Saturday, December 29, 2018

Herb Boyd reviews Notes by Marvin X, et al.


Three book trees felled
By Herb Boyd
Special to the AmNews
Harlem NY

     With the calendar about to flip and a new year is dawning, it was time for some house cleaning, time to clear a veritable forest of book trees making the path to the computer all the more challenging.  During a recent trip to Detroit I dropped by the Charles Wright Museum of African American History to chat with my friend Charles Ferrell, who produces some of the most enlightening political and cultural programs in the nation.
     On tap that afternoon was the poet and activist Marvin X and he gifted me with his latest book Notes of an Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X (Black Bird Press, 2019). After his opening remarks in which he let the audience know that he was well aware of Detroit’s prominence in the Black liberation struggle, ticking off names such Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, the Bogges, General Baker, and Imari Obadele, he read one of his favorite pieces.  It was compelling but my preference from a long list of essays was his review of the Black Panther film that still had traction.
     “While the film is a political disaster by projecting African royalty with its tainted past and/or present, those enamored of African culture will enjoy a boost of cultural consciousness,” he observed. “We Africans are a beautiful people, a cultured people, a people of genius in science and technology.  If Black Panther replaces sagging pants with dashikis, surely, the film must be applauded.
     “If it forces women to throw off their wigs as the woman did in the film,” Marvin continued, “it must be applauded.  The music, the chants, the communal dancing, the most colorful costumes and traditional ritual face makeup, should help Africanize a starving population of North American Africans.  The technology seemed excessive although we need to see African people utilizing science, technology, artificial intelligence, time travel.”
     This kind of balance pertains in the book, though the bulk of his analysis leans perceptibly to keeping the Black Arts Movement alive, and that makes sense for someone who was/is a vital component of its maintenance.
     Later that evening in Detroit my lifelong comrade Ron Lockett took me to Trinosophes, a club near downtown where pianist Rod Williams was fronting an ensemble. Seated near me was Carole and Bill Harris, and like Marvin, I was given Bill’s latest book I Got to Keep Moving (Wayne State University Press, 2018). It’s a collection of 25 short stories that are necklaced in a fashion resembling Jean Toomer’s Cane, and they resonate with the same passionate urgency and cultural integrity. Reading the first story reminded me of Marvin X’s description of coming of age in Fresno, California. The people very much resemble the inhabitants of Harris’s mythical and at times mystical homelands in Alabama. 
     The folk element is redolent as Harris introduces a number of residents who are reluctant to recount the atrocities of their past or they have deliberately put them into the deepest recesses of memory. But Harris is not silent; he speaks for them with that same poetic voice that is often so commanding in his plays. “It was in our ways of doing, in front of them.” he says of the collective survival of the folks against the forces of denial and racism, “our walking, our wearing, our working that sprouted from the seeds of our need to air our common yearnings and have them recognized  and welcomingly accepted and understood as useful—whether any or all of those things were through strength or by being sullen, daring, surly, dragging; or through shared wisdom or charms; it gave us confidence in ourselves and became storied examples in our ability to have an inside self, and therefore a belief in our spirit to continue.”
     Some of the Blacks in this realistically drawn Alabama landscape are so tough that “even the mules are jealous.” Harris has evoked a time and experience that many migrants from the territory, many who ventured from the menace of the Klan and white oppression will remember and amen.
     Harris’s tales were still whispering to me when I returned to Harlem and there waiting for me was Dorothy Butler Gilliam’s Trailblazer—A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America, (Center Street, 2019).  Suddenly, much of what Harris imagined, Gilliam had lived, coming of age in the segregated South and later as a reporter covering some of the most eventful moments during the civil rights era.
     Oddly enough, it was Gilliam’s trip to Africa in the summer of 1961 that proved pivotal in her becoming a trailblazer at the Washington Post. “The trip had given me a chance to show the editors that I could write, and think broadly,” she recalled. “I had no experience writing under daily deadline pressure, and this was a real daily newspaper. The editors at the Post were taking a gamble on me.  I had to prove I was up to the challenge. I had no idea how difficult or fulfilling that would be, or that I would spend nearly my entire career there.”
     And what a productive and rewarding half century it was, though this should not diminish the years she spent writing for African American publications.  One of the most exciting and harrowing episodes occurred with her first real assignment at the Post to cover James Meredith breaking the color barrier at the University of Mississippi. Readers will be interested to know her feelings about the photographer Ernest Withers with whom she worked upon learning much later that he was a paid FBI informant.
     Gilliam, like Ida B. Wells, Evelyn Cunningham, Era Bell Thompson, and Ethel Payne, never shirked from duty or feared speaking truth to power.  Her memoir is a chronicle of the nation’s history from a reporter who was an eyewitness and whose stories are as riveting as her own adventurous life.
     Three of the book trees have fallen, but staring at me across the room, like a huge Redwood, a sequoia of information is Jeffrey Stewart’s enormous biography of Alain Locke.  That’s going to take a Paul Bunyan effort. 

Now Available from Black Bird Press, Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X

Poet/Essayist/Educator/Activist Marvin X after his lecture/discussion in Davey D's Hip Hop class at
San Francisco State University, Marvin X's alma mater. He was a founding member of the Black Students Union.
photo Davey D

Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X 
Now Available
Order your copy from
Black Bird Press
requested donation
call 510-575-7148
credit cards accepted

Marvin X
Poet, playwright, essayist, educator, activist
University of Chicago, 2015
photo Burrell Sunrise

Friday, December 28, 2018

Toward the deconstruction of monopoly capitalism and socialism

The gate of Marvin X's writing retreat in Cherokee CA, that suffered fire destruction in the Camp Fire that totally destroyed the nearby town of Paradise CA.
photo Adam Turner

Most progressives understand monopoly capitalism and its highest stage imperialism now called globalism. Kwame Nkrumah hipped us to Imperialism: the final stage of capitalism. But let us also deconstruct the contradictions in monopoly socialism, a left wing ideology that ultimately leaves many oppressed peoples on the bottom of the economic and political ladder. In monopoly socialism there is opportunism, classism, racism, ageism and white and/or caste based on color domination parading often under the guise of multi-multiculturalism, but always with North American Black Africans on the lowest rung of the multi-cultural ladder. In many cases if not most, the mulattoes in power will decry and deny mulatto power, will even deny they are mulattoes even though they enjoy all the privileges of mulattoism, a classical syndrome in Pan Africa, from the Motherland, Caribbean and USA. Do you know the Brown Bag Test? Even at Oakland's Merritt College that gave birth to  Bay Area African consciousness through the African American Association under the leadership of Attorney Donald Warden, aka Khalid Abdullah Al Mansour: black panther party, black arts movement and black studies, and Kwanza, alas, Maulana Karenga was the Los Angeles representative of Oakland's Afro American Association.

As per monopoly socialism, a monopoly socialist feigned shock when I identified him as a monopoly socialist today at my Academy of da Corner Lakeshore, Oakland. He'd never heard the term before.
The term has wandered about in the deep structure of my mind for some time. Furthermore, I have experienced the trauma of monopoly socialism in the arts. As per monopoly socialist artists attempting to dominate the capitalist grant process for non-profit organizations, the competition is lethal. Even after over a half century of labor as a cultural worker in the black arts movement, even after a close reading of Mao's classic Talks on Art and Literature at Yenun Forum, one can be deceived by artistic opportunism and elitism. Ancestor Amiri Baraka warned artists not to submit to the toxin of elitism. The bourgeoisie will attempt to satisfy starving artists with kibbles and bits. And artists suffering the toxin of elitism and opportunism will succumb to the world of make believe and conspicuous consumption.

In summary,  North American Africans must guard against being deceived by all forces in the universe, most especially, the evil within himself/herself, for what is the greatest Jihad or Holy War? Answer: To win one's own soul!

One must individually and collectively maintain focus on the North American African Agenda, not the multi-cultural mirage, leading to nothingness and dread. Yes, we must cultivate our own vine and tree! Look at the heavenly gardens Rasta Man/Woman have created. Look at the fruit thereof, look at the children who honor ancestors, elders, parents, children and the yet unborn.

We shall not be subjected to monopoly capitalists or socialists. We are revolutionary black African nationalists. Have no mistake about this. We are in the spirit of Marcus Garvey and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And we love Malcolm X. Have no mistake about this. We understand revolution is not a pretty thang. Revolution is violent, contrary to our beloved brother Malcolm X, even the socalled Negro revolution was/is violent!
--Marvin X

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Emergency support needed to purchase Black Arts Movement Retreat and Recovery Center

On Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 7:41:22 PM PST, Marvin X Jackmon wrote:

Poet/essayist Marvin X in the door of the apartment where he spent five years in solitude in Cherokee CA, down the road from :Paradise Ca. that was totally destroyed in the Camp Fire.
photo Adam Turner

Marvin X reading on the bench where he often wrote in solitude for five years, 99 per cent of the time he was alone. nor did he have sex during his five years writing and healing from the death of his son and partner, Oakland High School English teacher Marsha Satterfield. Kwame Satterfield is the first cousin of Dr.;Cornel West and the stepson of Marvin X. When Cornel comes to the Bay, Marvin often sits with the West family.

Dear friends, comrades and fellow artists:

In the name of the Black Arts Movement, we need your support to purchase a 11 1/2 acre property in Cherokee CA. This property was owned by my Patron Abdul Leroy James RIP. It is now owned by his brother Hasan Larry M James. The main house burned down in the recent Camp Fire that destroyed the entire town of Paradise. This property is a few miles away in Cherokee CA. The one bedroom apartment and two guest rooms remain in tact. I lived in solitude on the estate and occupied the still standing apartment for five years during which I wrote the   following five books: 

How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a manual based on the 12 Step Mode of AA
Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays
Land of My Daughters, poems
In the Crazy House Called America, essays
Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, essaysa

After five years of solitude, I experienced neural placidity, i.e., the transformation of my brain cells. BAM Master Sun Ra once said, "Where can the black man/woman go for RR?" Let us reply to Master Sun Ra, co-founder of BAM and Afro-Futurism, in the affirmative. Sunny, we have a space. But we must moveb expeditiously for investors made offers to Larry James on the day of our inspection of the property. Only minutes after Hasan James signed a modification of selling price. We may be able to convince Mr. James to grant us a 90 day option on the property, although is exhausted and suffering grief and sorrow at the transition of his beloved brother, Abdul. 

West Oakland product, Real Estate investor Abdul Leroy James

Marvin X's Patron RIP, also patron of the Bay Area Black Arts and Liberation Movements.

Aside from supporting Marvin X's literary projects, Abdul helped produce Marvin's community projects:

Melvin Black Forum on Human Rights, Oakland Auditorium, 1979

National Conference of Black Men, Oakland Auditorium, 1980

One Day in the Life, a docudrama of Crack addiction and recovery, including Marvin's last encounter with his friend Black Panther Co-founder, Dr. Huey P. Newton, in a West Oakland Crack House, 1996-2002, the longest running black play in Northern California Black theatre history, a recovery community cult classic.

Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness Concert, San Francisco State University, 2001.

San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair, Tenderloin, San Francisco CA., 2004.

I give all honor and respect to my Patron Abdul LeRoy James RIP and his brother Hasan Larry James. 

As result of the fire, the property is up for sale for $275,000. We would like to purchase the property for an artist's retreat and recovery center. 

Most often in his five years of solitude, Marvin wrote on this bench, usually in the nude as there was nothing nearby except deer, wild turkeys, hawk. Visitors came and wanted to kill all living things. Marvin told them to kill nothing, e.g., birds, bees, ants, flies, spiders, nothing. When the bee comes into my house, I tell him to leave, tell the fly the same, even gnates. 

If you would like to make a generous donation to obtain this beautiful land as a community property, please let me know ASAP. Your donation can be tax deductible. Thanks.
Marvin X
BAM Co-founder

Dr. Cornel West and Marvin X 
in Philly to support Mumia Abu Jamal

I applaud Cornel West for  his critique of Prez Obama. No one is above criticism. Cornel is right: we must respect him, secure him but check him!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Philly musician Elliott Bey on Marvin X's Notes

Elliott Bey, Philadelphia musician and student of Marvin X, describes his teacher's Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X as a dose of, "Literary fentanyl, opioid and heroin combined! It will kill the pain of oppression and inspire the oppressed to seek liberation, personal and national. Marvin X takes no prisoners, leaves no crops standing in the manner of David. Marvin X is solid, he don't bend!" 

Some time ago, Elliott Bey instructed people on how to read Marvin's work. "Read it like you go to a buffet, i.e., read a little then let his words digest in your brain. Then go back for more. If you read too much at one time it can be overwhelming and may lead to overdose."

Elliot Bey, Philadelphia keyboard genius and associate of Marvin X, performed with Marvin, members of the Sun Ra Arkestra and Rufus Harley on a classic recording at Philly's Warm Daddies, Marvin X calls 37 Minutes of Jazz History. Bey performs with Marvin X coast to coast, e.g., Penn University Poetry Session produced by Maurice Henderson; the Germantown WMCA with Marvin, Sonia Sanchez and the Sun Ra Arkestra. On the West Coast, Bey accompanied Marvin's production of the Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness, also the San Francisco Theatre Festival at Yerba Buena Center.

Poet/Essayist/Educator/Activist Marvin X after his lecture/discussion in Davey D's Hip Hop class at
San Francisco State University, Marvin X's alma mater. He was a founding member of the Black Students Union.
photo Davey D

Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X 
Now Available
Order your copy from
Black Bird Press
requested donation
call 510-575-7148
credit cards accepted

New Logo and Identity for PayPal by fuseproject

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Marvin X new poem: The Smart People

The Smart People

Marvin X reading at the University of Chicago, 2015
photo Burrell Sunrise

The smart people
smarter than God people
God did not create Smart people
Smart people created God
gave birth to the God idea
There was no God before smart people
They are the mothers and fathers of God
Smart people made God in their image power glory
They define God
He does not define Smart people
Smart people marry trees dogs horses cows
do anything their hearts desire
murder lie steal rape plunder lands
destroy souls of men women children
The lands of smart people
havens of every filthy unclean bird
God cannot save smart people
nor will smart people save God.
--Marvin X

Monday, December 10, 2018

Now Available from Black Bird Press, Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X

Poet/Essayist/Educator/Activist Marvin X after his lecture/discussion in Davey D's Hip Hop class at
San Francisco State University, Marvin X's alma mater. He was a founding member of the Black Students Union.
photo Davey D

Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X 
Now Available
Order your copy from
Black Bird Press
requested donation
call 510-575-7148
credit cards accepted

Marvin X
Poet, playwright, essayist, educator, activist
University of Chicago, 2015
photo Burrell Sunrise

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Marvin X speaks at San Francisco State University and reads at the Beat Museum

Marvin X spoke at his alma mater 
San Francisco State University

Poet/activist Marvin X with San Francisco State University Students after his lecture/discussion in Davey D's class on Hip Hop
photo Davey D

This afternoon (12/4/18) Marvin X spoke for two hours in Davey D's class on Hip Hop, informing students on the connection between the Black Arts Movement and Hip Hop.
Before he began, Davey D showed the video of Marvin X reading at Yoshi's San Francisco, introduced by Amiri Baraka before Baraka and Roscoe Mitchell of the Chicago Art Ensemble performed. Marvin read his poem In the Name of Love. 

Although Marvin X participated in the Black Arts Movement coast to coast, West coast folks want to claim him, although he was critical in the formation of BAM coast to coast. His writing career began at Oakland's Merritt College when he won a prize in Merritt's literary magazine. His short story Delicate Child was reprinted in the Revolutionary Action Movement's journal SoulBook, edited by Kenny Freeman, aka Mamadou Lumumba. SoulBook was a critical journal of the revolutionary black nationalist movement. 

Davey D asked him to explain differences between Black Arts Movement West and East. The poet said firstly, as per the West coast, we must begin at Merritt College on Grove Street, aka MLK,Jr., Drive and the Afro American Association under the leadership of Khalid Abdullah Al Mansour, aka Attorney Donald Warden. We cannot discuss culture and consciousness without explaining the importance of the AAA. It was critical to African and Black consciousness in the Bay. The Black Panther Party evolved from the AAA, the Black Arts Movement and Black Studies. Kwanza no doubt originated with the AAA, especially since Maulana Ron Karenga was the Los Angeles representative of the AAA. 

The AAA held rap sessions on the steps of Merritt or Oakland City College, along with book sessions in the community and on street corners. Merritt students, whether associated with the AAA or not, were influenced by it and also had independent study sessions on such topics as the deconstruction of such books as Black Bourgeoisie by E. Franklin Frazier,Wretched of the Earth by Dr. Frantz Fanon, Facing Mt. Kenya by Jomo Kenyatta and Neo-colonialism: the Last Stage of Imperialism by Kwame Nkrumah. We also studied the writngs of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong.


Marvin X on Tour
Now booking coast to coast

Marvin X reading at University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference, 2015
photo Burrell Sunrise

December 4
San Francisco State University, Davey D's Hip Hop Class, 4pm

December 5
Reading at the Beat Museum with other anti-capitalist poets from anthology Overthrowing Capitalism Vol.5, Columbus and Broadway, North Beach, San Francisco

Marvin X opened the event with his contribution to the anthology: Sunrise Over Damascus
photo Deon Whitmore

Sunrise Over Damascus

Sunrise Over Damascus
Saul fell on damascus road
became paul
persecutor to liberator
paul's christology mythologized slavery
servants be obedient to your masters
official sermon of black slave preachers
mlk's mentor howard thurman mama told him
boy read me the bible
stop when you get to paul
don 't wanna hear bout obedient servants
yes mama
howard thurman said
mlk plagiarized his mentor in I have a dream
sunrise over damascus
primordial city rich history
down road to Jerusalem
house of peace with no peace
land of Canaan
brother of Egyptians
then came Abraham
Sarah Hajar
Jews Arabs
Isaac Ishmael 
ancient times no peace
no peace now
land of prophets
Jeremiah Isaiah 
told us wickedness
where are the prophets of now
so needed at the gates of Jerusalem Damascus
Lebanon Egypt Iraq Persia
armies near Jerusalem to destroy what
what is not destroyed already
the people are dead souls in the dead sea
cedars of lebanon burn sweet incense of death
frankincense myrrh burn in the holy temple for naught
biblical prophesy
end is near
who is there to see sunrise over damascus
saudi arabia
usa usa 
gulf states
where is saladin the kurd
who is richard lionhearted
who is not 
persia rises again
from Tigris Euphrates to Mediterranean
can we stop history
fulfill whose mythology
jewish christian islam
myth is myth
my story his/her story
sunrise over damascus
a million dead
how many poison gas dead
dead is dead
no matter how
blood bones is blood bones
a million dead
bullets bombs poison gas no matter
what mind game is this
dead are dead
no matter how
no matter why
we cry for syria
we cry
sunrise over damascus.
--Marvin X

Marvin X holding the Beat classic poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg
photo Deon Whitmore

Beat sign

December 15
Reading from Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X, Charles Wright Museum, Detroit, Michigan
Saturday, 2-4pm.

January 2019
Brothers Network brings Marvin X to Philly for reading and book signing. Musical genius Elliott Bey will
provide sounds to accompany his beloved Master Teacher.
February 2019
Dr. Ayodele Nzinga Producer
Marvin X, BAM Co-founder
Senior Consultant

In Concert: Marvin X reading from his dramatic works
Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam
Woman on Cell Phone
Fictional interview with President Obama
Driving Miss Libby
Parable of a Real Woman
Parable of the Heart

Note: Marvin X will exhibit his archives as a founding member of the National Black Arts Movement, the most
radical literary and artistic movement in American history.

Late 2019
Austin, Texas
Marvin X reading, accompanied by the Sun Ra Arkestra on the 400th Anniversary of Africans arriving in the Americas as captured Africans in the American Slave System (Ed Howard term, Oakland).

Now booking for lecture/dramatic readings coast to coast at colleges, conferences, festivals, workshops

Contact Marvin X:
send letter of invitation to:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Detroit: Marvin X, the Human Earthquake will hit December 15, 2-4PM at the Charles Wright Museum, reading from his latest book Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X

I Wish I was a weak nigga

Marvin X reading at the University of Chicago Sun Ra Conference on Afro-futurism, 2015
photo Burrell Sunrise

I wish I was a weak nigga and I don't even know why. But I'm standing on the shoulders of so many strong niggas, I can't be a weak nigga if I wanted. I'm standing on the shoulders of so many warrior men and women, including Mama and Daddy, I can't be a weak nigga!

I'm standing on the shoulders of prison niggas who told me on the big yard, "Marvin X, you the smartest, you the minister." He told the other brother he was the secretary and he, himself, was the captain. Election over, meeting Sunday in the prison chapel. And we met!

I'm standing on the shoulders of strong niggas. Captain Edward X of Los Angeles FOI, drilled us chanting, "We FOI, we ain't no punks, no sissies, no squares, we FOI, soldiers in the name of Allah! March, march time march. left right left. about face, left right left, about face, march time march!"