Tonight at Oakland's Marriott City Center, the Peralta Colleges Foundation honored one of their own, former Merritt College student Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, along with fellow student Huey P. Newton. Bobby Seale was ill, so he sent Virtual Murrell, another Merritt College student and first president of the Soul Students Advisory Council, that morphed into BSUs across America. The first thing Virtual Murrell read was a note from Bobby to let those in attendance know that the Soul Students Advisory Council began after a performance of fellow Merritt student Marvin X's (Jackmon) play Flowers for the Trashman. The anti-Vietnam play recruited students into the Black consciousness and activist movement at Merritt College. Marvin X stood at the $175.00 plate dinner, a benefit for the Peralta College Foundation that gives scholarships to needy students.
Speaking for Bobby, Virtual also said Peralta College students and instructors must tell the true story of Merritt, not the watered down, Miller Lite version so often heard, although attendees did view a trailer of the award winning Peralta College TV documentary on Merritt College as the birthplace of the Black Panther Party and student activism, especially in the Bay Area.
Marvin X's autobiography Somethin' Proper, narrates the student struggle at Merritt, one of the few sources on the history of the Black Arts/Black Power Movement, especially on the West Coast. Laney College Professor, Judy Juanita's novel, relates some of the history as well. See also the writings of Donald Warden of the Afro-American Association, the key organization that preceded the Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement on the West Coast and nationally.