Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Update on the education of Jah Amiel Muhajir, grandson of Marvin X, now seven years old
For the sake of peace in my family, I have not written about my grandson in nearly four years. When he was two and three years old, he used to accompany me downtown to my Academy of da Corner. It was during this time he told me, "Grandpa you can't save the world but I can!" I was shocked but relieved, a mountain of pressure escaped my back, the weight was overwhelming. A woman friend asked me to just be Marvin for today, forget about Marvin X. "When you add the X the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Just for today, be Marvin, especially while you're with me."
Yes, that day as we walked to Lake Merritt and he said those words to me, the pressure was released. But my daughter, his mother, didn't want her son to be so racialized, shall we say. But I came from parents who were a Race Man and Race Woman, meaning they were for the upliftment of the North
American Africans. They published one of the first Black newspaper in the Central Valley, the Fresno Voice. At the same time they had a real estate business. Most Blacks in Fresno bought their first house from my parents during the 1950s. My parents were activists, members of the NAACP and serveral other social organizations, including the Elks, American Legion, Eastern Star, Men of Tomorrow Business Club, especially when our family migrated to Oakland in the late 1950s. I have a picture of my parents at the San Francisco Peace Conference that evolved into the United Nations. I am so happy I experienced the North American African culture of 7th Street. I grew up on 7th and Campbell. I feel so blessed to grow up in a black world of 7th Street, Harlem of the West, Slim Jenkins Restaurant, Percy's Shoe Shine Stand, Wolf's Record, Lincoln Theatre, Scott's Lock and Key Store, Jackmon's Florist. I am so humbled that Paul Cobb and I grew up together yet he knows more about my father's social and political involvement than I do. We are so thankful for the community archivist Jackson Raysor who gave me articles from the Oakland Tribune of my parents fighting racism and housing discrimination.
I am so proud of my parents.
My oldest daughter asked me, "Dad, how can we still be fighting the same issues; and Dad, how is it that you are still alive?"
But my daughter is a Yale graduate in psychology and Stanford Law School graduate, she has her own ideas on raising her children and has written a book on how parents can reward their children for good behavior, Ki-Change, printed in China! So her children are my grandchildren, but I defer to her in the manner she wishes to raise them. But imagine the world of Yale and Stanford, for sure it is not my world. Dr. Wade Nobles says, "The brothers go to prison and the sisters are prisoners of white supremacy academia." Ancestor Amiri Baraka said, "We send our children to colleges and universities and they come back home hating us and everything we're about--but they don't even know what we're about!"
Today, my grandson called me, he said, "Grandpa, are you selling at the flea market today?" I said, "No, grandson, today is Wednesday. I'm downtown right now handling some business. I might be at 14th and Broadway a little later, not sure."
"Well, grandpa, I want to sell some popcorn to make some money, can you come get me or can Mama drop me off?"
"Jah, that's possible. If I decide to set up, I will call you, ok?"
photo South Park Kenny Johnson
After seeing a friend off on Amtrak and eating an original fish burger at 8th and Washington, I drove through 14th and Broadway to check out the terrain but decided not to open Academy of da Corner, instead I headed to my daughter's house in Berkeley. When I got there, Jah was on the front lawn selling his uncooked popcorn for $5.00 a canning jar. He'd only sold one jar. I bought one. He showed me his art work on the label celebrating the 4th of July. Of course I asked him if he'd heard Frederick Douglas's speech on the 4th of July. He had not.
He'd sold his uncooked popcorn during Xmas to make over $100.00 he needed to buy himself a tablet. Today he needed money to buy Lego's. Toward traffic time on the street he lived, business picked up, by 6pm, the boy had made $60.00 to buy his Lego's. I would like to continue this story but in deference to his mother, my baby daughter, I shall end here and pray she will not crucify me for the above words regarding one of her chillin'.
Peace and Love,
Marvin X/El Muhajir/Nazzam Al Sudan
The Education of Jah Amiel
I'd rather Osama Bin Laden knock at my door than my grandson. I know total destruction is about to happen in my house.
Grandpa, you can't save the world but I can!
a thousand years before you came from me and your grandmother and our daughter
I knew you
you did not know me
but I knew you
a thousand years ago
in the infinity of the universe
I knew you were coming
to be a force in the world
and I see you
at my doorstep
in my bed asleep beside me
pissing in my bed
lying about it in the morning
I see you a thousand years before you came
crawling walking dancing singing rapping
I saw you
yet you claim I am blind
a bad grandfather
mean to you
yet I saw you coming
it was no dream
you were the return of a madman
a son who self destructed
and now a grandson
the same potential
so we want to save you
for you are a god
we see that
you listen to my prayers for you
ask me to pray
and so we do
you love this prayer
I am amazed
but you ask me to say it again and again
Al Fatihah you want
Not Al Hamdulilah
it is not enough
Grandpa, I want you to say the prayer
that is what I want to hear
That is what I shall recite after you.
Marvin X is now available for bookings, readings, performance: send letter of invitation to firstname.lastname@example.org