Saturday, February 27, 2016

From the archives: Marvin X speaks on South Carolina aka Gullahland

  Clinton after her win in Nevada

On the occasion of Hillary Clinton winning the South Carolina primary, 2016, Marvin X presents his notes on visits to Gullahland, South Carolina. During the 60s, Marvin X spoke at Vorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina. During this time the Orangeburg Massacre of Black college students occurred, although most Americans only know of the Kent State massacre of White college students.

Shorty after Marvin's speech at Vorhees College, (a speech that was interrupted by the white College president who couldn't take any more of Marvin X. As we recall, the mike was snatched while he read Fable of the Black Bird, the number one story by Marvin X that is most loved throughout the South, even today!). 

A few days after Marvin X departed Vorhees,  the students revolted and the National Guard tanks rolled unto the campus. If our memory is correct, Vorhees students revolted shortly after the Orangeburg Massacre.

FYI, The Orangeburg massacre refers to the shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the South Carolina State University campus on the evening of February 8, 1968.[1] The approximately 150 protesters had previously demonstrated against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Three of the protestors, African American males, were killed and twenty-eight other protesters were injured.[2]

The event pre-dated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings, in which the National Guard at Kent State, and police and state highway patrol at Jackson State, killed student protesters demonstrating against the United States invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

Orangeburg Massacre Remembered On This Day In Black History

Feb 08, 2013
On this day, 45 years ago, three men were killed and 27 were wounded on the campus of South Carolina State College in a violent series of events that would become known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

According to The New York Times, on February 6, 1968, a group of students sought to integrate a local bowling alley that, at the time, only served whites. The alley's owner turned them away and called the police, leading to an encounter with officers which left some students bloodied and others needing to be sent to the infirmary at South Carolina State's campus nearby.

Two days later dozens of students gathered at the school, setting a bonfire in protest of the students' treatment by the bowling alley and brutalization by police. The fire department arrived, as did many officers, but what happened next remains unclear.

According to USA Today, one of the officers was hit with a banister thrown from one of the buildings. According to the News and Courier, it was reported that the students invited the officers fire "upon themselves by sniper fire directed at state patrolmen."

The officers then fired into the crowd, killing Delano Middleton, a high school student visiting the campus; Sam Hammond, who played football for the college; and Henry Smith, an ROTC student who was hit five times. 27 others were wounded.

In the subsequent trials and hearings related to the incident, no evidence of the protestors being armed was ever presented and none of the nine officers charged with crimes related to the shootings were ever convicted of any wrongdoing.

According to the Associated Press, the Orangeburg Massacre is being remembered on the campus of South Carolina State University today, through a panel discussion and a ceremony honoring the victims.

Scholars and men who survived the massacre have since expressed disappointment that what happened that night was never given the same kind of attention as other similar incidents on college campuses -- namely, The Kent State Shootings.

On this day, as we continue our Black History Month celebrations, we remember Delano Middleton, Sam Hammond, and Henry Smith. Their sacrifice lives on as an important reminder of how long and winding the road toward freedom and equality is in the United States of America.


 The poet has gone to Beaufort, SC on several occasions over the years to write, hosted by his long time friend, Hurriyah Asar (Ethna X. Wyatt), his partner from Black Arts West Theatre and the Black House, political/cultural center, San Francisco, CA, 1966-67. We give you his impression of South Carolina. 


Hurriyah Asar


From the Archives: Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation, Beaufort, South Carolina, 2002

Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation, 2002
Last evening, poet Marvin X arrived late for Brother Jabari's radio show in Gullah country, Beaufort, South Carolina. When he finally arrived at the station, he told Gullahland listeners he was late as a result of being caught up in "negrocities," borrowing a term from Amiri Baraka who is writing a book about NEGROCITIES. During the course of the interview Marvin defined the term as an ailment caused by an inflamation of the Negroid gland at the base of the brain due to bad habits. In his play A Black Mass, Amiri Baraka wrote, "Where the soul's print should be there is only a cellulous pouch of disgusting habits."

Brother Jabari, publisher of the Gullah Sentinel, questioned Marvin X page by page about his book IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, starting with the suicide of his son on March 18 of this year. The poet said his pain was cushioned by the fact that so many of his friends have lost sons and daughters to homicide. Dr. Nathan Hare has written that homicide and suicide are two sides of the same coin. Marvin's son suffered mani-depression which the late revolutionary Dr. Franz Fanon called a "situational disorder" caused by oppression." Of course, Dr. Fanon, author of the classic WRETCHED OF THE EARTH, said  revolution was the solution to the mental health problems of the oppressed.

When Jabari turned to Marvin's essay THE INSANITY OF SEX, the poet read the first paragraph of the essay but refused to go further on the Christian owned radio station, although he noted that while sitting in the shade of a tree during the Gullah Nation's Heritage Festival on St. Helena island, he was soon joined by a group of church women who--after X showed them his book, immediately turned to THE INSANITY OF SEX and agreed with his opening paragraph one hundred per cent. Jabari, one of the sole lights in the Gullahland house of darkness, asked X about the culture of the crack house.

The poet said "The crack house is like a third world country: there is no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, no toilet paper, no food, no love. It is the worse thing since slavery." He then had the engineer play track ten of his CD version of ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, the drama of his addiction and recovery. In this "Preacher Scene" the minister describes the horrors of crack culture, ending with the lines, "Crack is worse than slavery. Didn't the slave love his Moma? His God? His Woman? His Children? Not the crack slave, the crack slave is a dirty, nasty, funky slave...."

X then said, "I want to say this to the Christian community: see, I lived in Reno, Nevada while teaching at the University of Nevada and the preachers in Reno never said anything against gambling and prostitution--which are legal. Now, members of the audience who have watched my play wanted to know why the pastors in the community never preach a sermon like the preacher in my play. On more than one occasion, a member of the audience stood to testify that many preachers cannot give a similar sermon because the church is compromised due to the fact that mothers in the church have sons and daughters who are contributing money from the drug trade to the church and if the preacher said anything he wouldn't have a congregation in many urban centers. And maybe in rural centers as well."

Marvin X was asked about education. He said Johnny and Johnnymae can sell dope, weigh dope, package dope, count dope money, but the teachers tell us Johnny and Johnnymae can't do math, can't read, can't do chemistry. This is a lie and the fact that youth remember hours of rap songs word for word is a testament to their intelligence. 

Ethna X. Wyatt, aka Hurriyah Asar, co-founder of Black Arts West
Theatre and Black House,  political/cultural center, along with
Eldridge Clever and playwright Ed Bullins, 1966-67, San Francisco
This pic is from Black Dialogue Magazine, one of the critical
journals published in the Bay Area Black Arts Movement, along
with SoulBook, Journal of Black Poetry and Black Scholar.
Marvin X contributed to all the above journals, as well as
Negro Digest/Black World, Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
and Black Theatre Magazine, a publication of the New Lafayette
Theatre, Harlem, NY.  

Hurriyah Asar on her land. She followed
her dream. Didn't let no man mess up
her dream of owning land. She has hosted Marvin X on several
occasion, providing him a writing retreat in beautiful
Gullahland, SC.

Marvin X spent his final day in Gullah land swimming in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of St. Helena Island. He listened to the pain of a mentally disabled Gullah woman who was camping near the ocean and was a friend of his host, Sister Hurriyah Asar, a landowner in Gullah country who is one of the Queens of the Black Arts Movement, having been a key player at Black Arts West Theatre in San Francisco and at the Black House/Political/Cultural Center, visited by the likes of Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Bunchy Carter, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Lil Bobby Hutton, Eldridge Cleaver, Askia Muhammad Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Chicago Art Ensemble and others.

When black clouds appeared, Marvin X knew the hour had arrived for him to depart Gullah country. After all, he had enjoyed the people, the land, the sea, the creeks, the chickens, geese, goats, calves, and dogs. Being a country boy from Central Calif, he talked to the animals and they to him. But he leaves Gullahland with a heavy heart, for if the ancestors have given the descendents of slavery any part of America, it is this beautiful land, these islands in the sun.

He has vowed to return to this heaven on earth. Sister Hurriyah was the glue of the West coast black arts movement. And in the new epoch, she is showing the way to heaven on earth. If ever a man shall follow a woman, it is now, for she has created heaven on earth.
--Marvin X, November 12, 2002, Beaufort, South Carolina.

FYI, the last time Marvin X visited Gullahland, his friends told him not to say anything while there. "Just chill, don't say shit. We're not going to give you a book party or help promote your book. Go swim in the ocean." Since his hosts exhibited such  fear of the white supremacy powers, he followed their request. He visited the Yoruba African Village in Sheldon and interviewed the new king or Oba.

Alase Oba Adefunmi Adejuyige speaking at Black Power Babies Discussion in Brooklyn, New York. Marvin X on right. Marvin invited the Oba/King to Black Power Babies, produced by his daughter Muhammida El Muhajir. Parents and children held dialogue on their role in Black Arts/Black Power movement of the 60s. The Oba's father, Serjiman Olatunji, was the main personality who spread Yoruba culture in America. He officiated the wedding of Amina and Amiri Baraka. Many BAM poets were influenced by Islam and Yoruba culture and religion. See Amiri Baraka's play A Black Mass which utilized Islamic and Yoruba mythology is his interpretation of the Nation of Islam's myth of Yakub.

The poet was saddened his hosts feared the Blacks as well as the white. Jabari had told him the Gullah Africans were afraid to come inside his newspaper office, afraid their boss would see them. Also, his hosts told him they were tired of Cali Blacks or Blacks from the North coming down there inciting the Africans then departing, leaving them to suffer the wrath of the white man, since he knows which family the Africans visited and would retaliate on that family. He might have one of the family members fired from their three minimum wage jobs. 

One one occasion after completing the draft of his manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy in Beaufort, he went to Staples to make copies. The clerk, a sister, asked where he was from? He said here. She replied, "No, you're not from here." 
"Why you say I'm not from here?"
"Cause we don't say white ssupremacy down here. We know it, but we don't say it."  

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