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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    RACE IN AMERICA: The Grand Denial

    Publié le par hort

     www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.comRACE IN AMERICA: The Grand Denial

      Denial is quite simply the evasion of reality. Denial can be personal or communal, for sometimes an entire nation can be in denial about its abominations, for they are too painful to make adjustments in the collective psyche and the personal reality, for to do so would incriminate the mythology and ritual of said society, and thus the normal daily round would be disrupted and dysfunctional, for painful adjustments would be in order, and as long as we can avoid the painful the better, after all, the status quo can be maintained.


     
    Americahas lived in grand denial. In the words of Baldwin white supremacy has caused this nation to believe in rationalizations so fantastic it approaches the pathological. She has lived among slaves and masters and the descendants of slaves and masters far too long without any meaningful degree of reconciliation or compensation, even apology is long overdue. Other colonial societies such as the French and Australia recently apologized for colonialism, but not America , the chief colonizer of the modern world. She is mainly guilty of domestic colonialism, having enslaved the Native Americans, and then kidnapped millions of Africans who were brought to these shores for eternal servitude. After emancipation, America promised the freed Africans a few acres and a mule, but never delivered. She promised freedom after her slaves provided 200,000 troops who were decisive in the Civil War, but disarmed them and returned them to virtual slavery called Reconstruction, which was short-lived and essentially put the freed slaves in neo-servitude, at the whim of terrorists known as Klu Klux Klan.

     
    White America benefited from four centuries of slavery and neo-slavery. The neo slaves fought in her imperial wars against fascism abroad but were subjected to fascism upon returning home. A few slaves benefited from slavery, even having slaves themselves, yet in the end found themselves facing the glass ceiling, especially when they refused to be running dogs for imperialism now called globalism. General Colin Powell is the most recent example. America duped him and made a fool of him before the world when he gave his fabricated United Nation’s speech to justify the invasion of Iraq . He was replaced with a more pliant Negress in the person of Condi Rice. We are urged to recognize racial progress in her shameful role as Secretary of State. We have achieved equality, for have we not placed ourselves (African Americans) in the position to be charged with war crimes, having justified the slaughter of a million Iraqi men, women and children in the unprovoked occupation and destruction of the jewel of Arabic culture and civilization?

     
    But in our grand denial, blacks as well as whites will attempt to convince the world this point of view is left wing poppycock, the thoughts of a disgruntled segment of the black Americans who have failed to enjoy the benefits of capitalism, now globalism--no matter the disparities in birth and death, education, wage parity, housing, health care, homicide and suicide, in every aspect of Americana.
     To mention race is to open a can of worms best left unopened because it makes Americans nervous, uneasy, and disturbed mentally if not physically. White Americans are made to feel guilty, thus etiquette demands no mention of race in civil discourse or casual conversation because we are all too sensitive and the endgame might be violence of the worse kind. And so we are mostly silent on the subject until this ugly monster of our body politic raises its head as it inevitably  does from time to time, then after the most brief discussion, all sides are urged to sweep it under the carpet until the next round. Thus this racial drama continues ad infinitum without any real resolution and certainly no reconciliation.

     
    We may have a plethora of interracial marriages with the resultant biracial children, yet nothing has been solved except for a kind of don’t ask don’t talk racial harmony, along with the children growing up in racial confusion called the tragic mulatto syndrome, whereby they try as best they can to choose sides in this racial drama without end. Clearly, Barak Obama is caught between the racism of his preacher and white grandmother. His endgame will be of great interest to the world at large, and even if he doesn’t become president of the US , he will have a role to play in racial politics globally

    .
    Obviously, his persona is bigger than America , having an African father and a Muslim middle name (Hussein) that has endeared him to the Islamic world, no matter the outcome of the presidential election. With his now classic speech on race, putting himself in league with Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise and Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream, Obama, much to his dismay, has now become a Race Man, in the classic sense of that term whose definition escapes all but those of historical consciousness, which is most of us, black and white—except that we must now realize there is only the human race, except for those in league with me who claim membership in the Divine Race.

     
    America’s Grand Denial can only be overcome by recovery from our racist white supremacy heritage, beginning by accepting the scientific definition of the human race (or Divine, if you agree with my spiritual notion), then entering a program of detoxification, recovery and discovery.  Detoxification includes deprogramming our white supremacy values of domination and exploitation, including patriarchal authority and capitalist greed that has led us to the present recession/depression worldwide. The free market economy is nothing more than pimping by gunboat diplomacy. You sell me your labor and natural resources at the cheapest price or I will take them at gunpoint, under the guise of bringing you democracy—an advance from the naked colonial era of spreading Christianity.
     Recovery is discarding the Grand Denial that there is a problem or that the problem has been remedied, therefore stop making whites the villain and blacks the victim, in fact, forget the entire matter—although blacks already suffer acute amnesia to the degree that they are a danger to themselves and others.  And who would tell a Jew to forget the Holocaust? And does not the Jew remind the world at every turn what the Germans did to them? We have a thousand times more right to tell the world what happened to us than any Jew, for our suffering lasted four centuries, not four or five  years. For their four or five years (1939-1945) the Jews were given a state while we have not acquired one acre for four centuries (1619-2008) of slave labor and government sanctioned terror that even Hitler emulated with his destruction of the Jews.
     In order to recover from the addiction to white supremacy, America must make a searching and fearless moral inventory; she must admit to God the exact nature of her wrongs; be ready to have God remove her defects of character (being saved by the grace of Jesus Christ has not and will not solve America’s white supremacy addiction—the white Christian mythology allowed us to be burned on the cross or lynching tree—yes, strangely similar to Jesus). Rev. James Cone suggests America can only recover from the addiction to white supremacy by coming to an understanding of the relationship of the cross and the lynching tree. Listen to Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit and ponder the life of Jesus Christ. You have had Jesus in your midst for over four hundred years and crucified him on a daily basis, even unto this present hour. America must examine her census, her graveyards in the south and north, the bills of sale, the insurance policies, her jail and prison inmates, the mental hospital patients gone mad as a result of white supremacy addiction—then make a list of all the Africans harmed, the Native Americans, the poor whites treated worse than you treated niggers—then make amends to such people, including reparations in the form of land and sovereignty.
     Discovery for America in general will be when she accepts the radicalization of her culture to bring it in harmony with the global village, which involves the dismantling of institutions that perpetuate domination and exploitation of her citizens and other peace loving peoples throughout the world. If America persists in her Grand Denial, then she must prepare for her self destruction, for it shall come at the hands of the man in the mirror, not from any external forces.
     Dr. M is the author of How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, A Pan African 13 Step Model, Black Bird Press, Berkeley CA. mxjackmon@yahoo.com

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    Magal in Touba: Senegalese trek to Muslim festival

    • 21 November 2016
    Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descended on Senegal's holy city of Touba for the annual Magal festival over the weekend.
    The Magal is a holy day for the Mouride sect, which overwhelmingly practises a moderate Sufi version of Islam, emphasising the power of hard work. It is marked by travel over long distances, feasting and expressions of brotherly love.

     
    The Baye Fall - a sub-sect of the Mourides - are known for their patchwork clothes and dreadlocks. Some also drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, and don't fast during Ramadan, unlike most Muslims. Nigguh Muslims! lol



    The Mouride sect was founded by Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, a religious leader in Senegal during the time of French colonisation. It is now one of the country's biggest and most influential. These disciples prepare lunch for some of the pilgrims attending the annual Magal.
     

    Ahmadou Bamba was buried in the city of Touba, where a huge mosque has been built. Many of his descendents have become local spiritual guides, or marabouts. Each Mouride will pledge allegiance to one such guide.  

    Ahmadou Bamba founded Touba city in 1887 and it is now said to be the second biggest in Senegal, with an official population of about 1.5 million people, reportedly doubling in size during the Magal. Feeding such huge crowds is a major undertaking and hundreds of cows were slaughtered.  Many of the Senegalese living and working abroad are Mourides and people travelled to Touba from New York, Paris and Rome, as well as the capital, Dakar, 200km (125 miles) west of the holy city.
     
    Pilgrims show remarkable dedication to make it to Touba. Reports say at least 16 people were killed in road accidents while heading to the celebrations. 
     


    People filled up every space available in public transport vehicles to make it to the weekend-long festivities, which have been declared a national holiday. 
     
     Feeding such huge crowds is a major undertaking and hundreds of cows were slaughtered. 
     
     
    For some, camel meat is also considered a  delicacy.

    Apart from cooking, the Baye Fall also act as security guards during the annual pilgrimage. 


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    Oakland Coalition Wins Community Benefits from Wood Partners Downtown Apartment Development

    BAMBD lead planner Ayodele Nzinga (left) and Lailan Huen  of the Chinatown Coalition for Equitable Development, spoke Monday evening at the Oakland City Council meeting. Photo Ken Epstein.
    Representatives of a community and labor coalition this week declared a victory in their six-month fight to win community benefits from Wood Partners’ 262-unit, one square-block apartment development, winning significant changes in an agreement that had been approved by the city’s Planning Commission without community input.

    “We engaged with Wood Partners over a six-month period and successfully closed a community benefit agreement this morning,” said Ayodele Nzinga, a representative of the Black Arts Movement Business District (BAMBD), speaking at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

    “We’d like to see some equity in the planning process, giving the community not only the right to engage the developers but also the support (community members) need to be successful in those efforts.”

    The Wood Partners’ project will be built at 226 13th St. in downtown Oakland.

    In addition to BAMBD, groups involved in the coalition included Chinatown Coalition for Equitable Development, labor unions involved with East Bay Residents for Responsible Development and Block by Block Organizing Network.

    The community benefits agreement, valued at $2.2 million, includes a 20 percent local hire goal, $250,000 contributed to anti-displacement programs and $100,000 to the Cypress Mandela job training center to train construction apprentices, according to Lailan Huen of the Chinatown Coalition and Block by Block.

    The agreement also contributes $675,000 to help build 60 units of affordable housing in the area and affordable retail space for small businesses and artists in the Black Arts Movement Business District.

    Speaking to the council, coalition members called on the city to overhaul the Planning Commission and development approval procedures.

    “We don’t want to have to come here for every development project. So we need you to start working with us to pass citywide policies over the next year,” said Huen.

    “We need to change the Planning Commission to be diverse, to represent the various neighborhoods of Oakland,” she said. “They can’t just come from Claremont (or) from Rockridge (districts).”

    Huen said the commission should be reorganized so that there are specific seats for “community advocates.”

    At present she said, many Planning Commission members are connected to commercial development, gaining financially from the development industry.

    According to former Mayor Jean Quan, who also spoke at the meeting, a number of the disputes about developments can be traced to city staff not telling developers that they have to deal with the community.

    “(Wood Partners) got the impression that they could build a whole block right in the middle of Chinatown and only meet with the community once, and they got that impression from staff,” said Quan.

    In addition, she said, developers are given variances, such as being told by staff that they do not have to build parking, which can save them between $6 million and $10 million, and staff “doesn’t ask them for any community benefits.”

    Pamela Drake, representing Block by Block, talked about the qualifications for hiring a new director of planning and building for the city.

    The new director should be someone “with experience working with the community and who recognizes that community benefits should be an everyday part of the planning process, not something we have to fight for at the other end,” said Drake.

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     Marvin  X, Laney College Theatre, 2016
    photo Alicia Mason

    Marvin X and oldest daughter Nefertiti (The beautiful one has come). Laney College,
    Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary celebration, 2015
    photo Ken Johnson

    I love this man who is forever optimistic in a world filled with daily tragedies, myths and lies. He is not delusional about the existence of such filth which causes the weak to walk bent over and on a jagged path. He just continues to insist on pushing forward, walking upright and going higher, rising above the fray and the frivolity that causes lesser beings to collapse, breakdown and give in.

    He insists that knowledge can enlighten us all. He continues to seek after truth and consumes truth from the right, the left, the moderates, Muslims, Christians and as many other sources as are present, discriminating only against sources which seek to dumb down the masses.

    He is a man who continues to dream and pushes others to dream big with him. Your interest or belief in his dream matters not. He waters, plants, nourishes until the fruits come forth.

    Ashe' to a seeker of truth.
    Ashe' to a dreamer of dreams.
    Ashe' to a liver of dreams manifested.

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    Marvin X and oldest daughter Nefertiti (The beautiful one has come). Laney College,
    Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary celebration, 2015
    photo Ken Johnson
    I love this man who is forever optimistic in a world filled with daily tragedies, myths and lies. He is not delusional about the existence of such filth which causes the weak to walk bent over and on a jagged path. He just continues to insist on pushing forward, walking upright and going higher, rising above the fray and the frivolity that causes lesser beings to collapse, breakdown and give in.

    He insists that knowledge can enlighten us all. He continues to seek after truth and consumes truth from the right, the left, the moderates, Muslims, Christians and as many other sources as are present, discriminating only against sources which seek to dumb down the masses.

    He is a man who continues to dream and pushes others to dream big with him. Your interest or belief in his dream matters not. He waters, plants, nourishes until the fruits come forth.

    Ashe' to a seeker of truth.
    Ashe' to a dreamer of dreams.
    Ashe' to a liver of dreams manifested.



    Marvin X reading "Dope" by Amiri Baraka, accompanied by David Murray and Earle Davis
    Malcolm X Jazz Festival, Oakland CA

    Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka and Marvin X


     Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
    photo Jahahara

     Marvin and actor Danny Glover, BAM founders, both attended San Francisco State University
    photo Ken Johnson

     Angela Davis, Marvin X and Sonia Sanchez. Governor Ronald Reagan banned Angela from teaching at UCLA, banned Marvin X from teaching at Fresno State University, 1969.


    Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Marvin calls it the most dangerous classroom in the world. Across the street is the Oscar Grant Plaza where protests rally occur regularly, i.e., Oscar Grant protests, anti-police rallies, Occupy Oakland, Black Lives Matter, anti-Trump.
    From his Academy of da Corner,, Marvin helped plan the Black Arts Movement Business District. The BAMBD newspaper The Movement is edited on da corner with designer Standing Rock.
    photo Standing Rock

    Amiri Baraka (RIP), BPP co-founder Bobby Seale, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, BAMBD planner, founder of The Lower Bottom Playaz, Ahi Baraka, son of Amiri Baraka, BAM/BAMBD co-founder, Marvin X
    photo Gene Hazzard

    Marvin X at Laney College Theatre reading from his play Salaam, Huey, Salaam, about his last meeting with BPP co-founder Dr. Huey P. Newton in a West Oakland Crack house.
    photo Alicia Mason

    Bio of Marvin X
    Marvin X was born May 29, 1944, Fowler CA, nine miles south of Fresno in the central valley of California. In Fresno his parents published the Fresno Voice, a black newspaper.
    Marvin attended Oakland’s Merritt College where he encountered fellow students how became Black Panther Party co-founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. They taught him black nationalism.  Marvin’s first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced by the Drama department at San Francisco State University, 1965.  Marvin X dropped out to established his own Black Arts West Theatre in the Fillmore, 1966, along with playwright Ed Bullins. Months later Marvin would co-found Black House with Eldridge Cleaver, 1967.
    Marvin introduced  Eldridge Cleaver to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.  Eldridge immediately joined the Black Panther Party.  Huey Newton said, “Marvin X was my teacher, many of our comrades came from his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver,  Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier.”
    One of the movers and shakers of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) Marvin X has published 30 books, including essays, poetry, and his autobiography Somethin’ Proper. Important books include Fly to Allah, poems, Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, and How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a manual based on the 12 step Recovery model.
    Marvin received his MA in English/Creative writing from San Francisco State University, 1975. He has taught at San Francisco State University, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley and San Diego, Mills College, Merritt and Laney Colleges in Oakland, University of Nevada, Reno.  He lectures coast to coast at such colleges and universities as University of Arkansas, University of Houston, Morehouse and Spelman, Atlanta, University of Virginia, Howard University, Univ. of Penn, Temple Univ., Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, UMASS, Boston.
    His latest book is the Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley. He currently teaches at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, “Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."

    For speaking, readings and performance, contact Marvin X @ jmarvinx@yahoo.com,
    510-200-4164. www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com


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    cover design by Mical Free, photo Kamau Amen Ra (rip)
     
    Son of Man, 1968, was published while Marvin X was underground in Harlem NY. The FBI was on his trail because he refused to fight in Vietnam. Aftrer a second exile in Mexico City and Belize, Central America, he was captured and deported back to the USA. He served time in Terminal Island Federal Prison. See his court speech in The Black Scholar magazine, April/May 1971.
    photo Doug Harris
     
     
    According to Muslim American professor Dr. Mohja Kahf, Fly to Allah, 1968, is the seminal work in the genre she declared as Muslim American literature.  Marvin X and other Black Arts Movement poets such as Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure and Sonia Sanchez  are considered the founders of Muslim American literature and must be honored as such.
     
    Marvin X at rally in support of Gaza, Seattle WA.

     Black Arts Movement Business District artists/activists, Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland CA. On January 19, 2016, the Oakland City Council officially declared the Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor, from the lower bottom to Lake Merritt.

     Harlem NY reception for Marvin X at the home of Rashidah Ismaili


    Mythology of Pussy and Dick is an 18 page pamphlet more powerful and more often requested  than all of Marvin's 30 books combined. It has liberated men, women and children. According to poet Paradise Jah Love, "They grab it as if it's black gold!". The 400 page version will be released soon. "Why should I release the 400 page version, they can't absorb the 18 pages!" Quitta and Marvin X. Yes, she quit him but it wasn't about pussy and dick.

     Black Arts/Black Power Babies Conference, Brooklyn NY, an intergenerational discussion produced by Muhammida El Muhajir.


    Marvin X and Laney College President Dr. Elnora T. Webb in planning session for the Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary Celebration at Laney College, Oakland, 2015
    photo Standing Rock


     

     Marvin X speaking at national speakout for Imam Jamil Alamin, Bobby Hutton Park, Oakland CA,2016
    photo Ras Ceylon
     Black Panther Party Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver and Marvin X. X and Cleaver established the political/cultural center in San Francisco known as Black House, 1967. Marvin X introduced him to the Black Panthers and officiated his memorial service in Oakland.
    photo Kareem Muhammad

    My Friend the Devil, Marvin X's memoir of his friend, Eldridge Cleaver. He wrote memoir in three weeks while on a book tour. He published each chapter daily on www.nathanielturner.com. The book was literally written in cyberspace. BAM playwright Jimmy Garrett said it was the funniest book of 2009. People asked him why he called Cleaver the devil? He replied, "Didn't you call him the devil?"
    Usually there is stone silence.
    cover design Standing Rock

    University of Houston, Africana Studies Chair Conyus and Marvin X who spoke with students on his national book tour

    Marvin X and oldest daughter Nefertiti (The beautiful one has come). Laney College,
    Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary celebration, 2015
    photo Ken Johnson

    Marvin X in heaven, i.e., in the  presence of beautiful, intelligent, revolutionary women. Black Arts Movement  and Women's panel, Laney College BAM 50th anniversary. L to R: Elaine Brown, Halifu Osumare, Judy Juanita, Portia Anderson, Kujichagulia, Aries Jordan
    photo Ken Johnson

     Nefertiti's Thanksgiving Message on her father, 2016

    I love this man who is forever optimistic in a world filled with daily tragedies, myths and lies. He is not delusional about the existence of such filth which causes the weak to walk bent over and on a jagged path. He just continues to insist on pushing forward, walking upright and going higher, rising above the fray and the frivolity that causes lesser beings to collapse, breakdown and give in.

    He insists that knowledge can enlighten us all. He continues to seek after truth and consumes truth from the right, the left, the moderates, Muslims, Christians and as many other sources as are present, discriminating only against sources which seek to dumb down the masses.

    He is a man who continues to dream and pushes others to dream big with him. Your interest or belief in his dream matters not. He waters, plants, nourishes until the fruits come forth.

    Ashe' to a seeker of truth.
    Ashe' to a dreamer of dreams.
    Ashe' to a liver of dreams manifested.





    Marvin X reading "Dope" by Amiri Baraka, accompanied by David Murray and Earle Davis
    Malcolm X Jazz Festival, Oakland CA

    Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka and Marvin X

    Poet, playwright, activist Amiri Baraka (RIP) and Marvin X, who shared a 47 year friendship as artistic freedom fighters and founders of the Black Arts Movement. Baraka said of his comrade in the arts, "Marvin has always been  in the forefront of Pan African writing. Indeed, he is one of the innovators and founders of the new revolutionary school of African writing."
     
    Poets gathered at New York University for the memorial services of poets Jayne Cortez and
    Amiri Baraka


    Marvin X and BAM mystic musician Sun Ra outside Marvin's Black Educational Theatre, San Francisco, 1972. Both were teaching at UC Berkeley at this time. Sun Ra arranged the musical version of Marvin's play Take Care of Business. They produced a five hour concert of the production with a cast of 50 and no intermission at the Harding Theatre, Divisadero Street, San Francisco. The Ellendar Barnes and Raymond Sawyer dancers also participated.

     Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who said, "Marvin X is a  wonderful personality. He never ceases to amaze me!"
    photo Jahahara


     Marvin and actor Danny Glover, BAM founders, both attended San Francisco State University
    photo Ken Johnson

     Angela Davis, Marvin X and Sonia Sanchez. Governor Ronald Reagan banned Angela from teaching at UCLA, banned Marvin X from teaching at Fresno State University, 1969.


     
    Contributors to the anthology Black Hollywood unchained, edited by Ishmael Reed. Panel discussion at San Francisco Main Library, July 3,2016. L to R: Justin Desmangles, Jesse Allen Taylor, Dr. Halifu Osumare, Marvin X and Ishmael Reed.


    Marvin X, grandson Jah Amiel, film director Stanley Nelson, MX's daughter Attorney Amira Jackmon and granddaughter Naeema Joy at Berkeley screening of Nelson's Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. Marvin  made a brief appearance.




    Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Marvin calls it the most dangerous classroom in the world. Across the street is the Oscar Grant Plaza where protests rally occur regularly, i.e., Oscar Grant protests, anti-police rallies, Occupy Oakland, Black Lives Matter, anti-Trump.
    From his Academy of da Corner,, Marvin helped plan the Black Arts Movement Business District. The BAMBD newspaper The Movement is edited on da corner with designer Standing Rock.
    photo Standing Rock


    Amiri Baraka (RIP), BPP co-founder Bobby Seale, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, BAMBD planner, founder of The Lower Bottom Playaz, Ahi Baraka, son of Amiri Baraka, BAM/BAMBD co-founder, Marvin X
    photo Gene Hazzard


    Marvin X at Laney College Theatre reading from his play Salaam, Huey, Salaam, about his last meeting with BPP co-founder Dr. Huey P. Newton in a West Oakland Crack house.
    photo Alicia Mason

    Bio of Marvin X
    Marvin X was born May 29, 1944, Fowler CA, nine miles south of Fresno in the central valley of California. In Fresno his parents published the Fresno Voice, a black newspaper.
    Marvin attended Oakland’s Merritt College where he encountered fellow students how became Black Panther Party co-founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. They taught him black nationalism.  Marvin’s first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced by the Drama department at San Francisco State University, 1965.  Marvin X dropped out to established his own Black Arts West Theatre in the Fillmore, 1966, along with playwright Ed Bullins. Months later Marvin would co-found Black House with Eldridge Cleaver, 1967.
    Marvin introduced  Eldridge Cleaver to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.  Eldridge immediately joined the Black Panther Party.  Huey Newton said, “Marvin X was my teacher, many of our comrades came from his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver,  Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier.”
    One of the movers and shakers of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) Marvin X has published 30 books, including essays, poetry, and his autobiography Somethin’ Proper. Important books include Fly to Allah, poems, Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, and How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a manual based on the 12 step Recovery model.
    Marvin received his MA in English/Creative writing from San Francisco State University, 1975. He has taught at San Francisco State University, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley and San Diego, Mills College, Merritt and Laney Colleges in Oakland, University of Nevada, Reno.  He lectures coast to coast at such colleges and universities as University of Arkansas, University of Houston, Morehouse and Spelman, Atlanta, University of Virginia, Howard University, Univ. of Penn, Temple Univ., Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, UMASS, Boston.
    His latest book is the Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley. He currently teaches at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, “Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."

    For speaking, readings and performance, contact Marvin X @ jmarvinx@yahoo.com,
    510-200-4164. www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com


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    Maestro Marvin X, Laney College Theatre, 2016
    photo Alicia Mason

    Time

    People living like they got forever
    tomorrow is almost here
    afraid to enjoy the blessings of God
    afraid to love
    be loved
    blindly praying when God has already answered
    Time
    look at your children
    growing learning asking wanting seeking
    make a world for them
    make your mark in history
    time
    it's hard to struggle sacrifice
    our women don't like it
    our children don't like it
    we push on
    gotta have ma freedom
    gotta have ma freedom today
    rewards few hours long
    we wonder where the years went
    children tell us
    they have not learned to lie
    we wonder what will they be
    but what path have we cut for them
    what roads did we map
    there are  snakes in the jungle
    lions in the  forest foxes in the  woods
    what roads are safe
    what are the magic words of life
    what is the message of our ancestors
    don't you hear them calling
    saying rise up be free
    rise up be free
    don't give up rise up
    don't give up rise up
    time.
    --Marvin X/El Muhajir
    from Liberation Poems for North American Africans by Marvin X, Al Kitab Sudan Press/Black Bird Press, Oakland CA., 1983.


    POEM FOR FIDEL 

     Fidel and Malcolm X in Harlem
    Long live the revolutionary spirit of Fidel and Malcolm X!

    Mandela and Fidel
    Who helped South Africa's liberation, America or Fidel's Cuba? Long live Fidel, long live the Cuban revolution!

    History will absolve me he said
    Huey, Bobby and me read his speech at Merritt College, 1962
    read Nkrumah Mandela Lumumba Mao Che Malcolm
    Elijah Garvey

    Last Poets Filipe said to me and audience at NYU
    Memorial for Jayne Cortez and Amiri Baraka
    Marvin X you a bad motherfucker
    Por favor Filipe
    El Fidel is the bad motherfucker of the hour and all times
    defied eleven presidents of the united snakes
    Fidel  is the bad motherfucker
    defied devils mafia imperialist war dogs
    hundred assassination attempts
    Fidel bad motherfucker
    no matter his negrocities (Amiri Baraka term, he told me to acknowledge his term, don't claim it, Marvin, he said, rip)
    Por favor, revolution is not a pretty thing
    even the Negro revolution was not bloodless as Malcolm said
    Was the blood of Malcolm a pretty thing
    Blood of Martin Luther King, Jr
    blood of Fred Hampton
    blood of Lil' Bobby Hutton
    Blood of Samuel Napier
    Blood of Megdar Evers
    Blood of Emmitt Till
    Blood of the many thousands gone
    in the woods swamps forests rivers lakes
    the blood of cotton pickers
    cane field cutters
    rise fields slaves
    African builders brought to America
    Fidel bad motherfucker
    Like Simon Simon Simon
    liberate the Americas
    Ustados Unidos no es de Americas
    Ustados Unidos es Ustados Unidos
    nada mas
    no es Mexico Central South America

    Fidel said Cuba no es Ustados Unidos
    Cuba es Cuba libertad
    Viva Fidel
    Viva Fidel
    yes no revolution is holy
    contradictions
    Por favor America revolution had negrocities
    Por favor, eslavos Africanos mucho mucho
    no libertad para Africanos
    hoy no libertad
    Viva Fidel
    He grew with African revolution
    joined African revolution
    no say Cubano no Africano
    Fidel saluted African roots
    defeated apartheid America South Africa Israel
    Viva Fidel
    No holy man saint
    liberator of Cuba
    inspired liberation like Simon Bolivar
    Simon
    gringos go home
    come back when you appreciate  justice freedom equality
    Fuck Monroe Doctrine
    Fuck embargo
    did it work
    did Cuba crumble
    did Cuba submit like pitiful slaves to the gringos?
    No!
    Fidel stood tall
    nuts in hand
    basta ya gringo
    basta ya gringo
    enough enough enough
    sometimes it takes a devil to kill a devil
    saints can'ts kill devils
    no heart to kill
    saints like to pray  and pray and pray
    Fidel said kill kill kill your enemies opposition
    classic revolution ask Stalin
    Mao
    ask America Ustados Unidos
    don't they kill presidents in America
    don't they have political prisoners
    jailed since the 60s
    do they live in Cuban prisons longer than prisoners in Ustados Unidos
    Longer than the Angola brothers
    longer than Gerinimo
    Longer than Ruchell McGee
    Longer than Mumia Abu Jamal
    Longer than Imam Jamil Alamin
    Viva Fidel
    Viva revolution Cubana
    Viva revolution Ustados Unidos Africano Latino
    Viva revolution Gringo no es rico pero esclavo tambien
    Ache Ache Ache
    --Marvin X/El Muhajir
    11/27/16



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    The former Lake Merritt Lodge on Harrison Street now serves as a dormitory for graduate students at Hult Business School in San Francisco. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)
    The former Lake Merritt Lodge on Harrison Street now serves as a dormitory for graduate students at Hult Business School in San Francisco. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)


    PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
    OAKLAND — With some help from Sacramento, the city is trying to protect a vulnerable population from getting crushed under the wheels of progress.

    Many with little income live in single-room-occupancy hotels, often gritty but relatively inexpensive structures built in the 19th or early 20th centuries. The hotels are now a prime target for redevelopment into lucrative condos, boutique hotels or pricey short-term housing.

    Most SRO residents rely on Social Security and disability payments for their income, earning less than a quarter of the county’s median income of $65,450, a report by Oakland’s Housing and Community Development found.

    Earlier this month, the City Council endorsed a resolution to seek the same authority that the state’s four biggest cities already have to limit the loss of SROs from Oakland’s mix of housing options.

    “We do not have the tools to regulate SROs as other cities do,” Councilman Abel Guillen, co-sponsor of the resolution, told council colleagues on Oct. 4. “This loophole needs to be addressed.”

    Since 2004, the number of these properties has been shrinking fast. Of the 31 SROs operating in 2004, only 18 are left, today, a report by the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development found.
    Some former SROs are now market-rate apartments, such as the 10 units of the former Alendale Guest House on Jayne Avenue or the Hotel Westerner, 19 units at 1954 San Pablo Ave., which was demolished. The land it stood on is now part of the footprint of the Uptown, a three-building market-rate apartment project.

    The 157 units of the former Lake Merritt Lodge at 2332 Harrison St. became student housing for Hult International Business School in 2014 after being vacant for years.

    The former Moor Hotel, 2351 San Pablo Ave., has also been shuttered more than a decade.
    “This is consistent with the practice of land banking, in which an owner will hold onto a property purely for its speculative value,” the report states.

    Others, such as the 149-unit California Hotel, 3501 San Pablo Ave., and 160-unit Hamilton Apartments at 2101 Telegraph Ave., have been renovated to include private kitchens and bathrooms, not typically featured in traditional SROs, and are now managed as affordable housing. The conversions reduced the number of units in the two properties, from 309 total to 229.

    The resolution targets the state’s Ellis Act, passed in 1985, which gave property owners broader grounds to evict tenants and prohibited cities from insisting a property remain in the rental market. The act has sometimes been seen as a driving force when rent-controlled housing is converted into market-rate condos.
    In 2003, the Legislature amended the act to allow four cities – San Francisco and three with populations of more than 1 million (Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose) – to protect the status of residential hotels.
    Among SROs threatened is the 88-unit Hotel Travelers at 392 11th St., a seedy-looking place across the street from East Bay Municipal Utility District offices.

    A developer has touted plans to open a much tonier place, with a rooftop lounge, raw bar and Creole restaurant.

    Owners of the 106-unit Sutter Hotel on 14th Street also have told the city they are interested in converting the building to upscale apartments, the report said.

    The resolution seeks the authority for Oakland to adopt ordinances, as other cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Chicago and New York have done, to preserve SROs as low-income housing.

    City Council president Lynette Gibson McElhaney co-sponsored the resolution, which the council passed unanimously. The next step in the process will be to identify a sponsor in Sacramento and reach out to other cities and counties to join the effort.

    However, “nothing with the Ellis Act moves that quickly at the state level,” warned Alex Marqusee, a legislative analyst in Gibson McElhaney’s office. “This is a long-term effort.”

    With that in mind, the city attorney is looking into the legality of declaring a moratorium on conversions or demolitions, or imposing stricter requirements for winning city approval for conversions, he said.
    The city is also checking to see if some of Oakland’s proposed $600 million bond, Measure KK, that is directed at repairing streets, sidewalks, city facilities and affordable housing, could be set aside for extremely low-income residents who make 20 to 30 percent of median income — less than $20,000 per year.
    “This is an issue that is growing in significance,” Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said. “I hope the state will give us this leeway to protect the most vulnerable people in the community.”

    Contact Mark Hedin at 510-293-2452, 408-759-2132 or mhedin@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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    Grand Diva of Dance in the Bay Area, Most Honorable Ruth Beckford

    The Grand Diva of Dance in the Bay Area, 91 year old Queen Ruth Beckford was honored  tonight (Dec 1, 2016) with a room in her name at Geoffery's Inner Circle, an anchor venue in the Black Arts Movement Business District. I am proud to say I knew and idolized Ruth Beckford when I was a child growing up in West Oakland. I was in elementary school and after school, I would go to New Century Playground next to McFeely Elementary School. There I saw the most beautiful Black women I'd ever seen, Ruth Beckford  taught dance at New Century which was a venue in the Oakland Department of Park and Recreation.

    I would see her coming and going from New Century and my childhood brain told me she was just absolutely the most  beautiful queen my eyes had seen. I cannot say African Queen because I knew nothing about Africa at the time.except Tarzan. 

    I didn't get to know Ms Beckford at New Century because I wasn't into dance but I must credit the Oakland Rec for initiating my career in drama since I performed in a children's play at Mosswood Park, at which I was called a nigger for the first time by a little white girl who told me, "Nigger, get out of the sandbox."

    Throughout the years, I continued to see Ruth Beckford and marvel at her black velvet skin and short natural that she wore during the 50s. 

    When Geoffery Pete honored her tonight, he remarked that her father was a member of Marcus Garvey's UNIA. Thus, she was a child of Black Nationalist parents. We will offer her biography in a moment, but I know she trained many in dance in the Bay Area and elsewhere. I will name Deborah Vaughan, Ellendar  Barnes and Suzzette Johnson. Although her students were absent, her many friends were present. We note also on the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, it was Ruth Beckford who set up the breakfast program for the BPP and made her dance students "serve the people".

    Choreographer Beckford was honored with commendations from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and a proclamation from Oakland City Council President Lynette McElhaney.

    BAMBD photographer promises us ample photos tomorrow.

    BIOGRAPHY OF CHOREOGRAPHER RUTH BECKFORD


    Beckford Image

    Ruth Beckford (1925 - ) was born in Oakland, California on December 7, 1925. She was one of four children including one sister and twin brothers. Her parents, natives of Jamiaca and Atlanta, Georgia, and her extended family supported her training in dance including tap, acrobatics and ballet as well as music lessons. Miss Beckford performed professionally as a child in vaudeville acts, with her brother and solo, onstage in competition at movie-houses and also at social settings such as Sunday teas and other community events. Miss Beckford continued to train and perform, eventually auditioning for Katherine Dunham's touring company in San Francisco at age seventeen. Offered a contract, Miss Beckford chose to attend UC-Berkeley and perform with Miss Dunham whenever they toured locally.

    Miss Beckford studied modern dance technique and ocmposition with Caryl Cuddeback at UC-Berkeley while also training at Welland Lathrop and Anna Halprin's dance studio in San Francisco. She was the first African-American performer in a Bay Area modern dance company and also to become a member of the Orchesis Modern Dance Society at UC-Berkeley.

    Upon graduation, Miss Beckford created the United States' first recreational dance department at Oakland's Parks and Recreation Department. She remained project director for twenty and one and a half years, developing a coherent philosophy of teaching the whole child and established a graduated set of programs for girls ages seven through young adult. Several of her students have become significant dance artist/educators including heads of dance departments and professional companies both locally and nation-wide.

    Miss Beckford simultaneously taught African-Haitian dance based on the Dunham technique at her private studios and was artistic director of the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company. The company toured throughout the college and university circuit before disbanding in 1962.

    Her writing career includes the authorized biography of Katherine Dunham, supported by several research trips to Haiti and published by Dekker (NY) in 1979. She has also written her own autobiography, two cookbooks, three original plays and an article for the California Dance Educator's journal.

    Her trilogy of plays titled Tis the Morning of My Life was produced by Ron Thompson of the Oakland Ensemble Theater Company, where she has served on the Board of Directors. The play have been performed in the East Bay and in New York and was also filmed for a television pilot series. Miss Beckford has also sung and acted on stage, in feature films, television and commercials including two PBS television movies directed by Maya Angelou.

    Her many honors and community acknowledgements include acting as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (1972-74), and induction into the Black Filmmakers, Oakland Parks and Recreation and the Bay Area's Isadora Duncan Dance Community Hall of Fame.

    Miss Beckford closed her private dance studios in 1975 and had several back surgeries. Based on her life-time of helping others, including co-creating a free breakfast program with the Black Panther Party, Miss Beckford developed a new career in social work-related programs. Recent work has included counseling at the City of Oakland Job Training Partnership Act office and also at the Oakland Earthquake Support Services Center after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. She also developed, with collaborator Ron Thompson, a motivational speaking business for both homeless and corporate clients. Miss Beckford was crowned Ghana Queen Mother of Dance at Harambere Dance ensemble performance in 1990.

    Drummond: Ruth Beckford still fabulous after 80

    Former dancer and choreographer Ruth Beckford, 88, is photographed at her home in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Beckford is an Oakland Tech alumni and taught at the Katherine Dunham school in New York. Among her many accomplishments, she's a founder of the Oakland Dance Association. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
    Former dancer and choreographer Ruth Beckford, 88, is photographed at her home in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Beckford is an Oakland Tech alumni and taught at the Katherine Dunham school in New York. Among her many accomplishments, she’s a founder of the Oakland Dance Association. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
    PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
    Oakland native Ruth Beckford is a Bay Area dance legend who used to thrill audiences with her acrobatic moves.

    Beckford, was a disciple of the late Katherine Dunham, the matriarch of the modern black dance movement. Beckford taught at Dunham’s school in New York and studied voodoo dance rituals under Dunham in Haiti.
    Beckford later returned to the Bay Area to open the Ruth Beckford African-Haitian Dance Company. She also started a modern dance department at the Oakland Office of Parks and Recreation, where she taught dance to countless young people over the years.

    Beckford, 87, who could once make her body perform feats others could only dream of, uses a walker. Yet she refuses to let age-related ailments interfere with her zest for life.

    On Saturday, Beckford and fellow octogenarians, former television journalist Belva Davis, genealogist Electra Price, educator Careth B. Reid, and youngster Dezie Woods-Jones, 72, will share their advice for living life to the fullest in one’s golden years.

    I recently interviewed Beckford at her downtown Oakland home, where she has lived for 50 years, to talk to her about what it’s like to be 87.

    Q: You’ve lived through a lot of historic events. What stands out the most?

    A: My sweet 16 on Pearl Harbor Day. We all went to the movie. We’re sitting in the movie eating milk duds … and on the screen the movie stopped, and it said all military personnel report to your bases the United States is at war with Japan, we are getting bombed. … Folks talk about 9/11. Our best friends were Japanese kids. Then, when they got evacuated to their camps, we all cried; our friends were gone. It was terrible. And no one ever came back.

    Q: What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when you turn 80?

    A: You don’t have to prove yourself anymore. It’s about you. Don’t be an on-call baby sitter. You can still have a good time. Just because you are 80 doesn’t mean sit down and die. Make your bucket list different. The main thing is to be independent. I get on Paratransit and go to Lorraine Hansberry (Theatre) to see a play. I saw that show with the Chinese dancers, that was great. I take myself out to lunch, went and did my nails yesterday.

    Q: What kinds of health challenges have you had?

    I am the original bionic woman. Five back surgeries. Two hip replacements and one adjustment. Rotary cuff. Four trigger fingers. And I’m getting ready to have a new knee as soon as I get back from Atlanta. My innards are good. It’s all these joints.

    Q: So how do you deal with declining physical health and not getting depressed?

    A: I’ve had five back surgeries, but I can get up on that walker, and I like to go out. So there’s always somebody worse off. Happiness is an inside job.

    Q: Have you ever smoked?

    A: Never. Never made sense to me to even sneak it. When I went to Cal, everyone had cigarette holders and cases and things. I always thought that’s a waste of my money.

    Q: Tell me about your diet.

    A: I had an attack of gout, which makes you stand up and say thank you Lord it’s over. So I can’t eat meat or fish or shellfish. It’s a choice. I can say let’s go out and have a martini and then have an attack of gout; it ain’t worth it. I can cook chicken and turkey any way you want. I eat vegetables.

    Q: Do you exercise?

    A: I do my recline cycle three times a week, which I hate with a passion. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 o’clock.

    Q: How many of your friends are still living?

    A: So many of my friends are gone or have Alzheimer’s, and it’s just very, very sad. That’s why I say keep in touch with your old friends because they get fewer and fewer and fewer.

    Q: What is your secret to longevity?

    A: I don’t let things stress me out. Anything I cannot touch and help I’m not going to let it get on me. Stress will give you the heart attacks, the strokes and all that business.

    Q: Do you use the Internet?

    A: I don’t have a computer. I’m not interested in the Facebook and the backbook and the hipbook and the earbook. I don’t want to know that you walked across the street today.

    Q: What advice do you have for younger people?

    A: Quit smoking now. Don’t wait. Don’t worry about what folks think of you. If you want to do something, and you’re true to yourself, go do it.

    The workshop is Saturday at Geoffrey’s, 410 14th St., Oakland. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Admission is $25, exact change, cash only. There is a handicap elevator around the corner on Franklin Street and public parking at Webster and 14th Street.

    Tammerlin Drummond is a columnist for the Bay Area News Group. Her column runs Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at tdrummond@bayareanewsgroup.com or follow her at Twitter.com/Tammerlin.

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  • 12/02/16--18:09: Do the Charleston
  • Charleston's African-American Heritage



    Famous Folks & Important Facts

    1525/1526

    - A Spanish explorer lands on the coast of South Carolina and tries to build a colony. The attempt to build a colony fails, but before survivors leave, some of the Africans brought on the voyage may have escaped and then intermarried with the Indians in the area.

    1670

    - About 100 English settlers and at least one enslaved African create the first permanent Colony in South Carolina near present-day Charleston. Soon after, the governor brings a family of enslaved Africans to the Colony. In subsequent years, slaves help establish the Colony in many ways, building homes, cooking, sewing, gardening, cattle raising, and providing many forms of skilled labor and artisanship. Approximately one in three of the early settlers is African.

    1685

    - Seed rice arrives in Charleston as a gift from a sea captain whose boat was under repair here. Efforts by the English to grow rice fail. Slaves, who grew rice in Africa, show the English how to grow rice in wet areas. The "rice culture" creates tremendous wealth for the Colony.

    1708

    - The growth of indigo and cotton require more labor, which leads to the importation of more captive Africans. By 1708, the numbers of whites and blacks in South Carolina are about 4,000 each. For the next two centuries (except for a brief period between 1790 and 1820), blacks outnumber whites in the state.

    1739

    - Roughly 100 slaves capture firearms about 20 miles south of Charles Towne, and they attempt to rally more people to join them during what is now called the Stono Rebellion. They plan to fight their way to St. Augustine where the Spanish promise freedom. They run into a group of whites led by the lieutenant governor of the Colony, who alerts white authorities before the slaves have time to grow into an overwhelming force. The revolt is forcefully put down, and some 60 rebels are executed; many are decapitated.

    1740

    - In reaction to the Stono Rebellion, the Legislature passes slave codes that forbid travel without written permission, group meetings without the presence of whites, slaves raising their own food, possessing money, learning to read, and the use of drums, horns and other "loud instruments" that might be used by slaves to communicate with each other.

    1822

    - Denmark Vesey Plot. Led by Denmark Vesey, an African Methodist Episcopal church leader who purchased his freedom for $600. The well-planned and widespread rebellion involved about 9,000 people. However, two house slaves informed their masters before the planned date. Vesey, who refused to reveal any names, was hanged along with five others two days before local Independence Day festivities.

    1862

    - Robert Smalls, a Charleston harbor pilot (and future state legislator 1871-1878), along with his family and a few friends, take control of the Confederate steamer, The Planter, sailing it out of Charleston Harbor and presenting it to the U.S. Navy. The Planter is converted for use as a Union ship and serves in that capacity throughout the Civil War.

    1879

    - In support of the Liberia Emigration Movement (1877-1878), the Rev. Richard H. Cain, a local and national AME leader and politician, sponsors a bill to pay passage for those who desire to return to Africa. As a result, the ship Azor leaves from Charleston with 206 black emigrants en route to Liberia, West Africa.

    1891

    - The Rev. Daniel Joseph Jenkins establishes the first and only orphanage for blacks in Charleston. The orphanage is created to be self-supporting with departments where orphans learn trades, produce items for sale and learn music. The Jenkins Orphanage Band is created to help raise funds for the institution.

    1917

    - Chapters of the NAACP are organized in Charleston.

    1962

    - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks from the pulpit of Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street. King is brought to Charleston to help spark local voter registration efforts.

    1982

    - Reuben Greenberg, an African American, is appointed city of Charleston police chief.

    1999

    - On July 3, a 6-foot historical marker is placed on Sullivan's Island near Fort Moultrie to honor those enslaved Africans who arrived in bondage via Charleston Harbor.

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    • The Black Panthers were among the groups that influenced the development of Black radical organizations in Canada.

      The Black Panthers were among the groups that influenced the development of Black radical organizations in Canada. | Photo: CIRonline Black Panther demonstration

    Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali looks back on the develop of Black radical organizations in Canada.
    The Afro American Progressive Association (AAPA) was one of the first Black Power organizations in Canada. It was organized by Jose Garcia, Norman (Otis) Richmond and D. T. in Toronto in 1968. Their first public event was a commemoration of the assassination of Omowale El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X). The meeting took place on Bathurst Street (Toronto’s Lenox Avenue) the Home Service. Guest speakers were Jan Carew, Guyanese-born scholar/activist who later would write:” Ghosts in Our Blood: With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean” and Ted Watkins. A year before ancestors like Austin Clarke, Howard Matthews and others started the ball rolling in 1966.
    OPINION: Co-opting Caribana: The Ongoing Struggle for Community Control
    Watkins (1941-1968) was an African born in America who played Canadian football. Watkins played wide-receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Rough Riders. He won the Grey Cup with Hamilton in 1967. He previously played college football at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Watkins was killed in 1968 allegedly robbing a liquor store.

    This is a direct quote from a Canadian daily: “STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) -Ted Watkins, Negro professional Canadian football player, and a leading Black Power advocate' in Canada, was shot dead in an attempted liquor store holdup Sunday, police said."

    The Black Youth Organization (BYO), the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC), the Biko Rodney Malcolm Coalition (BRMC) and Black Live Matters spring from the AAPA. The AAPA’s newsletter was called Harambee (Swahili) for “Let’s pull together”. Harambee preceded Contrast, Share, Pride and the Caribbean Camera.

    Chris Harris has been one of the few attempting to keep the untold history of the Black Radical Tradition and the AAPA alive. Harris’ article, “Canadian Black Power, Organic Intellectuals of Position in Toronto, 1967 – 1975” was published quietly. He is quoted extensively in David Austin’s 2014 Casa de las Americas Prize winning book in Caribbean Literature in English or Creole, “Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal.”

    Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report talks about how a Black mis-leadership is high jacking the African liberation struggle in the United States. Ditto for Canada.

    The untold story of the Radical Black Tradition in Canada is beginning to unfold. A new autobiography, “Burnley “Rocky” Jones Revolutionary” by Jones and James W. St. G. Walker gets the ball rolling in this work. Jones gives credit to the AAPA in this volume for keeping the radical Black tradition alive in the Great White North.

    Jones discusses how tribalism ruled during the late sixties and early seventies in Toronto’s history. Africans born in Canada organized as Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Barbadians or Black Canadians. He talks about a rally that took place at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education on Bloor Street in Toronto.
    Says Jones: “The chair was José Garcia, of the Afro American Progressive Association, a Marxist, and Black Nationalist organization in Toronto. Although that organization was Canadian, its name reflected the interaction with the States; there was continual movement back and forth across the border with Detroit and Buffalo, with Panthers and CORE and various Black Nationalist associations. Many of these people were also at the conference, in particular a group known as the Detroit Revolutionary Union movement, DRUM, extremely militant and connected to the Panthers.”

    Jones was incorrect on the name of DRUM; DRUM is an acronym for the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement. The Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement was an organization of Black workers formed in May 1968 in the Chrysler Corporation‘s Dodge Main assembly plant in Detroit. While I was a co-founder of the AAPA I was also a member of DRUM which later would blossom into the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.
    The term Afro-American had nothing to do with Black America. It was inspired by Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). The group was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by (Omowale) Malik Shabazz in 1964. The group was modeled on the Organization of African Unity, which had impressed Malik during his visit to Africa in April 1964. The purpose of the OAAU was to fight for the human rights of Africans in America and in the Western Hemisphere who speak English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento. One of the co-founders of the AAPA Jose Garcia could speak Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, French and English better than me. We were internationalist from the get-go.

    While we were moved by Malik, he was influenced by a person who if imperialism has anything to do with it will be written out of history – Carlos A. Cooks.

    Cooks was a Caribbean man who used the term African-American to unite Africans in the West. He was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His parents were from the nearby island of St. Martin. Robert Acemendeces Harris author of “Carlos Cooks and Black Nationalism” pointed out: “It was Carlos Cooks who first defined the difference between the terms Black and/or African as opposed to "Negro" and  fought to have the latter word abrogated as a racial classification." You can even ask Richard Moore a foundation member of the African Blood Brotherhood and (author of The Word Negro And Its Evil Use) about this. Or you can read the documentation of this in "BLACK NATIONALISM: A Search for Identity in America" by Prof. E. U. Essien-Udom of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

    I was blessed to have heard Richard B. Moore speak in Montreal in 1967 and to have met and worked with Elombe Brath, a disciple of Cooks. Moore spoke at a Black community meeting that I attended during Expo 67. When I first went to Detroit and met General Gordon Baker Jr. I found a copy of Brath’s comic book “Color Them Colored” where he ridiculed everyone from Harry Belafonte to Malcolm X for not being “Black” enough. Baker explained to me how he had for a brief moment associated with Cooks African Nationalist Pioneer Movement.

    There are aspects of Cooks philosophy I united 1000 percent behind. At their convention called in 1959 the ANPM called for the abrogation of the word Negro as the official racial classification of black people and replace the term with African when speaking of land origin, heritage and national identity (irrespective of birthplace ) and the proud usage of black, when dealing with color (in spite of complexion).

    There are others aspects of his views that I totally disagree with. I have always united with Huey P. Newton’s statement, "Blackness is necessary, but not sufficient.” I was never down with Cooks anti-communism. When Fidel Castro visited Harlem, Cooks refused to meet him. Malik took the opposite view.

    Brath is quoted in Rosemari Mealy’s book, “Fidel & Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting.” Says Brath, “While Malcolm as an individual was developing as an anti-imperialist champion, he boldly met with Premier Fidel Castro when the Cuban leader stayed at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, arguing a class analysis in non-Marxist terms, that is, the field Negro versus the house Negro.

    Cooks however, took a completely different position. Essien-Udom, who wrote “Black Nationalism: A Search for an Identity in America” published in the early 1960s, discussed Cooks and Malik and pointed out: “Nearly all of the present-day black nationalist groups are anti-communist. Recently, Mr. Carlos Cooks (African Nationalist Pioneering Movement) in a 4th of July speech in Harlem self-righteously explained how in the thirties they (the nationalist) were having street fights with the communists and they do not welcome 'the regime of Dr. Fidel Castro’s Cuba.'”
    RELATED: Dr. Walter Rodney: Revolutionary Intellectual, Socialist, Pan-Africanist and Historian
    Instead, Mr. Cooks expressed some admiration for ex-President Batista. He said that under Batista Negroes had a “fair deal” in Cuba and that Premier Castro’s regime was a returning to “white supremacy.” For a brief moment in my history I did have a problem with Cuba. This was because of the anti- communism propaganda we were taught from the womb to the tomb in the USA where I was born.

    For a brief moment I supported Jonas Savimbi‘s The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Founded in 1966, UNITA fought alongside the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan War for Independence (1961 – 1975) and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war1975–2002). UNITA received military aid from the imperialist USA and apartheid South Africa while the MPLA received support from the Soviet Union and other members of the Socialist block at that time. We apologize to Africa for this error in judgment.

    In the 21st Century Africa, Africans and the oppressed generally must be anti-imperialist, anti-racist, and anti-sexist and be for socialism-period. As Fred Hampton used to say, “If you are afraid of socialism you are afraid of yourself.”

    Norman (Otis) Richmond, aka Jalali, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana, and grew up in Los Angeles. He left Los Angles after refusing to fight in Vietnam because he felt that, like the Vietnamese, Africans in the United States were colonial subjects. Richmond began his career in journalism at the African Canadian weekly Contrast. He went on to be published in the Toronto Star, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the  National Post, the Jackson Advocate, Share, the Islander, the Black American, Pan African News Wire, and Black Agenda Report. For more informantion norman.o.richmond@gmail.com

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    Oakland Symphony Conductor Michael Morgan
     art by James Gayles

    Oakland Symphony Pays Musical Tribute to Black Panthers

    Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images
    Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images


    Maestro Michael Morgan and the Oakland Symphony and Chorus, next week will commemorate Oakland’s tradition of activism and the arts, particularly paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party (BPP).Founded in Oakland in 1966, the BPP was characterized by scholars as one of the most influential Black movement organizations of the late 1960s.

    The BPP evolved into a powerful force that focused on effecting social and political change, instituting a variety of community social programs, including the Free Breakfast for Children Programs and community health clinics.

    The legacy and music of the era of the Black Panther Party will celebrated in “Let Us Break Bread Together” choral and orchestral arrangements of popular, gospel, Motown and resistance music.

    The Oakland Symphony and Chorus will share the stage with a host of guest artists including the award-winning Mt. Eden High School Choir, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Linda Tillery and Friends, Vocal Rush from Oakland School of the Arts and perennial favorites, the ebullient Klezmer band, Kugelplex.

    The event will also feature holiday music from many cultures and observances and audience sing-alongs.

    The annual “Let Us Break Bread Together concert” is Sunday, Dec. 11, 4 p.m., at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway in Oakland.

    Pre-concert no-host drinks and free lobby entertainment begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25-$80 and may be purchased at www.oaklandsymphony.org.y.org.


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    Although my favorite song is Nature Boy, Joy and Pain is probably second because
    it is the  essence of life itself. Life is never all joy or all pain. The Qur'an says after difficulty comes ease.
    So I have come to not get excited in moments of joy because I know it is not the essence of life, just as pain is not forever. Another song I love is by Kirk Franklin's The Storm is Over Now.

    On behalf of the Black Arts Movement and the Black Arts Movement Business District here in Oakland, we extend our condolences to the all the families of victims in the Fruitvale District tragic fire.
    Sincereely,

    --Marvin X, BAMBD Planner

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    $1.7 Million Real Estate Grant Aims to Keep Artists in Oakland



    Arts and civic leaders announce grants for arts groups in Oakland (l-r) East Side Cultural Alliance Director Elena Serrano, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Shelley Trott Oakland Cultural Director Roberto Bedoya, and CAST Director Moy Eng
    Arts and civic leaders announce grants for arts groups in Oakland (l-r) East Side Cultural Alliance Director Elena Serrano, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Shelley Trott Oakland Cultural Director Roberto Bedoya, and CAST Director Moy Eng (Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED)

    City and arts leaders in Oakland are looking ahead to a more hopeful future, even as authorities work to identify victims of the fire that killed at least 36 people at an underground dance party on the night of Friday, Dec. 2.

    On Tuesday, Oakland officials announced the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation are providing Oakland with a $1.7 million grant to help arts groups stay in Oakland in a viciously competitive real estate market.

    At the heart of the initiative is the idea that the arts help make a city great. The most recent study, from 2010, found that Oakland arts groups generate an impact of $53 million a year.

    But cultural activity doesn’t just fuel the local economy. It’s part of the very fabric of Oakland.
    “We’re trying to get the cultural arts in there as a survival program just as essential as housing and health care and jobs,” says Elena Serrano, who runs Oakland’s Eastside Arts Alliance in the San Antonio neighborhood. Serrano is hoping for funds to develop a Black Arts center in Deep East Oakland.

    The Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), an organization which helps broker real estate deals for cultural organizations, will administer the grants. “The assumption is not that artists or arts organizations are un-businesslike, but simply the making of art is a different core business than real estate development,” CAST executive director Moy Eng says.

    Eng ran an identical program in San Francisco, where she helped two groups, CounterPulse and the Luggage Store Gallery, obtain financing to buy permanent homes in 2015, despite San Francisco’s soaring commercial rents.
    The announcement is bittersweet, though, coming as Oakland mourns the victims of the warehouse dance party fire. There are no grants from this program for individual artists, who often work and live in spaces that aren’t up to code. Many worry the city will crack down on safety, with upgrades making their studios too expensive.

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city has to balance public safety with the needs of artists. “The safety of the cultural community in Oakland has a more nuanced meaning,” Schaaf says. “Oakland has to keep its residents safe. But we also have to keep safe this incredible creative energy that makes this the city that we love so much.”

    Oakland recently hired Roberto Bedoya as its new cultural affairs manager. Bedoya says the new grant program is a sign to artists that Oakland has their backs.
    “What I find dynamic about the Oakland arts community is just how vibrant it is,” Bedoya says. “It’s got what I would characterize as a poetic will. And it’s now also working with a political will to realize how we can advance the community.”
      
    Comment from the Black Arts Movement Business District on Housing Funds for Artists
     
     Marvin X, co-founder of the National Black Arts Movement and co-planner of Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District BAMBD along the 14th Street corridor

    The Post News Group asked Black Arts Movement Business District co-founder and planner, Marvin X, his thoughts on the Mayor's grants for artist housing.

    Post: Marvin X, what is your comment on the recent fire in the Fruitvale?

    MX: We offer our condolences to the families of those victims in the tragic fire. It revealed the dire conditions many artists and common people must endure to survive in gentrified Oakland. While development is necessary, all people should be involved in the planning process that should consider displacement a priority.

    POST: Has the Mayor approached BAMBD regarding your needs for artists and the marginalized in the BAMBD or downtown area?

    MX: No! While we applaud Mayor Libby Schaaf's announcement of housing grants for East Oakland artists, we demand she also secure housing and artist space for suffering artists in Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District which was officially declared by the City Council on January 19, 2016, but no funds have been allocated for the  BAMBD and few people are aware the BAMBD exists. In the manner of Juneteenth, it appears few people will know about The BAMBD until Janteenth, 2017. The BAMBD has published its own newspaper, The Movement, to inform people of the BAMBD. We thank the Post News Group for partnering with us to make the BAMBD newspaper possible.

    POST: What is the BAMBD's position on artist housing and housing in general?

    MX: The first pillar of the BAMBD is housing and we need emergency funds for artists housing and work space in our district. We'd love to acquire those SRO hotels to place them under the land trust and give homeless and marginalized persons a "life estate" title to their spaces and this would end homelessness overnight.

    POST: Tell us about the BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund.
    .
    MX: We are establishing the BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund to meet the needs for our district which is along the 14th corridor from the lower bottom to Lake Merritt. It appears West Oakland will not enjoy the Marijuana initiative nor the announced artist housing grant since East Oakland appears the sole representative of communities in need of equity. Where is our political representation? The BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund must be an independent fund for people in the BAMBD to insure our presence as part of Oakland's Downtown Plan for the next 25 to 50 years.


    BAMBD meets with developers at Joyce Gordon Gallery, Friday, December 9, 1PM

    The BAMBD invites you to a meeting on discussions with a developer on a benefits package for The BAMBD. The meeting will be Friday, December 9,1PM at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin Streets, Oakland.

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    Evictions in Ghost Ship’s wake: Artists’ worst fears coming true

    Angela Scrivani poses for a photograph in the warehouse space were she lives in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Scrivani has been living in the space for the past eight years but found out on Tuesday she may have to move out. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
    Angela Scrivani poses for a photograph in the warehouse space were she lives in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Scrivani has been living in the space for the past eight years but found out on Tuesday she may have to move out. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
    PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
    OAKLAND — In the wake of Friday’s catastrophic three-alarm fire that ripped through an unpermitted live-work space and killed 36 people, artists living in similarly nonconforming spaces feared a backlash from city inspectors and rent-seeking property owners who would force them from their homes.
    With some tenants already receiving eviction notices, those fears are indeed coming to fruition, and sooner than many imagined.

    Painter and photographer Angela Scrivani has 27 days to vacate the West Oakland industrial warehouse space that she has lived in and used as a painting studio for the better of the past decade. And, some 13 blocks north, roughly a dozen tenants living in a converted machine shop in Oakland were served with a 30-day eviction notice Monday, according to four of the residents who spoke with the Bay Area News Group. The tenants said the building owners told them they fear for their safety.
    The impact of the tragic fire at the Ghost Ship artists’ collective in the city’s Fruitvale district is reverberating far and wide. In Baltimore, the city’s fire department red-tagged a DIY artist space, according to the Baltimore City Paper. In Los Angeles, the city plans to address its own issue of unpermitted warehouse conversions, and has charged the owner of one such illegal warehouse, according to the Los Angeles Times.
    In the Bay Area, inspectors in San Jose on Tuesday visited Citadel Arts Studios, which does not allow artists to live there, to make sure it was being used appropriately. And in Richmond, city officials are looking to meet with the owner of an underground performance space, called Burnt Ramen, which is located in a commercial warehouse.

    Not all interactions have been entirely civil. On Wednesday, a shouting match erupted in Oakland’s Jack London Square after a well-known restaurateur called a news conference to accuse a nearby warehouse of putting her business at risk by operating an unregulated and dangerous music venue. Artists at the gathering, some who lost friends in the Ghost Ship fire, in turn called the conference a “witch hunt” that would further marginalize and displace them from scarce housing options.

    But there’s a large gap between what could be considered an unsafe space — such as the tangled menagerie of Balinese wood, furniture and artwork that fueled the inferno that doomed Ghost Ship’s victims — and buildings that are zoned one way but used in another and are therefore technically “illegal,” said artist Jon Sarriugarte.

    Sarriugarte has, over the past several days, been working to recruit outside fire inspectors, architects and, in light of the recent evictions, lawyers to survey spaces and provide advice without residents of unpermitted spaces fearing backlash from the city or their landlords. He’s teamed up with Michael Snook of NIMBY, a DIY maker-space in East Oakland, and Max Allstadt, a carpenter and former audio engineer who lived in West Oakland for 13 years.

    Allstadt recently received a $5,000 donation for the purchase of fire extinguishers, exit signage, smoke detectors and other lifesaving equipment that becomes essential in the event of a conflagration like the Ghost Ship fire.

    But even with Sarriugarte’s legal support to stall an eviction, residents of the converted machine shop in West Oakland have little hope a lawyer could help. Their space is not zoned for residential habitation, and now they are no longer welcome. There is not much a lawyer could do without rezoning the land or receiving a variance — a process that is costly and could take months or even years, they said, adding that they need the city’s help to create a less costly path toward compliance.

    Ironically, a fire marshal did inspect their space in 2011 and required the then-inhabitants to make a number of changes, said Tyler, a resident who declined to give his last name for fear it might jeopardize attempts to work with the landlord to save their home. The residents installed an extra door, affixed exit signs and removed an interior dwelling space, among other things, Tyler said.

    The fire marshal came back and approved of the changes, but a city representative had not been back to the place until Monday, when a fire inspector came to perform outreach in the wake of the Ghost Ship tragedy, he said. They’re willing to make further life safety improvements if the city says they need them, the housemates said.

    At a news conference Wednesday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf did not offer specific plans to help artists currently facing evictions but said she would reconvene and expand a task force to address affordable living and working spaces for artists. She promised the arts community would be part of the discussions as the city addresses code compliance and other issues.

    Council members Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Noel Gallo and Larry Reid are expected to ask staff on Thursday to look into how the city could go about legalizing such spaces, said Alex Marqusee, an aide to Gibson McElhaney.

    “There’s definitely an appetite (for legalizing these spaces),” he said. “Recognizing there is a housing crisis, we need to think creatively.”

    A half-dozen other artists who live in converted industrial spaces acknowledge more could be done to make their own spaces safer. Sara Huntley, a former resident of the Vulcan, a live-work warehouse in East Oakland, said she frequented a number of converted industrial spaces throughout the city.

    “I’ve never felt as unsafe anywhere as I did (in the Ghost Ship),” she said, echoing many artists’ words that the space was a “worst-case scenario.”

    When Huntley moved into the Vulcan, the property management company that owns the warehouse had just finished installing sprinklers. Ren Dodge, a photographer who has lived there for 10 years, said when that happened, his rent rose by 10 percent, a significant increase in part mitigated by the sheer number of people living in the more than 50 apartment units.

    For smaller spaces, the cost of bringing a building up to code can be insurmountable, said Cheryl Edison, a consultant who works with cities to help them revamp older properties. Many Bay Area cities have outdated zoning restrictions that make it both time-consuming and incredibly costly to rezone properties, meaning only well-heeled developers can afford to do it, she said.

    “Every effort that individuals make to ask for permission gets one very short answer — ‘No,'” Edison said. “People want to do the right thing, but the level of collaboration is not there.”

    The Oakland Noodle Factory in West Oakland is an example, said Francis McIlveen of the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT). Dana Harrison purchased the former noodle factory in 1999 with the hope of converting it to a live-work space for her fellow Burning Man comrades — and then spent years mired in a morass of permits, plans and red tape. After draining her time and resources, she sought the help of the community land trust, which purchases and rehabilitates affordable housing.

    NCLT secured a $4 million construction loan, gutted and rehabbed the space with solar voltaic panels, concrete floors with radiant heat, extra noise insulation for units that house drummers and more, McIlveen said.

    When the housing market crashed in 2008, it took the noodle factory with it. McIlveen said the bank foreclosed on the property just as they were starting to lease it out.

    Time is of the essence, Sarriugarte said. He has a list of lawyers ready to help slow down evictions, but he admits the underlying problems extend beyond his capabilities alone.

    “I don’t have millions of dollars to back this up to make these changes, even if I wanted to,” he said. “I don’t have a staff here to do this. I’m so busy answering the phone right now. Who is going to help?”

    For the artists facing evictions, it’s not just the homes they are losing, it’s their community. The spaces are more than buildings, they are fertile incubators for art forms credited with putting Oakland on the map as an arts hub, and, more recently, as a tourist destination.

    “These places are not made by real estate developers or land owners. They don’t exist because someone is looking to make a profit; they are not profitable,” said Tanya, an architect and “flow artist” (or dancer), who lives in the former machine shop in West Oakland. “We need to be able to make them exist, and the Oakland planning (department) needs to … allow spaces like this to exist safely.”
    Staff writer Aaron Davis contributed to this story.

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    The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

    Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

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     photo Standing Rock, The Movement News
     

    The Black Arts Movement Business District held the first round of negotiations with the Carmel Group, developers of the parking  garage at 14th and Franklin in the BAMBD, downtown Oakland. The conversation included representatives of non-profit groups and business persons in the  BAMBD: the Lower Bottom Playaz, Betti Ono Gallery, Joyce Gordon Gallery, Academy of da Corner, BAOBAB, Regina's Corner, Malonga Cultrural Center, Eastside Arts and the Ghost Ship.


     photo Standing Rock, The Movement News

    BAMBD lead planners, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Eric Arnold and Marvin X represented the views and concerns of  BAMBD which included low income housing and retail space, parking, jobs and job training, impact on rents and other issues.
     
     photo Standing Rock, The Movement News

    It was a very amicable meeting without the hostility that usually exists between developers and the community. When BAMBD planner Marvin X asked if Carmel would consider BAMBD as an investment partner for a low income housing component to their project, the developers said absolutely they would consider such a proposal, along with other adjustments to their design plans. BAMBD's architectural consultant, Fred Smith was present and will meet with BAMBD at the earliest to draft BAMBD's design changes. for submission to Carmel. As per funds for low-income housing, a BAMBD board member recently met with Dr. Ben Carson, incoming Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs. BAMBD recently obtained support from persons associated with another developer for BAMBD's Billion Dollar Trust Fund.
    "I absolutely want to help BAMBD establish the BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund,"  said the unidentified supporter.



    BAMBD board member, Conway Jones, Jr., and incoming Secretary of Housing and Urban 
    Development, Dr. Ben Carson

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    Maestro Michael Morgan, Oakland Symphony Conductor
    art by James Gayles

    In a sold-out concert at the elegant Paramount Theatre, Conductor Michael Morgan and the Oakland Symphony paid tribute to the Black Panther Party on its 50th Anniversary. Near the end of the concert and before the orchestra performed its last number STAND, Maestro Morgan had BPP members stand. We recognized Huey Newton's widow, Fredrika Newton, Tarika Lewis, Billy X. Jennings, Majeeda Rahman, Elaine Brown, Terry Cotton and Melvin Dickson. Morgan said if it wasn't for the BPP, he would not be conducting the Oakland Symphony. For sure, there was resistance from the Oakland Symphony Board to Michael's intention to honor the BPP with a concert. Michael was adamant, "If I can't honor the BPP with a concert, I'm outta here!" Obviously, he overcame board resistance. Next year he will do a concert honoring America's indigenous peoples.

     Oakland Symphony Orchestra and choirs performing tribute to the Black Panther Party, Paramount Theatre, Oakland CA 12/11/16
    photo Marvin X


    The Oakland Symphony and Chorus shared the stage with a host of guest artists including the award-winning Mt. Eden High School Choir, Terrence Elliot's Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Linda Tillery and Friends, Vocal Rush from Oakland School of the Arts and perennial favorites, the ebullient Klezmer band, Kugelplex.


    The groups performed music from the Black Panther era and even before when they did Sly Stone's Everyday People. Other tunes included Marvin Gaye's classic What's Goin On, Sam Cook's A Change is Gonna Come and a Jewish resistance song sung by Linda Tillery in Yiddish, once sang by the great artistic freedom fighter, ancestor Paul Robeson.

    The Maestro could have utilized a Black choir but chose not to do so, since the majority audience was white. We know white people find strong Black music slightly overwhelming, so the choirs were great but for us slightly Miller Lite. This is not to say whites can't approach the intensity of Black singing. One need only attend San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church any Sunday to find whites singing as powerfully as Blacks. We recognized one of  Glide's members departing the concert, the Honorable Judge Baranco. Also present was Oakland's Master Athletic coach, Benny Tapscott, who requested BlackPanther Party members attend a meeting at the West Oakland Senior Center across from Bobby Hutton Park, Monday, December 12, 5PM. Spread the word.

    Overall, it was a great tribute to the Black Panther Party for the sacrifice they made in the name of social justice. The song in Yiddish was a reminder of the blood Jews and North American Africans have shed in their respective holocausts.

    --Marvin X, Publisher, The Movement, Voice of the Black Arts Movement International
    12/11/16


    Readers wanting to download the print version of the December edition of The Movement. December 2016 - The Movement Newspaper


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    An Open Letter to Fellow Minority Journalists

     



    Over the next year or two, media — especially prestige print media — will begin thinning out its ranks. The economic forecast, despite temporary spikes in post-election subscriptions, is not good and headcount spots will have to be cleared to make room for all the incoming pro-Trump takes. “Identity politics writers” (read: anyone who isn’t white and who doesn’t spend 99% of their time reporting) will almost certainly be the first to go.
    In reality, this is just a self-correction on the part of prestige print media. As early as three years ago, the entire senior editorial staff of the New Yorker magazine was white (the web, where I worked for a short stint in 2014, was slightly more diverse. I even sat next to a minority, which was a first for me in my publishing career.). Their assistants, save one, were white. The same, I believe, was more or less true of New York and the New York Times Magazine, where I, full disclosure, am a writer-at-large. Those places, of course, employed a small number of minority writers, but the power structure was always controlled by the same types of people.
    After Ferguson, I remember being in meetings for the web team at The New Yorker where it became painfully obvious to everyone in the room that we simply did not have a writer to tackle the massive change that was happening in the country. Good hires were made and over the next two years, the magazine and web (mostly the web) brought on almost a dozen new minority writers and editors. This, even when I worked there in 2014, would have been a completely absurd scenario. Back then, me and one of the only other minorities on the 20th floor of the old Conde Nast building would have to routinely schedule lunches just so we could vent about the totemic whiteness of the place we had dreamt of working our entire lives. If you look at the employee rolls of all these prestige print and web outlets, you’ll see the same, exact pattern of hiring over the past two years. I used to think this changing of demographics in prestige places could lead to a new era of enlightened and forceful publishing. I am no longer so optimistic.
    I bring this up because I think it’s important that minority writers (I have decided to stop using “people of color” for reasons I might explain later, but mostly because it feels a bit too cheery in Trump’s America) be honest with ourselves. Many of us were hired in the last two years and almost every single one of us reports to a white editor who will kowtow to the panic of his or her publisher. Too many of us were brought into media as part of a cynical push to turn “race writing,” especially race writing about pop culture, into a click factory (Or, perhaps, more tellingly, to satisfy the guilt of white editors who finally looked around and realized that their liberal values were in direct conflict with the optics of their workplace.). The media companies who clap themselves on the back because they have an “authentic voice” writing about Beyoncé or the VMAs did not make a real commitment to diversity. Instead, they put forward poorly paid “fellowships” or meager web contracts that require no investment on their part. They, in large part, do not give out reporting assignments that might build up skills that could translate into long careers. The sort of work they do have so many of us do — “woke” pop culture writing — will only last as long as it drives the wan, asymmetrical glow of Media Twitter.
    The real path to success as a journalist still remains the same: Have enough independent wealth so that you can take an unpaid internship or a $35,000 year job as an editorial assistant or fact-checker at a prestigious place and then work the office politics game (read: know how to work a room of Ivy League graduates) to the top. In five or ten or fifteen years, the network you build up during those early years will occupy the highest spots in media and they will bring you into the power structure.
    This same media has sprayed its panicked guts all over the walls in the weeks following the election, but it will eventually settle down into what these prestige journalistic outlets have always been — center-right, bourgeois takes read by lawyers on planes. And since the majority of lawyers on planes aren’t joining up with ‘the resistance’ (whatever the fuck that means), editors and publishers will start hiring alt-Tucker Carlsons so they can hear both sides. They will need to clear headcount spots to do this and they will quietly start purging the same writers they hired so enthusiastically — with rousing rounds of Tweet applause — two years ago.
    They will do this while knowing that the Democratic presidential candidate won the popular vote by almost three million votes despite catastrophically myopic campaign strategy. They will do this while knowing that anyone hired to be a “pro-Trump journalist” will, by the edict of his or her title, feel the need to defend the President’s patently false tweets and his attacks on reporters. They will do this while sitting on bloated, absurd panels where they will tell young writers that the only job of the journalist is to “speak truth to power.” They will do this while still tweeting the same virtue signaling garbage they tweeted out over the past two years, while still convincing themselves that every other media outlet is bad except their media outlet. The tyranny of “good enough” (the way these prestige media outlets stayed so white in the past was to say, more or less, that anyone who could touch a word of copy had to be “good enough,” a standard, of course, that only meant “good in the same way that I am good”) will be restored.
    This is the uncomfortable truth we face. But over my relatively short career, I have met so many wildly talented and generous and serious minority journalists who have provided me with emotional and spiritual support that I will never be able to repay. These relationships are still there. The talent is still there. The audience for our work is still there. What’s changed is where we will publish that work and the spaces in which we will foster new friendships and rivalries.
    We, the like-minded who believe that there is value in the cliché of speaking truth to power and value a progressive coalition over careerism, have to start building our own shit.

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