As a teacher, I have long told educators when they ask me to speak with students that I would prefer talking with their parents for students are not the problem. Recently, when I told an administrator in the Oakland Public Schools I only wanted to speak with parents, he replied, "This can be arranged easily through the Housing Authority because parents are required to attend meetings in the projects." We know few parents attend PTA meetings at schools, i.e. Black parents. I have gone to parent meetings in Berkeley where my grandchildren attend school and the white parents are there at 8AM in the morning.
But let me get back to Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, the most dangerous classroom in the world, a teacher's self definition, but it has been the scene of numerous rallies, protests, rebellions and riots, from Oscar Grant to Occupy Oakland to Ferguson to Baltimore to Black Lives Matter, Port of Oakland General Strike and beyond.
In partnership with sociologist and clinical psychologist, Dr. Nathan Hare and educator Dr. Julia Hare, I am able to give out books for free to the poor, others are requested to give a generous donation.
This week I was giving out books to those without money (alas, free phone, now a free book!), two persons who witnessed me were Blues Hall of Fame member Augusta Collins and former Nation of Islam official, Brother Jerry of Mosque #26, San Francisco. They were present when one young man came up to my table without funds. I handed him a book and he gave me a strange look, walked a couple of feet then turned back to me, saying, almost in tears, "Brother, I really don't know how to take this because ain't nobody ever gave me nothing before, " and he crossed the street.
Brother Jerry said, "Brother Marvin, some of our people have never been given a gift in their life. They don't know how to take it. Keep doing what you are doing, Marvin X. You are doing a great work. May Allah be pleased with you." Augusta Collins said, "Marvin X, when I get home I'm going to write on Facebook what I saw you doing today. This is beautiful."
After a day at the Academy dealing with the poor, mentally challenged, the petit bourgeoisie, whites suffering addiction to White Supremacy Type I (Dr. Nathan Hare, see his foreword to my manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy); whites in denial of course, although one young white lady made a generous donation for a collection of books to help her people suffering Type I Addiction) but after a day dealing with mainly those suffering unresolved grief and trauma from the American neo-slave system(Addiction to White Supremacy Type II, Dr. Nathan Hare), when I got home, I called Dr. Hare to tell him of the day's events.
"Dr. Hare, I tell them to take one each of your and Julia's several titles and give a generous donation. Give what God puts in their hearts. Some have only given one dollar, some have given donations of twenty, forty, fifty dollars, so it all works out."
Dr. Hare said it was fine with him and encouraged me to keep on doing what I'm doing. This is better than keeping the books in storage and getting nothing; if we get two dollars per book, it's better than nothing!"
"Doc, I rather give the people the discount than a distributor. At least the people smile. Distributors and bookstores usually have an ugly frown when you come for your money." I told Dr. Hare about the brother who was given a free book and almost broke down after receiving his gift."
Again, Dr. Hare said, "Keep on doing what ya doing, Marvin X!"
During the week, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland
Saturdays, Lakeshore Avenue, across from the Farmer's Market
Sunday, Berkeley Flea Market, ASHBY BART STATION
As a senior citizen, Marvin X appears at Academy of da Corner as per his energy level or when he feels like it. Best to make an appointment: 510-200-4164.
We know many of you have only read the writings of Marvin X since the sixties until now, persons on the social media have read his writings but never met him in person, the same with persons who heard him on KPFA and KPOO radio.
If you'd like to meet and greet him at any of the above locations, it is best to call to make sure he will be there.
Marvin X is presently working to establish the Black Arts Movement Business and Cultural District along the 14th Street corridor, from the Afro-American Museum/Library at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Alice Street. He is forming a community task force to help him plan the district in partnership with the City of Oakland. If you'd like to be part of the BAM Business and Cultural District Community Task Force, please email me some of your ideas for such a district. We are scheduled to meet with Oakland City Council President Lynette McElhaney in September, so send me a paragraph or two of your ideas ASAP.
Marvin X (El Muhajir)
BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT DISTRICT