Saturday, February 6, 2016

Black History: Marvin X's Great Grandfather, 99, died in Madera, CA, 1941

Former Negro Slave Dies on Madera Ranch
 Fresno Bee, Tuesday, December 16, 1941
Cover art 
Ephraim Murrill, 99, who lived the first twenty years of his life as a Negro slave in North Carolina, died yesterday in his home on a Madera district ranch. Murrill, who was highly respected by both whites and Negroes in the community, recalled having seen Abraham Lincoln when the great emancipator was campaigning for his first term as president.

Surviving him are one daughter, Mrs. J. H. Hall, Madera; a son, John Murrill (Marvin's grandfather),  nine grand children and three great grandchildren. He would be 100 years old had he lived until next February 13. One of his brothers lived to the age of 116.

Funeral services will be hold tomorrow afternoon in the Jay Parlors and burial will be in Arbor Vitae Cemetary.
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Epharaim Murrill is the maternal great grandfather of poet Marvin X. His mother, Marian Murrill Jackmon, was born in Fowler, about thirty miles south of Madera. Marvin X was born there as well, May 29, 1944.

Marvin's parents, Owendell Jackmon and Marian Murrill Jackmon published the first black newspaper in the central valley, the Fresno Voice. They were also real estate brokers who sold many blacks their first home after WWII. Marvin's earliest memories are selling his parents newspaper on F and Fresno Street, a block or two from his parent's newspaper and real estate office.

The Jackmons later moved to Oakland and became florists on 7th Street. Mr. Jackmon was prominent in West Oakland's political and social life. He was a member of the Men of Tomorrow, the Elks Lodge and the American Legion. He was a member of Downs Memorial Methodist Church, where Rev. Cecil Williams of San Francisco's Glide Church did his internship.

Mrs. Jackmon became a Christian Scientist, follower of Mary Baker Eddy. Marvin grew up with no medicine cabinet in the house of his mother because Christian Scientists don't believe in medicine, one must simply know "the truth" and truth will set you free of all dis-ease. Growing up "knowing the truth", Marvin was mystified when he taught white students on the university level and discovered they had no concept of truth and were thus consumed with lies!

The Jackmons separated and Mrs. Jackmon returned to Fresno with her six children and opened a real estate business. Marvin attended Lowell Jr. High in West Oakland, but graduated from high school in Fresno. He returned to Oakland to attend Merritt College and was on the basketball team. At Merritt he also met Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, fellow students who came into revolutionary consciousness during independent study sessions. There was no Black Studies, although Merritt established one of  the first Black Studies programs after student protests, led by the Black Students Union, aka, Soul Students Advisory Council, headed by Virtual Murrell, now a lobbyist. Virtual and Bobby Seale recall when Marvin X performed his first play Flowers for the Trashman at Merritt, the student movement exploded.

In 1969, Marvin X became the most controversial black in Fresno history when he defied Governor Ronald Reagan by continuing to teach at Fresno State University, even though the Gov. ordered the college/now university to remove him by any means necessary, especially since he had refused to fight in Vietnam.

... & Review: The parents of Marvin X, Marian M. and Owendell Jackmon, I

Parents of Marvin X, Marian M. Jackmon and Owendell Jackmon, I at the World Peace Conference in San Francisco, 1945, which led to the United Nations. His mother was a Race woman, his father a Race man, meaning they were Black nationalists, down for their people in the Marcus Garvey manner. Marvin X learned to do for self long before he joined the Nation of Islam, 1967.

Now organizing the Black Arts Movement Business District, Marvin grew up on Oakland's Black cultural and business district, 7th Street, similar to San Francisco's Fillmore and New York's Harlem.

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