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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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    Friends, family celebrate Oakland community leader David Glover

    Updated:   05/24/2013 04:28:34 PM PDT

    OAKLAND -- Some people struggle for years to find their calling.
    David Glover, an unrivaled leader of community self-improvement and social justice, found his in Oakland, the city he adopted and represented for more than three decades.
    Glover died Wednesday at age 60.
    The only struggle he lost was to the cancer doctors diagnosed in January.
    "He fought hard," his older sister Angela Glover Blackwell said. "He never gave up."
    His wife, Robin Bailer Glover, echoed her sister-in-law.
    "Once he believed in something, you did not ask him to move," she said. "He didn't shy away from anyone."
    But he was happiest when helping people advocate for themselves.
    "He was dedicated to equality, he was dedicated to his family and he was an outstanding humanitarian," said his brother, Philmore G. Glover, the oldest of the three siblings. "That sums my brother up."
    David Glover's political dedication came from his parents, Philmore and Rose Glover, a high school administrator and an elementary schoolteacher, respectively.
    Glover was born in 1952 in St. Louis and by the time he was a student at Beaumont High School there, he was leading a protest against the administration for student rights.
    He studied journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and considered a career as an editorial cartoonist, Glover Blackwell said.
    She was the one who picked up her brother from the airport in 1971
    after his college graduation.
    1. "He arrived in Oakland full of excitement and energy and ready to begin that part of his life," she said.

    An early photograph shows Glover at a protest in Oakland, megaphone in hand.
    After a brief time at the Bay Area Urban League, he was hired by the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal, or OCCUR, a not-for-profit organization focused on lifting the city's low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
    He started as the director of the Oakland Pride Project and fought the early battles against greenlining in Oakland's low-income neighborhoods.
    In 1982, he became the executive director.
    Glover was fervent and sincere but always polished and polite, said Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb, who hired Glover at OCCUR. "He understood the delicate balance of integrity," Cobb said. "That's why he was so liked."
    In fact, a group of business and community leaders considered encouraging Glover to run for mayor. When Ron Dellums ran instead, he wanted Glover as his chief of staff, an offer Glover turned down to continue his advocacy work. He was part of a group that traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about foreclosure policies that were devastating Oakland residents. And he made his case on behalf of Oakland residents to executives like JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon during the banking crisis.
    "David has been a driving force in revitalizing neighborhoods and communities," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said. "Mr. Glover's tireless efforts to improve the lives and conditions of low-income residents, neighborhoods and communities has been nationally recognized and commended."
    Glover's love of Oakland extended to the Raiders, Warriors and A's, although he continued to champion the St. Louis Cardinals. In his wallet he kept photos of his two sons, Drew, 27, and Trent, 19. His cellphone held a long list of contacts that he kept. Phone calls at night were not unusual.
    "Everyone called him when they were in a quandary," his wife said.
    Sondra Alexander, OCCUR's director of administration, said Glover's dedication and work ethic will never be replicated.
    "He has been an inspiration to all," Alexander said. "He took OCCUR to a whole different level; it grew by leaps and bounds under his leadership."
    Alexander said Glover always kept a positive attitude, regardless of the struggle, and required every OCCUR employee to keep a motto at their desk: "It's never as good as it looks, and it's never as bad as it seems, but it always gets better."
    Memorial services are scheduled 1 p.m. June 1 at the First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway. In lieu of flowers, his family encourages donations to OCCUR.

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    • Again, why are the house negroes in Sac singing Silent Night about the destruction to our history? Answer, because they are house negroes!
      --Marvin X

      Thanks so much for checking in. I have been in contact with David Catlett Mora and I have gotten approval from him on the method for repair that Molly Lambert has submitted. I’ve shared with him that we are in the process of creating a contract with her and also with an art rigging company who will assist her. We are also in the process of getting a base pedestal designed and engineered so we can have it fabricated and ready for the sculpture before the repair can begin. So the timeline will depend on when we can get the various contracts executed and when the base can be fabricated.
      While we are interested in understanding the value, the insurance company has let us know that we will be reimbursed for the out of pocket costs incurred in the repair of the sculpture and that was our immediate concern. We will spend more time on the value question once the sculpture is repaired.
      We have our work cut out for us and we are anxious to move forward. Getting the paperwork in place is not the exciting part but necessary and we have a solid system in place through the City of Sacramento that we feel confident will establish the proper platform for the project.
      Thanks again for reaching out and I’m always glad to share any updates we have.

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    Howard Dodson Jr. has returned to work, trying to make Howard research center great again

    We think Howard Dodson Jr. may be the man to resurrect the Moreland Library, literally, from the dustbin of history. We think if he can secure the Hare archives, he will secure his place in history, especially since Howard University treated Dr. Nathan Hare with abysmal rudeness in kicking out the goose who laid the golden egg called Black Studies!
    --Marvin X, Director, The Community Archives Project, Oakland CA
    May 29, 2003
    Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post - Howard Dodson Jr., 74, came out of retirement to take over Howard's library system, which is home to the Moorland-Spingarn Center — one of the two major repositories of the global black experience. It has been in a state of crisis, with a backlog of unprocessed treasures.
    Buy This Photo
    Howard Dodson Jr. has made a career of tending to the words and works of his ancestors.¶ As head of the world-renowned Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, Dodson acquired the diaries of Malcolm X, the papers of Nat King Cole and Lorraine Hansberry, the collections of anthropologists Melville J. Herskovits and St. Clair Drake, and the prints of Harlem life by photographer Austin Hansen. ¶ But after 25 years as Schomburg’s leader, Dodson was ready to retire, done with the 9 to 5, eager to explore Peru’s Machu Picchu, Ethiopia’s rock-hewn churches, Xi’an’s terra-cotta warriors and other sacred sites from around the world. ¶And then the call of his ancestors came again.
    Which is why the 74-year-old finds himself sitting in the Founders Library on the campus of Howard University, one of the nation’s top historically black universities, where last year he accepted the position of director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and the Howard University Libraries.
    “I said to myself, nobody else,” he recalled.
    How could he say no to his forebears whose books, manuscripts and photographs populate Moorland-Spingarn when many of their papers have been left in a jumble, disorganized and poorly preserved?
    Dodson sits in a conference room lined with wooden bookshelves filled with an unsorted mix of worthless paperbacks and rare treasures of black literature, including a copy of the 19th-century tome “The Negro Genius,” by Benjamin Brawley. The shelves are an apt metaphor for his new calling.
    Moorland-Spingarn, which rivals the Schomburg in the breadth and depth of its collections documenting the global black experience, is home to the papers of singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson and those of Harlem Renaissance-era philosopher and critic Alain Locke (including the unpublished manuscripts of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Barracoon”), along with the legal briefs of NAACP Litigation Director Charles Hamilton Houston.
    But while Schomburg’s star rose under Dodson’s watch, Moorland-Spingarn, begun nearly a century ago with the donation of the library of black theologian and intellectual Jesse E. Moorland, had been in a slow decline. Budget cuts led to staffing drops. Important parts of its rich trove of ephemera and manuscripts are largely inaccessible, sitting in cardboard boxes in rooms that are not kept at a constant temperature to slow deterioration.
    Moorland-Spingarn’s library division houses more than 175,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals. But of the materials housed in the center’s collection of Howard University archives, 99 percent remain unsorted. Of the 660 volumes — manuscripts, sheet music, transcripts, photographs — held in the center’s manuscript division, only one-third has been processed; another third has been inventoried, but the remaining third is wholly unsorted.
    “The lessons of history that can be gleaned from [those] collections are not available,” said Professor Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, who lamented the lack of access to the papers Moorland-Spingarn holds from the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

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    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Services for Jitu Weusi





    Educator, Activist, Brother, Baba, Friend, Comrade, and Giant--Has Made His Transition into Eternal Life, Joining His Ancestors. Come Out to Honor, Celebrate, and Remember Him! 




    BROOKLYN, N.Y. 11213

    SATURDAY JUNE 1, 2013

    6 PM-11PM (Refreshments Will be Served)



    484 Washington Avenue

    Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238     

    MONDAY June 3, 2013



    BROWN MEMORIAL CHURCH (see above for address)

    MONDAY June 3, 2013


    AFRICAN JAZZ STREET FESTIVAL                                                         

    CLAVER PLACE/FOR MY SWEET (see above for address)

    MONDAY JUNE 3, 2013


    In lieu of flowers, the Weusi Family asks that donations be made to the Jitu K. Weusi Arts & Education Scholarship Fund. Please Make Checks Payabe to LLIRN/JITU

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    In 1970, after being banned from teaching from Fresno State University and convicted of refusing to go to Vietnam, Marvin X went into his second self-imposed exile from America, he traveled to Mexico City and later to British Honduras, now Belize. There he met a group of brothers that included Evan X Hyde, one of the few Central American Africans who had graduated from college. The brothers were preaching Black Power and we consequently on trial for sedition. Marvin X reported on the trial for Muhammad Speaks newspaper and for his association with the brothers was ultimately deported. He and his wife, Barbara Hall, a student from Fresno State University who was pregnant with their first daughter Nefertiti, lived on an island called Gales Point, five hours through the jungle by boat (see the film Mosquito Coast).

    After being asked to teach the locals about black power, a drunk man came by their hut singing "Boy day com in ta git ya in da morning. Ya been down here teaching dat black power, day comin ta git ya in da morning." Sure enough after Marvin boarded a boat back to the city for food supplies, he noticed a man on board with a 22 caliber rifle. The man said nothing but Marvin was de facto under arrest. When the boat arrived in town, Marvin went to the apartment of Evan X. Hyde. No one was there but the door was unlocked so he went in but soon heard his named being called from outside, telling him to come out. After thoughts of having a Black Panther style shoot-out--there was 22 caliber rifle in the house, Marvin decided to surrender.

    He was first taken to the Ministry of Home Affairs. After a few cordial words, the Minister read his deportation order: You presence is not beneficial to the welfare of the British Colony of Honduras, therefore you shall be deported to the United States of America. You shall be placed aboard a plane leaving for Miami at 4pm. Until then you shall be placed under arrest. At the police station he was told to have a seat, not placed in a cell nor was he handcuffed. Soon he was surrounded by Black police officers and then one officer told him, "Brother, teach us about Black Power!" Almost in shock at the request, Marvin told them, "Brothers, Marcus Garvey came here in 1923 and told you to get the white woman (Queen of England) off your walls. It's 1970 and you still got that bitch on your walls--get that bitch off!" The police cracked up and told him, "You all ite, border, you all ite! See dat brother officer (one who avoided joining the circle of police around him): he black mon wit white heart, black mon wit white heart! We don't know why they kicking you out and you come down here teaching us. They don't kick out the white hippies who come down here smoking weed."

    Near 4pm Marvin was taken to the airport and after a brief scuffle over not being able to have his wife leave with him, was literally thrown aboard the plane. The plane made a brief stop in Tegucigalpa, Spanish Honduras. Marvin was allowed off the plane but when he asked for asylum, a soldier at the airport (dressed in green army uniforms USA style--Spanish Honduras was/is an USA military base)
    took his request but returned shortly with the answer: Nigguh, get yo ass back on the plane!

    When the plane landed in Miami, two Federal Marshalls greeted Marvin X and escorted him to Dade County Jail, a bottomless pit of ignut Negroes who informed him they were not his brother, so he said nothing else to them. After a week or so he was transferred to Miami City Jail and placed in a cell with white Cuban dope dealers who welcomed him with open arms. They said, "Brother, how are you, Brother? What do you need--just tell us if you need anything, food, money, whatever. We are sending out to a restaurant for dinner. What would you like?" After being out of the USA for several months, Marvin told them to get him a vanilla milkshake, hamburger and fries. They gave him money to make a long distance call to his wife who by that time had arrived back in Fresno.

    Marvin X was eventually returned to San Francisco and although he beat the draft case on a technicality, the Judge said, "Mr. Jackmon, we've spent a lot of time looking for you, nearly five years, so we'll charge you with fleeing to avoid prosecution. How much time would you like?

    Marvin had just read his court speech that make the judge drop his head (see the Black Scholar Magazine, circa 1970 on the Black Prisoner). "I'll take five months, " so he was sentenced to five months at Terminal Island Federal Prison, San Pedro, CA. Shortly after his release in December, 1970, he was blessed with his first daughter, Nefertiti. In 1970 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and traveled to again to Mexico, Trinidad and Guyana, South America. In Guyana he interviewed the Black Power Prime Minister, Fobes Burnham (see Black Scholar Magazine--we later learned Burnham was used by the CIA to prevent the opposition leader, Cheddi Jeagan, from establishing another Communist government in the Americas--Cuba was enough!).

    Reply to Evan X. Hyde

    Evan X. Hyde, I can never forget you and have thought of you often through the years, especially when retelling the story of my deportation from Belize. How are you and all the brothers and sisters in Belize, especially Ishmael Shabazz--is he still on this side of Paradise? Are you in Belize--did you become the Prime Minister? Is your paper online?
    If you haven't already, check out my blog
    Peace and love,
    Marvin X
    29 May 2013 (b day)

    --- On Tue, 5/28/13, evan x hyde  wrote:

    From: evan x hyde
    Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 11:30 PM

    Hey Brother Marvin,
        Remember me? Evan X Hyde in Belize 1970 before you were deported.
    I'm still around and publishing the newspaper. Give me a shout up.
    Salaams and Allah's blessings upon you and yours,
    Evan X

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    photo Don J. Usner
    This morning, Marvin X, one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement, along with Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Sun Ra, Larry Neal, et al., will speak with students in Kim McMillon's class. Marvin is helping her plan a conference on the Black Arts Movement at UC Merced for February, 2014, with emphasis on Black Theatre in the Bay Area, including a consideration of Central Valley writers such as Sherley A.
    Williams and Marvin X, both from Fresno.

    blacktitle.jpg (12329 bytes)
    Historical Overviews of The Black Arts Movement

    Kaluma ya Salaam
    Both inherently and overtly political in content, the Black Arts movement was the only American literary movement to advance "social engagement" as a sine qua non of its aesthetic. The movement broke from the immediate past of protest and petition (civil rights) literature and dashed forward toward an alternative that initially seemed unthinkable and unobtainable: Black Power.
    In a 1968 essay, "The Black Arts Movement," Larry Neal proclaimed Black Arts the "aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept." As a political phrase, Black Power had earlier been used by Richard Wright to describe the mid-1950s emergence of independent African nations. The 1960s' use of the term originated in 1966 with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee civil rights workers Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks. Quickly adopted in the North, Black Power was associated with a militant advocacy of armed self-defense, separation from "racist American domination," and pride in and assertion of the goodness and beauty of Blackness.
    Although often criticized as sexist, homophobic, and racially exclusive (i.e., reverse racist), Black Arts was much broader than any of its limitations. Ishmael Reed, who is considered neither a movement apologist nor advocate ("I wasn't invited to participate because I was considered an integrationist"), notes in a 1995 interview,
    I think what Black Arts did was inspire a whole lot of Black people to write. Moreover, there would be no multiculturalism movement without Black Arts. Latinos, Asian Americans, and others all say they began writing as a result of the example of the 1960s. Blacks gave the example that you don't have to assimilate. You could do your own thing, get into your own background, your own history, your own tradition and your own culture. I think the challenge is for cultural sovereignty and Black Arts struck a blow for that.
    History and Context. The Black Arts movement, usually referred to as a "sixties" movement, coalesced in 1965 and broke apart around 1975/1976. In March 1965 following the 21 February assassination of Malcolm X, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) moved from Manhattan's Lower East Side (he had already moved away from Greenwich Village) uptown to Harlem, an exodus considered the symbolic birth of the Black Arts movement. Jones was a highly visible publisher (Yugen and Floating Bear magazines, Totem Press), a celebrated poet (Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note, 1961, and The Dead Lecturer, 1964), a major music critic (Blues People, 1963), and an Obie Award-winning playwright (Dutchman, 1964) who, up until that fateful split, had functioned in an integrated world. Other than James Baldwin, who at that time had been closely associated with the civil rights movement, Jones was the most respected and most widely published Black writer of his generation.
    While Jones's 1965 move uptown to found the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) is the formal beginning (it was Jones who came up with the name "Black Arts"), Black Arts, as a literary movement, had its roots in groups such as the Umbra Workshop. Umbra (1962) was a collective of young Black writers based in Manhattan's Lower East Side; major members were writers Steve Cannon, Tom Dent, Al Haynes, David Henderson, Calvin C. Hernton, Joe Johnson, Norman Pritchard, Lenox Raphael, Ishmael Reed, Lorenzo Thomas, James Thompson, Askia M. Touré (Roland Snellings; also a visual artist), Brenda Walcott, and musician-writer Archie Shepp. Touré, a major shaper of "cultural nationalism," directly influenced Jones. Along with Umbra writer Charles Patterson and Charles's brother, William Patterson, Touré joined Jones, Steve Young, and others at BARTS.
    Umbra, which produced Umbra Magazine, was the first post-civil rights Black literary group to make an impact as radical in the sense of establishing their own voice distinct from, and sometimes at odds with, the prevailing white literary establishment. The attempt to merge a Black-oriented activist thrust with a primarily artistic orientation produced a classic split in Umbra between those who wanted to be activists and those who thought of themselves as primarily writers, though to some extent all members shared both views. Black writers have always had to face the issue of whether their work was primarily political or aesthetic. Moreover, Umbra itself had evolved out of similar circumstances: In 1960 a Black nationalist literary organization, On Guard for Freedom, had been founded on the Lower East Side by Calvin Hicks. Its members included Nannie and Walter Bowe, Harold Cruse (who was then working on Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, 1967), Tom Dent, Rosa Guy, Joe Johnson, LeRoi Jones, and Sarah Wright, among others. On Guard was active in a famous protest at the United Nations of the American-sponsored Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion and was active in support of the Congolese liberation leader Patrice Lumumba. From On Guard, Dent, Johnson, and Walcott along with Hernton, Henderson, and Touré established Umbra.
    Another formation of Black writers at that time was the Harlem Writers Guild, led by John O. Killens, which included Maya Angelou, Jean Carey Bond, Rosa Guy, and Sarah Wright among others. But the Harlem Writers Guild focused on prose, primarily fiction, which did not have the mass appeal of poetry performed in the dynamic vernacular of the time. Poems could be built around anthems, chants, and political slogans, and thereby used in organizing work, which was not generally the case with novels and short stories. Moreover, the poets could and did publish themselves, whereas greater resources were needed to publish fiction. That Umbra was primarily poetry- and performance-oriented established a significant and classic characteristic of the movement's aesthetics.
    When Umbra split up, some members, led by Askia Touré and Al Haynes, moved to Harlem in late 1964 and formed the nationalist-oriented "Uptown Writers Movement," which included poets Yusef Rahman, Keorapetse "Willie" Kgositsile from South Africa, and Larry Neal. Accompanied by young "New Music" musicians, they performed poetry all over Harlem. Members of this group joined LeRoi Jones in founding BARTS.
    Jones's move to Harlem was short-lived. In December 1965 he returned to his home, Newark (N.J.), and left BARTS in serious disarray. BARTS failed but the Black Arts center concept was irrepressible mainly because the Black Arts movement was so closely aligned with the then-burgeoning Black Power movement.
    The mid- to late 1960s was a period of intense revolutionary ferment. Beginning in 1964, rebellions in Harlem and Rochester, New York, initiated four years of long hot summers. Watts, Detroit, Newark, Cleveland, and many other cities went up in flames, culminating in nationwide explosions of resentment and anger following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s April 1968 assassination.
    In his seminal 1965 poem "Black Art," which quickly became the major poetic manifesto of the Black Arts literary movement, Jones declaimed "we want poems that kill." He was not simply speaking metaphorically. During that period armed self-defense and slogans such as "Arm yourself or harm yourself' established a social climate that promoted confrontation with the white power structure, especially the police (e.g., "Off the pigs"). Indeed, Amiri Baraka (Jones changed his name in 1967) had been arrested and convicted (later overturned on appeal) on a gun possession charge during the 1967 Newark rebellion. Additionally, armed struggle was widely viewed as not only a legitimate, but often as the only effective means of liberation. Black Arts' dynamism, impact, and effectiveness are a direct result of its partisan nature and advocacy of artistic and political freedom "by any means necessary." America had never experienced such a militant artistic movement.
    Nathan Hare, the author of The Black Anglo-Saxons (1965), was the founder of 1960s Black Studies. Expelled from Howard University, Hare moved to San Francisco State University where the battle to establish a Black Studies department was waged during a five-month strike during the 1968-1969 school year. As with the establishment of Black Arts, which included a range of forces, there was broad activity in the Bay Area around Black Studies, including efforts led by poet and professor Sarah Webster Fabio at Merrit College.
    The initial thrust of Black Arts ideological development came from the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a national organization with a strong presence in New York City. Both Touré and Neal were members of RAM. After RAM, the major ideological force shaping the Black Arts movement was the US (as opposed to "them') organization led by Maulana Karenga. Also ideologically important was Elijah Muhammad's Chicago-based Nation of Islam.
    These three formations provided both style and ideological direction for Black Arts artists, including those who were not members of these or any other political organization. Although the Black Arts movement is often considered a New York-based movement, two of its three major forces were located outside New York City.
    As the movement matured, the two major locations of Black Arts' ideological leadership, particularly for literary work, were California's Bay Area because of the Journal of Black Poetry and the Black Scholar, and the Chicago-Detroit axis because of Negro Digest/Black World and Third World Press in Chicago, and Broadside Press and Naomi Long Madgett's Lotus Press in Detroit. The only major Black Arts literary publications to come out of New York were the short-lived (six issues between 1969 and 1972) Black Theatre magazine published by the New Lafayette Theatre and Black Dialogue, which had actually started in San Francisco (1964-1968) and relocated to New York (1969-1972).
    In 1967 LeRoi Jones visited Karenga in Los Angeles and became an advocate of Karenga's philosophy of Kawaida. Kawaida, which produced the "Nguzo Saba" (seven principles), Kwanzaa, and an emphasis on African names, was a multifaceted, categorized activist philosophy. Jones also met Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver and worked with a number of the founding members of the Black Panthers. Additionally, Askia Touré was a visiting professor at San Francisco State and was to become a leading (and long lasting) poet as well as, arguably, the most influential poet-professor in the Black Arts movement. Playwright Ed Bullins and poet Marvin X had established Black Arts West Theatre, and Dingane Joe Goncalves had founded the Journal of Black Poetry (1966). This grouping of Ed Bullins, Dingane Joe Goncalves, LeRoi Jones, Sonia Sanchez, Askia M. Touré, and Marvin X became a major nucleus of Black Arts leadership.
    Theory and Practice. The two hallmarks of Black Arts activity were the development of Black theater groups and Black poetry performances and journals, and both had close ties to community organizations and issues. Black theaters served as the focus of poetry, dance, and music performances in addition to formal and ritual drama. Black theaters were also venues for community meetings, lectures, study groups, and film screenings. The summer of 1968 issue of Drama Review, a special on Black theater edited by Ed Bullins, literally became a Black Arts textbook that featured essays and plays by most of the major movers: Larry Neal, Ben Caldwell, LeRoi Jones, Jimmy Garrett, John O'Neal, Sonia Sanchez, Marvin X, Ron Milner, Woodie King, Jr., Bill Gunn, Ed Bullins, and Adam David Miller. Black Arts theater proudly emphasized its activist roots and orientations in distinct, and often antagonistic, contradiction to traditional theaters, both Black and white, which were either commercial or strictly artistic in focus.
    By 1970 Black Arts theaters and cultural centers were active throughout America. The New Lafayette Theatre (Bob Macbeth, executive director, and Ed Bullins, writer in residence) and Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre led the way in New York, Baraka's Spirit House Movers held forth in Newark and traveled up and down the East Coast. The Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) and Val Grey Ward's Kuumba Theatre Company were leading forces in Chicago, from where emerged a host of writers, artists, and musicians including the OBAC visual artist collective whose "Wall of Respect" inspired the national community-based public murals movement and led to the formation of Afri-Cobra (the African Commune of Bad, Revolutionary Artists). There was David Rambeau's Concept East and Ron Milner and Woodie King’s Black Arts Midwest, both based in Detroit. Ron Milner became the Black Arts movement's most enduring playwright and Woodie King became its leading theater impresario when he moved to New York City. In Los Angeles there was the Ebony Showcase, Inner City Repertory Company, and the Performing Arts Society of Los Angeles (PALSA) led by Vantile Whitfield. In San Francisco was the aforementioned Black Arts West. BLKARTSOUTH (led by Tom Dent and Kalamu ya Salaam) was an outgrowth of the Free Southern Theatre in New Orleans and was instrumental in encouraging Black theater development across the south from the Theatre of Afro Arts in Miami, Florida, to Sudan Arts Southwest in Houston, Texas, through an organization called the Southern Black Cultural Alliance. In addition to formal Black theater repertory companies in numerous other cities, there were literally hundreds of Black Arts community and campus theater groups.
    A major reason for the widespread dissemination and adoption of Black Arts was the development of nationally distributed magazines that printed manifestos and critiques in addition to offering publishing opportunities for a proliferation of young writers. Whether establishment or independent, Black or white, most literary publications rejected Black Arts writers. The movement's first literary expressions in the early 1960s came through two New York-based, nationally distributed magazines, Freedomways and Liberator. Freedomways, "a journal of the Freedom Movement," backed by leftists, was receptive to young Black writers. The more important magazine was Dan Watts's Liberator, which openly aligned itself with both domestic and international revolutionary movements. Many of the early writings of critical Black Arts voices are found in Liberator. Neither of these were primarily literary journals.
    The first major Black Arts literary publication was the California-based Black Dialogue (1964), edited by Arthur A. Sheridan, Abdul Karim, Edward Spriggs, Aubrey Labrie, and Marvin Jackmon (Marvin X). Black Dialogue was paralleled by Soulbook (1964), edited by Mamadou Lumumba (Kenn Freeman) and Bobb Hamilton. Oakland-based Soulbook was mainly political but included poetry in a section ironically titled "Reject Notes."
    Dingane Joe Goncalves became Black Dialogue'spoetry editor and, as more and more poetry poured in, he conceived of starting the Journal of Black Poetry. Founded in San Francisco, the first issue was a small magazine with mimeographed pages and a lithographed cover. Up through the summer of 1975, the Journal published nineteen issues and grew to over one hundred pages. Publishing a broad range of more than five hundred poets, its editorial policy was eclectic. Special issues were given to guest editors who included Ahmed Alhamisi, Don L. Lee (Haki R. Madhubuti), Clarence Major, Larry Neal, Dudley Randall, Ed Spriggs, Marvin X and Askia Touré. In addition to African Americans, African, Caribbean, Asian, and other international revolutionary poets were presented.
    Founded in 1969 by Nathan Hare and Robert Chrisman, the Black Scholar, "the first journal of black studies and research in this country," was theoretically critical. Major African-disasporan and African theorists were represented in its pages. In a 1995 interview Chrisman attributed much of what exists today to the groundwork laid by the Black Arts movement:
    If we had not had a Black Arts movement in the sixties we certainly wouldn't have had national Black literary figures like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alice Walker, or Toni Morrison because much more so than the Harlem Renaissance, in which Black artists were always on the leash of white patrons and publishing houses, the Black Arts movement did it for itself. What you had was Black people going out nationally, in mass, saving that we are an independent Black people and this is what we produce.
    For the publication of Black Arts creative literature, no magazine was more important than the Chicago-based Johnson publication Negro Digest / Black World. Johnson published America's most popular Black magazines, Jet and Ebony. Hoyt Fuller, who became the editor in 1961, was a Black intellectual with near-encyclopedic knowledge of Black literature and seemingly inexhaustible contacts. Because Negro Digest, a monthly, ninety-eight-page journal, was a Johnson publication, it was sold on newsstands nationwide. Originally patterned on Reader’s Digest, Negro Digest changed its name to Black World in 1970, indicative of Fuller’s view that the magazine ought to be a voice for Black people everywhere. The name change also reflected the widespread rejection of "Negro" and the adoption of "Black" as the designation of choice for people of African descent and to indicate identification with both the diaspora and Africa. The legitimation of "Black" and "African" is another enduring legacy of the Black Arts movement.
    Negro Digest / Black World published both a high volume and an impressive range of poetry, fiction, criticism, drama, reviews, reportage, and theoretical articles. A consistent highlight was Fuller's perceptive column Perspectives ("Notes on books, writers, artists and the arts") which informed readers of new publications, upcoming cultural events and conferences, and also provided succinct coverage of major literary developments. Fuller produced annual poetry, drama, and fiction issues, sponsored literary contests, and gave out literary awards. Fuller published a variety of viewpoints but always insisted on editorial excellence and thus made Negro Digest / Black World a first-rate literary publication. Johnson decided to cease publication of Black World in April 1976: allegedly in response to a threatened withdrawal of advertisement from all of Johnson's publications because of pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionist articles in Black World.
    The two major Black Arts presses were poet Dudley Randall's Broadside Press in Detroit and Haki Madhubuti's Third World Press in Chicago. From a literary standpoint, Broadside Press, which concentrated almost exclusively on poetry, was by far the more important. Founded in 1965, Broadside published more than four hundred poets in more than one hundred books or recordings and was singularly responsible for presenting older Black poets (Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling A. Brown, and Margaret Walker) to a new audience and introducing emerging poets (Nikki Giovanni, Etheridge Knight, Don L. Lee/Haki Madhubuti, Marvin X and Sonia Sanchez) who would go on to become major voices for the movement. In 1976, strapped by economic restrictions and with a severely overworked and overwhelmed three-person staff, Broadside Press went into serious decline. Although it functions mainly on its back catalog, Broadside Press is still alive.
    While a number of poets (e.g., Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Marvin X and Sonia Sanchez), playwrights (e.g., Ed Bullins and Ron Milner), and spoken-word artists (e.g., the Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron, both of whom were extremely popular and influential although often overlooked by literary critics) are indelibly associated with the Black Arts movement, rather than focusing on their individual work, one gets a much stronger and much more accurate impression of the movement by reading seven anthologies focusing on the 1960s and the 1970s.
    Black Fire (1968), edited by Baraka and Neal, is a massive collection of essays, poetry, fiction, and drama featuring the first wave of Black Arts writers and thinkers. Because of its impressive breadth, Black Fire stands as a definitive movement anthology.
    ForMalcolm X, Poems on the Life and the Death of Malcolm X (1969), edited by Dudley Randall and Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs, demonstrates the political thrust of the movement and the specific influence of Malcolm X. There is no comparable anthology in American poetry that focuses on a political figure as poetic inspiration.
    The Black Woman (1970), edited by ToniCade Bambara, is the first major Black feminist anthology and features work by Jean Bond, Nikki Giovanni, Abbey Lincoln, Audre Lorde, Paule Marshall, Gwen Patton, Pat Robinson, Alice Walker, Shirley Williams, and others.
    Edited by Addison Gayle, Jr., The Black Aesthetic (1971) is significant because it both articulates and contextualizes Black Arts theory. The work of writers such as Alain Locke, W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and J. A. Rogers showcases the movement's roots in an earlier era into sections on theory, music, fiction, poetry, and drama, Gayle's seminal anthology features a broad array of writers who are regarded as the chief Black Arts theorists-practitioners.
    Stephen Henderson's Understanding the New Black Poetry (1972) is important not only because of the poets included but also because of Henderson's insightful and unparalleled sixty-seven page overview. This is the movement's most thorough exposition of a Black poetic aesthetic. Insights and lines of thought now taken for granted were first articulated in a critical and formal context by Stephen Henderson, who proposed a totally innovative reading of Black poetics.
    New Black Voices (1972), edited by Abraham Chapman, is significant because its focus is specifically on the emerging voices in addition to new work by established voices who were active in the Black Arts movement. Unlike most anthologies, which overlook the South, New Black Voices is geographically representative and includes lively pro and con articles side by side debating aesthetic and political theory.
    The seventh book, Eugene Redmond's Drumvoices, The Mission ofAfro-American Poetry: A Critical History (1976), is a surprisingly thorough survey that has been unjustly neglected. Although some of his opinions are controversial (note that in the movement controversy was normal), Redmond's era by era and city by city cataloging of literary collectives as well as individual writers offers an invaluable service in detailing the movement's national scope.
    The Movement's Breakup. The decline of the Black Arts movement began in 1974 when the Black Power movement was disrupted and co-opted. Black political organizations were hounded, disrupted, and defeated by repressive government measures, such as Cointelpro and IRS probes. Black Studies activist leadership was gutted and replaced by academicians and trained administrators who were unreceptive, if not outright opposed, to the movements political orientation.
    Key internal events in the disruption were the split between nationalists and Marxists in the African Liberation Support Committee (May 1974), the Sixth Pan African Congress in Tanzania where race-based struggle was repudiated/denounced by most of the strongest forces in Africa (Aug. 1974), and Baraka’s national organization, the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP), officially changing from a "Pan Afrikan Nationalist" to a "Marxist Leninist" organization (Oct. 1974).
    As the movement reeled from the combination of external and internal disruption, commercialization and capitalist co-option delivered the coup de grace. President Richard Nixon's strategy of pushing Black capitalism as a response to Black Power epitomized mainstream co-option. As major film, record, book, and magazine publishers identified the most salable artists, the Black Arts movement's already fragile independent economic base was totally undermined.
    In an overwhelmingly successful effort to capitalize on the upsurge of interest in the feminist movement, establishment presses focused particular attention on the work of Black women writers. Although issues of sexism had been widely and hotly debated within movement publications and organizations, the initiative passed from Black Arts back to the establishment. Emblematic of the establishment overtaking (some would argue "co-opting") Black Arts activity is Ntozake Shange's for colored girls, which in 1976 ended up on Broadway produced by Joseph Papp even though it had been workshopped at Woodie King's New Federal Theatre of the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side. Black Arts was not able to match the economic and publicity offers tendered by establishment concerns.
    Corporate America (both the commercial sector and the academic sector) once again selected and propagated one or two handpicked Black writers. During the height of Black Arts activity, each community had a coterie of writers and there were publishing outlets for hundreds, but once the mainstream regained control, Black artists were tokenized. Although Black Arts activity continued into the early 1980s, by 1976, the year of what Gil Scott-Heron called the "Buy-Centennial," the movement was without any sustainable and effective political or economic bases in an economically strapped Black community. An additional complicating factor was the economic recession, resulting from the oil crisis, which the Black community experienced as a depression. Simultaneously, philanthropic foundations only funded non-threatening, "arts oriented" groups. Neither the Black Arts nor the Black Power movements ever recovered.
    The Legacy. In addition to advocating political engagement and independent publishing, the Black Arts movement was innovative in its use of language. Speech (particularly, but not exclusively, Black English), music, and performance were major elements of Black Arts literature. Black Arts aesthetics emphasized orality, which includes the ritual use of call and response both within the body of the work itself as well as between artist and audience. This same orientation is apparent in rap music and 1990s "performance poetry" (e.g., Nuyorican Poets and poetry slams).
    While right-wing trends attempt to push America's cultural clock back to the 1950s, Black Arts continues to evidence resiliency in the Black community and among other marginalized sectors. When people encounter the Black Arts movement, they are delighted and inspired by the most audacious, prolific, and socially engaged literary movement in America's history.
    From The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Oxford UP.

    Reginald Martin
    Background. A central problem in the paradigmatic development of art and literary "history" has always been whose ideas of art and literature will be empowered and, thus, whose ideas will be used to judge what is "good" or "bad" art. The question of who empowers and validates certain literary critical trends is beyond the scope of my inquiry here. But such battles are historically frequent in the sometimes purposely stagnated progression of art "theory." The problems that the progenitors of the Black Arts Movement faced were merely synecdochal of the many traditional and frequent battles in art and literary history fought to decide whose ideas will be censored and whose ideas will be validated and propagated. In other words, stipulative skirmishes have always been fought within the larger battleground of general censorship to decide whose ideas will be codified as a part of the taught canon of art history and criticism. The trials of museum director Dennis Barrie in Cincinnati in the Mapplethorpe controversy and the rap group 2 Live Crew (Luther Campbell, Mark Ross, Christopher Wongwon) in Florida are other similar and related skirmishes. Those whose art triumphs over others' art know that the spoils of that war are certificates of deposit and cold hard cash, not whether one songwriter's love-making lyrics are more acceptable than another's, nor whether nude heterosexual images should preclude nude homosexual images.
    History and Development. The precursors to what is now called the Black Arts Movement (ca. 1962-1971) are many and interwoven. One could reasonably argue that there had been a call for a separate black letters in the American literary mainstream since Frederick Douglass's "What the Negro Wants" (1868). But the literary events that took place in the 1960s, influenced by social events from the 1950s and 1960s, overshadowed all work in black letters that had gone on before.
    During this volatile period, LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) wrote in his essay "The Myth of a 'Negro Literature’" (1962) that "a Negro literature, to be a legitimate product of the Negro experience in America, must get at that experience in exactly the terms America has proposed for it in its most ruthless identity," and that the Negro, as an element of American culture, was "completely misunderstood by Americans." In discussing why, in his opinion, there was so little black literature of merit, Jones wrote,
    ... in most cases the Negroes who found themselves in a position to pursue some art, especially the art of literature, have been members of the Negro middle class, a group that has always gone out of its way to cultivate any mediocrity, as long as that mediocrity was guaranteed to prove to America, and recently to the world at large, that they were not really who they were, ie., Negroes.
    Further, Jones wrote that as long as the Negro writer was obsessed with being accepted, middle class, he would never be able to "tell it like it is," and, thus, would always be a failure, because America made room only for white obfuscators, not black ones. It was from such thoughts by Jones and the thoughts of many like-minded theoreticians such as Hoyt Fuller, that the Black Arts Movement (BAM) took its origins.
    In 1969, during his black nationalist period, Baraka laid concrete boundaries for a "nationalistic art." Baraka wrote in "nationalism vs. Pimpart":
    The Art is the National Spirit. That manifestation of it. Black Art must be the Nationalist's vision given more form and feeling, as a razor to cut away what is not central to National Liberation. To show that which is. As a humanistic expression it is itself raised. And these are the poles, out of which we create, to raise, or as raised.
    In this difficult passage, Baraka was proposing (in typical 1960s rhetoric) specific and limited boundaries for acceptable art. Though a writer on all aspects of the BAM, Baraka's areas of greatest interest were the related arts of literatures and literary criticism, and it was, indeed, the debate on the content of black letters that would fuel the heat of the BAM from 1969 to its last official flickerings in 1974, when Baraka wrote his amazing essay "Why I Changed My Ideology." After Baraka formally announced that he was a socialist, no longer a black nationalist, his guidelines for "valid" black writing changed, but his new requirements, with slightly different emphases (liberation of an classes, races, genders) and a slightly different First Cause (Monopoly Capitalism), were as rigid as his prior requirements. And at this time, Baraka was powerful enough to influence others to codify his vision of acceptable art.
    Baraka saw certain black writers as disrupting the essential and beautiful Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Baraka called these writers "capitulationists," and says their movement was simultaneous with and counter to the Black Arts Movement. Baraka felt that the simultaneity was no accident. In his long essay "Afro-American Literature and the Class Struggle" in Black American Literature Forum (Summer 1980), Baraka, for the first time, made several strong, personal attacks on Ishmael Reed, the fiction writer and poet, and also attacked several black female writers whom he felt fit into the capitulationist mold. And, again, Baraka reiterated that he believes that the groundbreakers in the Black Arts Movement (among them, the new black aesthetic literary wing, including Addison Gayle, Houston Baker, and Clarence Major) were doing something that was new, needed, useful, and black, and those who did not want to see such a flourishing of black expression were "appointed" to the scene to damage the movement.
    Naming Reed and Calvin Hernton as "conservatives," Baraka wrote:
    Yes, the tide was so strong that even some of the "conservatives" wrote work that took the people's side. (The metaphysical slide [sic] of the BAM [Black Arts Movement] even allowed Reed to adopt a rebellious tone with his "Black power poem" and "sermonette" in catechism of d neoamerican hoodoo church, 1970, in which he saw the struggle of Blacks against national oppression as a struggle between two churches: e.g., "may the best church win. shake hands now and come/out-conjuring." But even during the heat and heart of the DAM, Reed would call that very upsurge and the BAM "a goon squad aesthetic" and say that the revolutionary writers were "fascists" or that the taking up of African culture by Black artists indicated such artists were "tribalists."
    Much of the labeling of Reed as a conservative and a "house nigger" began with the publication of The Last Days of Louisiana Red, in which a group of characters Reed labeled as "moochers" loiter around Ed Yellings, a small black business owner who is making active efforts to earn a living and who, through practicing voodoo, finds a cure for cancer. Critics interpreted "the moochers" as being stipulative of some of the BAM group. Supposedly, The Last Days of Louisiana Red contains autocratic figures who do little more than emphasize Reed's definition of moochers, and who continually reenact negative, black stereotypes. Ed Yellings, the industrious black, is killed by black moocher conspirators. Does this mean blacks will turn against what Reed believes to be the good in their own communities? Ed Yellings is a business and property owner. Baraka wrote,
    Ishmael Reed and Stanley Crouch both make the same kind of rah-rah speeches for the Black middle class. Reed, in fact, says that those of us who uphold Black working people are backwards ... Focus on the middle class, the property owners and music teachers, not the black masses (Ralph) Ellison tells us. This is the Roots crowd giving us a history of the BLM [Black Liberation Movement] as a rags-to-riches, Horatio Alger tale in brown face, going off into the sunset and straight for Carter's cabinet or the National Book Award....
    Baraka also set up a dichotomy for a "white arts movement" and a "black arts movement," but while defining the two--one would assume toward the end of endorsing one or the other--Baraka shows only the failings of each and discusses his points of divergence from the "Black Aesthetic Crowd."
    In Baraka's dichotomy, the "white aesthetic is bourgeois art--like the 'national interests' of the U.S. at this late date when the U.S. is an imperialistic superpower." Immediately following this passage, Baraka seemed to defend the black aesthetic group over Ellison's negative criticism of them. Baraka wrote that Ellison said of the black aesthetic crowd that they "buy the idea of total cultural separation between blacks and whites, suggesting that we've been left out of the mainstream. But when we examine American music and literature in terms of its themes, symbolism, rhythms, tonalities, idioms, and images it is obvious that those rejected 'Negroes' have been a vital part of the mainstream and were from the beginning." Baraka responded, "We know we have been exploited, Mr. Ralph, sir; what we's arguing about is that we's been exploited! To use us is the term of stay in this joint. . . ." Baraka's point is that it makes no difference if the corrupt personage is black; the issue is still corruption, and it is a double insult to the oppressed when that corrupt person turns out to be black. But it is at that point that Baraka separated himself from others in the new black aesthetic movement:
    Where I differ with the bourgeois nationalists who are identified with the "Black Aesthetic" is illuminated by a statement of Addison Gayle's: "An aesthetic based upon economic and class determinism is one which has minimal value for Black people. For Black writers and critics the starting point must be the proposition that the history of Black people in America is the history of the struggle against racism" ("Blueprint for Black Criticism," First World, Jan.-Feb. 1977, p. 43). But what is the basis for racism; ie., exploitation because of one's physical characteristics? Does it drop out of the sky? ... Black people suffer from national oppression: We are an oppressed nation, a nation oppressed by U.S. imperialism. Racism is an even more demonic aspect of this national oppression, since the oppressed nationality is identifiable anywhere as that regardless of class.
    Baraka reminded the reader that his disagreement with the new black aesthetic elite was not to say that there was no such thing as a black aesthetic, but that his conception of a black aesthetic manifested itself in his definition of it differently than it did for others. For him it was "a nation within a nation" that was brought about by the "big bourgeoisie on Wall Street, who after the Civil War completely dominated U.S. politics and economics, controlled the ex-planters, and turned them into their compradors." Further, black aesthetic ideas had to be subsumed under the larger category of the Black Arts Movement so that its ideas would be in concert with those black ideas from drama, dance, and graphic arts.
    Baraka claimed that several women writers, among them Michelle Wallace and Ntozake Shange, like Reed, had their own "Hollywood" aesthetic, one of "capitulation" and "garbage." Toward the end of his article, Baraka said that the "main line" of his argument bad been that "class struggle is as much a part of the arts as it is any place else." His pleas and support were reserved for those artists who were "struggle oriented," those who were trying to "get even clearer on the meaning of class stand, attitude, audience, and study, and their relationship to our work."
    And, thus, Baraka's argument is epanaleptic, as it turns back for support upon the same core of arguments of the other black aestheticians with whom he has said he is in disagreement; those arguments form a complete circle with Baraka's stated premise that black literature, black art must do something materially positive to help black people. Art must be socially functional.
    The heat and heart really left the BAM after Baraka changed from black nationalist to Leninist/Socialist (1974) and after the death of Hoyt Fuller (1971). Baraka was by far the strongest voice in the movement, and when he changed his ideas and said that before he had been absolutely wrong about his views on black art and that now his Leninist/Marxist vision was absolutely correct, many of his adherents lost faith. The basic tenets of the movement included the ideas that art by black Americans could never be accepted by white Americans, and separate criteria needed to be developed by black artists to appraise properly the talent of black artists. Also, all art should be toward a political/humanistic end that would elevate all people--but especially black people--to a higher consciousness and a better life. In a retrospective on this artist/censor exchange, W. Lawrence Hogue wrote in "Literary Production: A Silence in Afro-American Critical Practice" from his book Discourse and the Other: The Production of the Afro-American Literary Text (1986) that the writers of the BAM:
    in using literature to further their political ends ... understand the political function of literature. Their strategy is to promote those Afro-American texts that present an aesthetic theory of literature. But that strategy is silent completely on how established literary institutions and apparatuses, throughout American literary history, have affected the production of Afro-American literature. . . . Of course, such a discussion would cause these black aestheticians to confront openly the ideological nature and function, and therefore the constraints and exclusions, of their own cultural nationalist critical practices.
    Thus, at least in theoretical discussion, an expansive, stylistically, thematically, and racially absorptive and syncretic "aesthetic" would put itself arguably above what Hogue calls the "nationalistic criteria" of the BAM regimen. In theory, a racially syncretic aesthetic would even absorb any facets of the BAM platform it could find useful, transform them, an produce new "discursive formations" (Foucault) that helped to explain itself or explain any kind of art text it chose. It is partly the syncretic idea that the proponents of the BAM fought against. For them, the only way to artistic purity was through separation from the mainstream.
    Most recently, Baraka has reassessed Leninist/Marxist theory as an applicable filter for African-American literature. He now finds that, while perhaps a Leninist/Marxist grid is not the best way to assess and form the black arts, he still feels that at the root of any authentic black art endeavor must be the love of black people and the love of self-affirmation.
    From The Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States. New York: Oxford UP, 1995. Copyright © 1995 by Oxford UP

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    University of California, Merced Students view the writings and archives of Black Arts Movement poet, playwright, philosopher Marvin X.

    Marvin spoke on a variety of topics in a two hour dialogue with students in Kim McMillon's class on Theatre and Social Responsibility. Students questioned him about his plays Flowers for the Trashman, One Day in the Life and the Ed Bullins' script (Marvin now listed as co-author) Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam. Marvin read from his court speech after being convicted of draft related charges, see Black Scholar Magazine, April-May, 1971, page 8.

    Regarding the father-son relationship described in his first play Flowers for the Trashman (Black Fire, 1968), Marvin said he may have been a failure with his own sons, one committed suicide, Darrel, and he is alienated from
    the other, Marvin X. He told the students there is no guarantee your children will like you or that you will like them. And how can we expect to have true love between parents and children or between husbands and wives in a white supremacy society that his hostile and toxic to everything that is true and real. Is America prepared to dismantle all the racist institutions, marriage, education, political, economic, religious? Will America ever give up its trillion dollar military budget and close the 800 bases around the world; will she stop being the number one arms merchant of the world; will she close the prison system wherein 80% of the inmates are dual diagnosed, i.e., suffer from drug addictions and mental illness?

    When students asked his views on gun control, he replied: There must be a level playing field, everyone should pack or everyone must be disarmed, and more than likely the former will happen before the latter.

    On the subject of rape in the military, Marvin said he didn't understand how a soldier with a gun can be raped until an ex-military female who had been raped told him soldiers are trained not to shoot their comrades under any circumstances.

    He said rape is pandemic due to the patriarchal mythology that men own women, even in war the captured women are called booty and are the prize of war, so they can be raped or whatever--it is the nature of war, kill the men, rape the women, this idea is pervasive globally. Until the patriarchal mythology is destroyed little will change regarding the physical, emotional and verbal abuse of women. He noted that France has a new law against the emotional and verbal abuse of partners.

    Students asked why he has not departed America, given his views of the nature of the American beast? I have no desire to be an expatriate. I lived in exile during the Vietnam war, and it is a most horrible fate to be apart from your people. No matter what, no matter how terrible they are in their negrocities (Baraka term), I love these deaf, dumb and blind negroes. He told the story of a sister who went to Africa but soon started looking for American Negroes, she missed them soon after arriving in Africa and discovering she was a North American African, this was her tribe, no matter the notion of Pan Africanism, after all, the Africans described her as a "Black American slave"!

    Marvin gave students copies of his books, DVDs and CDs, including his controversial pamphlet The Mythology of Pussy and Dick, which nearly all of them asked him to autograph.

    The class treated Marvin X with a birthday cake and the song Happy Birthday, Marvin X (69, May 29).

    Professor Kim McMillon is planning a conference on the Black Arts Movement for February, 2014. Marvin X is the keynote speaker.

    To invite Marvin X to your campus, call 510-200-4164 or email

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    Michael Appleton for The New York Times
    Ilyasah Shabazz spoke during the memorial service Thursday for Malcolm Shabazz at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem.

    “He idolized his grandfather,” Ms. Shabazz told about 250 people gathered at First Corinthian Baptist Church, where her sister Malaak is a member. Mr. Shabazz, 28, became fond of telling people, even relatives: “I am the seventh descendant of Malcolm X, and I am his first male heir.”
    “And we would look at him like, ‘Really, Buddy?’ ” Ms. Shabazz said, eliciting laughter. “But it turns out that Malcolm would step into his grandfather’s shoes.”
    At the memorial service, family and friends remembered Mr. Shabazz, who was fatally beaten on May 9 in Mexico City, as a reflection of his grandfather. They also sought to celebrate the man he was becoming, looking beyond the troubles of his youth: the fire he started at 12, which killed his grandmother, Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz; his stints in prison; and his own violent end.
    The police in Mexico City arrested two waiters at a downtown bar for his murder, in what the city prosecutor called a dispute over a bill. Mr. Shabazz had traveled there to meet with a labor activist and friend who had been deported.
    “He was an emerging light,” the imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, said during the service.
    In recent years, Mr. Shabazz had traveled throughout the United States and abroad for speaking engagements. The trips allowed him to escape from the shadow cast by his tumultuous youth and to step into a role that his grandfather played later in life, that of a human-rights activist. Mr. Shabazz spoke about social justice and rallied support for black causes worldwide.
    “His sincerity connected with people instantly,” said Etan Thomas, a former player for the N.B.A., who recalled the time he and Mr. Shabazz spoke to about 500 young men at the prison on Rikers Island as part of President Obama’s fatherhood initiative. “That’s power.”
    “Malcolm,” he added, “was just scratching the surface of where he wanted to go.”
    Others spoke of the paradox of the family. Mr. Shabazz’s great-grandfather, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and supporter of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. In 1931, his body was reportedly found lying across trolley tracks in Lansing, Mich. Then, in 1965, his grandfather, Malcolm X, was assassinated inside a ballroom at the Audubon Theater in Washington Heights, at age 39.
    The Shabazz family, like the Kennedys and the Rockefellers, has been marked by tragedy, said the Rev. Conrad Tillard, a former minister of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 7, where Malcolm X preached. “They have gone through so much and suffered so greatly,” he said. “But in spite of all of the challenges and suffering, they continue to hold on.”
    Other speakers included the author and activist Sister Souljah; Adelaide L. Sanford, vice chancellor emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents; and Mayor Ernest D. Davis of Mount Vernon, in Westchester County. There were spoken word performances, and the R&B singer Jaheim sang a song he had written for Mr. Shabazz.
    Relatives and close friends shared what Mr. Shabazz’s grandmother, Betty Shabazz, often said: “Find the good, and praise it.”
    Mr. Shabazz was remembered as a bookworm, a charmer, and a young warrior.
    The service started with a procession of African drummers, followed by Mr. Shabazz’s two aunts and other relatives. During the two-hour service, a 10-minute video presentation was played on a giant screen, entitled “Malcolm Latif Shabazz.” One segment featured an interview with Press TV, a news outlet in Iran, about the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
    Mr. Shabazz expressed his sympathy, then noted, after he listed about a half-dozen other names, that Trayvon Martin’s death was not an isolated episode. “There are hundreds of black men that are getting murdered throughout the country,” he said, his eyes intent, “with impunity.”

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    Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner table at the Berkeley Flea Market, the crossroads of
    Bay Area North American African culture and art. His table is described as "The Militant table"!
    He will be at the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival on Sunday, June 23, 2013. The festival is one block south of the Ashby BART station. Marvin X will autograph books and display his archives as well as the books and archives of Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare, also the works of his student, Aries Jordan.

                                  Poet Aries Jordan, a student at Marvin X's Academy of da Corner;
    also serving as an intern on his Community Archives Project, assisting
    the Master Teacher assemble the Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare archives

    Master Teacher/Minister of Poetry
    Marvin X

    photo Don J. Usner

    Contact information:
    Marvin X

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    I see you’re still working on it, still a poet. Dr. Ruth Love said she was going to be sending somebody to help with the archives.

    Speaking of Asa and the maroon within us, I first learned about the maroons in a course in “Negro History” in 1948 (textbook by Carter G. Woodson) as a high school sophomore at Toussaint L’ouverture High in Slick, Oklahoma.

    Something pathetic,, as Harold Cruse would say, about the fact that a scholar of the magnitude of Asa Hilliard would have to be hipping black people to the Maroons at this late date.

    By the way, I just now learned for the first time that Asa was also, like me and Khalid, a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

    This just shows the confusion of the concept of blackness in our midst, when Negro colleges founded by white post-slavery racists we so proudly hail as “black colleges, or for reasons that call for speculation, “historically black colleges.” When did that history begin? When were they not black colleges. Why are they black colleges now. Why is it only historic? Does it mean their blackness has past and they were black historically but no longer?

    Coincidentally, you just called with potentially good news, so I say so much for philosophy. Enough already. Now when I get to Heaven I can put on my shoes and sing and Suzie-Q and  fox trot and huckle-buck all over all over God’s heaven. I might even buck-dance if I wind up with some bucks.


    Note: Dr. Nathan Hare is the Father of Black Studies. He formulated the first curricula for Black Studies at a major American university. For his radical ideas and activism, he was removed from the faculty of Howard University and San Francisco State University. Marvin X is organizing his archives for acquisition.

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    PHONE:  323.422.6025 

    LOCAL JACKSON CONTACT: Chokwe Antar Lumumba

    Chokwe Lumumba Elected Mayor of Jackson, MS with Clear Mandate
    The People of Jackson Have Spoken: “One City, One Aim, One Destiny”

    With more than 85% of the vote, the people of Jackson clearly voiced their support for Chokwe Lumumba’s vision of a unified, democratic Jackson.  Lumumba, an attorney with a long record of grassroots activism and leadership in Jackson and nationwide, offered his heartfelt thanks to residents for their faith and confidence in his candidacy.

    “I want to thank each and everyone who made this victory possible. I am grateful for your vote and your trust.  I am committed to upholding that trust,” says Lumumba .  “ This has been a team effort from the very beginning.  We have always said, ‘The people must decide.’ And the people have spoken for a revitalized Jackson that works for all of us, not just the few. ”

    The hotly contested race drew national attention as Lumumba is considered one of the most progressive candidates ever to be elected mayor of a major city – particularly in the South.   The Mayor Elect was outspent by more than 4-1 by his primary opponent as well as the target of vicious attack ads.  Despite the challenges, Lumumba stayed focus on issues of economic justice, democracy and the underlying root causes of Jackson’s social problems.

    “The vast majority of people saw through the smear tactics and really responded to our message and vision,” says Safiya Omari, campaign manager for Elect Chokwe Lumumba Mayor.  “We have faith in Jackson.  Our people know the deal.  Chokwe speaks to their everyday reality.”

    Campaigning with the message “One City, One Aim, One Destiny,” the campaign brought together a wide range of constituencies across the city committed to a progressive vision of a just and equitable Jackson.   An important component of the citywide organizing effort is the Peoples Assemblies – grassroots leaders from across the city that have been working together with Lumumba to build a people centered policy agenda. 

    Says Lumumba, “This has been a grassroots campaign from the start.  And my commitment to listening to you, the people of Jackson, won’t end with the campaign.  I look forward to working with everyone committed to building a just and thriving city.  We have challenges ahead.  We have work to do but I believe we are up to the task before us.”

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    There is no doubt: President Obama is Bush on steroids! Now those of us in the hood know all too often the black cop is worse than the white cop, the black jailer is worse than the white jailer, the black teacher is worse than the white teacher. Of course, as per presidents, since the end of colonialism, Africa has had a plethora of presidents-for-life, although much of their wretched behavior was learned from their colonial education, especially in political science, where they observed and were traumatized by the brutality of the colonial masters. This is not to say all was peaches and cream before the white masters arrived, but certainly after their arrival, the white masters far outdid the pre-colonial native rulers in brutality, wretchedness and thievery, e.g., the Congo comes to mind and of course Apartheid South Africa. We have the political history of the Caribbean to document the wretchedness of white men in black face or as they say in the Caribbean "black men with white hearts."

    Let us then end our final escapade with black romanticism, i.e., a black face will save us, will liberate us, will free us from our myriad ills, too numerous to note. For sure, we must free ourselves, but black skin alone will not save us. We must, I believe Dr. John Henrik Clark said it best, maintain the best of our cultural traditions and high morals. For sure, we cannot expect to become truly free in a free market capitalist system that is rooted in slavery, now called wage slavery. We cannot become the Michael Jordan's who don't mind pimping Asians to make tennis shoes for fifty cents, then pimp the ghetto and white America as well, selling the shoes for a hundred or two hundred dollars per pair.

    As per President Obama, I confess that I was one of the starry-eyed idealists who supported his initial run but by the end of his first term, in was clear to me he was in the tradition of those African politicians mentioned above who mastered the white man's political science to become brutalizers of their people.
    Of course, President Obama (and global capitalism in general) does not discriminate. Clearly, the actions of the Obama administration is, indeed, the Bush administration on steroids, as per the constitutional rights of American citizens. I never imagined, except for the treatment of North American Africans, that citizens could be killed without charges, without trial, in the name of fighting terrorism. No one knows terrorism better than North American Africans who have been subjected to the worst treatment ever given to human beings on the face of the earth. And don't tell me about Jews. Hitler learned how to treat the Jews from American Christians!

    North American Africans have been subjects of spies and snitches since slavery, many slave revolts were aborted by snitches who warned ole mass. The FBI originated with spying on Noble Drew Ali and Marcus Garvey, yet we never thought the day would come when every American would be subject to Big Brother Obama, listening to our every thought, every email, every blog, every cell phone call.

    This is not the America we were taught about in Civics and political science. This is the American Gulag, the number one prison house of the world, home of the world's leading gun seller and terrorist who now labels every freedom fighter a terrorist if their agenda is not in sync with America's.

    It is hard to believe Big Brother goes around with a list of people to murder, American citizens included. Was there any reason (except white supremacy in black face) for the drone murder of Anwar Awlaki and his son, without charges and trial?

    Is it now necessary to spy on the press, the opposition and loyal citizens? Obama is now in the tradition of Richard Nixon!

    Perhaps, we should not be so personal, after all, this is the capitalist system on its deathbed, way pass the emergency room.

    When will the passive, pitiful, slothful, deaf, dumb and blind Americans wake up from their world of make believe? For sure, the present political/economic system cannot save you, you must rise up as people around the world are doing at this hour, for sure, if you do not initiate an American Spring, the winter of your discontent has arrived!
    --Marvin X

    Marvin X is a free thinker.

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    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Review: In the Crazy House Called America

    Marvin X Offers A Healing Peek Into His Psyche

    By Junious Ricardo Stanton

    Rarely is a brother secure and honest enough with himself to reveal his innermost thoughts, emotions or his most hellacious life experiences. For most men it would be a monumental feat just to share/bare his soul with his closest friends, but to do so to perfect strangers would be unthinkable, unless he had gone through the fires of life and emerged free of the dross that tarnishes his soul. Marvin X, poet, playwright, author and essayist does just that in a self-published book entitled In the Crazy House Called America.

    This latest piece from Marvin X offers a peek into his soul and his psyche. He lets the reader know he is hip to the rabid oppression the West heaps upon people of color, especially North American Africans, while at the same time revealing the knowledge gleaned from his days as a student radical, black nationalist revolutionary forger of the Black Arts Movement, husband, father lover, a dogger of women that did not spare him the degradation and agony of descending into the abyss of crack addiction, abusive and toxic relationships and family tragedy.

    Perhaps because of the knowledge gained as a member of the Nation of Islam, and his experiences as one of the prime movers of the cultural revolution of the '60s, the insights he shares In the Crazy House Called America are all the keener. Marvin writes candidly of his pain, bewilderment and depression of losing his son to suicide. He shares in a very powerful way, his own out of body helplessness as he wallowed in the dregs of an addiction that threatened to destroy his soul and the mess his addictions made of his life and relationships with those he loved.

    But he is not preachy and this is not an autobiography. He has already been there and done that. In sharing his story and the wisdom he has gleaned from his life experiences and looking at the world through the eyes of an artist/healer, Marvin X serves as a modern day shaman/juju man who in order to heal himself and his people ventures into the spirit realm to confront the soul devouring demons and mind pulverizing dragons; he is temporarily possessed by them, heroically struggles to rebuke their power before they destroy him; which enables him to return to this realm, tell us what it is like, prove redemption is possible, thereby empowering himself/ us and helping to heal us. He touches on a myriad of topics as he raps and writes about himself and current events.

    Reading this book you know he knows what it is like to come face to face with and do battle with the insanity and death this society has in store for all Africans. Marvin X talks about his sexual relations/dysfunction, drugs, media and free speech, sports, black political power or the lack thereof, the war on drugs and the current War on Terrorism, nothing is off limits. He includes reviews of music, theater as well as film, but not as some smarter/ holier than thou, elitist observer.

    Marvin X writes as one actively engaged in life, including its pain and suffering. He lets us know he was a willing and active participant in his addiction, how it impacted his decision making, his role as a parent, his male-female "relationships", his ability to be creative within a movement to liberate African people and the world from the corruption of Caucasian hegemony.

    Marvin X is in recovery and it has not been easy for him. As a writer/healer he still has the voice of a revolutionary poet/playwright, it is a voice we need to listen and pay attention to. He has survived his own purgatory and emerged stronger and more committed to life and saving his people. As North American Africans (his term to differentiate us from our continental and diasporic brethren) he sees the toll the insanity of this culture takes on us. His culturally induced self-destructive lifestyle choices and the death of his son is a testament to how life threatening and lethal this society can be.

    But Marvin X also talks about spiritual redemption, the ability to transcend even the most horrific experiences with resiliency and determination so that one gets a glimpse of one's own divine potential. This book is an easy read which makes it all the more profound. In The Crazy House Called America is for brothers especially. It is a book all black men should grab hold of and digest, if for no other reason than to experience just how redemptively healing and liberating being honest can be.

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    Dr. M,

    Also folded in the book with the birthday greeting card to me from Max Stanford, aka Dr. Muhammad Ahmed (most feared black militant by FBI in the late 1960s) is a note from a boy named Cadence, saying “I love Dr. Julia Hare.”


    From: Nathan Hare [] 
    Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:01 AM
    To: Marvin X Jackmon (
    Subject: Endless Archives and Bottomless Pockets


    I notice you left the birthday card from Max Stanford (Muhammad Ahmed), I guess because it was tucked in one of a stack of books. One of them, “Black Writers of America: A Comprehensive Anthology” (Macmillan, 1972), has me and Tolson in it (pre-Great Debaters, Wiley College, where he practiced and James Farmer was a student before Tolson moved on to Langston and left debating for poetry and drama, aiming at Broadway and hitting Hollywood); indeed the editors   discuss Tolson and celebrate him as one of my teachers in the preface to my essay, “The Challenge of a Black Scholar,” I see they gave it a section all by itself, “Essay” under  “Part VI: The Present Generation: Since 1945,” though near the tail end of the book, just before Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver, and The Blues, in that order.

    Talk about black studies, which they also mentioned, the article was also reprinted in a number of places, like such other articles as “Black Ecology,” in a number of different languages around the world. In fact I just got a call on Friday from a University of Pennsylvania black female professor  of ethics (as you know they worry about what’s right and wrong -- while I worry about what’s right, I know what’s wrong ), wanting to interview me on the article. I told her I’d have to take a look at it and get back to you, because I’ve forgotten what I said in it, especially since I was writing it while I was in jail in San Francisco (they didn’t let me keep anything but a paperback I had with me when arrested, Karl Mannheims “Idelogy and Utopia.” No pencil, so I used my thumbnail to mark off passages I wanted to quote or paraphrase.  But I didn’t just use Mannheim, lest black intellectuals say it’s not black enough, not even black studies in the first place. And anyway, how come you didn’t mention Moses.

    I also don’t want you to take the book, “Medicine in the Ghetto” too lightly, not even my essay in it. Its editor, John Norman, was the director of the conference put on by the Harvard Medical School at Wentworth-by-the-Sea in New Hampshire in the late spring of 1969, but he was black, as were most of the participants. On my panel was the now late Charles Sanders, then the managing editor of Ebony magazine, when magazines were magazines and print media was print, The chairman of the panel, I believe, was the president of Meharry Medical College (I know he was the one who invited me). I forget the other person or two.

    Some people think black studies is equivalent only to ancient history (“contributionism” a term I coined in the early 1960s at Howard – I note that white individuals have taken it up but could find no reference before the early 1960s, and certainly I coined it for myself and my students at Howard. Indeed circa 1970 the black sociologist, West Indian, at Harvard, wrote an essay in the” Crimson,” in which he referred to me and “Contributionsm” but added two categories. Jancie Hale Bensin in her book on black children, their cultural roots and learnin styles, summarizes Patterson’s  article but gives “contributionism” not to me as Patterson had, but to him. (Patterson may have mentioned me but kept the term for himself, a common ploy of black intellectuals (creatures who think black studies is equivalent only to an account of how  the first physician or something was black, Imhotep, and arguments over the proper spelling of his name, Immutef, or the first god was black (wouldn’t you know it?), the first devil, to the first person to make a spool or a piece of thread, etcetera. That’s one reason black studies and black intellectuality in general got bogged down and locked in antiquity from 1969 to 2009; and only came out to wail and bash the first black president for not picking them up and flinging them into the kingdom of snow white liberation.

    As regards the stuff in my storage in the office building, I admit I wasn’t up to the challenge of taking those heavy file cabinets of files packed and crammed in there last Sunday morning. Don’t know whether that’s worth just going one day back again and wrenching the cabinets out and seeing what if anything we need to keep that’s not in current use. If so we would need Ali or some such heavyweight to help, I think, to boost the meager might of two old men and a pretty woman or two; although it was precisely two women of the physical stature to rival Ali who crammed them in there in the first place. The ringleader was a literary enthusiast and skimmed and got away with my big volume of the complete works of Shakespeare and God knows what. We weren’t thinking about archives -- at least I wasn’t. It’s like one continual try in a marathon game of finders keepers.

    It’s good you’re making a movement out of the Archives Project, just don’t make me the sacrificial lamb. I’m trying to work my way out of this quagmire, this nightmare of deprivation, before I wrap my smothering blanket around me and lie down to pleasant dreams.

    Hotep (is that black enough for you?),


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    photo Don J. Usner
    photo Gene Hazzard

    At San Francisco's Juneteenth, Marvin X will autograph books and exhibit his archives as well as the archives of Dr. Nathan Hare and Dr. Julia Hare. SF Juneteenth is on Fillmore Street, Saturday and Sunday.

    History of Juneteenth

    JUNETEENTH, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is aportmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in 40 states of the United States.

    OBSERVATION The state of Texas is widely considered the first U.S. state to begin Juneteenth celebrations with informal observances taking place for over a century; it has been an official state holiday since 1890. It is considered a "partial staffing holiday", meaning that state offices do not close, but some employees will be using a floating holiday to take the day off. Schools are not closed, but most public schools in Texas are already into summer vacation by June 19th. Its observance has spread to many other states, with a few celebrations even taking place in other countries.
    As of June 2011, 40 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or state holiday observance; these are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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    The Shaman's Ordeal by Fire
    photo Gene Hazzard
    You say "I love you" but can't stand you
    We both laugh the feeling is mutual
    Student  Teacher
    Dear Teacher, have you learned something from me?
    I have learned so much about my history about standing up for myself
    One cannot be a punk ass bitch around you
    Thick skin a must 
    like night and day
    true  Gemini
    12 personalities
    1.Brown liquor Nigga
    2. intellect
    3. Historian
    5.Plato Negro
    6. Dirty old man
    7. The lazy Prophet
    8. Poetic mad man
    9. Advisor
    10. Hustler Supreme
    the last two personalities don't yet have a name
    always a truth teller
    Though you think i don't listen
    I do sometimes
    Though i think you don't listen to me
    you don't
    only sometimes
    you create magic with your words
    a journey with your pen
    I can't do more than 3 to 4 hours around you
    too intense
    I gots to go
    You say I am  square and you're out the box
    say I am steeped in religiosity
    i say I am me
    You drift off sometimes to places unseen
    You say all teachers take students through the ordeal by fire
    I say "Is that right?!"
    More like ordeal of Madness
    I don't play that shit
    Thank you for making me a better writer and better person
    --Aries Jordan


    The Shaman Speaks to Neophyte
    photo Gene Hazzard
    you come into my world of fire
    disturbed you got burned
    what foolishness is this
    when the world is ablaze
    do they not make fires
    to put out fires?
    In my fire is love
    the only reason for being
    engulfing the flames
    burn away all illusions
    only the essential shall remain
    the loving self
    beyond youth and age
    beyond preference
    want desire
    only the spirit needs shall be met
    no ego desires need apply
    it is dross
    like a candle in the wind
    the flame cannot last
    the student and teacher dance
    only to transcend the normal naked world
    that bland self taught by mother/father
    on to the shaman world beyond the brink
    across the chasm
    that is our task
    if you come with me
    all the way to the end
    no half stepping
    no diversion into the normal
    this journey is to the meta reality
    you can go there with me or fly
    into fires beyond my torch of freedom with discipline
    beyond lover husband and wife
    to the spirit truth
    without name
    yet it is all there is in essential time
    we may not like each other
    but again the need is there
    we try escape to no avail
    humankind is not for us
    only the divine
    so try if you must to escape
    see how we come into each other's arms
    only to avoid the kiss
    some fear remains
    until we understand there no escape
    the matter was settled the moment we met.
    We are one in the sun in the wind in the fire of love.
    --Marvin X

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    • A Summerstage Tribute to Sekou Sundiata  
    • FREE Poetry Slam at the Brooklyn Museum
    • Banana Puddin Presents Young Ladies of Jazz
    • LivingSocial VIP deal
    • Sight of Sound Project
    Nuyorican Poets Cafe logo
    35 years of...

    Want a deal on VIP tickets to our Friday Night Poetry Slam or our annual  memberships? Click here for a sweet score from LIVINGSOCIAL! 

    This week, we're at SUMMERSTAGE & the BROOKLYN MUSEUM 

    Wednesday July 3, 5-6PM | $15 at Central Park's Summerstage 
    A Tribute to Sekou Sundiata
    A Conversation and Poetry Reading with artists from the Nuyo

    Join poets Pamela Sneed, Bonafide Rojas, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Bowery Poetry Club founder Bob Holman, Nuyorican Poets Cafe slammistress Mahogany Browne and Nuyorican Poets Cafe executive director Daniel Gallant for a panel discussion about the career and legacy of poet, performer and teacher Sekou Sundiata. The event will include readings of poetry written and inspired by Sundiata; tickets include bleacher seats to the Sekou Sundiata Tribute concert immediately following, which features performances by Nona Hendryx, Sandra St. Victor and Toshi Reagon. For more info, click here.

    Saturday July 6, 8-9:30PM  | FREE at the Brooklyn Museum
    Remixing the American Dream

    The Nuyorican Poets Cafe presents a community poetry slam that explores themes of truth, struggle and liberation. The slam will feature performances by celebrated Nuyo poets Falu, Witness and Tre G. (the Cafe's 2013 Grand Slam Champion).  With musical performances by the Mighty Third Rail, and a short open mic segment.  The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway; take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Arrive between 7-8 if you want to sign up for the open mic. For more info, click here.

    Upcoming Events at the Nuyo

    Banana Puddin' Jazz presents Beautiful Young Ladies In Jazz
    Sat July 6, 2013 - 9:30PM

    Featuring: The Mimi Jones Band with: Mimi Jones (bass), Arco Iris Sandoval (piano), and Sanah Kadoura (drums) as well as vocalists Noel Simone Wippler and Jasmine Cephas Jones.  As always, complimentary Banana Puddin' for all! Tickets are $15. 

    Caroline Rothstein Presents: Recycled Jazz Beats
    Tuesday July 9, 2013 - 9PM

    Nationally acclaimed writer and performer Caroline Rothstein presents her first Nuyorican Poets Cafe show in two years. This award-winning spoken word poet performs alongside New York City's finest jazz musicians, Antoine Drye on trumpet, Lafayette Harris Jr. on piano, and George Delancey on bass. Join us for "Recycled Jazz Beats," an event not to be missed. For one night only! Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the Door 

    Truculently Audacious: The Sight of Sound Project
    Thursday, July 11, 2013, 9pm
    Sounds of a new world enter your ears. New experiences and new emotion surround you. The conflict within creates a pleasing resolution to an outside problem. Relinquish all inhibitions and experience Truculently Audacious: The Sight of Sound Project. Tickets are $10 at the door.
    Big thanks to Empire Guide for their glowing review of the Nuyo; check it out here!  

    Tickets and details for all shows are available at or by calling 212-780-9386.

    Need the perfect present for a poet or a fan of the downtown arts scene?
    A year-long Nuyo membership is only $60 (or $30 for students). Nuyo members receive discounts on admission to all events, as well as several free tickets and invites to special members-only events!
    Don't miss our regular weekly events: Open Mic Mondays (every Monday at 9pm, all art forms welcome); the Slam Open (a competitive poetry open mic, every Wednesday at 9pm except the first Wednesday of the month); the Thursday Night Latin Jazz Jam (every Thursday at 9pm) and our Friday Night Poetry Slam (10pm every Friday).

    Follow the Nuyo on Facebook or Twitter for event updates, news about our artists, submission opportunities and more. Further information about all of our shows can be found at

    Contact Information

    The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
    236 E 3rd Street
    between Avenue B and C
    New York, NY 10009
    Info 212.505.8183
    Fax 212.475.6541

    The Cafe serves beer, wine, coffee, tea  and soft drinks but no food. All ages are welcome at events, but you must be over 21 w/ valid ID to drink.
    Out of respect for our artists, there is NO video or audio recording of events without prior written permission from Cafe management.
    The Cafe is wheelchair accessible, but we recommend that persons needing assistance call in advance so that we can be ready to assist you when you arrive
    The Cafe would like to thank our sponsors:

    NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, Google, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The A G Foundation, the Fund for the City of New York, the New York Council on the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts

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    Obama, King of Africa and the World, must see the Door of No Return for his crimes against humanity, along with Chad's Hissene Habre, Haiti's Baby Doc and Guatemala's Rios Montt ! --Marvin X

    Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene HabreBy BBC | Monday, July 1   2013 at  08:29

    Police in Senegal have arrested Chad's former leader Hissene Habre, who is wanted for alleged atrocities during his eight-year rule.
    Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
    Mr Habre's lawyer El Hadji Diouf said he was taken from his home in Dakar by paramilitary police to an unknown location on Sunday.
    The 70-year-old has been under house arrest since 2005 in Senegal, where he fled after being deposed in 1990.
    He denies killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents.
    Last year the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Senegal to put him on trial or extradite him to face justice overseas.
    His arrest comes days after US President Barack Obama praised the efforts of Senegal's current President Macky Sall to bring him to trial at the start of his Africa tour.

    Historic precedent
    Human rights group have been pushing Senegal to put Mr Habre on trial for decades.
    Senegalese MPs passed a law in December allowing a special African Union tribunal to be created in the country to try the former leader, who has been dubbed "Africa's Pinochet".
    The charges against him date from 1982, when Mr Habre came to power in a coup, until 1990, the year he was ousted.
    Mr Habre was first indicted in Senegal in 2000 - but the country's courts ruled at the time that he could not be tried there.
    His alleged victims then filed complaints under Belgium's universal jurisdiction law, which allows the country's judges to prosecute human rights offences committed anywhere in the world.
    He was charged by Belgium with crimes against humanity and torture in 2005, but Senegal has refused four extradition requests.
    Plans in 2011 to repatriate Mr Habre to Chad, where a court in 2008 sentenced him to death in absentia for planning to overthrow the government, were stopped following a plea from the UN.
    A trial in Senegal would set a historic precedent as until now African leaders accused of atrocities have only been tried in international courts.

    Baby Doc' Duvalier charged with corruption in Haiti

    Former dictator faces charges relating to his 15-year rule after being hauled before a judge in Port-au Prince
    Former Haitian dictator Baby Doc Duvalier
    Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier arrives at the prosecutors office in Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
    Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was charged with corruption and the theft of his country's meagre funds last night after the former Haitian dictator was hauled before a judge in Port-au-Prince
    Two days after his return to the country he left following a brutal 15-year rule, a noisy crowd of his supporters protested outside the state prosecutor's office while he was questioned over accusations that he stole public funds and committed human rights abuses after taking over as president from his father in 1971.
    "His fate is now in the hands of the investigating judge. We have brought charges against him," said Port-au-Prince's chief prosecutor, Aristidas Auguste.
    He said his office had filed charges against Duvalier, 59, of corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and other alleged crimes committed during his period in power.
    The charges must now be investigated by the judge who will decide whether a criminal case should go ahead. After several hours of questioning, Duvalier left the prosecutor's office but was ordered to remain in the country at the disposition of judicial authorities. "He doesn't have the right to go anywhere," investigating judge Carves Jean said.
    Dozens of officers, including some in riot gear, had whisked him earlier from his hotel past a jeering and cheering crowd and into a 4x4 with tinted windows – a scene which his regime's victims had long dreamed of. He, who was not handcuffed, appeared calm and did not say anything. He had been due to give a press conference to explain his return from 25 years in exile.
    Crowds immediately thronged the courthouse in expectation of a historic hearing.
    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among others, have urged the authorities to prosecute the former dictator for jailing, torturing and murdering thousands of people during his time in power. His longtime companion, Veronique Roy, when asked whether Duvalier was being arrested, simply laughed and said nothing.
    The scene evoked memories of 7 February 1986 when crowds danced in the streets after widespread revolts and international pressure led to his departure.
    His Swiss-banked fortune long used up in divorce and tax disputes, Duvalier returned to Haiti without warning on Sunday on a flight from Paris, saying he wanted to help. "I'm not here for politics. I'm here for the reconstruction of Haiti."
    A spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights said it should be easier to prosecute Duvalier in Haiti because it was where atrocities took place but that the judicial system was fragile.
    It remained unclear why he returned and what impact it would have on the year-long post-quake crisis which has left a leadership vacuum and a country in ferment, with near daily street demonstrations by rival factions.

    Dictator Efrain Rios Montt &
    Tales of Reagan’s Guatemala Genocide
    April 16, 2013
    Exclusive: Guatemala is finally putting ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt on trial for genocide in the extermination of hundreds of Mayan villages in the 1980s, but Ronald Reagan remains an American icon despite new evidence of his complicity in this historic crime, reports Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry
    The first month of the genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt has elicited chilling testimony from Mayan survivors who – as children – watched their families slaughtered by a right-wing military that was supported and supplied by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
    As the New York Times reportedon Monday, “In the tortured logic of military planning documents conceived under Mr. Ríos Montt’s 17-month rule during 1982 and 1983, the entire Mayan Ixil population was a military target, children included. Officers wrote that the leftist guerrillas fighting the government had succeeded in indoctrinating the impoverished Ixils and reached ‘100 percent support.’”
    President Ronald Reagan meeting with Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt.
    So, everyone was targeted in these scorched-earth campaigns that eradicated more than 600 Indian villages in the Guatemalan highlands. But this genocide was not simply the result of a twisted anticommunist ideology that dominated the Guatemalan military and political elites. This genocide also was endorsed by the Reagan administration.
    A document that I discovered recently in the archives of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, revealed that Reagan and his national security team in 1981 agreed to supply military aid to the brutal right-wing regime in Guatemala to pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but people associated with their “civilian support mechanisms.”
    This supportive attitude toward the Guatemalan regime’s brutality took shape in spring 1981 as President Reagan sought to ease human-rights restrictions on military aid to Guatemala that had been imposed by President Jimmy Carter and the Democratic-controlled Congress in the late 1970s.
    As part of that relaxation effort, Reagan’s State Department “advised our Central American embassies that it has been studying ways to restore a closer, cooperative relationship with Guatemala,” according to a White House “Situation Room Checklist” dated April 8, 1981. The document added:
    “State believes a number of changes have occurred which could make Guatemalan leaders more receptive to a new U.S. initiative: the Guatemalans view the new administration as more sympathetic to their problems [and] they are less suspect of the U.S. role in El Salvador,” where the Reagan administration was expanding support for another right-wing regime infamous for slaughtering its political opponents, including Catholic clergy.
    “State has concluded that any attempt to reestablish a dialogue [with Guatemala] would require some initial, condition-free demonstration of our goodwill. However, this could not include military sales which would provoke serious U.S. public and congressional criticism. State will undertake a series of confidence building measures, free of preconditions, which minimize potential conflict with existing legislation.”
    The “checklist” added that the State Department “has also decided that the administration should engage the Guatemalan government at the highest level in a dialogue on our bilateral relations and the initiatives we can take together to improve them. Secretary [of State Alexander] Haig has designated [retired] General Vernon Walters as his personal emissary to initiate this process with President [Fernando Romeo] Lucas [Garcia].
    “If Lucas is prepared to give assurances that he will take steps to halt government involvement in the indiscriminate killing of political opponents and to foster a climate conducive to a viable electoral process, the U.S. will be prepared to approve some military sales immediately.”
    But the operative word in that paragraph was “indiscriminate.” The Reagan administration expressed no problem with killing civilians if they were considered supporters of the guerrillas who had been fighting against the country’s ruling oligarchs and generals since the 1950s when the CIA organized the overthrow of Guatemala’s reformist President Jacobo Arbenz.
    Sympathy for the Generals
    The distinction was spelled out in “Talking Points” for Walters to deliver in a face-to-face meeting with General Lucas. As edited inside the White House in April 1981, the “Talking Points” read: “The President and Secretary Haig have designated me [Walters] as [their] personal emissary to discuss bilateral relations on an urgent basis.
    “Both the President and the Secretary recognize that your country is engaged in a war with Marxist guerrillas. We are deeply concerned about externally supported Marxist subversion in Guatemala and other countries in the region. As you are aware, we have already taken steps to assist Honduras and El Salvador resist this aggression.
    “The Secretary has sent me here to see if we can work out a way to provide material assistance to your government. … We have minimized negative public statements by US officials on the situation in Guatemala. … We have arranged for the Commerce Department to take steps that will permit the sale of $3 million worth of military trucks and Jeeps to the Guatemalan army. …
    “With your concurrence, we propose to provide you and any officers you might designate an intelligence briefing on regional developments from our perspective. Our desire, however, is to go substantially beyond the steps I have just outlined. We wish to reestablish our traditional military supply and training relationship as soon as possible.
    “As we are both aware, this has not yet been feasible because of our internal political and legal constraints relating to the use by some elements of your security forces of deliberate and indiscriminate killing of persons not involved with the guerrilla forces or their civilian support mechanisms. I am not referring here to the regrettable but inevitable death of innocents though error in combat situations, but to what appears to us a calculated use of terror to immobilize non politicized people or potential opponents. …
    “If you could give me your assurance that you will take steps to halt official involvement in the killing of persons not involved with the guerrilla forces or their civilian support mechanism … we would be in a much stronger position to defend successfully with the Congress a decision to begin to resume our military supply relationship with your government.”
    In other words, though the “talking points” were framed as an appeal to reduce the “indiscriminate” slaughter of “non politicized people,” they amounted to an acceptance of scorched-earth tactics against people involved with the guerrillas and “their civilian support mechanisms.” The way that played out in Guatemala – as in nearby El Salvador – was the massacring of peasants in regions considered sympathetic to leftist insurgents.
    The newly discovered documents – and other records declassified in the late 1990s – make clear that Reagan and his administration were well aware of the butchery underway in Guatemala and elsewhere in Central America.
    According to one “secret” cable also from April 1981 — and declassified in the 1990s — the CIA was confirming Guatemalan government massacres even as Reagan was moving to loosen the military aid ban. On April 17, 1981, a CIA cable described an army massacre at Cocob, near Nebaj in the Ixil Indian territory, because the population was believed to support leftist guerrillas.
    A CIA source reported that “the social population appeared to fully support the guerrillas” and “the soldiers were forced to fire at anything that moved.” The CIA cable added that “the Guatemalan authorities admitted that ‘many civilians’ were killed in Cocob, many of whom undoubtedly were non-combatants.” [Many of the Guatemalan documents declassified in the 1990s can be found at the National Security Archive’s Web site.]
    Dispatching Walters
    In May 1981, despite the ongoing atrocities, Reagan dispatched Walters to tell the Guatemalan leaders that the new U.S. administration wanted to lift the human rights embargoes on military equipment that Carter and Congress had imposed.
    The “Talking Points” also put the Reagan administration in line with the fiercely anticommunist regimes elsewhere in Latin America, where right-wing “death squads” operated with impunity liquidating not only armed guerrillas but civilians who were judged sympathetic to left-wing causes like demanding greater economic equality and social justice.
    Despite his aw shucks style, Reagan found virtually every anticommunist action justified, no matter how brutal. From his eight years in the White House, there is no historical indication that he was morally troubled by the bloodbath and even genocide that occurred in Central America while he was shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the implicated forces.
    The death toll was staggering — an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the Contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political “disappearances” in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala. The one consistent element in these slaughters was the overarching Cold War rationalization, emanating in large part from Ronald Reagan’s White House.
    Despite their claims to the contrary, the evidence is now overwhelming that Reagan and his advisers knew the extraordinary brutality going on in Guatemala and elsewhere, based on their own internal documents.
    According to a State Department cable on Oct. 5, 1981, when Guatemalan leaders met again with Walters, they left no doubt about their plans. The cable said Gen. Lucas “made clear that his government will continue as before — that the repression will continue. He reiterated his belief that the repression is working and that the guerrilla threat will be successfully routed.”
    Human rights groups saw the same picture. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission released a report on Oct. 15, 1981, blaming the Guatemalan government for “thousands of illegal executions.” [Washington Post, Oct. 16, 1981]
    But the Reagan administration was set on whitewashing the ugly scene. A State Department “white paper,” released in December 1981, blamed the violence on leftist “extremist groups” and their “terrorist methods” prompted and supported by Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
    What the documents from the Reagan Library make clear is that the administration was not simply struggling ineffectively to rein in these massacres – as the U.S. press corps typically reported – but was fully onboard with the slaughter of people who were part of the guerrillas’ “civilian support mechanisms.”
    U.S. intelligence agencies continued to pick up evidence of these government-sponsored massacres. One CIA report in February 1982 described an army sweep through the so-called Ixil Triangle in central El Quiche province.
    “The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.”
    The CIA report explained the army’s modus operandi: “When an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village, it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed.” When the army encountered an empty village, it was “assumed to have been supporting the EGP, and it is destroyed. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of refugees in the hills with no homes to return to. …
    “The army high command is highly pleased with the initial results of the sweep operation, and believes that it will be successful in destroying the major EGP support area and will be able to drive the EGP out of the Ixil Triangle. … The well documented belief by the army that the entire Ixil Indian population is pro-EGP has created a situation in which the army can be expected to give no quarter to combatants and non-combatants alike.”
    On Feb. 2, 1982, Richard Childress, one of Reagan’s national security aides, wrote a “secret” memo to his colleagues summing up this reality on the ground:
    “As we move ahead on our approach to Latin America, we need to consciously address the unique problems posed by Guatemala. Possessed of some of the worst human rights records in the region, … it presents a policy dilemma for us. The abysmal human rights record makes it, in its present form, unworthy of USG [U.S. government] support. …
    “Beset by a continuous insurgency for at least 15 years, the current leadership is completely committed to a ruthless and unyielding program of suppression. Hardly a soldier could be found that has not killed a ‘guerrilla.’”
    The Rise of Rios Montt
    However, Reagan remained committed to supplying military hardware to Guatemala’s brutal regime. So, the administration welcomed Gen. Efrain Rios Montt’s March 1982 overthrow of the thoroughly bloodstained Gen. Lucas.
    An avowed fundamentalist Christian, Rios Montt impressed Official Washington where the Reagan administration immediately revved up its propaganda machinery to hype the new dictator’s “born-again” status as proof of his deep respect for human life. Reagan hailed Rios Montt as “a man of great personal integrity.”
    By July 1982, however, Rios Montt had begun a new scorched-earth campaign called his “rifles and beans” policy. The slogan meant that pacified Indians would get “beans,” while all others could expect to be the target of army “rifles.” In October, Rios Montt secretly gave carte blanche to the feared “Archivos” intelligence unit to expand “death squad” operations in the cities. Based at the Presidential Palace, the “Archivos” masterminded many of Guatemala’s most notorious assassinations.
    The U.S. embassy was soon hearing more accounts of the army conducting Indian massacres, but ideologically driven U.S. diplomats fed the Reagan administration the propaganda spin that would be best for their careers. On Oct. 22, 1982, embassy staff dismissed the massacre reports as communist-inspired “disinformation campaign,” concluding that “that a concerted disinformation campaign is being waged in the U.S. against the Guatemalan government by groups supporting the communist insurgency in Guatemala.”
    Reagan personally joined this P.R. campaign seeking to discredit human rights investigators and others who were reporting accurately about massacres that the administration knew, all too well, were true.
    On Dec. 4, 1982, after meeting with Rios Montt, Reagan hailed the general as “totally dedicated to democracy” and added that Rios Montt’s government had been “getting a bum rap” on human rights. Reagan discounted the mounting reports of hundreds of Maya villages being eradicated.
    In February 1983, however, a secret CIA cable noted a rise in “suspect right-wing violence” with kidnappings of students and teachers. Bodies of victims were appearing in ditches and gullies. CIA sources traced these political murders to Rios Montt’s order to the “Archivos” in October to “apprehend, hold, interrogate and dispose of suspected guerrillas as they saw fit.”
    Despite these grisly facts on the ground, the annual State Department human rights survey praised the supposedly improved human rights situation in Guatemala. “The overall conduct of the armed forces had improved by late in the year” 1982, the report stated.
    A different picture — far closer to the secret information held by the U.S. government — was coming from independent human rights investigators. On March 17, 1983, Americas Watch condemned the Guatemalan army for human rights atrocities against the Indian population.
    New York attorney Stephen L. Kass said these findings included proof that the government carried out “virtually indiscriminate murder of men, women and children of any farm regarded by the army as possibly supportive of guerrilla insurgents.”
    Rural women suspected of guerrilla sympathies were raped before execution, Kass said, adding that children were “thrown into burning homes. They are thrown in the air and speared with bayonets. We heard many, many stories of children being picked up by the ankles and swung against poles so their heads are destroyed.” [AP, March 17, 1983]
    Putting on a Happy Face
    Publicly, senior Reagan officials continued to put on a happy face. In June 1983, special envoy Richard B. Stone praised “positive changes” in Rios Montt’s government, and Rios Montt pressed the United States for 10 UH-1H helicopters and six naval patrol boats, all the better to hunt guerrillas and their sympathizers.
    Since Guatemala lacked the U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits or the cash to buy the helicopters, Reagan’s national security team looked for unconventional ways to arrange the delivery of the equipment that would give the Guatemalan army greater access to mountainous areas where guerrillas and their civilian supporters were hiding.
    On Aug. 1, 1983, National Security Council aides Oliver North and Alfonso Sapia-Bosch reported to National Security Advisor William P. Clark that his deputy Robert “Bud” McFarlane was planning to exploit his Israeli channels to secure the helicopters for Guatemala. [For more on McFarlanes's Israeli channels, see's "How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast."]
    “With regard to the loan of ten helicopters, it is [our] understanding that Bud will take this up with the Israelis,” wrote North and Sapia-Bosch. “There are expectations that they would be forthcoming. Another possibility is to have an exercise with the Guatemalans. We would then use US mechanics and Guatemalan parts to bring their helicopters up to snuff.”
    However, more political changes were afoot in Guatemala. Rios Montt’s vengeful Christian fundamentalism had hurtled so out of control, even by Guatemalan standards, that Gen. Oscar Mejia Victores seized power in another coup on Aug. 8, 1983.
    Despite the power shift, Guatemalan security forces continued to murder with impunity, finally going so far that even the U.S. Embassy objected. When three Guatemalans working for the U.S. Agency for International Development were slain in November 1983, U.S. Ambassador Frederic Chapin suspected that “Archivos” hit squads were sending a message to the United States to back off even mild pressure for human rights.
    In late November, in a brief show of displeasure, the administration postponed the sale of $2 million in helicopter spare parts. The next month, however, Reagan sent the spare parts anyway. In 1984, Reagan succeeded, too, in pressuring Congress to approve $300,000 in military training for the Guatemalan army.
    By mid-1984, Chapin, who had grown bitter about the army’s stubborn brutality, was gone, replaced by a far-right political appointee named Alberto Piedra, who favored increased military assistance to Guatemala. In January 1985, Americas Watch issued a report observing that Reagan’s State Department “is apparently more concerned with improving Guatemala’s image than in improving its human rights.”
    It was not until 1999, a decade after Ronald Reagan left office, that the shocking scope of the atrocities in Guatemala was publicly revealed by a truth commission that drew heavily on U.S. government documents that President Bill Clinton had ordered declassified.
    On Feb. 25, 1999, the Historical Clarification Commission estimated that the 34-year civil war had claimed the lives of some 200,000 people with the most savage bloodletting occurring in the 1980s. The panel estimated that the army was responsible for 93 percent of the killings and leftist guerrillas for three percent. Four percent were listed as unresolved.
    The report documented that in the 1980s, the army committed 626 massacres against Mayan villages. “The massacres that eliminated entire Mayan villages … are neither perfidious allegations nor figments of the imagination, but an authentic chapter in Guatemala’s history,” the commission concluded.
    The army “completely exterminated Mayan communities, destroyed their livestock and crops,” the report said. In the northern highlands, the report termed the slaughter “genocide.” [Washington Post, Feb. 26, 1999]
    Besides carrying out murder and “disappearances,” the army routinely engaged in torture and rape. “The rape of women, during torture or before being murdered, was a common practice” by the military and paramilitary forces, the report found.
    The report added that the “government of the United States, through various agencies including the CIA, provided direct and indirect support for some [of these] state operations.” The report concluded that the U.S. government also gave money and training to a Guatemalan military that committed “acts of genocide” against the Mayans. [NYT, Feb. 26, 1999]
    During a visit to Central America, on March 10, 1999, President Clinton apologized for the past U.S. support of right-wing regimes in Guatemala dating back to 1954. “For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake,” Clinton said. [Washington Post, March 11, 1999]
    Impunity for Reagan’s Team
    However, back in Washington, there was no interest in holding anyone accountable for aiding and abetting genocide. The story of the Guatemalan butchery and the Reagan administration’s complicity quickly disappeared into the great American memory hole.
    For human rights crimes in the Balkans and in Africa, the United States has demanded international tribunals to arrest and to try violators and their political patrons for war crimes. In Iraq, President George W. Bush celebrated the trial and execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for politically motivated killings.
    Even Rios Montt, now 86, after years of evading justice under various amnesties, was finally indicted in Guatemala in 2012 for genocide and crimes against humanity. The first month of his trial has added eyewitness testimony to the atrocities that the Guatemalan military inflicted and that Ronald Reagan assisted and covered up.
    On Monday, the New York Times reported on some of this painful testimony, but – as is almost always the case – the Times did not mention the role of Reagan and his administration. However, what the Times did include was chilling, including accounts from witnesses who as children fled to mountain forests to escape the massacres:
    “Pedro Chávez Brito told the court that he was only six or seven years old when soldiers killed his mother. He hid in the chicken coop with his older sister, her newborn and his younger brother, but soldiers found them and dragged them out, forcing them back into their house and setting it on fire.
    “Mr. Chávez says he was the only one to escape. ‘I got under a tree trunk and I was like an animal,’ Mr. Chávez told the court. ‘After eight days I went to live in the mountains. In the mountain we ate only roots and grass.’”
    Lawyers for Rios Montt and his co-defendant, former intelligence chief José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, have maintained that the pair did not order the killings, which they instead blamed on over-zealous field commanders.
    However, the Times reported that “prosecution witnesses said the military considered Ixil civilians, including children, as legitimate targets. ‘The army’s objective with the children was to eliminate the seed for future guerrillas,’ Marco Tulio Alvarez, the former director of Guatemala’s Peace Archives, testified last week. ‘They used them to get information and to draw their parents to military centers where they arrested them.’
    “In a study of 420 bodies exhumed from the Ixil region and presumed to date from the Ríos Montt period, experts found that almost 36 percent of those who were killed were under 18 years old, including some newborns.
    “Jacinto Lupamac Gómez said he was eight when soldiers killed his parents and older siblings and hustled him and his two younger brothers into a helicopter. Like some of the children whose lives were spared, they were adopted by Spanish-speaking families and forgot how to speak Ixil.”
    Though some belated justice may still be possible in Guatemala, there is no talk in the United States about seeking any accountability from the Reagan administration officials who arranged military assistance to this modern genocide or who helped conceal the atrocities while they were underway.
    There has been no attention given by the mainstream U.S. news media to the new documents revealing how the Reagan administration gave a green light to the slaughter of Guatemalans who were considered part of the “civilian support mechanisms” for the Mayan guerrillas resisting the right-wing repression.
    Ronald Reagan, the U.S. official most culpable for aiding and abetting the Guatemalan genocide, remains a hero to much of America with his name attached to Washington’s National Airport and scores of other government facilities. U.S. officials and many Americans apparently don’t want to disrupt their happy memories of the Gipper.
    Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

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    Marvin X at memorial for Little Malcolm Shabazz, Oakland CA
    photo Reginald James/Courtesy of Shabazz Family

    During the 60s, we thought revolution would come overnight, that capitalism and imperialism would be destroyed, that North American Africans would achieve independence and separation into a nation of our own. Of course we were starry eyed idealists, under the cloud of marijuana smoke called romanticism. We had the people, the masses, but we were no match for the power of the USA, and yet we confronted the USA with our pistols and shotguns, fought a valiant and noble fight but were ultimately defeated by the US cointelpro, the US program to undermine and defeat the Black Liberation  movement, although the movement had its own internal contradictions, ideologically and classic psychopathic personalities.

    Often we forgot the long struggle that preceded us (chattel slavery, segregation, failed reconstruction, KKK terrorists, civil rights)  ever since we were kidnapped and marched through the Door of No Return. In our romanticism, we just knew Black Power would be successful, not understanding that opportunists were among us, awaiting the moment when they could materially benefit from the struggle for freedom, justice and equality, self determination and nationhood. Of course, we all wanted something from the revolution. As Dr. Hare says, revolution are for something. But some take it to the extreme by being greedy, they want it all for themselves. Our movement was beset with reactionary opportunists who grabbed the money, the jobs, the housing, political positions and other opportunities
    to insure the true believers, the struggling masses, foot soldiers never would or could benefit in a substantial way.

    Egypt is now enduring the process of revolution, the transformation from slavery to freedom. They may have confused getting rid of Pharaoh Mubarak with immediate freedom and democracy. The opportunists had time to secure their gains, the army, businessmen, those steeped in religiosity, especially the Muslim Brotherhood who had fought the modern phoraohs for decades. Have they had time to secure anything politically and economically, especially with the filthy hands of the USA and Israel playing backfield in motion? Has either side made a truthful effort at political compromise, for we know in politics no one gets everything they want. But when 16 million people march on you, leaders had better pay attention, depart the prayer room to the street and listen. The people may have a truth or two for you!
    --Marvin X

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