. Somethin' Proper came off the press the day Eldridge Cleaver made his transition to the ancestors, May 1, 1998. Marvin X performed the memorial rites in Oakland. Kathleen and daughter Joju attended the memorial. Kathleen said, "Marvin, the memorial was great, but there were just too many Muslims!" Alas, their son is Ahmed Maceo Eldridge Cleaver, a Sunni Muslim!

No comments:

Post a Comment