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."
Marvin X was removed from teaching Black Studies at Fresno State University, 1969, because he refused to fight in Vietnam. He eventually served time in Terminal Island Federal Prison.
West Fresno residents left the Hinton Community Center inspired and motivated after hearing Marvin X reading and in conversation with Fresno City College professor emeritus Kehindi Solwazi. Marvin X was raised in West Fresno and reunited with many of his childhood friends at the event sponsored by the local NAACP, headed by his longtime friend Pamela Young-King, president. The event opened with prayers by a Christian minister and the local Imam who recited in Arabic but explained in English. Many had never head the Muslim prayer explained and they appreciated the imam's remarks. A young African dance troop performed and the audience joined. A young lady sang the Black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Marvin X was introduced by Professor Solwazi who praised the poet's classic Black History is World History and his book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. "Marvin's poem is one of the best ever written on Black History. And his How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy is awesome! I read it on the plane to Mississippi and was blown away."
Marvin gave out copies of Black History is World History and asked the audience to read along with him. He also asked them to repeat the lines when he read his pantheistic What If, a poem that suggests that the Divine force is in all things, which is consistent with African religion or spirituality. For the older residents of West Fresno, he recited a poem about the Hole in the Wall, a hang out at Plumas and Whitesbridge.
Professor Solwazi and Marvin X engaged in dialogue on such issues as the low intensity war against North American Africans, youth behavior, male/female relations. "As per youth, if you tell them to pull their pants up, 99% will do so, only 1% will respond in the negative. We cannot allow children to terrorize adults in our community. We must be brave enough to stand up to them and guide those who have lost their way."
On male/female relations, he said, "My mother told me I would never have good luck as long as I abused women, especially the mothers of my children. I think I have changed my behavior and my luck has changed. Most of the persons who helped me on my recent visit to the east coast were women. Women are in charge of a lot of things these days so we men better be nice to them so we can receive our blessings."
On Monday, Feb 24, 11am, X will read at Fresno City College and dialogue with Professor Solwazi. He will participate in the Black Arts Movement Conference at University of California, Merced, Friday, Feb 28 thru March 2. You are invited! Call 510-200-4164 for more information. On Monday, Marvin X will be interviewed on Berkeley's Pacifica station, KPFA, 8am, by Davey D, on his role in the Black Arts Movement and his 47 year friendship with poet Amiri Baraka.
I wanna be like Miles Davis I wanna tell a motherfucka to kiss my black ass like Baraka in the Dutchman, kiss my black unruly ass but like Miles I want to say, Padna, git out of my face and take that silly bitch witcha!--MARVIN X
The employment of one instructor is again the subject of controversy within the African American studies department after Anthony Monteiro, a non-tenured professor in the department, issued a letter of grievance against Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Teresa Soufas for choosing not to renew his contract. Monteiro delivered a statement to the press at the 1199C Hospital Worker’s Union on Feb. 12, calling on President Theobald to reverse Soufas’ decision and renew his annual contract. Monteiro alleged that the decision not to renew his contract was an act of revenge – a direct response from Soufas to his outspokenness during heated discussions last year between the dean and department faculty and students over the filling of the department chairmanship.
Soufas said Monteiro’s allegations had “no truth whatsoever,” adding that the decision not to renew Monteiro’s contract was made by Department Chairman Molefi Asante based on the changing structure of the department.
“The African American studies department right now is rethinking and making new plans for the curriculum,” Soufas said.
Asante declined to comment, citing ongoing discussions between the groups.
Monteiro was a supporter of Kariamu Welsh, a tenured member of the dance department at the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Welsh’s nomination for chair of the African American studies department by the department’s faculty was rejected by Soufas in Spring 2012 on the grounds that she was not a member of the department.
More than a year of controversy followed when, instead of appointing Welsh, Soufas appointed then-Vice Dean Jayne Drake, a white woman, to a one-year interim term. Students of the department, community activists and faculty members then rallied behind Asante, who chaired the department from 1984 to 1997, advocating that he should return to head the program.
After several public protests and a formal nomination by the department faculty in April 2013, Soufas confirmed Asante as department chair. Monteiro said he and other members of the department have been continually harassed in a racist manner by Soufas.
“It is her getting back at me for my standing up to her bullying, pointing fingers at black men,” Monteiro said in a statement.
Soufas said Monteiro has not approached her to discuss the matter, but “would be happy to talk with him.” Non-tenured and non-tenured-track faculty members are hired by the university and their respective departments on a contract basis that must be renewed every year.
Senior political science major and African American studies minor Sabrina Sample, a former student of Monteiro’s who took his Black Intellectual History in the 20th Century course, said she thinks it would be “a really big mistake” for the university to let go of Monteiro.
“For the African American studies department [especially], I know a lot of students come to Temple in particular to hear Monteiro lecture,” Sample said.
Senior media studies and production major Ryan Hallas, another former student of Monteiro’s, said that while he generally found Monteiro’s Race in America class enjoyable, he found the lectures unorganized and didn’t leave the class with “any new knowledge.”
“I also [believe] that he was trying to come off as a pretentious person by the way he would pronounce his words,” Hallas said. “I believe he even made some words up.”
Monteiro has made several demands along with his reinstatement, including the end of the alleged harassment and a formal apology from Dean Soufas.
John Moritz and Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at email@example.com
Herman Ferguson: 49 years ago at the Audubon Ballroom
Amsterdam News story
Herman Ferguson Nosayaba Odesanya Photo
In an exclusive AmNews interview, Baba Herman Ferguson, an original member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), detailed witnessing the Feb. 21, 1965, assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom. “A number of people in the Nation of Islam followed Malcolm into the OAAU. There was a lot of strain the last part of Malcolm’s life,” reflected the 93-years-young activist. “It was a dangerous situation on both sides. There were other forces at work stirring up turmoil—the police, FBI, CIA—all trying to remove Malcolm from the scene. It was difficult to know who to trust.
“Malcolm knew that Thomas Johnson and Norman Butler were FOI [Fruit of Islam, the security force of the Nation of Islam] enforcers. He told us, ‘These are dangerous brothers … if either of them comes to our affairs, they are not to be admitted in!’ He was specific about them. At Malcolm’s assassination, there were brothers who would’ve recognized them. I did not recognize them as the men that I saw as part of the assassination team.
“Malcolm ordered that nobody bring guns to OAAU meetings and nobody be searched … shortly after that, Malcolm was assassinated. The police had to have told the assassins: ‘We can guarantee to get you out of there … nothing will happen to you.’ [It was] only because Rueben Francis [Malcolm’s bodyguard] disobeyed Malcolm and brought his pistol that the getaway was thwarted. “During the assassination, the first thing that happened was … a commotion broke out in the crowd, a chair was heard thrown to the floor, the scuffling of feet … Right across from where I was sitting, these two fellas, one of them said … ‘Get your hand outta my pocket, n—r!’ … The other guy was backing off from him. “Malcolm was standing behind the rostrum, having greeted the audience: ‘As-salaam-alaikum brothers and sisters!’ Malcolm stepped forward, totally exposed, raised his hand and said, ‘Cool it!’ Then there was a boom … a shotgun rang out, and Malcolm straightened up. Then other shots rang out, a whole fusillade … his hand still up in the air. Finally, he toppled over backward; the back of his head hit the floor with a thud.
“Then the gunfire stopped; it got quiet. Before that, you could hear people screaming, shouting and scrambling to take cover … I was still watching.
“Three men stood right across from me. You could see a gun’s barrel, possibly a shotgun one was carrying under his coat … the other two stood quietly. Then suddenly, as if someone had signaled to them, they ran toward the back of the ballroom.
“Gunfire broke out again. I learned later that that was Rueben trying to stop these guys … shooting one in the leg [Thomas Hagan]. That guy reached the head of the stairs, bumped into someone, falling down the stairs. Outside, the crowd grabbed him … the wound in his leg prevented him from getting away … they were pulling him apart. The police fired a shot [and] the crowd fell back. The police put him in a squad car and drove away.
“I saw the second person that Rueben shot … Within seconds, another police car came from around the corner, turned onto 166th Street, passed the Audubon, part of it still on Broadway. There had been no police presence during all this time.
“Within seconds, this policeman came back, supporting someone who was obviously in great pain, holding his midsection. The policeman brought him to the car, opened the rear door, put him in, slammed the door, got in the front seat [and] told the driver; ‘Get out of here!’ They drove past the Audubon, down the hill, out of sight. I never found out who that guy was. The police were in a hurry to get him out of there.
Marvin X interviewed in Philadelphia at the Black Power Babies Conference produced by his daughter, Muhammida El Muhajir. This morning, Pacifica radio's Davey D will talk with the poet on the upcoming Black Arts Movement Conference at the University of California, Merced and his friendship with ancestor poet Amiri Baraka.
He was admitted to St. Dominic Hospital Tuesday morning with chest pains. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart says he was pronounced dead around 4:55 p.m.
Lumumba won the Mayor's office in June 4, 2013, pulling 86% of the vote and defeating independent candidates Francis P. Smith, Jr. , Richard C. Williams and Cornelius Griggs.
Mayor Lumumba was born August 2, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. He is the second of eight children born to Lucien and Priscilla Francis Taliaferro.
Mayor Lumumba earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
He later finished first in his law school freshman class before graduating cum laude from Wayne State University Law School.
Prior to his election as Mayor, Mr. Lumumba served as Jackson City Councilman for Ward 2.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant released this statement:
"Deborah and I are shocked and saddened by the news of Mayor Lumumba's passing and are praying for his loved ones. Just a short time ago, I had the opportunity to join the mayor in a church pew as we welcomed a new development to the city. His enthusiasm for Jackson will be deeply missed."
Marvin X told the audience at the BAM reception to lighten up on conference planner Kim McMillan. He first declared BAM is a revolutionary movement and must be seen in this light, not as some art for art sake or Negro Renaissance that patronized white people. He thanked UC Merced for having the nerve to bring a group of uppity Blacks to the little country town of Merced. This was a bold move on their part and we congratulate them but they put too much pressure on Kim. He told how other sisters were destroyed by the hostile environment of the UC system, including, e.g., UC professors VeVe Clark, Barbara Christian, June Jordan and Sherley Ann Williams, all deceased. So don't mess with Kim, he told the mostly white audience. Don't make me bring the BAM army back to UC Merced. While in Harlem for a reception in his honor, Marvin X told the folks that UC was stressing out Kim. We got Kim on the phone and a brother told her to stand tall because she was standing on the shoulders of the ancestors. The BAM conference begins at 9am on Saturday and runs through Sunday afternoon.
UC Professor/author Sherley Ann Williams, deceased
UC Professor VeVe Clark, deceased
UC Professor Barbara Christian, deceased
UC Professor/BAM poet June Jordan, deceased
UC Merced graduate student and BAM project director, Kim McMillan
First row: Eugene Redman, Marshall Trammell, Tarika Lewis, Aries Jordan, Zena Allen, Avotcha
Back row: Marvin X, Kalamu Chache', Juan Felipe Herrera, Tacuma King, Lakiba Pittman, Askia Toure, Genny Lim, Umar Bin Hassan, Ayodele Nzinga
During a session of the Black Arts Movement Conference this past weekend at University of California, Merced, Marvin X proposed a 27 city tour in memory of Amiri Baraka, who often spoke about the 27 cities in America with large North American African populations. At $100, 000 per city, the estimated cost would be $2.7 million. After watching the BAM poets perform with musicians, a young rapper in Merced told Marvin X the concert tickets should be in the $400.00 range. The young man was simply overwhelmed with the beauty and truth of the BAM poets and musicians.
Marvin X is known for drafting people into his projects, so although Kim McMillan, chief producer of the UC Merced BAM conf, says she will never do another event like this, Marvin X says Kim must continue to stand tall on the shoulders of the ancestors and be a critical factor in the success of the national BAM tour. It was the consensus of the BAM poets and musicians that this national tour should happen. Although we are elders and in various states of health, we yet have enough energy to make this project a reality, says Marvin X. We will begin organizing the tour ASAP. Community support will make this project a success, so send us your ideas and generous donations.
This is an educational and consciousness raising affair in the tradition of the Black Arts Movement, a spiritual and healing myth/ritual. If you support this project, please contact me at 510-200-4164; email firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep informed of our progress, stay tuned to www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com.
poet Lakiba Pittman
Poet Kalamu Chache'
Poet Juan Felipe Herrera
BAM godfather Askia Toure
Avotcha, Marvin X and Askia Toure
MC Marvin X reading
Poet Aries Jordan, Black Arts Movement Baby 2.0
Eugene Redman of East St. Louis, MO
Ishmael Reed gave the Sunday Keynote Address
Poet Genny Lim with drummer Marshall Trammell
Zena Allen on the Kora. She accompanied Marvin X with his Again the Kora poems.
Tarika Lewis, living legend artist/activist.
Earl Davis was a member of Marvin X's Black Arts West Theatre, Fillmore District, San Francisco, 1966. He also performed with Sun Ra's Arkestra.
Umar Bin Hassan from the legendary Last Poets will be at EastSide Cultural Center to conduct a poetry/hip hop workshop and also to be featured at EastSide’s weekly open mic poetry reading Holla Back.
In the early 70’s, Umar Bin Hassan was a member of the street-poet godfathers of rap, the Last Poets, a group of Black poets spreading a militant political message akin to that of the Black Panthers and Malcolm X. He joined the group in 1969 after seeing them perform in his native Ohio. With Hassan, the Poets released The Last Poets, This is Madness, and The Last Poets at Last. In mid-1993, he released his first solo album, Bebop or Be Dead, Hassan combined rap, house, and jazz elements on the record. Umar recently recorded with Common on his latest hit, On the Corner.