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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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    Law Enforcement Related Deaths in the US: “Justifiable Homicides” and the Impacts on Families


    By Peter Phillips, Diana Grant and Greg Sewell

    Editors note: The full version of this study with all of the citations will be published in Censored 2015: Inspiring We the People, edited by Andy Lee Roth, Mickey Huff, and Project Censored, Seven Stories Press, official release date October 7, 2014. 

    According to newspaper accounts over 1,500 people die annually in the US in law enforcement related deaths. These are all deaths in the presence of law enforcement personnel both on the street and in local jails.  Infamous cases such as Andy Lopez, Oscar Grant, and Michael Brown are only the tip of the iceberg. Many hundreds more are killed annually and these deaths by police are almost always ruled justifiable, even when victims are unarmed or shot in the back running away.

    We interviewed 14 families who lost loved ones in law enforcement related deaths in the SF Bay Area from 2000-2010. All the families believe their loved one should not have been killed and most felt that the police over-reacted and murdered their family member. All families reported abuse by police after the deaths.  Most also reported that the corporate media was biased in favor of the police and failed to accurately report the real circumstances of the death.

    Beginning in 1996 activists in New York organized a national protest day on October 22 each year. The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation says that they “bring forward a united, powerful, visual coalition of families victimized by police terrorism.”

    In 1998 Project Censored co-sponsored a research study with the Stolen Lives Project a group born out of the October 22nd Coalition. Through funding from the San Francisco Foundation, Karen Saari, a legal researcher in Sonoma County California, spent a good part of a year searching the newspaper databases Lexis-Nexis and Proquest online at Sonoma State University for articles on Law Enforcement Related Deaths. She was searching for police shootings and any situation reported in the newspapers where someone died in the presence of law enforcement officers. Besides gun shots, deaths included suicides, car accidents, shootings, drowning, and Taser use.

    To our knowledge, this was the first time such a study had been attempted in the U.S. During the twelve-month period October 1, 1997 to October 1, 1998, Saari found news stories on 694 deaths in the presence of law enforcement that occurred in the United States. Department of Justice figures at the time listed about 350 people killed by police in the previous year, so Saari’s research showed a significantly higher rate of death among civilians in law enforcement incidents than was previously known at the time.

    In 2011, Jim Fisher used Internet searches to identify 1,146 police shootings that year.  Of this number news reports indicated that 607 people died. This was a slightly higher rate of shooting deaths than had been reported in 1997-98, but did not include taser, restraint deaths and suicides. Fisher found that vast majorities of the people shot were between the ages of 25-49, a result similar to Saari’s report a decade earlier. In 2011 two victims of the police were 15 years of age and one girl was only 16. Fifty of the dead were armed with BB-guns, pellet guns or toy replica firearms.

    In addition to the people dying on the street or in their homes through law enforcement related activities, research shows that several hundred people a year die in local jails. In 2011, according to the Office of Justice Programs, 885 inmates died in the custody of local jails. Thirty-nine percent died within the first week of being jailed. This number combined with deaths on the outside shows that in excess of 1,500 people die annually in law enforcement related circumstances both in custody or in the process of enforcement in the community. It is reasonable to assume that some portion of these deaths is attributable to officer mistakes, over- reactions, or deliberate acts resulting in death.
    But almost always, despite obvious questionable behavior by law enforcement personnel, no charges are filed.  Police investigations of law enforcement related death, either internally within departments or by outside police agencies, nearly always rule homicides are justifiable and followed departmental procedures.  It is extremely rare for police departments to rule a death as unjustified or to charge an officer with neglect, manslaughter, or murder.

    Research has shown that it was a much graver error for a street cop to use too little force and begin developing a reputation among fellow officers as a shaky officer than to engage in excessive force and be told by colleagues to calm down. When officers do not use enough force they are subject to reprimand, gossip, and avoidance in the police subculture. The dangers associated with the occupation often prompt officers to distance themselves from the chief source of danger — citizens. The coercive authority that officers possess also separates them from the public. The cultural prescriptions of suspiciousness and maintaining the edge over citizens in creating, displaying, and maintaining their authority further divides police and people in the community. Officers who are socially isolated from citizens, and who rely on one another for mutual support from a dangerous and hostile work environment, are said to develop a “we versus they” attitude toward citizens and strong norms of loyalty to fellow officers.

    We believe that certain behavior changes by police could well result in the lowering of law enforcement related deaths in the U.S. We decided to interview families of people who died in a law enforcement related incident. Our research team interviewed fourteen individuals who were immediate family members of people who died in Law Enforcement related incidents in northern California between 2000 and 2010. At least one year had passed from when their loved one died and the date of the interview.  Interviews were recorded and transcribed for analysis and comparison. All the names of the interviewees and the victims are to remain anonymous to protect the privacy of the families.

    Following is a brief outline of the key facts as reported by family members for the fourteen cases and their opinions on the death. In all fourteen cases, the investigating police departments ruled the deaths justifiable homicide. In case # 9 a narcotics officer was indicted by the Grand Jury, but was found innocent in a court trial. All the family members interviewed strongly believe that police overreacted and their loved one should not have been killed under the circumstances.

    Case #1. White male, Age 29, San Anselmo, prior history of mental illness, in-home traumatic episode, victim charges police with small steak knife, shot to death.

    Interviewee #1, “I think he (police officer) acted hastily…the cop that did it shouldn’t have a gun…he is the problem.

    Case #2. Black male, Age 19, High School Senior, Hayward, shot in back of head while running away from Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police, no record of mental illness, no weapons present,

    Interviewee #2, “The police and the media just said …the officer felt threatened by my son and had to shoot him. Very few newspapers changed their story or apologized when they found out my son was shot in the back of the head.”

    Case #3. Black Male, Age 30, Rohnert Park, prior drug use, shot in back running from police after car chase, no record of mental illness, no weapons present,

    Interviewee #3, “he was running from the police…they shot him in the back…murdered by the police.”

    Case #4. Black Male, Age 27, Oakland,  prior drug use and sales, no history of mental illness, shot in back running from police, threw away handgun before being shot, financial settlement to family from civil trial.

    Interviewee #4, “He had to run because he had a pistol on him. The police chased him. He ran around the corner and threw away the gun. The cop saw him throw away the gun and I guess decided it was ok to go ahead and shoot. He was shot two or three times in the back.”


    Case #5.  Black male, Age 23, San Francisco, bipolar and depressed, confrontation in movie theater over smoking, shot 48 times by nine officers, no weapons, financial settlement to family from civil trial.

    Interviewee #5, “They (police) evacuated all the theater… and they got in and shot him 48 times. They (Cops) posted stuff on my son’s website. I checked the IP address and it came form the police station, (they wrote) “who cares about your dead baboon on welfare?”

    Case #6. Black male, Age 73, Ukiah, long history of mental illness, local psych unit asked police to pick him up so he could take his medications, runs to his apartment chased by police dog, dog attacks him and he responds with sharp object, shot several times in back and side by police.

    Interviewee #6, “In my opinion he was murdered.”

    Case #7. Black male, Age 30, Rohnert Park, self-employed rapper, prior arrests for marijuana and passing counterfeit money, no recorded mental illness, ran from police after traffic stop, shot in back, no weapons present.

    Interviewee # 7, “He ran (from the car after a stop) and was shot immediately in the back. And then he was dead. He and the officer that shot him …had gone to school together and played basketball together.”

    Case #8. White male, Age 39, Petaluma, prior depression and minor drug use, not taking his medications, traumatic episode called 911 himself, rampaging in his parents home, tasered by police three times and dies, no weapons present.

    Interviewee #8. “The police…are supposed to protect you and take care of you, and we were following the rules.”

    Case #9. Latino male, Age 40, San Jose, prior felon, no history of mental illness, mistaken identity car chase by under-cover narcotics officers, runs from car and shot in back by officer, bleeds to death after delayed medical care, no weapons present, financial settlement to family after civil suit.

    Interviewee #9,  “My uncle happens to drive by a stakeout and he fits the description of a Mexican guy with a mustache…in a blue van. The undercover narcotic officers gave chase,… my uncle didn’t know who they were…he ends up on a one-way street and stops his car, and starts to run away. My uncle jumps a fence and the officer shoots him in the middle of the back. They let him lay there for eleven minutes bleeding…finally they let the ambulance in and he dies on the way to the hospital.”

    Case #10. Black male, Age 16, 127 lbs, Sebastopol, no prior criminal record, depressed, traumatic episode in van parked in family driveway with small carving knife, pepper sprayed and shot six times by county sheriff, financial settlement to family from civil trial.

    Interviewee #10, “The officer was highly reactive and he didn’t assess the situation, he immediately jumped into plan of action and that escalated the situation rather then contain it. Both officers said they feared for their life, yet these officers were both more than twice the weight of my 127 lb son.”
    Case #11. Latino male, Age 34, San Jose, prior drug use, no history of mental illness, single officer confrontation 3:00 AM in front of his children’s and ex-partner’s home, tasered by officer, physical struggle, shot four times, no weapons present.

    Interviewee # 11, “his autopsy report showed that he had been hit four times with bullets through his left side. He was unarmed. The police said they are trained to stop a threat. And I said well my god if this officer felt threatened what about a shot to the leg or something…and he responded no we are trained to show center space in the body. You know if you can’t shoot center space you won’t be a police officer.”

    Case #12. White male, Age 24, Santa Rosa, mentally ill ward of the state, schizophrenic, in and out of care facilities since age 14, stopped taking medication and had psychotic incident in his home shard by three men, picked up small kitchen knife and is tasered and then shot by police four times, small financial settlement from civil suit.

    Interviewee #12,  “There are probably a great many combat veterans in the police…you have been taught to kill, They could have stepped back The first thing they could have done is not make him come out of his room. Anyone who knows anything about mental patients who are off their meds—just get them somewhere quiet and alone.”
    Case #13, White-Korean male, Age 30, Santa Rosa, Mental Illness Bipolar and PTSD, fired gun afraid of intruders in his attic, taken by police outside, runs at officers shot, no weapon in possession at time of shooting.

    Interviewee # 13, “They kept shouting orders at him, I believe there were six officers, they approached in formation all of them with their guns aimed at him and to someone in this mental state it was extremely threatening way to approach him. (They had him on the ground) and kept shouting confusing orders to him, turn your head to the right, turn your head to the left, then he jumped up…and they shot him a rifle in the chest, right in the heart. None of this would have happen, all they had to do was say we are here to help, we understand you are hearing intruders, do you mind if we take a look?”
    Case #14. Black male double amputee in wheelchair, Age 61 and his son, age 21, Oakland, Police arrive seeking proof of vaccination for dog that was reported to have bit someone in the home, , father killed with one shot to heart, son killed with 13 shots, officer dies (family says from friendly fire), police claim son had a shotgun, mother says no gun in the house, tape recording hidden by police for six years shows cooperative son, and no shotgun blast.

    Interviewee #14, “I think the reason officers do what they do is because they can. It is just like any human reaction that if there are not consequences, then you have a green light….they don’t pay lawsuits, the taxpayers do, they seldom get fired for wrongdoing. So basically what they do is with impunity be they know the odds of any negative impact coming back to them …is negligible.”
    Most all of the families complained that the police lied to them after the death of their family member and the media backed up the police. In most cases, immediate family members are isolated from each other, and taken to the police station. Families were kept from knowing that their loved one was dead. Questioning by police was designed to build a negative case against the deceased.

    Certainly, the sudden death of a loved one is a very traumatic event for anyone. However, adding in isolation, interrogations, and lies will undoubtedly magnify the trauma. These families carry a deep-seated anger towards the police, not only for killing their loved ones but also for what they see as gross mistreatment by authorities after the event. Not only do they understand that after a law enforcement related death police immediately circle the wagons and go into protective mode, but they also see the media as likely to accept press releases from the police unquestioningly and conduct little in the way of investigative reporting.

    In conclusion, we believe that, with some 1,500 people dying annually, a major continuing problem with law enforcement related death exists in the US. The national move to militarized police with homeland security oversight is certainly not reducing this death rate. Long-term racism continues to show abuses affecting people of color to greater degrees that whites. The culture of policing tends to reward aggressive behavior and diminish efforts to mitigate shooting deaths. And families of law enforcement related death victims are mistreated and abused by police departments and the corporate media.

    We think that a comprehensive review of police training is needed to give greater emphasis to the use of non-lethal interventions, and non-aggressive behaviors especially in mental health cases. Mental health/social service support for families of victims of law enforcement related deaths, given the testimony above, is an important social justice need for people already suffering serious trauma.

    ______________________________________________________________________
    •  Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University, and President of Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored
    •  Diana Grant is a Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice Studies at Sonoma State University
    •  Greg Sewell is a recent sociology graduate from Sonoma State University
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    Temple U. and  the Professor Anthony Monteiro Affair : ROMANTISING TREACHERY.
     
    1... Tony Monteiro is one of the principal organizers of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, a coalition of scholars and academics who continue to wage a tireless campaign to free the revolutionary activist..

    2... Prof. Molefi Asante in his statement, implies that Monteiro could easily be replaced by “scores” of other African-American scholars.
    Such a statement should be correctly understood as a personal insult not only to Monteiro, but to .. the countless Philadelphia residents who have benefitted from his activism and engagement with the community

    3..Mumia himself, in speaking from prison about Dr. Monteiro, noted that,
    “Dr. Anthony Monteiro is a name known among scholars, among activists, among sociologists, and among the people of Philadelphia. A brilliant and incisive teacher and thinker, Dr. Monteiro is a scholar’s scholar.”

    4.. Sacaree Rhodes Homelessness Activist says:
     People like Molefi Asante sit around and plot on Black people.And then use the word African-centricity. What the fuck is that?
    You’ve got to stop romanticizing about treachery,”-.

    5..Prof.Anthony Monteiro, internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on W.E.B. DuBois and the Black left radical tradition, has been a fixture on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia for more than a decade. 
     
    His lectures, publications, annual W.E.B. DuBois symposia, community engagement, leadership in the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal, and other activism have made him an indispensable figure at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and in the Black scholarly community more generally. So, the question then becomes…why was his contract terminated? FOR THE REAL STORY-see below
     
    Administration and community at odds over ousting of Anthony Monteiro.
    Sacaree Rhodes, of The African Daughters of Fine Lineage, arrives to the applause of a small gathering at a meeting in support of Arlene Ackerman on Tuesday at the Kingsessing Recreation Center. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)
    Sacaree Rhodes, of The African Daughters of Fine Lineage, arrives to the applause of a small gathering at a meeting in support of Arlene Ackerman on Tuesday at the Kingsessing Recreation Center. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer byJoe Brandt 11 March 2014Sacaree Rhodes (middle) shouts at the Board of Trustees during a public session in Sullivan Hall on Monday. Students and community members gathered to protest the ousting of professor Anthony Monteiro. | JOHN MORITZ TTN
    Sacaree Rhodes (middle) shouts at the Board of Trustees during a public session in Sullivan Hall on Monday. Students and community members gathered to protest the ousting of professor Anthony Monteiro. | JOHN MORITZ TTN 
     
    Protesters against the dismissal of African-American studies professor Anthony Monteiro demonstrated at the Board of Trustees’ general body meeting held in Sullivan Hall on Monday.  The protesters said Teresa Soufas, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, was racially motivated in her decision not to renew Monteiro’s contract 
     
    The protest began outside Sullivan Hall two hours before the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Temple and Philadelphia police officers were on the scene and guarding the entrances.
     
    “If you think you can go forward without a black community, you might think you can have black art and black music without black people,” Monteiro said at a speech he made outside the building.
     
    The board meeting began with a memorial dedication to George Moore, secretary to the Board of Trustees and university counsel, who died on March 2.
     
    The board also approved the executive committee’s recommendation to borrow $30 million to cover expenses from April through June of this year, as well as the agendas of the other committees.
     
    The protesters, who filed into the meeting several minutes after it started, began shouting at the trustees when the establishment of a new CLA department was resolved. Sacaree Rhodes, a community resident and member of the African Daughters of Fine Lineage, shouted “Where are the black people on this board?” toward Board Chairman Patrick O’Connor, who told Rhodes she was “out of order” and that protesters could bring up their concerns at the end of the meeting when “new business” could be addressed.
     
    After the trustees completed the remainder of scheduled discussion, O’Connor allowed comments from the audience members, who asked why Monteiro was fired. O’Connor promised to discuss the issue at a later time and adjourned the meeting. The crowd responded with a chant of “justice for Monteiro.”
     
    The crowd of students, alumni and community members then gathered and staged a sit-in in the second floor lobby of President Theobald’s office for about a half hour until the administrators made a deal to have a discussion with the protest’s leaders, on the condition that most of the crowd leave the premises.
     
    “This is kind of unprecedented,” O’Connor said of the subsequent meeting, also attended by Theobald, Senior Vice President of Government, Community and Public Affairs Ken Lawrence, Athletic Director Kevin Clark and Special Assistant to the President Bill Bergman.
    “We have made a moral case because we feel an injustice,” Monteiro told the representatives at the meeting. “As long as [Soufas] is here, the relationship between this university and the black community is getting worse.”
     
    When asked about the possibility of a regularly scheduled meeting with members of the community, O’Connor said, “I think it’s a great idea. I’m in favor of it.”
     
    However, when Rhodes, the community resident, told Theobald she believed it was his duty to meet with community members from the North Central District to discuss any topic of concern they had, Theobald said he disagreed.
     
    After O’Connor left to attend a separate meeting, Theobald continued the discussion, which continued to focus on the relationship between the university and the surrounding community, including the growing presence of gentrification.
     
    When asked about whether or not he had visited the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection of African-American historical documents, which is open to university students and faculty at its location directly below the president’s office in Sullivan Hall, Theobald said he had not been invited.
     
    Theobald’s comment drew uproar from the crowd, who asked why the president felt the need to be invited to the renowned collection. Theobald appeared to grow flustered at the sudden negative reaction and left to teach a scheduled class in his office.
     
    “I’ve never been invited,” Theobald said. “And I don’t just go wandering around campus.”
     
    Lawrence later met and exchanged contact information with the protesters and said the two parties will arrange another meeting at a later date.
    “We’ll see what happens,” Monteiro said of the next meeting. “This is a matter of courage. It’s up to [Theobald]. It’s cut and dry that an unjust firing took place.”
     
    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.                                                   Claire Sasko contributed reporting.
     
    YARPPA Racist Assault
    Dr. Anthony Monteiro and the Assault on the Black Radical Tradition
    by ERIC DRAITSER
     
    The recent firing of scholar and activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro from Temple University is unquestionably a politically motivated and racist assault on a world-renowned professor and community leader. However, it is equally an attack upon the very foundation of higher education and the place of Black people, Black politics, and Black communities within it.
     
    Dr. Monteiro, internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on W.E.B. DuBois and the Black left radical tradition, has been a fixture on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia for more than a decade. His lectures, publications, annual W.E.B. DuBois symposia, community engagement, leadership in the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal, and other activism have made him an indispensable figure at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and in the Black scholarly community more generally. So, the question then becomes…why was his contract terminated?
     
    The Real Story
     
    The events which led to the dismissal or, as Temple University Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Teresa Soufas lovingly refers to it, his “non-renewal,” have their roots in the struggle over the Chair of the African-American Studies department.
     
     In 2012, Soufas attempted to assert her control over the historic African-American Studies program (the first in the country to offer a PhD in Black Studies), by appointing her colleague and ideological ally Dr. Jayne Drake as interim Chair of the program.
     
     Dr. Drake, a white professor of American literature, was installed over the vociferous objections of many in the department and the campus community – objections voiced perhaps most strongly by Dr. Monteiro.
    Monteiro supported Dr. Kariamu Welsh, a tenured professor from the Dance department of the Boyer College of Music and Dance to chair the department. 
     
    In the struggle that ensued, Dean Soufas attempted to impose her will on the program with the appointment of Dr. Drake. Monteiro then led numerous demonstrations in collaboration with campus and community groups to unseat Soufas’ viceroy and, instead, reappoint the founder and former Chair of the program Dr. Molefi Asante. 
     
    Despite initial resistance and continued threats and attacks upon the integrity and character of Dr. Monteiro, Soufas relented and Asante assumed the position of Chair of the department in 2013.
     
    Although the struggle led by Monteiro was ultimately successful, this victory left a bulls-eye on his back, and it seems that Dean Soufas used the issue of his contract termination as her vengeance. As Dr. Monteiro stated:
    This is a retaliatory act and firing for the [protest] we held to get Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the chair of the [African-American Studies] department over her [Dean Soufas] objections…
     
    It’s nothing except her anger…It is her getting back at me for my standing up to her bullying, pointing fingers at Black men, her authoritarian attempt to take over African American Studies and my taking the struggles for the life and integrity of our department to the Black community — those to whom we are ultimately accountable.
     
    When asked about this critical question of the motivation and ultimate responsibility for the decision to not renew the contract of one of the most highly regarded lecturers on campus, the story takes on an added dimension.
     Dean Soufas seems to imply that the ultimate decision was made by the department Chair Molefi Asante himself, while Dr. Asante asserts that he was merely informed of the Dean’s decision.
     
    Dean Soufas stated on the record that there was “no truth whatsoever” to Monteiro’s allegations. However, she also immediately pointed the finger at Dr. Asante who she said ultimately collaborated in the decision not to renew Monteiro’s contract.
     
    Soufas explained that:
    All decisions about the renewal of contracts of non-tenure-track faculty members are made jointly by department chairs and the dean’s office[emphasis added]. Often when departments revise their curricula, it is necessary to change faculty resources in the non-tenure-track ranks to match the new course directions. 
     
    Dr. Asante, the chairman of African-American Studies, is making some exciting curriculum changes in the department and wanted different fields of study to be covered by instructors.
     
    Of course, in response to the accusation that Asante himself made the decision, Dr. Asante replied that:
    The dean writes the letter when she wants to write a letter about anybody in the department…Did she consult with me to tell me what she was going to do? Yes, she did. I didn’t provide any guidance at all. My position is he has a year-to-year contract and it’s up to the dean… [I am] not worried about [Monteiro’s contract not being renewed] because it is year-to-year…there are scores of African-American people who could help us build this program. The thing you can’t worry about … if somebody signs a [year-to-year] contract and then get upset when someone says your year is up.
     
    At best, Asante shows a complete disregard and utter betrayal of a colleague who, just a year earlier, led the charge to have him reappointed to a prominent position.
     
     At worst, Asante actively participated in the decision to terminate Dr. Monteiro, demonstrating an insidious willingness to collaborate with a vindictive attack upon a colleague in the interest of pleasing those in positions of power. 
     
    In his statement, Asante implies that Monteiro could easily be replaced by “scores” of other African-American scholars. 
     
    Such a statement should be correctly understood as a personal insult not only to Monteiro, but to the thousands of undergraduate and graduate students at Temple who have studied under him, as well as the countless Philadelphia residents who have benefitted from his activism and engagement with the community.
     
    Why Monteiro Matters
     
    Dr. Monteiro, or Tony as his friends refer to him, is an absolutely essential figure for Temple University, Philadelphia, and the Black community as a whole. As a scholar and educator, he is world-renowned. He established the annual W.E.B. DuBois symposium to bring together scholars and activists from all over the world to not only celebrate DuBois’s great contributions to the fields of sociology, anthropology, political philosophy, and race theory, but also to engage communities in an understanding of DuBois’s relevance today. 
     
    It is this connection between “the Academy” and the lives of working people, the poor and the otherwise marginalized that truly illustrates what Tony is about.
     
    Tony goes further, leading the “Saturday Free School” which brought members of the community of North Philadelphia and surrounding areas onto the campus of the university – a grave sin in the eyes of the white establishment, investors, and real estate developer “philanthropists” – to truly incorporate the black community into the campus culture. 
     
    He has worked tirelessly to bring together organized labor, community groups, political associations and others in order to build coalitions that could represent the interests of working people in and around Philadelphia and resist the continued privatization, gentrification, and liquidation of the poor and disadvantaged communities.
     
    Tony is one of the principal organizers of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, a coalition of scholars and academics who continue to wage a tireless campaign to free the revolutionary activist, journalist, and leader Mumia Abu Jamal, as well as all other political prisoners languishing in the Great American Gulag. 
     
    The movement that Tony helped build has grown throughout the US and internationally, with Monteiro as one of its key figures. Mumia himself, in speaking from prison about Dr. Monteiro, noted that, “Dr. Anthony Monteiro is a name known among scholars, among activists, among sociologists, and among the people of Philadelphia. A brilliant and incisive teacher and thinker, Dr. Monteiro is a scholar’s scholar.”
     
    Monteiro has published over one hundred articles and essays in a wide variety of journals and publications, engaging wide-ranging fields of study including sociology, critical theory, African and African-American studies, and a host of other disciplines. He is the most cited scholar in his department, and one of the most cited DuBois scholars in the world.
     
     His work has received acclaim from academics the world over. For these reasons, he is respected by some of the most prominent scholars and public intellectuals in the United States, including Dr. Cornel West who, in support of Tony stated that Monteiro is, “one of our grand intellectual freedom fighters who works in the tradition of W.E.B. DuBois and C.L.R. James. I’m in his corner 120 percent…I’m so glad to see both his students, as well as the community, rise up and support Dr. Monteiro.”
     
    One would think that with world famous intellectuals such as Cornel West and Mumia Abu Jamal, among many others, speaking on his behalf, there would be no question that Monteiro would be secure in his position, with tenure, and the respect afforded to a public intellectual of his stature. However, that is not the case. The question is why?
     
    The Neoliberal Purge of Black Radicalism in Academia
     
    The treatment of Dr. Monteiro by Asante and Soufas is worrying in and of itself. However, even more troubling is the fact that it represents a continuing trend within academia and, specifically, within the Black academic community. It would seem that the “Age of Obama” has done wonders to make some corners of the Black academic community feel as if, contrary to their previous status as outsiders who felt it their responsibility to challenge the power structure and agitate for radical progressive change, today there is a growing sense of participation in power.
    No doubt, this is one of the deleterious effects of the Obama presidency where many white and black liberal scholars have felt it their responsibility to close ranks behind the President and, in so doing, transform the radical tradition itself. In discussing precisely this development Glen Ford, the renowned political commentator and Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, explained in the context of Angela Davis’s support of Obama that:
    The “delusional effect” that swept Black America with the advent of the First Black President has warped and weakened the mental powers of some of our most revered icons – and it has been painful to behold…Angela Davis diminished herself as a scholar and thinker in a gush of nonsense about the corporate executive in the White House…She called [his] campaign a ‘victory, not of an individual, but of…people who refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a person, a Black person, who identified with the Black radical tradition’… Angela Davis was saying that Barack Obama is a man who identifies with the Black radical tradition. She said it casually, as if Black radicalism and Obama were not antithetical terms; as if everything he has written, said and done in national politics has not been a repudiation of the Black radical tradition.
     
    Ford correctly notes the feeling of betrayal by icons of the Black radical movement willingly deluding themselves into believing that the ruling class has suddenly transformed itself, that the black radical tradition, rather than being in opposition to Obama and the neoliberal order, is now a part of it. For Angela Davis, an icon of the liberation struggle and black academia, to spout this narrative, is indicative of the transformation currently underway – a transformation to sanitize the radical tradition and to annex it to the power structure, with Obama as the catalyst.
     
    This same delusional thinking can be seen in the historical revisionism of Manning Marable in his book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in which Marable, a respected black scholar and author, essentially argued that Obama is the natural inheritor of the tradition of Malcolm X and of black radicalism. However, thankfully not all agree with such absurd revisionism. Noted author and lecturer Jared Ball wrote in his book A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X that Marable’s book, “is a corporate product, a simple commodity to be traded, but for more than money; it is a carefully constructed ideological assault on history, on radical politics, on historical and cultural memory, on the very idea of revolution.” Ball essentially argues that Marable, like Angela Davis, purges the radicalism from black radicalism in order to fit it within the narrative of contemporary political discourse, namely the discourse of power, the discourse of inclusion within the ruling class.
    Davis and Marable (before his death), along with Molefi Asante, represent not only a betrayal of the radical tradition and a selling out to, and collusion with, neoliberal capitalism in the “Age of Obama”, they have made themselves into the arbiters of “acceptable discourse” within black academia. And it is precisely this acceptable discourse that Dr. Anthony Monteiro rejects. And it is for precisely this reason that Asante has spoken of “scores of African-Americans” who can take his place. Indeed, there are scores of African-American scholars willing and able to supplicate to corporate power and the de-radicalization of the radical tradition.
    But not Monteiro. Rather than submit and cooperate, he continues to challenge power, whether it is the derisive wag of Dean Soufas’ white finger, or the limitless greed and racism of the white establishment and its black collaborators. He opposes them both with vigor, with fervor, and with uncompromising ethical and moral courage. He upholds the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois, and lives his principles. This is why he has been attacked. And this is why he must be supported.
    Visit “Justice for Dr. Anthony Monteiro” on Facebook to see how you can get involved. If you are an educator, please contact Johanna.fernandez@baruch.cuny.edu or mark.taylor@ptsem.edu to sign the petition to reinstate Dr. Monteiro.
    Join Dr. Monteiro and members of the community to show your support at a meeting of Temple University’s Board of Trustees meeting:
    Monday March 10th, 2014 at 2pm.
    Sullivan Hall
    1330 Polett Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19122
    Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at ericdraitser@gmail.com.

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    Dear Friends,

    As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peralta College District, I invite you to join me in the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Black Arts Movement, known as the Sister of the Black Power Movement. The Black Arts Movement (BAM) is without a doubt the most radical artistic and literary movement in American history. Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) is recognized as the chief architect of BAM (RIP), but here on the west coast, BAM has roots at Merritt College with students Bobby Seale
    (yes, before co-founding the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale performed in Marvin X's second play Come Next Summer), Ernie Allen, Ken and Carol Freeman, and Marvin X, who won first prize for a short story  in Merritt's literary magazine. Of course we were inspired by the Afro American Association, led by Attorney Donald Warden. Bobby Seale calls us the "neo-Black intellectuals."

    After graduating from Merritt, many of us transferred to San Francisco State College/now University, where we transformed the Negro Students Association into the Black Students Union that eventually led to the first Black Studies Department on a major college campus--Merritt had already established a Black Studies Department.

    My first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced at SFSU by the Drama department but after the production I decided to drop out of college to establish Black Arts Theatre on Fillmore Street, co-founded by playwright Ed Bullins, Carl Bossiere, Duncan Barber, Ethna Wyatt and Hillery Broadous, 1966. BAW actors included Danny Glover and Vonetta McGee, along with musicians Rafael Donald Garrett, Oliver Jackson, Monte Waters, Dewey Redman, Earl Davis, et al.

    I should mention that students from SFSU published the key critical literary magazines of the National Black Arts Movement, Black Dialogue and the Journal of Black Poetry. Students included Aubrey and Gerald LaBrie, Duke Williams, Jose Goncalves, Sadaat Ahmad, et al. Contributors included Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Eldridge Cleaver, Don L. Lee,
    Al Young, Art Sheridan, et al.

    The staff of Black Dialogue made a historic visit to Soledad Prison's Black Culture Club, under the leadership of Eldridge Cleaver and Alprintice Bunchy Carter. This club was the beginning of the American Prison Movement, 1966.

    In 1967, along with recently released from prison essayist Eldridge Cleaver, playwright Ed Bullins, Ethna Wyatt and myself, we established the political/cultural center in San Francisco known as Black House which became the center of non-establishment Black culture in the Bay Area. Black House participants included Amiri and Amina Baraka, Askia Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Adam David Miller, the Chicago Art Ensemble, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Little Bobby Hutton, Advotjha, Reginald Lockett, et al.

    In summary, the Bay Area played a critical role in the national Black Arts Movement. Many BAM players, movers and shakers were bi-coastal. In 1968, we found ourselves in Harlem, invited by playwright Ed Bullins who was now at the New Lafayette Theatre. We become associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine, a publication of the New Lafayette. We joined BAM founders Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Askia Toure, Sun Ra, Barbara Ann Teer, Milford Graves, Yusef Iman, Larry Neal et al.

    We invite you to help plan and produce the Bay Area celebration of the Black Arts Movement. We call upon academic and cultural institutions to make this event a reality, especially in honor of ancestor Amiri Baraka who often talked of a 27 city BAM tour. We initiated the first leg of the 27 city tour in late February/March, 2014, at the University of California, Merced, produced by Kim McMillan and myself. We are so very thankful that UC Merced made this BAM conference a great success, especially with generous funding. We know the Bay Area will help us expand on what we did in the Central Valley.

    At this point, we are in partnership with the Eastside Arts Organization and the Post News Group. Please let us know if you are willing to be a funder and/or partner, participant or volunteer. Tentative date, June/July, 2015.

    Sincerely,

    Marvin X, A.A., Merritt College, 1964,
    B.A., M.A., San Francisco State University, 1974-75
    510-200-4164
    jmarvinx@yahoo.com

    Board of Advisors
    Kim McMillan
    Amina Baraka
    Ras Baraka
    Sonia Sanchez
    Askia Toure
    Paul Cobb
    Greg Morozumi
    Elena Serano
    Castle Redmond
    Denise Pate
    LaNiece Jones
    Walter Riley
    Nathan Hare
    Jerry Vernado
    Terry Collins
    Dr. Ayodele Nzinga
    Geoffery Grier
    Muhammida El Muhajir
    Amira Jackmon
    Nefertiti Jackmon
    Aries Jordan
    Davey D
    Odell Johnson
    Carolyn Mixon
    Leon and Carolyn Teasley
    Ovis and Nina Collins
    Joyce Gordon
    Conway Jones, Jr.

     Founders of Black Dialogue Magazine, one of the critical journals of the Black Arts Movement:
    Left to right, Audrey LaBrie, Marvin X, Abdul Sabrey, Al Young, Arthur Sheridan, Duke Williams

     Bay Area Black authors/activists celebrate the life of Chauncey Bailey

     In 1966, the staff of Black Dialogue visited the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club, chaired by Eldridge Cleaver and Alprintis Bunchy Carter. Club was the start of the American Prison Movement.


    The Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra at University of California, Merced, Feb-March, 2014




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    Oakland's embattled Mayor Jean Quan with the peripatetic poet Marvin X. "As a student of Sun Ra, I believe in Mythocracy not Democracy. But we thank the Mayor for ending Operation Urban Shield in Oakland. It would be better if she would stop getting caught texting while driving, especially with all the other Zombie drivers on the streets. Vote for me, I'll set you free!"
    photo Adam Turner, Black Bird Productions

    Parable of the Zombie Driver
    by Marvin X 



    Watch the zombie in the car ahead of you. He may be sleep walking or sleep talking or texting or having sex--his blinker says left turn or right turn, but the light changes and the car doesn't move, just sits still on the green light, until you finally blow your horn, then, slowly, the car turns and heads down the street.

    You wonder what is going on and the answer is nothing, it is a zombie car with a zombie driver. Whatever you do, be courteous, don't be rude, don't go into road rage for the zombie may pull a weapon, after all, the zombie is a danger to himself and others, so be careful, don't add fuel to the fire.

    This is how we must navigate the perilous mental landscape in the last days of the devil's world. Jesus told you this is only the beginning of sorrows, there shall be pestilence, drought, famine, earthquakes in diverse places, mudslides, tsunamis, planes disappearing from the sky, jails and prisons full of those suffering poverty, drug addiction and mental illness.

    The global bandits, the blood suckers of the poor, suffer no jail or prison time. They pay a simple fine then continue in their inordinacy, as the Qur'an says. They are the zombie too, so smart they outsmart themselves, thinking their wickedness shall last forever, they have enough guns and a monkey mind media that perpetuates the world of make believe that the deaf, dumb and blind inhabit as they make their daily round in the big yard, suffering their myriad addictions and afflictions and conspicuous consumption.

    As we see, there is murder in the hood and murder in the suburbs, murder in the schools, colleges and universities, in the home and workplace. So hold onto your hat or hold onto the rope of Allah, whatever is your choice--yeah, hold on Snoopy--The End is Near!--Marvin X

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    Rain has come to the Central Valley
    Oh, rain
    where have you been
    my lover
    I drink your kisses
    let me hold you
    so precious



    We thought you departed forever
    was I a terrible lover
    did I abuse you
    was my language harsh
    did I not give you a morning kiss
    let me hold you
    caress you tenderly
    you are so sweet to me
    I will never let you go
    now that you are home again
    please
    don't stop loving me
    I need you so much
    don't let me crawl like a thirsty dog
    let my raisins grow my almonds peaches
    oh, rain
    you are the bright sun in the shade
    all my praise is for you
    let me dance the holy dance for you
    let me wallow in the mud


    Central Valley boy in the rain 
    photo essay by Marvin X,
    Black Bird Productions
    11/1/14





    Central Valley boy in the rain 
    photos  Marvin X, Black Bird Productions
    11/1/14


    I am a child again
    if only for a moment.
    --Marvin X
    11/1/14

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    "The voice of the intelligence...is drowned out by the roar of fear. It is ignored by the voice of desire. It is contradicted by the voice of shame. It is biased by hate and extinguished by anger. Most of all, it is silenced by ignorance."
    --Dr. Karl Menninger
    Please join us tomorrow at the Brandywine Workshop for this stimulating program presented by the Moonstone Arts Center.
     
    Moonstone Arts Center at the Brandywine Workshop
    728 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
    Sunday, November 2, 2014, 2 p.m.
    Join the editors: John H. Bracey Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst for the Philadelphia launch of

    SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

    University of Massachusetts Press, paper $34.95 

    A major new anthology of readings, this volume brings together a broad range of key writings from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, among the most significant cultural movements in American history. The aesthetic counterpart of the Black Power movement, it burst onto the scene in the form of artists’ circles, writers’ workshops, drama groups, dance troupes, new publishing ventures, bookstores, and cultural centers and had a presence in practically every community and college campus with an appreciable African American population. Black Arts activists extended its reach even further through magazines such as Ebony and Jet, on television shows such as Soul! and Like It Is, and on radio programs. Many of the movement’s leading artists, including Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré,Marvin X and Val Gray Ward, remain artistically productive today. Its influence can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson, to hip-hop artists Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D. SOS—Calling All Black People includes works of fiction, poetry, and drama in addition to critical writings on issues of politics, aesthetics, and gender. It covers topics ranging from the legacy of Malcolm X and the impact of John Coltrane’s jazz to the tenets of the Black Panther Party and the music of Motown. The editors have provided a substantial introduction outlining the nature, history, and legacy of the Black Arts Movement as well as the principles by which the anthology was assembled.
    SOS--CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE: BAY AREA CELEBRATION OF THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT



    Dear Friends,

    As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peralta College District, I invite you to join me in the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Black Arts Movement, known as the Sister of the Black Power Movement. The Black Arts Movement (BAM) is without a doubt the most radical artistic and literary movement in American history. Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) is recognized as the chief architect of BAM (RIP), but here on the west coast, BAM has roots at Merritt College with students Bobby Seale
    (yes, before co-founding the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale performed in Marvin X's second play Come Next Summer), Ernie Allen, Ken and Carol Freeman, and Marvin X, who won first prize for a short story  in Merritt's literary magazine. Of course we were inspired by the Afro American Association, led by Attorney Donald Warden. Bobby Seale calls us the "neo-Black intellectuals."

    After graduating from Merritt, many of us transferred to San Francisco State College/now University, where we transformed the Negro Students Association into the Black Students Union that eventually led to the first Black Studies Department on a major college campus--Merritt had already established a Black Studies Department.

    My first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced at SFSU by the Drama department but after the production I decided to drop out of college to establish Black Arts Theatre on Fillmore Street, co-founded by playwright Ed Bullins, Carl Bossiere, Duncan Barber, Ethna Wyatt and Hillery Broadous, 1966. BAW actors included Danny Glover and Vonetta McGee, along with musicians Rafael Donald Garrett, Oliver Jackson, Monte Waters, Dewey Redman, Earl Davis, et al.

    I should mention that students from SFSU published the key critical literary magazines of the National Black Arts Movement, Black Dialogue and the Journal of Black Poetry. Students included Aubrey and Gerald LaBrie, Duke Williams, Jose Goncalves, Sadaat Ahmad, et al. Contributors included Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Eldridge Cleaver, Don L. Lee,
    Al Young, Art Sheridan, et al.

    The staff of Black Dialogue made a historic visit to Soledad Prison's Black Culture Club, under the leadership of Eldridge Cleaver and Alprintice Bunchy Carter. This club was the beginning of the American Prison Movement, 1966.

    In 1967, along with recently released from prison essayist Eldridge Cleaver, playwright Ed Bullins, Ethna Wyatt and myself, we established the political/cultural center in San Francisco known as Black House which became the center of non-establishment Black culture in the Bay Area. Black House participants included Amiri and Amina Baraka, Askia Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Adam David Miller, the Chicago Art Ensemble, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Little Bobby Hutton, Advotjha, Reginald Lockett, et al.

    In summary, the Bay Area played a critical role in the national Black Arts Movement. Many BAM players, movers and shakers were bi-coastal. In 1968, we found ourselves in Harlem, invited by playwright Ed Bullins who was now at the New Lafayette Theatre. We become associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine, a publication of the New Lafayette. We joined BAM founders Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Askia Toure, Sun Ra, Barbara Ann Teer, Milford Graves, Yusef Iman, Larry Neal et al.

    We invite you to help plan and produce the Bay Area celebration of the Black Arts Movement. We call upon academic and cultural institutions to make this event a reality, especially in honor of ancestor Amiri Baraka who often talked of a 27 city BAM tour. We initiated the first leg of the 27 city tour in late February/March, 2014, at the University of California, Merced, produced by Kim McMillan and myself. We are so very thankful that UC Merced made this BAM conference a great success, especially with generous funding. We know the Bay Area will help us expand on what we did in the Central Valley.

    At this point, we are in partnership with the Eastside Arts Organization and the Post News Group. Please let us know if you are willing to be a funder and/or partner, participant or volunteer. Tentative date, June/July, 2015.

    Sincerely,

    Marvin X, A.A., Merritt College, 1964,
    B.A., M.A., San Francisco State University, 1974-75
    510-200-4164
    jmarvinx@yahoo.com

    Board of Advisors
    Kim McMillan
    Amina Baraka
    Ras Baraka
    Sonia Sanchez
    Askia Toure
    Paul Cobb
    Greg Morozumi
    Elena Serano
    Castle Redmond
    Denise Pate
    LaNiece Jones
    Walter Riley
    Nathan Hare
    Jerry Vernado
    Terry Collins
    Dr. Ayodele Nzinga
    Geoffery Grier
    Muhammida El Muhajir
    Amira Jackmon
    Nefertiti Jackmon
    Aries Jordan
    Davey D
    Odell Johnson
    Carolyn Mixon
    Leon and Carolyn Teasley
    Ovis and Nina Collins
    Joyce Gordon
    Conway Jones, Jr.

     Founders of Black Dialogue Magazine, one of the critical journals of the Black Arts Movement:
    Left to right, Audrey LaBrie, Marvin X, Abdul Sabrey, Al Young, Arthur Sheridan, Duke Williams

     Bay Area Black authors/activists celebrate the life of Chauncey Bailey

     In 1966, the staff of Black Dialogue visited the Soledad Prison Black Culture Club, chaired by Eldridge Cleaver and Alprintis Bunchy Carter. Club was the start of the American Prison Movement.


    The Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra at University of California, Merced, Feb-March, 2014
     BERKELEY HIGH'S B-TECH STUDENTS ATTEND BAM MASTER POET MARVIN X'S EXHIBIT OF HIS ARCHIVES THAT WERE ACQUIRED BY THE BANCROFT LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY
    BAM MASTER MARVIN X WITH THE POETS CHOIR AND ARKESTRA, MALCOLM X JAZZ/ART FESTIVAL, OAKLAND, MAY 17, 2014. AN EASTSIDE ARTS PRODUCTION
    photo Gene Hazzard, Black Bird Productions

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    Parable of the Madpoet


    And I'm the great would-be poet. Yes. That's right! Poet. Some kind of bastard literature...all it needs is a simple knife thrust. Just let me bleed you, you loud whore, and one poem vanished. A whole people of neurotics, struggling to keep from being sane. And the only thing that would cure the neurosis would be your murder...
    --Amiri Baraka, The Dutchman
    He was a man who lived on the razor's edge, like a tight walker about to fall into the chasm, a false step, a slight loss of balance and he would surely fly headlong into the precipice.


    He wrote to keep from killing, from slaughtering the guilty and innocent. In his warped mind, the choice was society's, not his. For in his selfishness, either let his pen flow or blood shall flow upon the land because he felt wronged, the constant victim of theft, even by his friends or so called friends.

    He had taught at the greatest universities in the land, but was often escorted off campus by police for violating the law of political correctness. He was deported from countries for the same reason, marched onto the plane at gunpoint, the hatch door slammed behind him. If madpoet returned, the prime minister said he would leave.

    His writings were so outrageous people threw them on the ground in the north and dirty south. He told a man who threw his writings on the ground that he was dumber than the dumbest mule in Georgia. The man went away but came back to ask him if that was a line from a movie. Madpoet told him, "You the movie, nigguh!"

    Even though he hadn't sought employment in decades, he believed he was banned from employment for life because of his deranged thoughts, that he was not invited to events to celebrate life or art, even events his peers organized, though he invited them to his productions without fail.

    People wanted him to be rich by saying the right things so the public could accept his writings. But his doctor told him to remain poor so he could be truthful and free. Another friend told him not to worry about money because on the day he died he would surely be rich and famous. He was praised by word of mouth because nobody was going to talk about his writings out loud, but they hush hushed about it. It was very straight and plain. Youth told him he was very blunt!

    Some people thought he liked to whine, snibble and was ungrateful because whenever he put on events they were unique and classical extravaganzas, though sometimes long, drawn out affairs without thought of intermission or length of time. Another mad friend named Sun Ra had taught him about infinity.

    He had been confined to the mental hospital four times, but each time he had taken himself. He enjoyed the mental ward, especially since it was full of artists like himself who had crossed the line from creativity to insanity. Other than drugs, the doctors found nothing wrong with him so when he refused to leave, they threw him out onto the street. The police jabbed him in the ribs with their night sticks as they escorted him off the grounds of the mental hospital.

    So please let his pen flow and do not disturb him for any reason, especially some menial chore, a mundane exercise, just leave him alone in the silence of his room. Let him ponder thoughts beyond the box, beyond the pale of tradition. Let him consider the finer things of life, what words to configure, what metaphors, psycholinguistic turns of the mind, the sociology and historiography of a people, or else there shall be chaos in the land and blood shall flow like a river, for his spirit shall be suppressed and shall seek an outlet in blood from the misery of his mind.

    Yes, he is a killer in disguise, who appears in the persona of a poet for the good of society, but continue to oppress him, suppress him, and he shall strike out in a moment of black madness and those who have wronged him shall see your guts spilled, your head smashed against the concrete sidewalk.

    Believe it, it is only a matter of time before the madpoet shall seek revenge and come upon those who have wronged him. He shall strike like a panther in the night, and you shall cry in horror as his knife enters your throat and from thence to the spilling of your guts upon the ground.

    He shall walk away with a laughter and joy only the devil himself shall understand and appreciate.
    --Marvin X
    4/17/09
    Gullahland, South Carolina
    Revised 4/3/10

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    In memory of Rick

    Rick was a happy dope fiend. He loved shooting dope in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, though he used to shoot dope in the Fillmore, but that was in the old days when the Fillmore was jumping, bumper to bumper cars, Negroes with big hats and long coats, ladies strutting like peacocks. Jazz clubs everywhere. That was before Negro removal came to town. When Negro removal came, Rick started hanging out in the TL, that funky multi-ethnic ghetto a block from downtown.

    He was happy in the TL, along with all the other dope fiends, sex workers, derelicts , mentally ill, homeless and working poor.

    Whenever Rick was on the streets of the TL, he had a big smile and laughed so hard you had to laugh with him, even if what he was laughing about wasn't funny.

    He dressed clean like a real dope fiend from the old days when dope was good, not like that punk dope they have today.

    Sometimes Rick would be in the middle of the street loaded to the gills, laughing out loud with one of his dope fiend friends.

    Then something happened to Rick. He disappeared for awhile. We heard he was in a drug recovery program. We were happy for him.

    He came out of recovery a changed man. He got a job driving yellow cab. He moved out the TL to Oakland. He'd found a house, bought two cars, one a Cadillac Seville.

    But when we ran into Rick he was somber, quiet, mellowed out, didn't laugh anymore. He wasn't the Rick we knew. But he was clean and sober, had money in his pocket. But he didn't have that old smile, the laughter was gone.

    Time passed.

    We saw Rick one day down in the BART or subway station. He was with a girl. She was telling him to hurry up, come on. Rick did as he was told. He had a smile and was laughing.

    It was the last time we saw Rick. We know he died happy, doing his thing.
    --Marivn X
    4/12/10
     
    from The Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables, fables, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 2012, $19.95. Order from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702.

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    Somethin' Proper, the Autobiography of Marvin X, from the introduction by Dr. Nathan Hare

    Marvin X
    photo Kamau Amen Ra





    Somethin' Proper, the Autobiography of Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1998

    from the Introduction by Dr. Nathan Hare, the Black Think Tank

    In SOMETHIN' PROPER, we quickly see that we are inside the pages not only of Marvin's private political papers, comprising a lyrical diary shaped to be read and enjoyed like a novel by the masterful hands of an internationally noted black poet, but we are being escorted to the cutting edge of a fascinating postmodern black literary genre in the making, the notes of an undying black warrior who refuses to give up, give out or give in!

    Although easy to read by almost anybody wishing to do so, SOMETHIN' PROPER (apparently a phrase from the drug subculture, i.e., BREAK ME OFF SOMETHIN' PROPER), presents us at once with an opportunity for a deeper understanding of a panorama of participants in the often poignant but sometimes hilarious inner workings of the black male psyche, from the middle class bourgeois pretenders such as "tenured Negroes" on the academic plantation and their "negrocity," to "coconuts" in the corporations, and across the spectrum to brothers in the hood, particularly the way in which utility and haughty demeanor conceal and mask the panoramic and pervasive depression of the black male.

    Before his death at the early age of 36, Frantz Fanon, the black psychiatrist who lived and wrote about the relations between the oppressor and oppressed in the battle of Algiers (Wretched of the Earth; Black Skin, White Masks, and A Dying Colonialism), presented us with clear psychiatric paradigms for the struggles Marvin deftly captures for us.

    Marvin is able to give us insights into himself and his affiliates (Huey Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Little Bobby Hutton, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, et.al., that are original but reminiscent of Fanon, because Marvin is bearing the covers on his life and the life of others.

    Of all the many disorders and distortions that plague the black male, each and every day, perhaps the ones that take the heaviest tool on his ravished brain are those that—if not contained by armed resistance—revolve around the painful difficulty of gaining control over his individual and collective destiny, around what is known in mental health circles as "the locus of control," the dilemma of resistance to the enemy from without and the enemy from within (including the self, if we consider that there can be no master without those who, for whatever reason, are willing to be a slave). Might makes right but not for long.

    If we honor the likes of Patrick Henry for saying "give me liberty or give me death," it is no matter that when the Negro says give him liberty or death the white man tries to give him death! The so-called Negro is confronted with a choice Patrick Henry had not reckoned with, something Fanon called "reactional disorders" or "psychosomatic pathology" that is the direct product of oppression.

    But out of a last ditch desperation in self-medication and the management of his pulverized and thwarted emotions, in a mindless effort to soothe his psychological and social wounds, the black male is introduced unwarily if discreetly to the vicious cycle of self-mutilation and induced addiction, which takes hold and spreads like an epidemic virus as part of the psycho-technology, historically, of the white man's oppression of the North American African and others around the world.

    In his powerlessness and victimization, with nothing left to lean on, the black man is likely to mount the seesaw, if not the roller coaster of racial psycho-social dependency and messianic religiosity (becoming the mad-dog religious fanatic, believing in a savior other than himself) on the one hand and the individual chemical dependent on the other, i.e. the dope fiend.

    Marvin decontructs both. In the bottomless caverns of addiction in any form, there seems no amount of religiosity, coke, crack, alcohol or sex sufficient to sedate the social angst and shattered cultural strivings.

    The more the black man tempts to medicate his anxiety and to mask his depression and self doubts with pretense and hostility, the more he finds himself in trouble with the persons he must love and be loved by than with the alien representatives of the society that would control and castrate his manhood.

    Novelist Richard Wright, addressing these paradoxes and dilemmas in his own autobiography BLACK BOY, explained that, "Because I had no power to make things happen outside of me in the objective world, I made things happen within. Because my environment was bare and bleak, I endowed it with unlimited potentialities, redeemed it for the sake of my own hungry and cloudy yearning."

    The catch is in the way these things turn out after the boy has been taken through the meat grinder of growing up within the machinery of white social control. In response, the strategy or road most taken by both Marvin X and Richard Wright, to put it simply, is FLIGHT (what Wright as a matter of fact names the middle passage of his novel, Native Son, book 2 of 3).

    As surely as the individual who accepts oppression is constantly in flight from his racial identity, the black man who rejects it is constantly on the run from the agency of white supremacy that must control him and wishes to annihilate him outright. And here is where Marvin's story is most valuable to us , helping us to grasp the meaning of the tradition of escape within our race, literature and history, stretching back to the slave trade and slave ships of the middle passage, down to the demanding requirements of escape from coercion, incarceration and surveillance in the modern era: he takes us through a childhood of continual efforts to avoid juvenile hall, to the flights of his father (despite punishing ambiguities, Marvin X dedicates his book to both his parents in memorial), calling upon pure personal honesty and the deepest levels of understanding to appreciate the parental struggles of his own and the resulting psycho-sexual and social conflicts.

    Without professing to do so, Marvin X speaks here most effectively of all black men, exposing their triumphs and follies, telling all he knows about everybody, including himself, always seeming to exact the hardest toll of all on himself, inviting us openly and unashamedly into the intricacies of his youthful endeavors to love too many women, including more than one try at the practice of polygamy (at one point he had four wives, in the Islamic tradition), until he realizes that if monogamy is the love and marriage of one woman, polygamy is the love or marriage of one woman too many!

    I predict that SOMETHIN' PROPER (the life and times of a North American African Poet) will readily emerge as an underground classic as well as a classic of the black consciousness movement and the world of the troubled inner city, a manual of value to any brother who has lost his way and the sister who would help him to understand or know how to find it, to find it within himself, in the intriguing story of Marvin X, who has been there and the women and political fellow-travelers in the black movement who were there with him in his often daring escapades, his secret flights and open confrontations with white supremacy.

    In the end, is he bitter? Or is he happy as a negro eating watermelon on massa's plantation? Well, in the beginning white people are devils—but by the end, all people are devils—in Marvin's world. After all, this is his story. Nevertheless, by the end we are convinced Marvin has regained faith in himself, his God and his people.

    And it is gratifying in an era of the sellout, the faint hearted and the fallen, to see that Marvin X was one black man who met the white man in the center of the ring and walked with him to the corners of psycho-social inequity, grappling with him through the bowels of the earth, yet remained one black man the white man couldn't get.

    I'm glad I stopped that day on Market Street and bought a pair of Marvin's sunglasses, but I wish I knew where to find those sunglasses now, because I could feel so proud to wear them, or, better yet, I could lend them to some other brother who was trying to find his way to SOMETHIN' PROPER while moving in the direction of the sun.
    --Dr. Nathan Hare

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    Petition bycarmen santana
    Ridgewood, NY
    Please read my letter to Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez.
    My letter explains why Arturo Alfonso Schomburg's contributions to the USA and the world makes him worthy of the Medal of Freedom.

    Nydia Velasquez, Member
    United States Congress
    7th Congressional District
    266 Broadway, Suite 201
    Brooklyn, New York 11211

    March 24, 2014
    Dear Congresswoman Velasquez:
    I am writing to you regarding Arturo Alfonso Schomburg to respectfully
    request that he be honored posthumously with the Medal of Freedom for
    his many immeasurable contributions. The world of scholarship is indebted to
    Arturo Alfonso Schomburg- black bibliophile, curator and self taught historian
    whose private collection formed the nucleus of what is now one of the
    outstanding collections concerning the history and culture of people of African
    descent. At his death he bequeathed to posterity an organic monument whose
    place in history has been assured.
                               “The Negro Digs Up His Past”
    Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, also known as Arthur Schomburg was born
    in Santurce Puerto Rico (January 24, 1874 to June 8, 1938) As a Puerto
    Rican historian, writer, and activist in the United States who researched
    and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin
    Americans and Afro Americans have made to society. In 1891,
    Schomburg came to New York City where he became an activist with
    the Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico, playing an integral role in
    fighting for Puerto Rico and Cuba's independence from Spain. Living in
    Harlem, Schomburg coined the term "afroborinqueno" to celebrate his
    heritage as a Latino of African descent.
    In 1918 the Schomburg family moved from Harlem to Brooklyn. Their
    final residence was on Kosciusko Street. Although he lived in Brooklyn
    for 20 years, Arturo Schomburg’s ties to the Harlem community
    continued. Schomburg was especially involved in the budding literary
    and social movement that started in Harlem and spread through black
    communities across the country- “The Harlem Renaissance”.
    In 1926, the New York Public Library purchased Schomburg's collection
    of literature, art and other artifacts for $10,000. Schomburg was
    appointed as the curator of the Schomburg Collection of Negro
    Literature and Art at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public
    Library. Schomburg used the money from the sale of his collection to
    add more artifacts of African history to the collection and traveled to
    Spain, France, Germany, England and Cuba.
    In addition to his contributions with the New York Public Library,
    Schomburg was appointed curator of the Negro Collection at Fisk
    University's library.
    To support his family, Schomburg worked a variety of jobs--teaching
    Spanish, working as a messenger and clerk in a law firm. However, his
    passion was identifying artifacts that disproved the notion that people of
    African descent had no history or achievements. Schomburg's first
    article, "Is Hayti Decadent?" appeared in a 1904 issue of The Unique
    Advertiser.In 1909, Schomburg wrote a profile on the poet and
    independence fighter, Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdez entitled Placido
    a Cuban Martyr.
    The Harlem community, scholars of Black History and Culture and the
    NYC Public Library so honored and respected Schomburg’s magnificent
    contributions to Black History and Culture that they named the 135th
    Street Branch after him. It is now- in his legacy of scholarship and
    excellence- one of the leading public research libraries in the world.
    Clearly, if there was just one Puerto Rican scholar deserving of the
    Medal of Freedom, it would be Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.
    -----------------------------------
    To:
    President of the United States
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
    Rep. Nydia Velazquez, New York-07
     
    I am asking President Obama to honor posthumously Arturo Alfonso Schomburg with the Medal of Freedom.

    Sincerely,
    Carmen Santana
    Sincerely,
    [Your name]
    SIGN PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/rep-nydia-velazquez-i-am-asking-president-obama-to-honor-posthumously-arturo-alfonso-schomburg-with-the-medal-of-freedom
     
     
     

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    There was a land where Pharaoh ruled over many slaves, using his monkey mind media and other magicians, including the Amen priests, the chief magicians whose tricknology hoodwinked and bamboozled the 85% deaf, dumb and blind. The 1% blood suckers of the poor controlled the policies of Pharaoh who was only a puppet on a string who danced to the tune of the bankers, investors and military elite. The blood suckers of the poor allowed a slave to rule as Pharaoh, but he was only a front man, a bootlicker who told the Amen priests to sing Silent Night and Peace be Still. He gave great speeches to keep the 85% calm and medicated on a diet of drugs, sex, violence and poison food, genetically altered to control their mental processes and physical being as well, keeping them under the control of the mad scientist Yacub's chief workers: the doctor, nurse and undertaker.

    The 5% poor righteous teachers had a most difficult time getting their message to the deaf dumb and blind. The poor righteous teachers were usually banned from teaching in the Pharaonic schools, colleges and universities. Pharaonic intellectuals were instructed to keep the blind, deaf and dumb in their wretched condition by not allowing any self knowledge to reach them; also, they were not to teach do-for-self as that would upset the slavery teachings of the 1%.

    When the half-white Pharaoh attempted to reach out to his slave brothers and sisters, he was blocked at every turn and told to follow the script given to him by the blood suckers of the poor. He tried to get uppity by following his own agenda but the No people blocked him and his policies and urged Pharoah's army to get their whips and guns ready to lash the behinds of any who tried to break out of the kingdom. People were caught at the borders and returned to the slave mill in Pharaoh's house. Those victims of the slave system were imprisoned or shot on sight, even though many resisted until they were outgunned, being no match for Pharaoh's army, navy, air force, national guard, local police and snitches.

    Then suddenly their appeared strange objects in the sky over the land. There were earthquakes, famine, drought, disease and pestilence. The more Pharaoh's army beat down the people caught in the slave system, the more his economy failed until he cried out, "Let them go, let them go." And the people walked to a new land of their own.
    --Marvin X
    11/5/14

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    Republicans just won the election. President Obama doesn’t much care.

    November 5 
     

     
    President Obama gestures as he speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 5. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
     
    President Obama had a clear message for congressional Republicans in the wake of the GOP's sweeping victories in the Senate and House on Tuesday: Big whoop.
    "There's no doubt that Republicans had a good night," Obama said in his opening remarks, the rhetorical equivalent of a slow clap for Republicans. He wouldn't go any further — even when pressed  to put a single word to the defeat as he did when he called the 2010 election a "shellacking."  He emphasized the number of people — "two thirds"— who didn't vote Tuesday.Despite saying repeatedly that his policies were on the ballot Tuesday, Obama insisted Wednesday that the message of the election wasn't a rejection of those policies but rather a sign that the American public wanted politicians to work together to get things done. Asked whether he had made a mistake by not reaching out to Republicans more in the past few years, Obama let out an audible sigh before answering. He said it was too soon to talk about any personnel changes.
    "The principles ... are not going to change," Obama insisted.

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    Marvin X, Producer
     
    In our grand vision for the Bay Area Celebration of the Black Arts Movement, we imagine a festival/conference over several days with  venues in various locations depending on the funding, including the following:

    Oakland
    Merritt College, Laney Colleg, Eastside Arts, Malonga Center, Joyce Gordon Gallery, African American Museum/Library, Geoffery's Inner Circle

    Berkeley
    UC Berkeley
    Black Repertory Group

    Richmond
    Contra Costa College
    Richmond Arts Center

    San Francisco
    San Francisco State University
    African American Cultural Center
    Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center

    Palo Alto/East Palo Alto
    Stanford University

    San Jose
    San Jose State University
    Photo Essay: The Black Arts Movement










































    Invited Black Arts Movement Elders
    Danny Glover
    Askia Toure
    The Last Poets
    Sonia Sanchez
    Nikki Giovanni
    Haki Madhubuti
    Marvin X
    Avotcja
    Emory Douglas
    Earl Davis
    Jose Goncalves
    Amina Baraka
    Judy Juanita
    Kalamu Ya Salaam
    Abdul Sabry
    Aubrey LaBrie
    Duke Williams
    Woody King

    Performing groups
    Poets Choir and Arkestra, Marvin X, Director
    Lower Bottom Playaz, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga
    SF Recovery Theatre, Geoffery Grier
    Linda Johnson Dancers
    Debra Vaughn Dimensions Dance Co
    Traci Bartlow, Eastside Arts Dancers
    Sun Ra Arkestra under Marshall Allen
    David Murray
    Afro Horn directed by Francisco Mora Catlett

    BAM Dramas to be performed
    Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, Drama Coordinator 


    The First Militant Preacher by Ben Caldwell
    The Dutchman by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka
    The Toilet by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka
    Flowers for the Trashman by Marvin X
    Salaam, Huey Salaam by Marvin X and Ed Bullins
    A Son Come Home by Ed Bullins
    Sister Son/Ji by Sonia Sanchez
    Papa’s Daughter by Dorothy Ahmad

    BAM Babies 2.0
    Marc Bamuthi, Project Coordinator
    Ras Baraka
    conscious rappers
    spoken word artists
    dramatists

    Exhibits 

    (Curated by Greg Morozumi, Billy Jennings, Joyce Gordon, UC Bancroft)
    The Art of Elizabeth Catlett Mora
    The Art of Emory Douglas
    The archives of Marvin X, Dr. Nathan Hare, Amiri Baraka
    The Black Arts Movement

    Major Texts


    The Black Arts Movement by James Smethurst
    SOS—Calling all Black People: Black Arts Movement Reader
    Somethin Proper, autobiography of Marvin X
    Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka
    Post Prison Writings by Eldridge Cleaver
    Eldridge Cleaver: My friend the Devil, a memoir by Marvin X
    The Black Arts Movement by Kalamu Ya Salaam
    The Black Arts by Kamozi Woodard

    Planning committee
    Elena Serrano
    Greg Morozumi
    Paul Cobb
    Geoffery Grier
    Ayodele Nzinga
    Kim McMillon
    Kalamu Chache’
    Dr. Mona Scott
    LaNiece Jones
    Joyce Gordon
    Carolyn Mixon
    Ben Tapscott
    Michael Bennett
    Marvin X

    Possible funders
    UC Berkeley
    California Endowment
    California Arts Commission
    San Francisco Foundation
    Peralta Community College Foundation
    San Francisco State University
    Laney College
    Stanford University
    Merritt College
    SF Hotel Tax Fund
    Zellerbach Family Fund
    City of Oakland Arts Commission

    Call for Papers on BAM Critical issues
    (Send two page abstract to jmarvinx@yahoo.com)

    Role of Women
    Multi-Culturalism/Ethnic literature/Studies
    Need for Black Arts Movement Union
    BAM and Holistic Healing (East/West methods)
    BAM and the Psycholinguistic Crisis of North American Africans
    Toward Senior Housing and Care for BAM Workers, including the Life Estate
    From Black Art to Hip Hop and Beyond
    BAM Esthetics
    BAM Mythology and Ritutualism
    Religious influence in BAM: Christian, Yoruba, Islam
    BAM and Muslim American literature
    BAM and the revolution in American literature and academia
    Black Arts West
    Black Arts West Theatre
    The Black House Political/Cultural Center
    Amiri Baraka’s Communications Project, especially the dramatic productions
    Black Arts/Black Liberation
    Black Arts/Black Studies
    Black Arts and Ethnic Studies
    West Coast publications of BAM: Soulbook, Black Dialogue, Journal of Black Poetry
    Black Panthers and Cultural Nationalism
    Sun Ra and Marvin X’s Black Educational Theatre

    Invited artists/scholars/activists
    Dr. Angela Davis
    Dr. Cornel West
    Dr. Tony Montiero
    Dr. Maxwell Stanford
    Dr. Oba T’shaka
    Dr. Nathan Hare
    Dr. John Bracey
    Dr. James Smethurst
    Woody King
    Ishmael Reed
    Al Young
    Janice Merikitani
    Ginny Lim

    Media Team
    Wanda Sabir
    Davey D
    Greg Bridges
    Terry Collins
    Paul Cobb

    Documentation (videographers, photographers, post production editors)
    Adam Turner
    Kamau Amen Ra
    Ken Johnson
    Khalid Waajid

    Budget: $100,000 est.
    Tentative Date: June/July 2015


    Project Director:
    Marvin X. Jackmon
    jmarvinx@yahoo.com
    510-200-4164
    www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com


    339 Lester Ave. Suite #10
    Oakland CA 94606

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    Cover Photo

    “Space is the Place”is an underground classic movie starring the late legendary musician/composer Sun Ra.

    Showing time: 11/21/14 7PM
    Fee: $7
    Location : Mindseed Recording Studios 926 85th Ave, Oakland, CA

    Black Oakland Celebrates the 30-year anniversary of the release of the Afrifuturist classic film starring the legendary musician composer and bandleader Sun Ra. This is a special anniversary showing at D’wayne Wiggins’ brand new Mindseed recording studio and compound located in deep East Oakland.

    “Space is the Place” was directed by John Coney, written by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith. It was filmed on location in Oakland with a cast consisting of Sun Ra’s Arkestra and released for viewing in November of 1974.

    This family friendly film showing will be followed by a birthday celebration for longtime Jazz radio broadcaster Greg Bridges (KJAZ, KPFA, KCSM) until midnight.

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  • 11/09/14--12:03: Parable of the Haters Club


  • There was a club for haters. All the haters from all around had membership in the haters club. And the haters all had an evil vibe or no vibe at all and they also had a bad smell that went along with their vibe or no vibe at all. They had no vibe at all because they were dead inside. AB said where the soul's print should be there was only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits.

    Their hatred was usually based on jealousy and envy. The haters never hated their enemies but their friends. The haters were so sick they loved their enemy but hated their friends. No matter how often their enemies crushed them into dust, the haters preferred to be with them rather than with their friends who loved them.

    Yes, the haters were sick puppies and beyond redemption. They would never grow into dogs because hatred stunted their growth. The worst part of the haters was not jealousy and envy but their behavior as busters. Yes, their hatred made them want to bust up their friends good fortune. The haters could have good fortune too but consumed their time hating. When told it takes the same energy to hate as to love, they laughed, because their addiction to hatred was so deep they had no desire to jump out of the box into the land of love. They preferred to remain in the box of bitterness and wickedness, plotting and planning to bust their friends at every turn, making sure their friends would not obtain the good fortune due them as righteous people.

    Membership in the haters club grew because times were so bad the people started hating themselves and loved to be around other members at the club house where hated came to socialize, to drink, wink and blink at each other and plot the downfall of those with good fortune. In the end the haters were like pigs who got drunk on their own slop. The haters drank their own vomit until they were consumed and overcome with their evil that developed into cancers of the worst kind.
    --Marvin X
    11/9/14

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    Sonia Sanchez, Lakiba Pittman, Kim McMillon and Marvin X
    Earlier this year, Kim and Marvin produced a conference on the Black Arts Movement at UC Merced. Marvin X is planning a Bay Area-wide Black Arts Movement celebration on the 50th Anniversary of BAM. Marvin is calling for a dream team of funders, planners, workers, volunteers, participants, promoters to make the Bay Area BAM celebration a reality. Contact him at jmarvinx@yahoo.com


    Hi Marvin, 

    At University of California  Merced's Student of Color Conference, I had several plays for the students to choose from at the Theatre of Protest workshop, and the young women chose your play Flowers for the Trashman. They did several scenes and were incredible.
    --Kim McMillon 

    Marvin X is most well known for his work with Ed Bullins in the founding of Black House and The Black Arts/West Theatre in San Francisco. Black House served briefly as the headquarters for the Black Panther Party and as a center for performance, theatre, poetry and music. 

    Marvin X is a playwright in the true spirit of the BAM. His most well-known BAM play, entitled Flowers for the Trashman, deals with generational difficulties and the crisis of the Black intellectual as he deals with education in a white-controlled culture. Marvin X's other works include, The Black Bird, The Trial, Resurrection of the Dead and In the Name of Love. He currently has the longest running African American drama in the San Francisco Bay area and Northern California, ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a tragi-comedy of addiction and recovery. He is the founder and director of RECOVERY THEATRE.
    Marvin X

    Marvin X has continued to work as a lecturer, teacher and producer. He has taught at Fresno State University; San Francisco State University; University of California - Berkeley and San Diego; University of Nevada, Reno; Mills College, Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland. He has received writing fellowships from Columbia University and the National Endowment for the Arts; planning grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Read: Marvin X Unplugged An Interview by Lee Hubbard

    Marvin X is available for lectures/readings/performance.  Contact him at jmarvinx@yahoo.com



    Flowers for the Trashman is Marvin X's first play, written while he was an undergrad in the English/Creative Writing department at San Francisco State College/now University. His professor, the great novelist John Gardner, took the play to the Drama department and it was produced, 1965. Flowers for the Trashman appeared in Black Fire, the classic Black Arts Movement anthology, edited by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal. It appears in the just released SOS--Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader, edited by John Bracey, James Smethurst and Sonia Sanchez. 








    SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader

    University of Massachusetts Press, paper $34.95 

    A major new anthology of readings, this volume brings together a broad range of key writings from the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, among the most significant cultural movements in American history. The aesthetic counterpart of the Black Power movement, it burst onto the scene in the form of artists’ circles, writers’ workshops, drama groups, dance troupes, new publishing ventures, bookstores, and cultural centers and had a presence in practically every community and college campus with an appreciable African American population. Black Arts activists extended its reach even further through magazines such as Ebony and Jet, on television shows such as Soul! and Like It Is, and on radio programs. Many of the movement’s leading artists, including Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré,Marvin X and Val Gray Ward, remain artistically productive today. Its influence can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson, to hip-hop artists Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D. SOS—Calling All Black People includes works of fiction, poetry, and drama in addition to critical writings on issues of politics, aesthetics, and gender. It covers topics ranging from the legacy of Malcolm X and the impact of John Coltrane’s jazz to the tenets of the Black Panther Party and the music of Motown. The editors have provided a substantial introduction outlining the nature, history, and legacy of the Black Arts Movement as well as the principles by which the anthology was assembled.
     

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    Marvin X: Eight Books in 2010

    Man, Marvin X writes a book a month!--Abiodun of the Last Poets

     
    If you want to learn about inspiration and motivation, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.--Ishmael Reed





    Hustler’s Guide to the Game Called Life, (Wisdom of Plato Negro, Volume II)









     
    Mythology of Pussy and Dick

     Toward Healthy Psychosocial Sexuality, 416 pages.
    This book is the most wanted title in the Marvin X collection as an 18 page pamphlet.
    Youth in the hood fight over it and steal it from each other. Girls say it empowers them, and the boys say it helps them step up their game. Mothers and fathers are demanding their sons and daughters read this. Paradise Jah Love says they fight over it as if it's black gold!This expanded version is not yet available.

    Just reprinted, now available
    I Am Oscar Grant, essays on Oakland, $19.95.





    Critical essays on the travesty of American justice in the cold blooded murder of Oscar Grant by a beast in blue uniform.









    Just reprinted, 2014
    Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez and Yoself

    essays on Obama Drama, $19.95.


    Marvin X is on the mark again with his accurate observation of the Obama era. The black community was so excited with Obama being the first Black Prez that they forgot he was a politician-not a messiah. Marvin X brings the community back to the reality of what Obama stands for-at the moment! He has not given up on Da Prez, he simply wants people to see what he stands for and what he still has an opportunity to do for our communities. Make sure you put Pull Yo Pants Up Fada Black Prez & Yo Self on your to-buy list It will be the best book you will read in 2010!--Carolyn Mixon


    Marvin X, Guest Editor, Poetry Issue, Journal of Pan African Studies, 480 pages In honor of the Journal of Black Poetry, Marvin X collects poetry from throughout the Pan African world. This massive issue is a classic of radical Pan African literature in the 21st century. Amiri Baraka says, "He has always been in the forefront of Pan African writing. Indeed, he is one of the innovators and founders of the new revolutionary school of African writing."


     
     
     
    Notes on the Wisdom of Action or How to Jump Out of the Box

    In this collection he calls upon the people to become proactive rather than reactionary, to initiate the movement out the box of oppression by any means necessary, although Marvin X believes in the power of spiritual consciousness to create infinite possibilities toward liberation.

     
     
    Soulful Musings on Unity of North American Africans, 150 pages






    Marvin X explores the possibilities for unity among North American Africans. Available from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley CA 94702. jmarvinx@yahoo.com

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    photo Kamau Amen Ra


    Marvin X Unplugged
    An Interview by Lee Hubbard


    While drugs and their impact have been talked about, no one has really dealt with the addiction to drugs and how it impacts a community and one's soul. No one has, until Marvin X, a poet, long time writer and activist, decided to touch this subject in his play, "A Day in the Life".  The play details Marvin's life ordeal with drugs, as well as the impact drugs had on former Black Panthers Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton and the Black community.
    While the play helped many people exorcise their demons, it also helped to revive the work and career of Marvin X, who, along with Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, was one of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement. BAM helped to lay an intellectual and artistic base for the Black Power movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.



    Actor Danny Glover began his career in Marvin's Black Arts West Theatre, San Francisco, 1966.  photo Kamau Amen Ra

    As word spread about Marvin's Recovery Theatre, many younger people began to discover Marvin's controversial work, which during the 60s prompted Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, to ban Marvin X from teaching at state universities.

    I was able to sit down and talk to Marvin X about his involvement in the 1960s Black Arts Movement and on his latest book of essays, In the Crazy House Called America.

    Lee:
    Tell our readers about your Recovery Theatre.

    Marvin: It is a continuation of my work in the Black Arts Theatre. Recovery Theater is a present day Black Arts Theatre. Black Arts was about healing from oppression. Recovery Theater is about healing from drugs and/or oppression. Drug usage is caused by oppression. It is a symptom of a greater problem. I don't care if you are poor or rich, you can still be oppressed.

    Lee: Tell me about your book In the Crazy House Called America.

    Marvin: I thought I would offer a prescription to get out of the crazy house or, if not to get out of it, to transform the crazy house and turn it into a mansion. The prescription is like Frantz Fanon said, ’You have to fight your way out of the crazy house to sanity.’ That is the only way that the oppressed man and woman can regain their mental health, through revolutionary struggle and challenging the diagnosis that he isn't sick. Oppression is a sickness. That you allow yourself to be a slave is a sickness. It is a form of mental illness. We become passive.

    Lee: So your book has the cure?

    Marvin: Well this is what people who have read my book say. It is prescription for action to get up and do something. It is part of the African American literature tradition of how I got over and how I survived, how I made it from Hell and back. It is a lesson that everyone can learn from. If I did it, why can't you? I had gone from the poorest street in America (San Francisco's 6th Street) to the richest street in the world, Wall Street. My national tour was a manifestation that there are many mansions in my father’s house, because everywhere I have stayed, I was in a mansion.

    Lee: In your book, you talk about your life on drugs. Explain to our readers how a very literate and educated revolutionary man could get hooked on crack.

    Marvin: That is very simple. I am going to say it in the words that my father used. He said, ’You are so smart that you outsmarted yourself.’ I outsmarted myself, and I played with fire. And I got burned. There was no excuse. I can give you some, but the critical Negroes in New York said that no excuse is acceptable for what happened to me, Eldridge and Huey and other so-called revolutionaries. They say we betrayed the revolution for drugs, when we knew the source of drugs, and we knew the danger of drugs and the destructive power of drugs. I am just lucky to come out alive in contrast to Huey and Eldridge, my buddies, who I smoked dope with who did not make it out. I wrote about this in my play, One Day in the Life.

    Lee: Why did you write your book, and what can younger readers get out of it?

    Marvin: I wrote it to help save humanity from insanity, because White people are just as crazy if not crazier than Black people. For example, the brothers and sisters in Houston asked me to set up a Recovery Theatre South in Houston. Immediately what came to my mind, more important than recovery from drugs, the South has to recover from racism. I wrote it about everyone, for Muslims as well as Christians. Muslims are sick with religiosity just as Christians are sick with religiosity, and ritualism and mythology. These are some of the causes of our current situation. If we recognize it, we can get a healing.

    Lee: Looking back at your career, what do you think of the Black Arts Movement and your contribution to it?

    Marvin: The Black Arts Movement was part of the liberation movement of Black people in America. The Black Arts Movement was the artistic arm. The time period we are talking about was from 1964 until the early 1970s. The Black Arts Movement was like a halfway house for brothers and sisters to get Black Consciousness and go from there into the political revolution.

    For example, brothers came into the Black Arts West Theatre that Ed Bullins and I had in San Francisco, and they got a revolutionary consciousness through Black art, drama, poetry, music, paintings, artwork and magazines. The same thing took place on the East Coast in Harlem at Amiri Baraka’s Black Arts Theatre. In Detroit, they had the Black Arts Movement with Ron Milner and producer Woody King. In Chicago, you had a crew with Haki Madhubuti, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hoyt Fuller. You had the same thing in the South with the Free Southern Theatre in New Orleans that traveled throughout the South and was connected with SNCC. There was a marriage between Black arts and the revolution.

    Lee: What happened to this movement?

    Marvin: Well, what happens to a dream deferred? It had to be destroyed. Black people were on the road to freedom. We had upped the ante with the Black Power/Black Arts movement, so we had to be stopped.

    Lee: What happened with you and the Black Arts Movement?

    Marvin: As far as I am concerned it is ongoing. I am still working in it. I just had a great performance in Philadelphia with Sonia Sanchez and Sun Ra’s musicians. I am a manifestation that it is still going, that the Black Arts Movement is still here. Baraka is still here. He has gotten more media play than any poet in America, because of a poem that is coming directly out of a Black Arts tradition of telling it like it is.

    Lee: Tell me about your relationship with Amiri Baraka?

    Marvin: Well, it is an artistic relationship, and it is a personal relationship. On the artistic level, he set a standard for artists and poets. He set the standard high for revolutionary Black artists. But even Baraka was in the tradition of other writers and activists, such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Paul Robeson and others. On a personal level, he is like a friend and an uncle, since he is 10 years older than me.

    Lee: What did you think of his poem controversy with the governor of New Jersey?

    Marvin: I thought it was in the tradition of the Black Arts Movement. I think it was one of his greatest poems. He asked the question, Who. If you ask the question, you might get some answers.

    Lee: So where is the revolution?

    Marvin: The revolution is inside of the revolutionary. We thought it was outside in the 1960s. We thought we could free the people, but we did not free our families or ourselves. We abused our families. We neglected our families, yet still we were fighting revolution.

    But there is no revolution without the family. There is no revolution if we beat our women half to death and neglect our children for an abstraction called freedom. That is why the rappers have gone crazy. They saw our contradictions in the Black Arts Movement. And so they rejected the aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement, and they have gone on to openly express perversions.
     



    Related Links
    Marvin X on AALBC.com
    http://authors.aalbc.com/marvinx.htm

    Movie Reviews by Marvin X on AALBC.com include:
    Ali
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/ali.htm
    Baby Boy
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/baby_boy.htm
    Ray
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/ray.htm
    Traffic
    http://www.aalbc.com/reviews/traffic.htm

    If you would like to help Marvin X produce the Bay Area Celebration of the Black Arts Movement's 50th Anniversary, 2015, please contact him at jmarvinx@yahoo.com.


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    Graphics by Kalamu Chache'
     

    Many of the Black Arts Movement’s leading artists, including Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré,Marvin X and Val Gray Ward, remain artistically productive today. Its influence can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson, to hip-hop artists Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D.


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    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.--Ishmael Reed

    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, saying that we are an independent Black people and this is what we produce.
    --Robert Chrisman, founding editor, Black Scholar Magazine
    graphics by Adam Turner, Black Bird Productions


    Seven years ago, in a Time magazine issue devoted to contemporary African-American culture, Henry Louis Gates declared the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s the shortest and least successful African-American literary renaissance. Gates's comments are unfortunate and ironic; the formation of Black Studies programs, changes in curricula, and the affirmative hiring of African-American faculty in humanities departments across the US during the late 1970s and 1980s were due, in significant part, to the militance of Black Arts artists, writers, performers, and critics and the conceptual power of the "Black Aesthetic."

    Though Gates's The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (Oxford, 1988) and Houston A. Baker's Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory (University of Chicago, 1984) show the influence of the Black Aesthetic, not since Stephen Henderson's Understanding the New Black Poetry: Black Speech and Black Music as Poetic References (William Morrow, 1973) has a critic openly admitted the theoretical and practical importance of the movement. Needless to say, it has been just as long since a book affirmed the importance of performance to the movement. In part this silence is due to Larry Neal's untimely death in 1980, a death that denied the Black Aesthetic a forceful voice in the upper echelons of academic discourse.
    Fortunately, Neal's student, Kimberly W. Benston, affords an important opening for the burgeoning conversation about the Black Arts Movement (BAM) that has picked up in recent years, a conversation further energized by Kalamu Ya Salaam's forthcoming The Magic of Juju: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement (Third World Press). Most importantly, Benston's book anchors the conversation to performance. Though he pays careful attention to texts such as drama, music, poetry, sermons, criticism, and autobiography, the focus is always on their performativity.
    --Mike Sell, from a review of Performing Blackness: Enactments of African-American Modernism. By Kimberly W. Benston. London: Routledge, 2000; pp. 400. 

    Join the San Francisco Bay Area BAM Revolution, 2015

      photo Necola Adams/graphics Kalamu Chache'

    The following persons have joined the Bay Area BAM Revolution, 2015

    Kweli Tutashinda, Wellness
    Elliott Savoy Bey, Music therapy
    Malaika Kambon, Media team
    Dr. Kofi Harris, Political affairs
    Michael James Satchell, Moorish History
    Duane Deterville, Visual Arts
    Renee Portis, PR
    Necola Adams, PR
    Renaldo Ricketts, visual artist
    Paul Tillman, musician
    Roger Smith, educator
    Fuad Satterfield, visual artist
    Malik Seneferu, visual artist

    Wish List

    Sincere people of spiritual consciousness
    Generous funds to produce a first class festival/conference
    Video cameras
    Transportation vehicles
    Permanent housing for conscious artists, especially the BAM elders
    PR team to get the word out throughout the BAY AREA
    Young artists in the BAM tradition (art for revolution)
    Spread the word


    In the BAM tradition, this should be a self supporting project:
    PLEASE SEND A GENEROUS DONATION TO
    BAY AREA BAM 2015
    339 Lester Ave. #10
    Oakland CA 94606
    510-200-4164
    jmarvinx@yahoo.com 



     
    Negro es bello/Black is beautiful by Elizabeth Catlett Mora


    Many of the Black Arts Movement’s leading artists, including Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré,Marvin X and Val Gray Ward, remain artistically productive today. Its influence can also be seen in the work of later artists, from the writers Toni Morrison, John Edgar Wideman, and August Wilson to actors Avery Brooks, Danny Glover, and Samuel L. Jackson, to hip-hop artists Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Chuck D.



    Kaluma ya Salaam on the Black Arts Movement


    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.
      
    BAM BAY AREA

    As the movement matured, the two major locations of Black Arts' ideological leadership, particularly for literary work, were California's Bay Area because of Black Dialogue magazine, 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, 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.

    BAM BAY AREA

    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.

     BAM BAY AREA

    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's poetry 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, saying 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.....

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