The Movement, Newsletter of the Black Arts Movement Business District

The Movement 
Black Arts Movement Business District
Oakland CA
June 8, 2016

The next Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall is scheduled for Sunday, June 12/2016, 3-5pm at East Side Arts Alliance, 23rd and International Blvd, Oakland.

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Table of Contents
1. Geoffery's Inner Circle
2. Calendar of Events
3. Will we resist America's Black removal plan? Marvin X 
4. Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode opens in the BAMBD
5. Joyce Gordon Gallery 
6. Anyka's Betti Ono Gallery
7. Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant
8. Lynette McElhaney replies to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 
9. Dr. Ayodele Nzinga replies to President of Oakland Council, Lynette McElhaney's response to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant
10. African American Museum/Library
11.The Last Rites of Muhammad Ali and review of film Muhammad Ali
12. Malonga Center for the Arts 
13. Kiss My Black Arts
14. Two poems by Aries Jordan
15. Economy tied to gun violence in Oakland
16. Oakland Main Library
17. Book discussion of Black Hollywood unChained edited by Ishmael Reed, San Francisco Public Library, July 3, 2016
18. Hillary Clinton wins Democratic presidential primary: a good or bad day for women?
19. Black woman crowned Miss America 
20. The Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement Business District 
21. Black people in the USA are in a state of economic emergency 
22. BAMBD Town Hall meeting agenda Aries Jordan 
23. Poem by Black Arts Movement chief architect ancestor Amiri Baraka 
24. Qatar and the BAMBD Billion Dollar Trust Fund 
25. BAMBD Supporters: Donald Lacy, Fania Davis, Margaret Gordon
 BAMBD Culture keepers will meet soon.


 Businessman Geoffery Pete, Post News photographer Troy Williams and BAMBD planner Marvin X

                                CALENDAR OF EVENTS

BAMBD Town Hall, Sunday, June 12, 3-6pm, Eastside Arts
San Francisco Juneteenth Festival, Saturday, June 18

Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, Sunday, June 19

West Oakland Juneteenth, June 25, San Pablo and Brockhurst

Book Discussion of Black Hollywood unChained, San Francisco Public Library,
July 3, 1:30-3:30
100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco

25th Oakland Black Expo, Saturday, July 23, Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza

City of Oakland Cultural Keepers, Tuesday, July 26, 6-8pm, Oak Center Cultural Center, 14th and Adeline

Black Arts Movement Theatre Festival, Sept, Flight Deck Theatre, Broadway

Donald Lacy's play Color Struck, Laney College Theatre, Sept.

Black Arts Movement South 51st Celebration, Dillard University, New Orleans LA
September 9-11, 2016


Movement Editor, Marvin X


North American Africans in the Bay Area and nationwide are at a critical juncture, although our history is the history of migration, especially since we had to flee Egypt. In his classic The Destruction of African Civilization, Chancellor Williams taught us the constant theme in our culture was migration whether due to succession rites (fights), ecological factors, i.e., famine, drought or wars over land, grazing rights or foreign invasion. The Semitic and later European invasion of the Motherland forced us from Egypt to the interior and ultimately to the West coast of Africa. Once there we reestablished the classic civilizations we had created in Kemit or Egypt. Cheikh Anta Diop revealed the similarity in Kemitic and West African linguistics and other aspects of culture such as the matriarchal family structure, burial rites, religion, etc. See Diop’s classic Cultural Unity of Africa.
Diop discussed differences in the Northern Cradle (Europe) and the Southern Cradle (Africa/Asia), expressed by the settled culture, including agriculture. The nomadic tradition is Northern with cremation the burial custom. We North American Africans adopting cremation as a burial custom, we see the level of their addiction to Northern Cradle culture.

The Southern Cradle people buried the dead along with the tools of life, for they believed in the resurrection and after life, thus their dramatic tradition was comedy as opposed to the Northern tradition of tragedy. Alas, the major theme in Northern Cradle drama is murder! Even today, this is their central theme. Check out the greatest plays of Shakespeare, Othello, MacBeth, King Lear, Richard III.

Of course the original drama of the Southern Cradle was comedy, expressed in the Osirian drama of Resurrection, based on the annual inundation of the Nile or Hapi River and the seasonal harvesting of crops, along with Ra, the Sun, and his opposite Seth or Sunset, i.e., darkness, evil. The Osirian drama of Resurrection is the prototype crucifixion drama, signifying the comedic nature of life, i.e., after darkness comes light. The Muslims say after difficulty comes ease, thus tragedy has no place in the Southern Cradle.  The Southern Cradle insists there must be joy and happiness after sadness. Check out the joy of the Second Line New Orleans funeral rites. The Osirian resurrection drama is the prototype of the crucifixion ritual, but the drama ends with resurrection and ascension, a joyful rather than sad affair. See Kersey Graves The Sixteen Crucified Saviors.

4. Marshawn Lynch's  Beast Mode 
opens in the BAMBD

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch, center, celebrates the opening of his new

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch, center, celebrates the opening of his new "Beast Mode" apparel store on Broadway in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. To the left is his sister Marreesha Lynch and to the right is is grandmother Shirley Lynch and cousin and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh.Beast Mode is in the BAMBD. Buy Black.

Continued, Will we resist

In the 1950s and 1960s we suffered Negro Removal (Urban Renewal)  and today we are knee deep in gentrification or ethnic cleansing. Have no doubt we are being cleansed from traditional neighborhoods coast to coast, from Fillmore and Hunters Point to Harlem and Brooklyn. Our condition is not solely caused by white supremacy but rather Global economic forces or the new imperialism that is, yes, multicultural. We are being removed by global corporations and nations who arrive alongside the neo domestic-colonial children (Hipsters or cleaned up hippies) and the developers whose mission is solely economic in the most capitalistic definition of the term. We are being displaced so rapidly that most communities are simply overwhelmed by the invaders in their midst (remember Kemit or Egypt, Chancellor Williams noted we were doomed when we welcomed  the invaders into our lands 6,000 years ago. Diop makes it plain the Northern Cradle Tradition was to kill the stranger, but our tradition was to welcome the strange to our very destruction. 

Alas, the invaders impregnated African women and her mulatto children suffered the classic mulatto syndrome of identity crisis best expressed by Prince "Am I Black, Am I white?") 


406 Fourteenth St. Downtown Oakland, CA 94612 [ Get Directions ]
Black Artists/activists  gather at the Joyce Gordan Gallery in honor of slain journalist Chauncey Bailey. Joyce Gordan far right. 

Continued, Will we resist

In present times, market forces cause us little time to think, plan and act, especially since we live disorganized and insecure, trusting no one, no even ourselves and our lovers, thus we cannot rally around the flag to resist the onslaught of rapidly changing demographics even while we sleep, for rents are rising, new property owners have arrived, not necessarily white, Chinese even, or Russian, Arab, African, no matter, we must adjust to market forces or move, or seek shelter under the overpasses of our lives, now pushing the shopping carts of our lives to God knows where. Remember our tradition of migration (el muhajir, the migrant). 

San Francisco’s Tenderloin District has been able to resist gentrification only because they are organized as a community, unlike the Fillmore, Mission and Hunters Point, or West Oakland, North Oakland, East Oakland, Berkeley, even Richmond, can you imagine, Richmond suffering 

But Negro Removal or gentrification or ethnic cleansing  has been going on for decades and while politicians are guilty, many of our own people were on redevelopment boards and thus guilty as well. A Haitian taxi driver told me back east, "Broder, they sold us once, seem like they want to sell us again." Amiri Baraka's poem says, 

"The king sold the farmer to the ghost. 
In the middle of the Atlantic ocean 
is a railroad of human bones...."

At least former San Francisco Mayor Joe Alioto apologized for “destroying the cultural and economic vitality of the Fillmore.” Do we need to name the Black politicians and Black capitalists who sold out Harlem and other cities? Can we blame politicians for being corrupt when corruption is the name of the game? 

We thought Black Power would save us but Black Power morphed into green power for many elected politicians and black capitalists. Many went to jail and prison for corruption. The Black mayors of Newark, New Jersey are models of corruption. We are confident the current Mayor Ras Baraka will defy the Negro political tradition.

So where do we go from here, those few of us still remaining? Our condition in San Francisco is dire, at the precipice: simple market forces are pushing us on the freedom train to nowhere, a fellow traveler with our brothers and sisters who’ve been forced to evacuate Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, fleeing to the interior of towns in the central valley, Sacramento, Stockton, Tracy, Modesto, Merced, Madera, Fresno. If we don’t learn Spanish, our condition will be problematic in these towns rapidly becoming under the political/economic control of Latinos/Latinas, but even worse is our disconnection from the land, from agribusiness.

After fifty years of Black Studies, how many students do we have who minored or majored in agribusiness in California, the richest agricultural valley in the world, that canal running north to south is like the Nile or Hapi River, yet we are deaf, dumb and blind to DE NILE thus we are not HAPI! 

The major business in the central valley is agriculture, so how do we fit in? And then there’s the critical issue of water. When we move to the central valley, how long are we going to be in the valley without water? The farmers consume 80% of the water and the almond farmers use most of that for export. This may change with the coming marijuana industry. But even that will be a corporate affair.
Brothers are still being arrested for selling marijuana even after buying it from white boys operating legal weed stores. 

A brother who has a restaurant business he inherited from his mother, is being sued by a patron who was asked to depart with his dog, even though the customer had an official card declaring his dog was for emotional support. The brother said he was going to close down because he knows he can't win against a white man and his dog! We must resist, Sonia Sanchez said resist, resist, resist. I remind people what we used to say at high school football games, "Push 'em back, push 'em back, way back!"

What then, is our Master Plan for the next five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years? Is our cause lost or can we organize to resist and get qualified for the new economic reality. We will need to become politically engaged immediately, casting away our fears of the political process and forcing the political structure to deliver equity and the benefits due us as citizens. We should not only demand subsidized housing but the jobs that will qualify us for market rate housing. Otherwise we should shut down City Hall and all businesses that don’t hire us, especially businesses in the new technology and the restaurant business since Oakland is a five star restaurant city but how many of us are employed? Oakland, on the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, where is your radical spirit? Don't be afraid of City Hall, we, the people, own city hall. City Hall exists at the consent of the governed. You govern

It’s shameful to travel throughout the Bay Area and rarely see Black men working. Remember Dr. Julia Hare’s book How to Find A BMW (Black Man Working)? How can men from every ethnic group work but not the Black man? The denied you union membership but somehow found a way to hire is others not even in the union? Malcolm X told you to not allow yourself to be hoodwinked and bamboozled. Elijah Muhammad used tricknology to trick the trick out of the trick! So stop being a trick and demand your equity and all the benefits due you even in the midst of Negro Removal, gentrification, ethnic cleansing or whatever this bullshit is we trapped in as the era of Obama ends and the white right wing payback era begins, whether Bernie, Hilliary or Donald. On the eve of the California primary, what is your agenda North American Africans? You better have your priorities and other items and make your demands known locally and nationally. Power concedes nothing without demands, Frederick Douglas told you, or do you remember? And remember what Harriet Tubman said, "I could have freed more slaves if they had known they were slaves!"

The City of Oakland approved the Black Arts Movement Business District but it reminds one of emancipation. We were set free but without a budget, yes, no 40 acres and a mule! So we have the BAMBD but so far no equity or benefits from developers  claiming land,properties, housing, and those Hipsters who get employed every nano second, yes, while we sleep they are planning. I wrote a proverb that said, "The devil never sleeps, he just changes shifts." We need to learn eternal vigilance and stay on our posts until properly relieved. The Japanese taught me back in my dope fiend hustling days, "Business is war!" We can laugh, smile, but business is war and we need to get on war footing or we shall surely lose the battle and the war.

After months of requesting, including appeals to the President of the City Council and the Mayor, why can’t we get banners up proclaiming the BAMBD, to say nothing of our request that vendors be able to work in the BAMBD 14th Street corridor, for economic reasons so our people see they can do for self, and don't need to sell drugs or their bodies. Surely, merchants can't complain especially when there are few merchants in the downtown area.

Since we have been repeatedly  told BAMBD is not a priority, we may need to be patient (Amiri Baraka said if we be patient too long we become a patient), at least until after the city council elections, unless we get the bright idea to protest those politicians who’ve been lagging and dragging for months. As the Black Panthers said, you are part of the problem or part of the solution. Don't push us to the edge or we'll run our own people for city council!

The BAMBD Town Hall meeting is a signal that the people want action on the district, but the district must be part of an overall plan for North American Africans in Oakland. We can’t have artists and cultural workers separated from the masses who are suffering basic issues of housing, employment, police abuse and homicide under the color of law, white supremacy curriculum in the public schools, perennial high rates of incarceration due to economic crimes.
For sure, the developers and politicians will try to buy out the artists with a few crumbs so they then feel elitist and separated from their people.

Either we jump out the box of passivity and come together to resist the storm of our removal, or pack our bags and hit the road, enacting that eternal theme of our cultural history: migration.
--Marvin X

6. Anyka Barber's Betti Ono Gallery





Betti Ono founder and curator, Anyka Barber, speaks candidly.

Will Oakland Lose its Artistic Soul? Betti Ono founder and director speaks candidly about long -time efforts to protect arts and culture communities from displacement.

DONATE: Keep Betti Ono Downtown

Betti Ono is a cultural anchor that has contributed immensely to the success of our neighborhood in Downtown Oakland. Join us in the fight to protect Black and people of color owned arts and culture spaces and businesses from displacement.
7. Marvin X and Tale of the Eloquent Peasant
Marvin X has repeatedly appealed to Oakland's African Queen, Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council. but to no avail.
photo Adam Turner

Marvin X also appealed to "Pharaoh" Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland
photo Jahahara

In the manner of the character in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, Marvin X has pleaded with Oakland City Hall to acknowledge the Black Arts Movement Business District by displaying the Black Liberation flag along 14th Street downtown Oakland. He has pleaded to have vendors along the corridor; to place certain properties in the district such as the Malonga Cultural Center under a land trust; to entitle those persons living in SRO hotels with the life estate to help eliminate homelessness.
So let us go down memory lane to Egypt, 1800BC, to the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant.

The Eloquent Peasant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Eloquent Peasant is an Ancient Egyptian story about a peasant, Khun-Anup, who stumbles upon the property of the noble Rensi son of Meru, guarded by its harsh overseer, Nemtynakht.[1][2] It is set in the Ninth or Tenth Dynasty around Herakleopolis.[3]

Story summary

The story begins with a peasant, Khun-anup, and his donkey stumbling on to the lands of the noble Rensi son of Meru.[4] Nemtynakht, the overseer of a noble's lands, was renowned for his misdeeds and tricked Khun-anup into causing damage to his master Rensi's property by spreading a sheet across the road beside the farm, forcing Khun-anup and his donkeys to walk through the crops. Once the donkey began to eat the grain, Nemtynakht took custody of the donkey and started to beat Khun-anup, knowing that Rensi would believe the word of his overseer rather than any allegations of trickery and theft from Khun-anup.

Khun-anup searched for Rensi and found him near the riverside of the city. He addressed him with praises. Rensi and his judges heard his case and replied that witnesses to Nemtynakht's alleged crime were needed for the case to continue. Khun-anup could find none, but the magnificent speech of the eloquent peasant convinced Rensi to continue to consider his case. Rensi brought the case before pharaoh Nebkaure (who is believed to be Nebkaure Khety[5][6]) and told him of Khun-anup's rhetorical powers. The king was impressed, but ordered the peasant not be given justice just yet and his petitions to be put in writing.

For nine days Khun-anup complimented the high steward Rensi and begged for justice. After sensing that he was being ignored, Khun-anup insulted him and was punished with a beating. After one last speech, the discouraged peasant left, but Rensi sent for him and ordered him to return. But rather than being punished for his insolence, the peasant was given justice. Rensi, after reading Khun-anup's last speech, was impressed and ordered the donkeys to be returned to Khun-anup and the peasant to be compensated with all the property of Nemtynakht, including his job, making Nemtynakht as poor as Khun-anup had been.


 Parkinson, Richard (1991). The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant. Griffith Institute. ISBN 090041660

  • "The Eloquent Peasant (5)". AEL Email List. Retrieved 2007-12-17.

  • Parkinson, R B (1999), The Tale of Sinuhe and other ancient Egyptian poems, 1940–1640 BC, New York, ISBN 978-0-19-283966-4

  • Lichtheim, M (1973). Ancient Egyptian Literature. Vol.1. pp. 169–184.

  • Alan Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs. An introduction, Oxford University Press, 1961, p. 112.

    1. William C. Hayes, in The Cambridge Ancient History, vol 1, part 2, 1971 (2008), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-077915, p. 465.

    External links

    This article is about an item held in the British Museum. The object reference is EA 10274.

    Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, c. 1800 BCE

    Tale of the Eloquent Peasant

    There was a man, Hunanup by name, a peasant of Sechet-hemat, and he had a wife, name. Then said this peasant to his wife: "Behold, I am going down to Egypt to bring back bread for my children. Go in and measure the grain that we still have in our storehouse,............bushel." Then he measured for her eight bushels of grain. Then this peasant said to his wife: "Behold, two bushels of grain shall be left for bread for you and the children. But make for me the six bushels into bread and beer for each of the days that I shall be on the road." Then this peasant went down to Egypt after he had loaded his asses with all the good produce of Sechet-hemat.

    This peasant set out and journeyed southward to Ehnas. He came to a point opposite Per-fefi, north of Medenit, and found there a man standing on the bank, Dehuti-necht by name, who was the son of a man named Iseri, who was one of the serfs of the chief steward, Meruitensi.
    Then said this Dehuti-necht, when he saw the asses of this peasant which appealed to his covetousness: "Oh that some good god would help me to rob this peasant of his goods!"

    The house of Dehuti-necht stood close to the side of the path, which was narrow, not wide. It was about the width of a ............-cloth, and upon one side of it was the water and upon the other side was growing grain. Then said Dehitu-necht to his servant: "Hasten and bring me a shawl from the house!" And it was brought at once. Then he spread this shawl upon the middle of the road, and it extended, one edge to the water, and the other to the grain.

    The peasant came along the path which was the common highway. Then said Dehuti-necht: "Look out, peasant, do not trample on my clothes!" The peasant answered: "I will do as you wish; I will go in the right way!" As he was turning to the upper side, Dehuti-necht said: "Does my grain serve you as a road?" Then said the peasant: "I am going in the right way. The bank is steep and the path lies near the grain and you have stopped up the road ahead with your clothes. Will you, then, not let me go by?" Upon that one of the asses took a mouthful of grain. Then said Dehuti-necht: "See, I Will take away your ass because it has eaten my grain."

    Then the peasant said: "I am going in the right way. As one side was made mpassable I have led my ass along the other, and will you seize it because it has taken a mouthful of grain? But I know the lord of this property; it belongs to the chief steward, Meruitensi. It is he who punishes every robber in this whole land. Shall I, then, be robbed in his domain?"

    Then said Dehuti-necht: "Is it not a proverb which the people employ: >The name of the poor is only known on account of his lord?' It is I who speak to you, but the chief steward of whom you think." Then he took a rod from a green tamarisk and beat all his limbs with it, and seized his asses and drove them into his compound.

    Thereupon the peasant wept loudly on account of the pain of what had been done to him. Dehuti-necht said to him: "Don't cry so loud, peasant, or you shall go to the city of the dead." The peasant said: "You beat me and steal my goods, and will you also take the wail away from my mouth? O Silence-maker! Give me my goods again! May I never cease to cry out, if you fear!"

    The peasant consumed four days, during which he besought Dehuti-necht, but he did not grant him his rights. Then this peasant went to the south, to Ehnas to implore the chief steward, Meruitensi. He met him as he was coming out of the canal-door of his compound to embark in his boat. Thereupon the peasant said: "Oh let me lay before you this affair. Permit one of your trusted servants to come to me, that I may send him to you concerning it." Then the steward Meruitensi, sent one of his servants to him, and he sent back by him an account of the whole affair. Then the chief steward, Meruitensi, laid the case of Dehuti-necht before his attendant officials, and they said to him: "Lord, it is presumably a case of one of your peasants who has gone against another peasant near him. Behold, it is customary with peasants to so conduct themselves toward others who are near them. Shall we beat Dehuti-necht for a little natron and a little salt? Command him to restore it and he will restore it."

    The chief steward, Meruitensi, remained silent---he answered neither the officials nor the peasant. The peasant then came to entreat the chief steward Meruitensi, for the first time, and said: "Chief steward, my lord, you are greatest of the great, you are guide of all that which is not and which is. When you embark on the sea of truth, that you may go sailing upon it, then shall not the.........strip away your sail, then your ship shall not remain fast, then shall no misfortune happen to your mast then shall your spars not be broken, then shall you not be stranded---if you run fast aground, the waves shall not break upon you, then you shall not taste the impurities of the river, then you shall not behold the face of fear, the shy fish shall come to you, and you shall capture the fat birds.

    For you are the father of the orphan, the husband of the widow, the brother of the desolate, the garment of the motherless. Let me place your name in this land higher than all good laws: you guide without avarice, you great one free from meanness, who destroys deceit, who creates truthfulness. Throw the evil to the ground. I will speak hear me. Do justice, O you praised one, whom the praised ones praise. Remove my oppression: behold, I have a heavy weight to carry; behold, I am troubled of soul; examine me, I am in sorrow."

    [Barton: Meruitensi is so pleased with the eloquence of the peasant that he passed him on to another officer and he to still another until he came before the king. Altogether the peasant made nine addresses. His eighth address follows.]

    This peasant came to implore him for the eighth time, and said: "Chief steward, my lord, man falls on account of............ Greed is absent from a good merchant. His good commerce is......... Your heart is greedy, it does not become you. You despoil: this is not praiseworthy for you.........Your daily rations are in your house; your body is well filled. The officers, who are set as a protection against injustice,---a curse to the shameless are these officers, who are set as a bulwark against lies. Fear of you has not deterred me from supplicating you; if you think so, you have not known my heart. The Silent one, who turns to report to you his difficulties, is not afraid to present them to you. Your real estate is in the country, your bread is on your estate, your food is in the storehouse. Your officials give to you and you take it. Are you, then, not a robber? They plow for you......... for you to the plots of arable land. Do the truth for the sake of the Lord of Truth.You reed of a scribe, you roll of a book, you palette, you god Thoth, you ought to keep yourself far removed from injustice. You virtuous one, you should be virtuous, you virtuous one, you should be really virtuous. Further, truth is true to eternity. She goes with those who perform her to the region of the dead. He will be laid in the coffin and committed to the earth; ---his name will not perish from the earth, but men will remember him on account of his property: so runs the right interpretation of the divine word.

    "Does it then happen that the scales stand aslant? Or is it thinkable that the scales incline to one side? Behold, if I come not, if another comes, then you host opportunity to speak as one who answers, as one who addresses the silent, as one who responds to him who has not spoken to you. You have not been.........; You have not been sick. You have not fled, you have not departed. But you have not yet granted me any reply to this beautiful word which comes from the mouth of the sun-god himself: >Speak the truth; do the truth: for it is great, it is mighty, it is everlasting. It will obtain for you merit, and will lead you to veneration.' For does the scale stand aslant? It is their scale-pans that bear the objects, and in just scales there is no.............. wanting.

    " [Barton: After a ninth speech on the part of the peasant, the tale concludes as follows.]
    Then the chief steward, Meruitensi, sent two servants to bring him back. Thereupon the peasant feared that he would suffer thirst, as a punishment imposed upon him for what he had said. Then the peasant said.............

    Then said the chief steward, Meruitensi: "Fear not, peasant! See, you shall remain with me."
    Then said the peasant: "I live because I eat of your bread and drink your beer forever."
    Then said the chief steward, Meruitensi: "Come out here............" Then he caused them to bring, written on a new roll, all the addresses of these days. The chief steward sent them to his majesty, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Neb-kau-re, the blessed, and they were more agreeable to the heart of his majesty than all that was in his land. His majesty said, "Pass sentence yourself my beloved son!" Then the chief steward, Meruitensi, caused two servants to go and bring a list of the household of Dehuti-necht from the government office, and his possessions were six persons, with a selection from his.........., from his barley, from his spelt, from his asses, from his swine, from his..........
    [Barton: From this point on only a few words of the tale can be made out, but it appears from these that the goods selected from the estate of Dehuti-necht were given to the peasant and he was sent home rejoicing.]

    Read more:

    Your presence is kindly requested at the next meeting of the Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall, Sunday, June 12, 3-6PM, Eastside Arts Center, 23rd and International Blvd., Oakland. 

    Marvin X and President of the Oakland City Council, Lynette McElhaney, Black History celebration
    City Hall, 2016.

    8. President of the Oakland City Council, Lynette McElhaney, replies to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 


    As I've previously shared and you've acknowledged, we will resume the culture keeper work after we complete the time sensitive Affordable Housing and Budget work that's underway.  Ultimately good policy requires the focused attention of the City Administration, which comes down to four people.  It is not possible for us to initiate the next steps in the banner contest, securing funding etc. at this time.

    I'm sure you and others on this thread are fully aware that the Council, Administrator and City Attorney are extremely dedicated to fulfilling our commitment to completing the work we began with the adoption of the Housing Equity Roadmap within the rental moratorium.  This essentially condensed what might have taken 120-150 days to 90 days.  In addition to those critical efforts, the Council is also considering revisions to police oversight.  Both of these matters require intense research by the City Attorney and analysis by the City Administration.

    I am fully committed to bringing our collective vision of a robust Black Arts Movement and Business District to fruition.  As you know, I had begun working on this vision when I first took office in 2013. When I met you in 2014 I thought it beneficial to combine the vision for the Black Arts, Tech and Business District with your vision of a Black Arts Movement district.  After completing my initial research we convened a series of meetings in the Fall of 2015 that led to the successful unanimous decision to name the district.  Those who attended the Black Culture Keeper meetings will recall that we intentionally established the District with a 3 phase process:  1) naming & defining (complete);  2) establishing the legal structure for fundraising and management; 3) Fundraising & Programming.  

    Thank you for your support in promoting the independent, on-going work of businesses and artists that are in the BAMBD (eg. MCFTA, Betti Ono, JoyceGordon Gallery, Geoffrey's Inner Circle).  I believe it is important to continue to highlight these institutions are there programming. I am also pleased that Dr. Nzinga is working with the BAM supporters in cultivating additional interests and ideas to contribute to the furthering the City's investment in the BAMBD.  I continue to hear from a broad group of business leaders and artists and expect that the final structure will be one that establishes a strong foundation for future funding and will reflect the diversity of African arts, business and culture that is uniquely Oakland.

    During my next convening, I will review what we have learned about the next steps and report on our early progress for preserving two of the existing institutions, namely the Malonga and the Oak Center Cultural Center.  I hope that we will have learned what's needed to initiate the contest for the banner design and have a scope for costs that will enable us to place the banners along the 14th Street Corridor.

    In the meanwhile, my staff and I continue to research other cultural districts throughout the nation, work to define and introduce legislation designed to protect cultural institutions, explore how best to address the need for film, art and entertainment commissions and revisions to the noise ordinances to protect churches from harassment.

    We have a lot of work to do and our success is predicated upon our ability to work methodically, strategically and with a strong sense of prioritization.  At present our focus is on housing and police accountability measures which must be decided upon in the very near future.

    Thank you for your continued support.  I look forward to our next discussion.

    Kind regards, Lynette

    9. Dr. Ayodele Nzinga replies to the President Lynette McElhaney's response to Marvin X and the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant

    Dear Madam President McElhaney,

    Marvin X, my mentor and elder, found your response quite eloquent and urged me to respond to you since you referenced my efforts in engaging the community to help with the implementation of a Black Arts Movement Business District. I am deeply committed to the creation of a Black Arts Movement Business District as envisioned by those who dreamed it fifty years ago. Marvin X and the late Amiri Baraka, both internationally known founding members of The Black Arts Movement envisioned Black Cultural Districts nationwide. In his hometown, Newark, New Jersey, Baraka called his vision The Jazz District. Marvin’s vision for his hometown, Oakland CA., is an immense one. It is in service to that dream that I join the conversation.

    Your reply reminds us of the weight of your responsibilities as a council person and you state your current priorities. Thank you for offering us your understanding of where BAMBD fits into current City of Oakland matters as well as the short outline for implementing the stages of BAMBD.  As a resident of District 3 who works and lives in the BAMBD footprint, I appreciate your timely update. There is a great deal of community interest in the successful implementation of a vibrant cultural district that will help address some of the issues that are priorities for you.

    The things you are prioritizing should indeed be pressing issues for the entire council. I note that some of your priorities align the proposed pillars of BAMBD, which we envision as a comprehensive entity with a design that addresses pressing needs of Oakland’s disenfranchised and marginalized North American African communities in a wholistic fashion.

    In my humble opinion, the successful implementation of the Black Arts Movement Business District is the only tangible solution currently offered to provide relief to a portion of the city’s population who feel they are part of a purge. Neither 90 day moratoriums, nor plans to provide affordable housing in 2020 will serve those who need solutions to exorbitant rents now. Considering the fact that $2,270.00 a month is the median rent for a one bedroom in Oakland according to Zumper which places Oakland in a tie for 5th on a list of the most expensive cities in America for renters, housing is certainly a pressing issue, which if unaddressed will result in the continued exodus of low and moderate income people from Oakland. If something is not done there will be no substantial North American African population in Oakland to enjoy or benefit from a Cultural District.

    We look forward to the implementation of BAMBD and its potential to provide additional economic opportunity in Oakland.  The same population plagued by negative interactions with law enforcement is by and large the same group that is affected by housing issues and urgently needs the work you are attempting with police reform. A recent report cites that much of the cycle of violence in Oakland can be tied to structural disparity; that cycle of disparity places the disenfranchised in negative relationship with law enforcement and hastens gentrification while amplifying displacement.

    I applaud your efforts to speak to the negative relationship with law enforcement and its deadly effect. I eagerly await the opportunity to assist in the implementation of BAMBD to offer a space to grow solutions that speak to your priorities as well as our vision for North American African survival and meaningful progress in Oakland.   

    I am also encouraged by your acknowledgment of our community organizing, our visioning and collaborative research of existing cultural districts to better inform any decision of what form our own district should adopt. To that end I request a meeting with you to discuss pending development in the BAMBD footprint and to formally request the assistance of your office in the process of drafting community benefit requests for any and all pending development within the footprint.  

    I look forward to the reconvening of the Culture Keepers to hear your progress on these matters and to work closely with you to make BAMBD a comprehensively designed vehicle that offers tangible ways to address our total needs.

    In Service,

    Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

    Founding Director,

    Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc

    BAMBD Servant & Architect

    10. African American Museum & Library

    Image of African American Museum & Library at Oakland Library

    Branch Address

    659 14th Street
    Oakland, CA  94612
    (510) 637-0200

    Branch Hours

    12:00pm - 5:30pm
    12:00pm - 5:30pm
    12:00pm - 5:30pm
    12:00pm - 5:30pm
    12:00pm - 5:30pm

    About the African American Museum & Library at Oakland

    The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is dedicated to the discovery, preservation, interpretation and sharing of historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations.


    AAMLO's archival collection is a unique resource on the history of African Americans in Northern California and the Bay Area. The archives includes over 160 collections documenting prominent families, pioneers, churches, social and political organizations. Finding aids are available in the Online Archive of California and digitized items in Calisphere.  Freedom's Journal, the LiberatorCalifornia VoiceSun ReporterMuhammed Speakers, and the Black Panther newspapers are available on microfilm.
    Using AAMLO's oral history collection, researchers can listen to interviews with local civil rights activists, educators, writers, and musicians. AAMLO is home to the Eternal Voices video library containing more than 80 years of African American East Bay history and Susheel Bibb's Meet Mary Pleasant DVD (scholarly interviews, key issues and documents).
    The microfilm collection includes primary research information on African American enslavement, military service, California census records 1910-1930, Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, W.E.B. Dubois, Benjamin Banneker, Mary Church Terrell, Paul Robeson and others. The archives department is open from 12-4. To make an appointment call (510) 637-0198.

    Reference Library

    AAMLO has a unique non-circulating reference library, a jewel for researchers, students, and anyone interested in African American history. Its collection consists of approximately 12,000 volumes by or about African Americans. Among its many subjects are books on religion, the military, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, the Black Panther Party, Africa in relationship to the African-American experience, genealogy, and California history.

    A collection of children's books highlights award-winning titles. Patrons can access on-line databases or thumb through James de T. Abajian's Blacks in Selected Newspapers, Censuses and Other Sources.
    One recent acquisition is the new eight-volume set African American National Biography, containing over 4,000 entries written by distinguished scholars and edited by Henry Louis Gates. The reference library offers access to local and out of state newspapers, scholarly journals, and six computers with word processing and Internet access.

    The library owns about 400 videos and DVDs which can be viewed on-site. Library staff are available to assist with research questions, or browsing and enjoyment of the collection.
    AAMLO also has a Seed Lending Library. Anyone is welcome to come in and check-out seeds. No library card is needed. We ask that you sign out for the seeds, then let some plants go to seed and return some of these next generation seeds for others to borrow. 


    The second floor museum regularly hosts traveling and original exhibitions that highlight the art, history and culture of African Americans.

    AAMLO History

    In 1946, Eugene and Ruth Lasartemay and Jesse and Dr. Marcella Ford began collecting the oral histories and artifacts that documented the activities of African Americans in and around Oakland, the Bay Area, and California. On July 2, 1965, the organization officially became the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS). As their efforts continued, the founders needed to find a larger space for the growing collection. In 1970, the EBNHS moved to a storefront located at 3651 Grove Street.
    In 1976, it moved to 4519 Grove, where it operated a museum and library. In 1982, the EBNHS was invited into the Golden Gate Branch of the Oakland Public Library, making it the first Oakland city library with a predominantly African American focused collection. The assistance of Mayor Lionel Wilson, Assemblyman Elihu Harris, and other helped the organization establish a solid foundation in their new home. Following the appointment of Dr. Lawrence Crouchett as its executive director in 1988, the organization changed its name to the Northern California Center for Afro-American History & Life (NCCAAHL).
    In 1994, the City of Oakland and the NCCAAHL merged to create the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO). This unique public/private partnership entered a historic juncture with the opening of AAMLO in February 2002. Located at 659 14th Street, AAMLO is housed in the former Charles S. Greene library, an historic 1902 Carnegie building.
    A special thank you to Jeff Norman for providing valuable information on the history of the East Bay Negro Historical Society.

    Currently on Exhibit

    Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement

    Image of exhibit
    Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement honors the women whose actions were instrumental in the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the women were well known; others less so, but deserving of greater recognition. Please walk through history as AAMLO's Chief Curator Rick Moss creates an environment that places the actions of these women in the historical context of this great movement.

    The exhibition will be open until July 16, 2016.
    Photo credit: MOMA, New York City.
    This project was made possible in part by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by generous grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation. Funds were also provided by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.

    11. Last Rites of Muhammad Ali and review of Ali starring Will Smith
    by Marvin X

    Muhammad Ali reading Message to the Black Man, Black Studies 101, a must read for people serious about regaining aboriginal consciousness not tainted by white supremacy mythology, including much "tenured Negro" academic white man approved scholarship.

    As we say goodbye to our beloved brother Muhammad Ali, I submit the following notes on the most recognized man on the planet earth, the man who made the transition from Toby to Kunta Kinte or in his own right or rite, made the revolutionary transformation from a man of Clay (dirt)  to Muhammad Ali, (Arabic: Ali:one who is most high; Muhammad: one who is worthy of much praise).

    In my essay The Psycholinguistic Crisis of the North American African, I wrote:
    ...The proud African was beaten down from Kunta Kinte to Toby, perhaps the first level in his psycho-linguistic crisis: who am I, what is my name? Once in the Americas, he was no longer Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, Congo, Ashanti but Negro, and according to Grimm's law (the consonants C,K, and G being interchangeable) he was dead, from the Greek Necro, dead, lifeless, without motion and spirit.

    Of course, he retained some of his African consciousness in the deep structure of his mind, in the bowels of his soul and he expressed it in his dance, his love life, his work habits, his songs and shouts, but basically he was a traumatized victim of kidnapping, rape and mass murder--genocide, for after all, when it was all said and done, between 50 and 100 million of his brothers and sisters were lost in the Middle Passage, the voyage between Africa and the Americas, thrown to the sharks trailing slave ships, one ship named Jesus, the one whose captain had the miraculous conversion and wrote the song Amazing Grace!

    But changing the African into Negro was a primary problem in terms of identity which persists until today, even as we speak a new generation is now in the psycholinguistic crisis trying to decide whether they shall be called by Christian, Muslim or traditional African names, trying to decide whether they are Americans, Afro-Americans, African-Americans, Bilalians, Kemites, Sudanese, or North American Africans. For sure, the white man may not know anything else but he knows he's white!

    With the term North American African I've tried to emphasize our cultural roots by making Africa the noun rather than the adjective. Also, I wanted to identify us geo-politically: we are Africans on the continent of North America, as opposed to Africans in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia or the Motherland. As such, we are unique and have created an original African Culture in North America, imitated throughout the world. For our unique improvisational genius, the Black Arts Movement mystic Sun Ra said we were, "The Latter Day Egyptian Revisionists"....
    (See The Psycholinguistic Crisis of the North American African by Marvin X, revised 2016)

    Muhammad Ali is the grand persona in our psycholinguistic crisis, for he represents our battle for identity formation and verbal expression, i.e., his verbosity and poetics, and yet he transcended psycholinguistics to encompass and express the crisis of the African physique (the struggle of the African body in time and space) as well as the political struggle of the North American African nation to achieve liberation from oppression in America and throughout the world. 

    In the manner of his model, Jack Johnson, the North American African who beat America's  great white hope, Jim Jeffries,  to win the heavyweight championship of the world and caused one of the worse race riots in American history, July 4, 1910, Ali also expressed unforgivable Blackness, minus the white women of Jack Johnson's delight. 

    Alas, America established the Mann Act after Jack Johnson's ritual (and conviction)  of transporting white women across state lines for prostitution. Psycholinguistically speaking, call it the Black Man Act, a more precise definition of the term.

     Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson

    Ali’s greatness transcended the boxing ring to advance our struggle beyond civil rights (civil rites, Sun Ra) into the arena of human rights that Malcolm X tried to teach Ali and us. 

    Of course we cannot mention Ali and Malcolm X without including their teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. 

    Ali and Minister Farrakhan

     Imam Warith Deen Muhammad
    aka Wallace Muhammad

    Ali and Malcolm, both inspired by Elijah’s son, Warith Deen or Wallace,  attempted to transcend the Nation of Islam’s unorthodox theology for Sunni orthodoxy but we see today with the turmoil in the Sunni Islamic world, North American Africans are being forced to reconsider the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (evidenced by the Hip Hop generation’s embrace of 5% Islam and Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science), especially his cry to leave Sunni Islam alone and embrace North American African Islamic mythology in the same manner Africans, especially West Africans, have their unique version of Islam, no matter what Arabs, Pakistani or others say about it. West Africans have their own holy city in Touba, Senegal, a city as sacred to them  as Mecca to Sunni Muslims. (While writing in North Carolina, when a taxi driver told me he was Senegalese, I asked him if he knew about Bamba? He turned around to show me his T-shirt with a picture of Bamba. I then asked if Bamba was a holy man? He replied, “Bamba was beyond holy!” Of course, Bamba was a Sufi or Islamic mystic revolutionary who fought against French colonialism in Senegal. The story goes that he was under arrest aboard a ship being transported to an island prison when he wanted to pray, so he jumped off the ship, prayed in the water and returned to the ship for the ride to prison.

    The madness of Sunni inspired ISIS and the Sunni denunciation of Shia Islam, Ahmadiyya Islam and other sects to the point of annihilation of their members, is beyond the human imagination in barbarity except we know Christians have been known for similar savagery, e.g., Irish Catholics and Protestants, not to mention genocidal Hindu attacks on Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhist; or Buddhist attacks on non Buddhists. We are of the Sufi belief: the only religion is the religion of the heart! 

    In the end, we think Muhammad Ali saw himself as a divine being in human form, true to his name,i.e., the most high, worthy of much praise. And we think the world agreed with him, for he revealed himself to be one of the greatest human beings who walked the earth.

    As-Salaam Alaikum, Muhammad Ali! Surely we are from Allah and to Him we return!
    --Marvin X

    Chapter 30 contains notes by Marvin X on Muhammad Ali

    Marvin X reviews the film Muhammad Ali staring Will Smith

    Starring Will Smith Directed by Michael Mann
    MPAA: Rated R for some language and brief violence.
    Runtime: 158
    Country: USA
    Language: English
    Color: Color

    Reviewed by Marvin X (12/28/01)

    In honor of Muhammad Ali, who died June 3, “Ali,” a biopic about the boxing icon and activist, will return to theaters this weekend, June 10, 2016. The move by Sony Pictures follows a similar one with Prince's 1984 movie, "Purple Rain," after the musician's death in April.

    “With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life,” Rory Bruer, the studio’s distribution chief, said in a statement. “The film truly honors everything that made Ali one of the central figures of our time, a man who commanded his sport but whose personal faith and principles made him mean so much more.”

    ""A notable and articulate advocacy of black conscientious objection came from the Nation of Islam. In 1942 Elijah Muhammad was arrested in Chicago and convicted of sedition, conspiracy and violation of the draft laws. After serving time in a federal penitentiary until 1946, Muhammad continued in his beliefs. Two decades later he vigorously urged his followers to refuse participation in the Vietnam War. Among those who listened were world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and Marvin X."
    Lorenzo Thomas, University of Houston, from preface to Love and War (poems) by Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 1995

    Starring Will Smith Directed by Michael Mann
    MPAA: Rated R for some language and brief violence.
    Runtime: 158
    Country: USA
    Language: English
    Color: Color

    Reviewed by Marvin X (12/28/01)

    Fresno Bee photo of Marvin X during his struggle to lecture in Black 
    Studies at Fresno State University, 1969. He was removed on orders of 
    Gov. Ronald Reagan when the governor learned he refused to fight in Vietnam. 
    "Get him off campus by any means necessary," Reagan said. The
    governor had Angela Davis removed from teaching at UCLA the same year.

    Cast overview, first billed only:
    Will Smith .... Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali
    Jamie Foxx .... Drew 'Bundini' Brown
    Jon Voight .... Howard Cosell
    Mario Van Peebles .... Malcolm X
    Ron Silver .... Angelo Dundee
    Jeffrey Wright (I) .... Howard Bingham
    Mykelti Williamson .... Don King
    Jada Pinkett Smith .... Sonji
    Nona M. Gaye .... Belinda
    Michael Michele .... Veronica
    Joe Morton .... Chauncy Eskridge
    Paul Rodriguez (I) .... Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
    Barry Shabaka Henley .... Herbert Muhammad
    Giancarlo Esposito .... Cassius Clay, Sr.
    Laurence Mason .... Luis Sarria 
    Some things in life are a cause for hesitation-we know we're not walking on solid ground, yet we go forward into the unknown like a brave soldier ordered into battle. This is how I approached ALI, knowing this movie was bound to touch me in a personal way, since Muhammad Ali and I were the two best known Muslims who refused to fight in Vietnam or anywhere for the white man. Ali was in sports, I was part of the Black Arts Movement, also associated with the Black Panthers. Elijah told Ali to give up sports, that the world was not made for sport and play.

    Ali refused. Elijah told me to give up poetry, that he was after the plainest way to get truth to our people: poetry, he said, was a science our people didn't understand. I refused. Was Elijah right? Look at the present condition of Ali. Look at the present proliferation of poetry: gansta rap poetry has contributed to the desecration of black people. How did we go from revolutionary BAM poetry to the reactionary rap songs about bitch, ho and motherfucker? Sonia Sanchez says the rappers simply put on stage what was happening in the black revolutionary movement and our community in general: the disrespect of women. Even spoken word is at a pivotal point of becoming crassly commercial, promoted in night clubs along with alcohol and other drugs.

    Certainly, this is no atmosphere to teach truth which is the poet's sole duty, not to be a buffoon or entertainer. Poetry is a sacred art: in the beginning was the word and the word was with God’. One club owner stopped a successful poetry night when it became a butcher shop, patrons trading poetry for sex, more or less’. Academic poetry never made it in the hood, since it is essentially a foreign language. Thank God for poetry slams, they have allowed the masses to appreciate poetry, seizing it from the academic barbarians who killed the word in abstract nonsense only a rocket scientist or linguist can understand. Perhaps, this was Elijah's point to me. But, finally, all poetry uses devices such as metaphor and simile which may confuse rather than "make it plain" in the style of Elijah and Malcolm, even though they too used these devices. Elijah didn't stop Muhammad Ali from being a poet!

    "Refusing induction, Marvin X fled to Canada. 'I departed from the United States "to preserve my life and liberty, and to pursue happiness".' "-loc. cit.

    Malcolm X recruited Cassius Clay into the Nation of Islam. Malcolm's oratory influenced me to consider Elijah's Islamic Black Nationalism while I was a student at Oakland's Merritt College, along with Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen and others who became the new black intelligentsia, the direct product of Malcolm, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah and Elijah. When Malcolm X spoke before seven thousand students at U.C. Berkeley's Sproul Plaza (1964), I was in the audience. When he was assassinated, we wore black armbands to express our grief at San Francisco State University, actor Danny Glover among us. In truth, we were too confused to do more, which was the devil's purpose: confuse, divide and conquer.

    Although Ali and I were followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Ali followed closer to the letter than I-I followed the spirit of Elijah. Elijah told us to resist the draft, go to prison if necessary. Ali followed orders-but I was under the influence of my Panther friends who said we should not only resist the draft, but resist arrest as well-so rather than go to jail, I fled to Toronto, Canada, joining other resisters. But before I went into exile, I met Muhammad Ali at the Chicago home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. After Eldridge Cleaver was placed on house arrest for allegedly causing a riot at a Black Power conference on the campus of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. (along with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Kathleen Neal, later Cleaver), Ramparts magazine permitted me to interview Ali in place of Cleaver who was a staff writer. To the disappointment of Ramparts, Cleaver and myself, Elijah called Ali into a room.

    When he returned, he said to me, "Brother, the Messenger said not to do the interview." He added, "This is the man I'm willing to die for-what he says, I do." So I didn't get the interview. I returned to California with the disappointing news. Ramparts eventually did a story on Ali. This was 1967-a few months later I was exiled in Toronto. After Toronto, I went underground to Chicago, arriving in time to see troops occupy the south side and the torching of the west side, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In Oakland, the Black Panthers responded to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. by staging a shootout with the police in which Eldridge Cleaver was wounded and Little Bobby Hutton murdered. With the FBI on my heels, I left Chicago and arrived in Harlem, joining the Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Askia M. Toure', Don L. Lee, Amiri Baraka, Ed Bullins, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Barbara Ann Teer and others for the second Harlem Renaissance. But my draft problems weren't over-coming back from Montreal, Canada one weekend, I was apprehended at the border and returned to California for trial-I resisted a second time, fleeing to Mexico City before sentencing. It is now 1970.

    In Mexico City, I met the sons of Muhammad Ali's manager, Herbert Muhammad (son of Elijah Muhammad), who were attending the University of the Americas. The sons, Elijah and Sultan, were in a kind of exile from the madness of Black Muslim Chicago-they didn't receive Muhammad Speaks newspaper, of `which I was now foreign editor and their father manager-so I gave them my copies. They were talk of the town. The African American ex-patriot community informed me Elijah's grandsons didn't believe his teachings. I discovered they were right about Elijah, nicknamed Sonny, who was caught bringing marijuana across the border, among other things. I arrived at their casa for a party to see Sonny dancing with a white woman. Sonny let me use his birth certificate to cross the border to get my woman. Yes, I was "Elijah Muhammad." But as I crossed the border, my woman was on a plane to Mexico City. At least Sultan had a Mexican girl. Sultan eventually became the personal pilot for his grandfather, Elijah Muhammad. After journeying to Belize, Central America, against the advice of my Mexico City contact, revolutionary artist Elizabeth Catlett Mora, I was arrested for teaching black power and "communism," deported to the US and served five months in federal prison for draft evasion. With this background, I entered the cinema to view Ali, the story of a man and a time that shook America and the world.

    "For his court appearance, Marvin X prepared an angry and eloquent statement, which was later published in Black Scholar (April-May 1971), 'There comes a time’when a man's conscience will no longer allow him to participate in the absurd.' He recalled with disgust the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision which pronounced that 'a black man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect.' And in ringing tones he challenged the court's authority to contravene his religious and philosophical principles, 'But there you sit’with the blood of my ancestors dripping from your hands! And you seek to judge me for failing to appear in a court for sentencing on a charge of refusing induction, of refusing to go l0,000 miles to kill my brothers in order to insure the perpetuation of White Power in Southeast Asia and throughout the world.' " --loc. cit. ALI

    The name Muhammad Ali means the one who is most high and worthy of much praise. In Ali, we saw a man arise from "Clay" or dirt to become the most recognized person on earth. Will Smith deserves much praise for his portrayal of Ali, bringing him alive, making him believable. This was no easy task because of the character's complexity as folk hero with many dimensions: athlete, religious militant, poet, lover man. As athlete we must give credit to the camera man for so many close-ups that transformed and reinforced Will Smith's image as Ali. Actually close-ups seemed to be the dominant camera angle throughout the movie and they worked to bring forth the beauty of the African skin tones as well as reflect character in various situations. The camera catches Ali's third wife Veronica Porche (Michelle Michael) at an angle that reflects the absolute golden beauty of her skin as she and Ali stroll in the African sun. There are great pan shots of people in the streets of Ghana and Zaire. The sound was awesome when Ali was in the ring punching or getting punched. The sound vibrated our bodies, making us a virtual part of the movie.

    We meet Ali as he was meeting Malcolm X (Melvin Van Peebles) and being converted to a Black Muslim. Malcolm converted an entire generation, especially youth in the north. Martin Luther King, Jr. reigned in the south, having almost no influence with us college students. We looked upon Martin as the chief bootlicker of the white man. As Malcolm, Melvin Van Peebles did a credible job. Of course he is no Denzel Washington (Spike Lee's Malcolm X), but at least he looked like Malcolm-although his delivery was weak-he lacked the fire of Denzel, but was acceptable and his relationship with Muhammad Ali clearly established an intimate friendship until they were forced apart by Nation of Islam politics which the movie pointed out was not apart from U.S. government politics of intervention and neutralization.

    We see the agents inside the NOI. Of course the NOI, along with the Black Panthers, was the main black organization on the FBI's list of subversives. Hoover and his Cointelpro was determined to prevent the rise of a black messiah who could unite African Americans. Malcolm and Martin were marked for elimination. Muhammad Ali slipped through to become hero of the Afro-Asian, Islamic world. After all, he defied the American government in a manner no one has until Osama Bin Laden. We have to draw the parallel between these two because they are heroes of the oppressed, especially the oppressed Muslim masses of Africa and Asia. The movie gave us the impression Ali was more a hero in Africa than with African Americans. One wonders whether this was deliberate, to dampen Ali's image in the eyes of the hero starved African American community. Let's be clear, Ali was in the tradition of the defiant, rebellious bad nigguh: Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, Jack Johnson, Paul Robeson. Ali was doing all right until he sent a shout out to the world, "No Viet cong never called me a nigguh."And we hear Danny Glover may be added to America's bad nigguh list, since Oliver North is encouraging Americans to boycott his movies because Danny made statements against military tribunals. Ali made it crystal clear he was going to say and do whatever the hell he wanted. America made him pay the price for being a free black man. What if the other mentally enslaved black men followed suit?

    Jada Pinkett Smith as Ali's first wife, Sonji, was rather conservative in light of the character who was quite simply a so-called Negro who rejected Islam, initially accepting it solely because of her man. I wanted her to be more of a slut, a hard headed, stiff necked, rebellious negress. She was some of that, but maybe the script limited her because I know she has the talent as an actress to be more of a bitch than she was. Belinda (Nona Gaye), his second wife, was more sassy than Sonji in some ways, especially in her condemnation of Herbert Muhammad (Shabaka Hemsley), Ali's manager and the NOI, particularly when Ali was nearly broke. Her critical remarks were utterly shocking since they came from someone who grew up in the Nation of Islam. For a Muslim woman, she was equal in boldness with Ali.

    Herbert Muhammad is one of the classic characters in NOI history and Shabaka did a fairly good job representing him, although we don't get the sense he was one of the most powerful men in the NOI and the first prominent black fight manager. If there had not been a Herbert Muhammad, there probably would not have been a Don King.

    The character Elijah Muhammad (Albert Hall) was rather weak and one dimensional, mostly negative. Realistically, it is impossible to downplay Elijah Muhammad in the drama of African America. He educated two of our greatest heroes, Malcolm and Ali, not to mention Farrakhan and even myself and thousands more brothers and sisters throughout this wicked land. Don't make me quote writer Fahizah Alim, "Elijah Muhammad was like a momma, even if she was a ho' on the corner telling lies to get money to feed us, she gave us life and kept us living until we could stand on our feet’" Basically, we see him suspending Malcolm and later Ali. I think the best supporting actor in this film would have to be Jamie Foxx as the legendary Drew Bodini, Ali's sideman. He was beyond belief as the tragic-comic Bodini, who seemed to inspire much of Ali's poetry and serve as cheerleader and confidant. Howard Bingham (Jeffery Wright), Ali's friend and photographer, should have served as sane counterpoint to the insane antics and witchcraft of Bodini, but he remains muted behind his camera, although we know by nature the photographer sees everything and often advises his client, constantly whispering words of wisdom from his vantage point.

    These characters were poets above all else, beginning with Malcolm, although we heard very little of his rhetoric, then Ali, Bodini, Don King (Mykelti Williamson). How Don King escaped the rat image is beyond me, but he did by donning the poet's persona. We must give Don credit for ushering in the age of the multimillion dollar fight purse. But we had to sigh a little sadness that the murderous land of Mubutu's Zaire was the scene of the Rumble in the Jungle, as if anywhere else in Africa was any different, i.e., devoid of a dictatorial regime. In Africa, Nkrumah taught, every state is a military state! Last but not least, Jon Voight (Howard Cossell), must be given credit for bringing the legendary Cossell to life, but it is clear Ali made Cossell, not the other way around, and in no way were they equals: Cossell, as media pimp, represented America at its worst --Ali's verbal sparring made Howard Cossell's world larger than life and sometimes smaller when Cossell made the mistake of asking Ali if he was the man he used to be. Ali retorted, "Howard, your wife said you ain't the man you used to be..."
    The music score weaved in and out of the action at proper moments, making it delightful and meaningful, although it's hard to imitate Sam Cooke. The scenes in Africa made us feel the universal love for Ali, especially when the people were chanting "Ali" -again, the sound reached inside us, grabbing us into itself. Finally, we must credit Will Smith for transforming himself into all the things that make up Ali, his political consciousness, his religiosity, his morality and immorality, his media savvy and especially his poetry. Of course director Michael Mann must be credited with shaping the entire film. It was long but I didn't want it to end, especially when it did with the Rumble in the Jungle, the Foreman/Ali match in Zaire.

     But Ali's story is so much a part of modern American history that it could have gone on forever. Imagine him commenting on the events of 911. We understand that he has been requested to make public service announcements supporting America's war on terrorism. Would this be a more dramatic ending: the people's champ who fought against oppression, finally broken down to a servant of the oppressor? It may or may not be dramatic, but the tragic truth is that Ali is a member of Warith Din Muhammad's sect that was known for flag waving long before 911. Even before his transition in 1975, Warith had rejected the teachings of his father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in favor of orthodox Islam, dismissing the Black Nationalism of Elijah for Americanism, so it is not whack for President Bush to call upon Ali to be the "voice of America" to the Muslim world, nor for Ali to accept. Remember when my friend, Eldridge Cleaver, returned from exile waving the flag-the radical community was horrified one of their leaders had sold out.

    Let ALI end with the Rumble in the Jungle. One purpose of that fight was to reestablish ties between Africa and African America. This was of great significance for Pan Africanism, including the therapeutic healing of divisive wounds in the colonized psyche of Africans and African Americans. As I said, Ali was indeed bigger than America-the first Muslim heavyweight champion of the world, the first African American athlete to unabashedly recognize our Motherland by staging a fight there. Ali was a man of the times, not by blending or following, but leading the way. The hero is first of all a leader. He extends the mythology of his people, like Coltrane taking us to A Love Supreme. Ali's mission was transcending our colonial education, breaking the bonds of our Christian mentality with its impediments of passivity and submission, although Martin Luther King, Jr. attempted to transform the Christian myth-ritual with his liberation theology. Ali's athletic prowess and discipline, his political consciousness, was an example for all fighters, especially freedom fighters around the world. If indeed, our hero has been co-opted, let us be mature enough to realize humans are not made of stone and we know in real life people change, not always for the good-thus the danger of hero worship and thus the Islamic dictum: nothing deserves to worshiped except Allah.

    Chapter 30 contains notes by Marvin X

    12. Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts

    Photo of Malonga Casquelourd Center for the ArtsDarrin Hodges
    Center Director

    OAKLAND, CA 94612

    phone: (510) 238-7217
    fax: (510) 238-3999


    M-F; 8a–5p


    M-Sa; 8a–10p; Su; 8a–6p

    The beautifully restored turn-of-the-century Arts Center, formerly known as the Alice Arts Center, is one of the area's busiest performing arts facilities. This restored 1920s building is a popular multicultural, multidisciplinary performing-arts complex sponsored by the City of Oakland.  Patrons can participate in a variety of arts programs or rent spaces for arts events and activities.  The 350-seat theater, five performance spaces, meeting rooms and rehersal spaces are available for rent and currently showcase drama, ballet, and African and contemporary danceing.

    Resident Organizations

    (510) 625-0110

    (510) 251-8037

    (510) 472-8800

    (510) 208-3333


    (510) 763-5180

    Photo of African Dancers at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the ArtsDIAMANO COURA WEST AFRICAN DANCE COMPANY
    (510) 387-2681

    (510) 465-3363

    (510) 635-2100

    (510) 273-2407

of Drummers at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the ArtsOAKLAND FILM SOCIETY
    (510) 451-3456

    (510) 832-7710

    (510) 978-0510

    (510) 333-9175


    ​Artwork by Visual artist Rtystk, founder of Kiss My Black Arts Collective (K.M.B.A)

    14. Two poems by Aries Jordan
    Black Art
    Soul filled
    Colorful vibrant
    Divine creative flow
    Black art rock and roll hip hop
    Jazz R&B soul
    Black art Chuck berry Little Richard those unnamed
    Black art cookout holy ghost music
    Gospel sung in churches without Black faces
    Black art spiritual cracked heart open 
    praying to your maker
    Black Art in your face jungle fever Niggas with Attitude
    Don’t believe hype Do it in the butt
    Black Art caged bird sings coldest Winter Ever
    strange Fruit Native Son
    Black Art Lindy hop wonder what’s going on?
    twist and shout
    Black Art refuses “othered” only “urban”
    Hip hop  around world 
    cyphers in native tongues
    Pop locking Harlem shaking back to humanity
    Black Arts Zora Neale Hurston Phillis Wheatley
    Audre Lorde unnammed
    Black art Passionate  fiery commands authority
    Black Arts sexy
    Grace Jones Josephine Baker 
    Zane chronicles
    Black art turn off lights get sexual healing
    Black art language of shizzles, rhythmic flows, finger snaps skatting
    Black art history and present
    Black art truth when everyone lying
    Black art people past  present
    Really Black without being Black
    Black art truth when everyone lying

    Party Loyalty
    Democrats you sold my ancestors into chattel slavery
    Republicans you and Lincoln
    Signed the Emancipation proclamation and 13th Amendment
    Abolishing slavery except as a punishment for being convicted of a crime
    Democrats you made sure we didn’t get that 40 acres and a Mule
    Let my people starve and approved laws of discrimination
    Oh Democrats our greatest civil rights leaders were killed under your command and watch
    Republican and Democratic coalition put us under the jail with the war on drugs
    Oh Republicans you gave us Crack
    As the Democrats greased their palms and watched
    Prioritized everything on your agenda but us
    You were at the church meetings, festivals and community events courting the Black vote
    With your empty promises
    When you were elected you forgot about us
    Democrats and Republicans you helped build the prison to school pipeline
    You want me to be loyal to the Democratic Party?
    Who have sold my people out for trinkets, wealth and power
    Republican and Democratic party you watched our babies gunned down unjustly and didn’t stand up
    So now I’m supposed to care that you slowly losing party support
    And want your America back?
    Save your speech about my ancestors
    Voting a symbolic gesture in the political theater of the oppressed
    With delegates
    Super delegates and electoral college
    My ancestors would never want that
    My ancestors died and fought for the right for equal participation and protection under the law
    60 years later we still fighting for that
    Democratic party you ain’t never been loyal!
    So why ask that of me?

    Aries Jordan
    Educator and Artivist
    Feeding the Artist Within Camp
    Urban Youth Ambassadors

    15. Economy Tied to Gun Violence in Oakland

    City leaders acknowledge the need to bridge the gap between affluent and poor communities in Oakland in order to reduce violence

    A six-month NBC Bay Area investigation found a growing economic disparity between different areas of Oakland. It’s a gap that research scientists say is contributing to continuing violent crime in some parts of the city. NBC Bay Area Chief Investigative Reporter Stephen Stock reports in a video that first aired on June 3, 2016. (Published Friday, June 3, 2016)

    A six-month NBC Bay Area investigation found a growing economic disparity between different areas of Oakland. It’s a gap that research scientists say is contributing to continuing violent crime in some parts of the city.

    While overall, the crime rate has fallen in recent years, a closer breakdown of the data by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit discovered that some communities are still plagued by violence.
    In many parts of Oakland the economy is booming. But in the city’s historically marginalized neighborhoods the data shows the rising economic tide, so far, is not lifting them up. Instead, US Census data shows that in many cases the rising economy is actually pushing them out.
    In areas where violence continues to be a serious issue, such as parts of East and West Oakland, the latest census data shows high rates of unemployment (17.06 percent), low education levels and more than 30,000 residents living below the poverty line. The average household income in deep East Oakland ($47,318.50) is only a little more than half the citywide average ($80,758.00).

    Experts who spoke with NBC Bay Area say violence, a symptom of an unhealthy community, will continue to affect those neighborhoods until they’re provided the same access to opportunity as the residents living in thriving Oakland communities nearby.

    “We’ve moved to the point where you have disinvestment, no jobs, poor schools,” said Dr. Howard Pinderhughes, an associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF’s School of Nursing. He’s spent his career working on the prevention of violence in places such as Boston, New York and the Bay Area and currently works with Oakland’s Prevention Institute. “We’ve come to understand that all these things add up to conflict and trauma which then helps to feed the cycle of violence. And then we blame the people. Then we say they’re super predators. They we say they’re dysfunctional families.”

    In an interview with the Investigative Unit, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said reducing violence is her top priority. Solving the problem will take a holistic approach which she said means smart policing, but also opening up pathways to education, jobs, and affordable housing.

    “We’re looking at the root causes of crime, and by that I mean better jobs, better educational outcomes,” Schaaf said. “We’re looking at really building the economy in Oakland in an equitable way so people who have previously been left out of economic prosperity are getting access.”
    But Oakland isn’t there yet.

    In places like deep East Oakland, where gun violence continues to be an issue, the latest census data shows 18 percent unemployment. Only 9.1 percent of residents hold a college degree. Contrast that with the Oakland Hills where more than 75 percent of residents have a college degree and the average household income has risen above $188,000.
    In that same area of deep East Oakland, police data shows there were 26 murders and 90 gun arrests between August 2015 and May 2016.

    In Oakland, access to opportunity can depend on where you live
    Crime is down across Oakland, but gun violence continues to be a problem in communities such as East and West Oakland. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says access to education and economic opportunity for all Oakland residents is the key to reducing violence. This map shows the opportunity gap that exists when neighborhoods affected by violence, such as Deep East Oakland, are compared to peaceful ones, such as Oakland Hills.
    Source: The United States Census Bureau
    Coach Todd Walker knows firsthand what can happen when institutions fail communities. He’s volunteered as a youth football coach for 20 years but earns his living as a funeral home assistant.
    “It’s going to take these cities to start opening up doors to these kids,” Walker said. “Cause when they turn 13 or 14, they’re turning their back on them. And once you turn your back on them, the streets get them. And once the streets get them, that’s it. The streets are like a spider web.”
    Walker, who coaches football around the fields of Oakland, said he’s buried more than 20 of his former players over the years, mostly teenagers.

    “It’s so many of them I can’t even count,” Walker said. “I did three in the first month I started working here. First week I did one – 14 years old. This is a kid that you probably held as a baby. Now you’re rolling them in a casket.”
    Behind the Scenes: Coaching Oakland's YouthBehind the Scenes: Coaching  Oakland's Youth 

    Todd Walker, funeral home assistant and youth football coach, talks about his methods of educating young people about the dangers of gun violence. (Published Friday, Feb. 26, 2016)
    Pinderhughes said kids in these neighborhoods can be set up to fail at a young age by the very institutions meant to help them. He calls it structural violence.

    “The school system, the juvenile justice system, the foster system – all of which are taking children and young people who are traumatized and using approaches and systems that further the traumatizing,” he said. “They’re trauma inducing systems rather than trauma informed systems.”
    But Pinderhughes said cities such as Oakland are now coming to the realization that preventing violence isn’t just about more cops on the street.

    “One of the things I’ve seen across the country is law enforcement officials who are coming out and saying we can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Pinderhughes said. “We have to work together with public health, with education, with social services.”

    Mayor Schaaf agrees, and said she’s dedicated to addressing the underlying causes of violence. She points to the fact that half of Oakland residents are asset insecure, meaning they don’t have enough savings to live above the poverty line for three months.

    She said her administration is rolling out initiatives to aggressively deal with these issues, such as spending $23 million on Oakland Promise, a program that gives babies born into poverty a $500 college savings account. Schaaf also touted a partnership with Kiva Zip, a non-profit organization that provides zero interest loans for entrepreneurs who otherwise wouldn’t be able to secure a one.
    “We believe in ten years we will triple the number of Oakland students who graduate from college,” Schaaf said.

    But Pinderhughes worries that the residents who have lived through years of violence and poverty in some of Oakland’s communities won’t be around when those areas are restored to health. He points across the Bay to San Francisco, where he says the African American community has all but disappeared. He said San Francisco serves as an example of what can happen when money floods a city and free market forces are left unchecked, leaving those poorer residents no choice but to pack up and leave.

    “The biggest issue if we are successful in this is that when you’re successful in reducing violence and making communities safer, they then become desirable neighborhoods that are prone to gentrification and displacement,” Pinderhughes said. “There’s investment coming in and it’s now becoming more and more difficult and even impossible for people who have lived here for at least a couple of generations to stay.”

    Schaaf said the threat is real, and is one her administration takes seriously.
    “Oakland has an affordability crisis,” Schaaf said. “And the prosperity should not push out the very people who have been in this city all along. We need to do a number of things. We need to build more housing because we cannot build a wall around Oakland. People are moving here and so we need to build more housing that they can move into so we don’t push out the people that are here now.”
    Mayor Schaaf said Oakland leaders also need to strengthen protections for renters and put measures in place to keep a large stock of affordable yet safe and clean housing.
    Pinderhughes said the clock is ticking, but there’s still time to intervene in Oakland if leaders are willing to take the necessary steps.
    “It’s a question of the political, social and economic will to make the policy changes and take courageous political action,” Pinderhughes said.

    16. Oakland Main Library

    Image of Main Library Library

    Branch Address

    125 14th Street
    Oakland, CA  94612
    (510) 238-3134

    Branch Hours

    10:00am - 5:30pm
    10:00am - 5:30pm
    12:00pm - 8:00pm
    12:00pm - 8:00pm
    12:00pm - 5:30pm
    10:00am - 5:30pm
    1:00pm - 5:00pm

    About the Main Library

    Located between downtown and Lake Merritt, Oakland's Main Library is one of the largest public library facilities in the Bay Area. In addition to large collections of over 350,000 reference and circulating non-fiction and fiction books, the Main Library offers hundreds of current and historic magazines and newspapers, a major collection of sheet music, and thousands of maps.
    There are federal, state, and local government publications and a large collection of compact discs, videocassettes, DVDs, and audiobooks. We are also home to the Oakland History Room, a significant resource on the history of our area, a large and active Children's Room, and the TeenZone.
    The branch is equipped with 33 computers with Internet access available for public use, available on a drop-in, first-come, first-served basis. Adaptive technology is available, including screen readers and enlargers for those who are blind or who have low vision or learning disabilities.

    Main Library Department Phone Numbers

    • Check-Out Desk: (510) 238-3144
    • Children's Room: (510) 238-3615
    • Teen Zone: (510) 238-7332
    • Magazine & Newspapers: (510) 238-3176
    • Oakland History Room: (510) 238-3222
    • Reference Services: (510) 238-3138
    17. San Francisco Main Library presents Book Discussion of Black Hollywood unChained, edited by Ishmael Reed, Third World Press
    On Saturday, July 3, contributors to the anthology Black Hollywood unChained, edited by Ishmael Reed, Third World Press,  will discuss their contributions: Cecil Brown, Dr. Halifu Osumare, Ishmael Reed, Jesse Allen Taylor, Justin Desmangles and Marvin X.

    Cecil Brown is a writer and actor, known for the film Which Way Is Up? (1977), Horror Vacui (1984) and Doctor Dracula (1978). His most famous novel is The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger; his biography of Richard Pryor is Kiss My Rich, Happy, Black Ass. Another work is Hey, Dude, What Happened to my Black Studies?

    Dr. Halifu Osumare is currently Professor of African American and African Studies at University of California, Davis. She was the Director of AAS from 2011-2014, has been a dancer, choreographer, arts administrator, and scholar of black popular culture for over thirty years.

    ishmael reed photo kathy sloane low res 

    Ishmael Reed is a prize-winning essayist, novelist, poet and playwright. He taught at the University of California-Berkeley for thirty-five years, as well as at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Author of more than twenty-five books, he is a member of Harvard’s Signet Society and Yale’s Calhoun Society. He lives in Oakland, California.

    Douglas Allen Taylor’s first novel,Sugaree Rising,” was released by Freedom Publishers of San Francisco. He is a journalist who has written for many Bay Area publications.

    Justin Desmangles is Chairman of the board of directors of the Before Columbus Foundation where he heads the committee for the selection of the American Book Award. He is the creator the critically acclaimed radio program, New Day Jazz, now in its 15th year. His poetry and journalism have appeared in Amerarcana, Black Renaissance Noire (NYU), Drumvoices Revue (SIUE), and Konch. He presently is collaborating with Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago), as librettist, for an opera on the life of poet Bob Kaufman.

    Marvin X is the author of 30 books; also a playwright, essayist, educator and activist/organizer of the Black Arts Movement. He is co-founder of the Black Arts Movement Business District, downtown Oakland.

    San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium, Saturday, July 3, 2016, 1:30-3:30PM. 100 Larkin Street, Civic Center, San Francisco.

    This event is co-presented by the African-American Center of the San Francisco Public Library and the Before Columbus Foundation. 

    About the Book

    In Black Hollywood Unchained, Ishmael Reed gathers an impressive group of scholars, critics, intellectuals, and artist to examine and respond to the contemporary portrayals of Blacks in films.  Using the 2012 release of the film Django Unchained as the focal point of much of the discussion, these essays and reviews provide a critical perspective on the challenges facing filmmakers and actors when confronted with issues on race and the historical portrayal of African American characters. Reed also addresses the black community’s perceptiveness as discerning and responsible consumers of film, theatre, art, and music.

    Twenty-eight contributors including this book’s editor, Ishmael Reed, offer insightful, informed and provocative points of view on the ever changing, yet unchanged, landscape of Hollywood and film production in America. While the 2012 release of Django Unchained was the film that generated nation-wide conversations and many of the essays in this collection, this book intentionally extends that dialogue about race, history, entertainment and the image of Blacks on the screen to include an examination of the culture of contemporary films and television. Black Hollywood Unchained is critical of the roles of actor, film-maker and viewer as it asks questions that redirect our thinking about the multi-billion dollar industry we call “the movies.”


    J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, Houston A. Baker Jr., Amiri Baraka, Playthell G. Benjamin, Herb Boyd, Cecil Brown, Ruth Elizabeth Burks, Art T. Burton, Stanley Crouch, Justin Desmangles, Lawrence DiStasi, Jack Foley, David Henderson, Geary Hobson, Joyce A. Joyce, Haki R. Madhubuti, C. Liegh McInnis, Tony Medina, Alejandro Murguía, Jill Nelson, Halifu Osumare, Heather D. Russell, Hariette Surovell, Kathryn Waddell Takara, Jerry W. Ward Jr., Marvin X, Al Young.

    18. Hillary Clinton wins Democratic presidential primary: a good or bad day for women?

    Hillary Clinton has apparently  won the Democratic presidential primary, and  it should be a proud day for women except for the sad fact her political persona contains a plethora of flaws equal if not far surpassing those of her likely opponent, Donald Trump. The polls have indicated both of these personalities are not liked by a great percentage of the electorate in both parties. Shall we say we have two white elephants and must choose one of them?

    As per Hillary, her baggage from her past political life and personal life as the co-dependent and enabler of a sexual psychopath,  dampens the joy of many who would otherwise love to honor her historic achievement of winning the Democratic presidential primary. She has done what Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Farraro failed to do.

    And yet her baggage includes possible indictments for email improprieties while Secretary of State, the Libyan fiasco that released ISIS upon the world; the abysmal failure of the Arab Spring; the fraudulent Clinton Foundation, including its receipt of millions in donations (while she was Secretary of State) from antiquated Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia who don't allow women to drive (yet she sings Silent Night about rights of women in these autocratic regimes who are also helping destabilize the Middle East by perpetuating sectarianism); her and her husband's (along with the Bush crime family) role in the rape of funds for Haitian earthquake relief;  her support for the Honduran coup against a democratic elected president, etc., etc, etc.

    Personally, I would like to be proud of her gender victory, especially since I am  the father of three high achieving women that I would like to see smash the glass ceiling of patriarchal culture as she has done, but something is rotten in Denmark! But we know what the people said as the Savior Jesus hung on the cross between the two thieves: give us the thieves and away with Him! America, your choice is between two thieves (forget about Bernie, he's Jesus! lol). May God have mercy on your soul!
    --Marvin X


    19. Black woman crowned Miss America

    June 5, 2016: Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber smiles after being crowned Miss USA during the 2016 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. (Jason Ogulnik/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

    The newly crowned Miss USA is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.

    "As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Deshauna Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."

    The winner of Sunday's 2016 Miss USA competition held at the T-Mobile Arena off the Las Vegas Strip will go on to compete in the Miss Universe contest.

    Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA. In a press conference following the event, the 26-year-old lieutenant from Northeast DC said she plans to take a break from the Army Reserve and had already discussed with superiors the possibility of going inactive for a couple of years should she win the title. She said she currently serves two days per month.

    "My commander should be watching right now," Barber said. "Two days a month is definitely not active duty. It is an obligation that I signed up for but they are very flexible in the United States Army Reserves."

    Barber said she plans to use the pageant's spotlight and her title to support veteran's causes and tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members. When asked what message she had for the presidential candidates -- including former pageant owner and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump -- Barber said they should focus more on veteran's issues, including the backlog at veterans hospitals.

    "I think that a lot of the topics that they discuss isn't as important," she said in a glittering gold gown.

    Barber's not the only contestant who had to address the election and the Republican candidate, who had a public break-up with the beauty pageant organization last year.

    Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House last June. He at the time co-owned The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, but the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the show. Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling off the entire pageant to talent management company WME/IMG.

    Miss Hawaii, who came in second Sunday night, punted during the question-and-answer segment when asked who she would vote for among the likely presidential candidates, Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    Chelsea Hardin acknowledged that there was no way to correctly answer the question during the beauty pageant. The question was framed with Clinton's likely status of being the first woman nominated by a major political party in the race for the White House. The 24-year-old college student from Honolulu responded that gender doesn't matter when deciding the next commander in chief.

    The other women in the top five were asked about voting rights, income inequality and the recent death of sports icon Muhammad Ali.

    Fan favorite Miss California, Nadia Grace Mejia, had stumbled and paused when answering a question about social and economic inequality. The 20-year-old model, who is the daughter of the 1990s one-hit-wonder singer known as "Rico Suave," had also talked about suffering from anorexia and wanting to promote body confidence earlier in the show.

    The beauty pageant organization also didn't shy away from addressing another controversy from last year -- Miss Universe.

    Steve Harvey made a cameo in a video at the start of the Miss USA show to poke fun of the Miss Universe crowning that he botched in December.

    Harvey was hosting Miss Universe last year when he mistakenly named Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo the winner before correcting himself on the stage. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines was then given the crown. Officials later said it was due to human error. The talk show host said he had re-read the card and noticed it said "first runner-up" next to the Colombia contestant's name before clarifying with producers his mistake.

    He took to Twitter after Miss USA Sunday night to mock himself again by highlighting the similarity of the two locations, the District of Columbia and the country of Colombia.

    20. The Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement Business District

    As the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party approaches, the following article by Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya should be considered by those attempting to establish the Black Arts Movement Business District in Oakland. We should study the pitfalls of the BPP in ideology, organizational structure, relationship to social classes, especially the grass roots or the people on the street in particular; programs and program funding, economic independence and the united front. One thing should be clear: conditions in Oakland are critical and thus require radical solutions. Conservative approaches will not move the Movement but only hinder progress that will be slow enough as we see with BAMBD caught in the bureaucratic quagmire of Oakland City Hall politricks.--Marvin X, BAMBD

    Why You Shouldn’t Romanticize the Black Panther Party

    Global Research, June 04, 2016
    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). It is arguably the most revolutionary and impactful organization created by the African-American liberation struggle. There is much that may be learned from the legacy of the BPP in advancing today’s struggle for freedom, justice and a world that is free of capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism and racism.
    The BPP’s explicit commitment to revolutionary socialism was a notable development, which serves as a contrast to the failure of many current activists and social justice organizations to openly embrace socialism. Well, we are not referencing Bernie Sanders’ “socialism” that is really capitalism with a human face. In Eldridge Cleaver’s On the Ideology of the Black Panther Party (Part I), he states that the BPP was committed to Marxism-Leninism or state socialism, while altering it to the Afrikan-American social reality. It should be expected that the ideas of socialism will be adapted to the concrete conditions in specific societies.
    It is not enough for the radical forces to assert that they are anti-capitalist. That is a politically negative and vague position. Radicals must name the political ideology to which they are committed. If progressive individuals and organizations appreciate the BPP’s radicalism, they need to seriously explore socialism as the antidote to capitalism.
    However, given humanity’s experience with authoritarian or state socialism in the former Soviet Union, the radicals of today would need to move away from the socialism of the BPP that promotes an all-power state and top-down leadership. The anarchist Mikhail Bakunin is on-point here: “Liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice. Socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” Revolutionary socialism must commit itself to ending all hierarchical relations in society. The creation of the classless, stateless and self-organized (communist) society is impossible through the path of state socialism.
    The BPP’s survival programmes served as an excellent way for the group to implant itself among the people as well as to organize with them. The BPP provided and/or initiated a comprehensive and impressive range of programmes. Huey P. Newton explains the context for these programmes:
    We recognized that in order to bring the people to the level of consciousness where they would seize the time, it would be necessary to serve their interests in survival by developing programs which would help them to meet their daily needs. For a long time we have had such programs not only for survival but for organizational purposes.
    There are two things that might become obvious to the reader after going through the book The Black Panther Party: Service to the People Program. Firstly, the programmes were not sustainable. They depended on donations from individuals, businesses and religious organizations or foundation funding to survive and they generated no revenue. If a radical group gets locked into this operational mode, it might degenerate into a social service, reformist political entity. Since revolutionary organizations will not be funded by the state and foundations, they must find other ways to self-finance the struggle for liberation.
    Secondly, the BPP’s survival programmes provide a compelling case for self-organizing the people to autonomously operate their projects, programmes or institutions. The people should not just serve as volunteers, advisors or clients. A central role of the organizers is to equip the people with the knowledge, skills and attitude to collectively address their needs. This approach would affirm in practice the slogan “All Power to the People” as well as operationalize participatory democracy within the ranks of the labouring classes.
    Furthermore, in the event that the revolutionary organizers and organizations are rendered ineffective by the secret police, regular cops, the court and prison system, as happened to the BPP, the people would be able to continue running their programmes and institutions. The state would have to repress the people, as a whole, in order to stop them from living the resistance through their projects, programmes and institutions.
    In this “Age of Vulgar Identity Politics” wherein each oppressed group retreats into the protective cocoon of its particular identity, the BPP’s practice of solidarity could instruct us on the strategic value of principled alliances among different people in society. Uniting the oppressed against the forces of oppression should be seen as a positive and essential action. In the paper Black Panther Party: 1966-1982, Michael Carpini states that “the Black Panther [P]arty connected the self-determinacy of blacks to the self-determinacy of other marginalized groups such as the poor, women, and homosexuals.” The preceding approach of the BPP offers a way forward in uniting the people who experience exploitation.
    Some Black nationalists viewed the BPP’s alliance with largely White organizations such as the Patriot Party, White Panther Party and Peace and Freedom Party with suspicion. Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) claimed that the BPP would play the role of cannon fodder for the White left. Ture’s position reflects a lack of confidence in the capacity of Afrikan revolutionaries to enter into alliances with White organizations on an equitable and non-exploitative basis. One would not argue that there will not be difficulties in the coalitions or alliances between revolutionary Afrikan and White organizations. But they must create principles of unity that will guide their actions and processes to deal with the unavoidable problems that will emerge when people work together.
    A problematic element of the BPP’s programme was the central role that it gave to the lumpenproletariat as agents of revolutionary transformation. Eldridge Cleaver channelled the BPP’s position on the lumpen when he asserted that “the Lumpenproletariat is the Left Wing” of the working-class in the Afrikan-American nation and the “Mother Country” (the United States). It argued that the working-class had embraced the values and aspirations of capitalism and had carved “out a comfortable niche for itself.” As a result of this development, the unionized working-class is now a part of a “most un-revolutionary, reformist minded movement that is only interested in higher wages and more job security.” The lumpen cannot be the left-wing of the working-class because it has no direct relationship with the world of work.
    According to the BPP, the isolation of the lumpen from the means of production and the dominant institutions leaves it with “no choice but to manifest its rebellion in the University of the Streets.” Cleaver and the BPP viewed the urban rebellion as the defining feature of the struggle for emancipation in the United States. This line of thought led Cleaver to declare that “One outstanding characteristic of the liberation struggle of Black people in the United States has been that most of the activity has taken place in the streets.” Since the urban uprisings are episodic and short-lived, the bulk of the organizing work among the Afrikan-American working-class takes place in the spaces in which it lives, works and plays. It is not the members of the lumpenproletariat who carry out the consistent, systematic and ongoing organizing that is the basis of effecting Afrikan liberation. It is the working-class and its radical or revolutionary petite bourgeois allies who shoulder the task of organizing and mobilizing the people.
    Cleaver rebuked some Marxist-Leninists when he wrote that “It can be said that the true revolutionaries [the lumpen] in the urban centers of the world have been analyzed out of the revolution.” There is no question about the fact that the ruling-class sees urban insurrections as frightening affairs and that the street becomes the theatre of the oppressed during those infrequent moments of resistance. But Cleaver’s claim that “by and large, the rebellions have been spearheaded by Black Lumpen,” ignored the fact that many of the young people who actively participated in these uprisings were members of the working-class.
    According to the March 1968 issued document the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disordersthat reported on the causes behind the 1967 rebellions:
    The typical rioter was a teenager or young adult, a lifelong resident of the city in which he rioted, a high school dropout; he was, nevertheless, somewhat better educated than his non-rioting Negro neighbor, and was usually underemployed or employed in a menial job. He was proud of his race, extremely hostile to both whites and middle-class Negroes and, although informed about politics, highly distrustful of the political system.
    The typical participant in the rebellions were members of the Afrikan-American working-class and that may be deduced from the fact that he was “underemployed or employed.” It is reasonable to assume that the lumpen-proletariat do participate in urban uprisings but given its social characteristics, this class might simply use this festival of resistance in the streets for its own immediate material gains.
    The composition of Marx’s lumpen-proletariat, as outlined in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, was definitely not a positive or endearing description:
    Alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni,1 pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux [pimps], brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème.
    The Marxist Internet Archive lists the 21st century members of the lumpenproletariat as “beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables… and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements.”
    In the autobiography A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story, Elaine Brown, former BPP Chairperson, incorrectly includes members of the working-class (“black domestics and porters, nurses’ aides and maintenance men, laundresses and cooks, sharecroppers, unpropertied ghetto dwellers”) in the lumpen category. Brown demonstrates a lack of ideological clarity on the question of the people who constitute the working-class. But she did capture key members of the Afrikan-American lumpen: “gang members and the gangsters, the pimps and the prostitutes, the drug users and dealers, [and] the common thieves and murderers.”
    How realistic is the expectation that the criminalized lumpen elements, Huey P. Newton’s “illegitimate capitalists,” will serve as agents of liberation? If members of the lumpen are transformed into agents of the revolution by way of methodical political education and disciplined organizing within the working-class, they have essentially committed “class suicide” and, as such, would no longer be lumpen.
    The BPP was ill-advised in believing that the lumpen, especially the criminal elements, could serve as a revolutionary force. The lumpen panders to predatory behavior, self-destructive lifestyle of the street and “militarism.” The lumpen can become a useful part of the revolutionary force, but only after extensive political and ideological education. There is not even a single case, since the emergence of capitalism, of the lumpen serving as the revolutionary force in struggles for liberation. Samuel Farber’s essay The Black Panthers Reconsidered is a good source on the challenges of the lumpen as political actors or activists.
    Radical organizations and organizers should be wary of the BPP’s top-down leadership approach. Kwame Ture highlights this problem in his autobiography Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture):
    From a SNCC perspective, the organization seemed to me entirely too hierarchical. With a quasi-military chain of command even. Not enough serious political education instead of slogans. Also, there apparently was no time, and absolutely no provision, for full internal discussion within the organization. Instead, “mandates,” “orders,” and “directives” were handed down whether or not folks agreed with or even understood them.
    In this climate, to raise questions, even legitimate and sincere ones, was too often seen as disloyalty or as challenging authority, an error to be corrected with physical or ideological intimidation, expulsion, or both… C’mon, “beat downs” may be a common gang tactic, but they are no way to build loyalty, unity, or even discipline in a radical black political movement.
    The BPP’s revolutionary legacy offers us many useful lessons in our organizing work to create the just and emancipated world. We should fully explore and draw insights from the BPP’s legacy in other areas such as gender relations in movement organizations, practising principled anti-imperialism, role of armed resistance in the global North and the centrality of systematic political education in preparing organizers. Romanticizing the contribution of the Black Panther Party would make adoring fans of us, and not clear-eyed, unsentimental revolutionaries.
    Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator, organizer and writer and a member of the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.

    21. Black People Are In A State Of Economic Emergency!

    By Omar Huff
    The National Urban League 40 years ago released the first edition of its State of Black America report. The report interjected serious consideration of the social economic and social political issues facing African Americans into the national discourse.

    Published in 1976, schools had been legally desegregated for 22 years, the Civil Rights Act of 1965 had been in place 11 years, and the economy was one year into economic recovery from the recession that lasted from November 1973 to March 1975.

    Blacks were nearly twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, the median household had only 59 cents for every dollar of income in the white household, and African Americans were three times more likely to live in poverty than whites.

    To go further back and add the statistic provided by the elder statesman on black economics, Claude Anderson, at the end of slavery in 1876, blacks owned less than one half of one percent of the total wealth of the U.S. That figure has remained the same to this day almost 150 years later.
    Overall wealth and so called spending power is the focus of our talk today.

    The National Urban Leagues 40 year comparison from 1976-2016 is not much of a shock or surprise to many in the black community, despite having a black family in the White House for the past 8 years. The New York Times in 1976 published an article titled "Distress Signal," reporting on the first edition of the National Urban Leagues State of Black America.

    The Times article said at the time, "Beyond the statistics it contains, gloomy enough by themselves, the report dramatizes a substantial failure of political leadership." This is what we need to also discuss moving forward.

    The median income for a black family in 1976 was $9,242 for a white family it was $15,537. In 2016 the average black family earns approximately $35,481 compared to the average white family nationwide at $59,622.

    In terms of people living below the poverty line, in 1976 Blacks were 29.4% compared to whites at 9.1% in 1976. In 2016 Blacks are 27% in poverty living below that line, whites are at 10%. The unemployment rate of blacks in 1976 was at 13.2%, whites were at 7%. Today Black unemployment they say averages at 9.6% with whites at 4.8%. Home ownership for blacks was 43.7% compared to whites at 67.6%. Due to the recent recession of 2008, blacks were hit harder in this most important category.

    The average American has most of their wealth in their home so this aspect is critical. Today black home ownership is at 43% with whites at 72.6%. There are other stats that you could check out at,

    As we can see from this study, things have not changed much from an economic standpoint for blacks in forty years straight! There are some exceptions of course. We have many black families that make well over $35k. We have many examples of athletes and entertainers and personalities that have high paying jobs. The problem is there are many many more of us living and stuck in or just above the poverty line.This has the average where it is. The New York Times in 1976 called all of this a "Substantial failure of political leadership." I would have to agree partially with that for those times and today. The problem is in the midst of all of these depressing statistics somehow, some way, Black people as a group are spending more than 1 Trillion dollars a year on things! How could this be possible?! I am pretty sure the white media put this stat out and the black media picked it up and it spread throughout the black community. It sounds good and impressive. "Blacks predicted to have 1.1 Trillion dollars in spending power by 2015." 

    The comparison of the so called "spending power" to other economies throughout the world. This would be a fair comparison if Blacks in America were actually in unison in their spending, as a nation moving as one, taking accountability for every aspect of our spending. Converting that so called "spending power" into real economic power in politics, agriculture nationwide and community by community, building the necessary institutions, owning the properties and businesses in our own communities, banking etc.

    I started feeling like the 1 Trillion dollar spending article was a calling card for other businesses, if they did not already know about the "spending power" of the black community. What else could it have been. The state of Black Americans as well as Blacks throughout the diaspora economically is in a dire state of emergency! We have the stats! I have studied some of the breakdown of where the money was being spent. Outside of general living expenses, we are buying clothing like "The lifestyles of the rich and famous". Black people are the number 1 consumers of alcohol from the study and conversly we love and spend hardily on entertainment. We have no ownership in most of this designated spending, and we do little to no producing. 

    The way the 1 trillion is being spent is the equivalent to a rapper with the newest Jordans, tens of thousands of jewelry with overpriced bottles of alcohol just throwing stacks of money at the strip club right after we get paid. No savings, No investments. No ownership, No Business, No security for children. No real solid plan for economic freedom. Just spending. Actually the rapper may have his finances in some order, savings, 401k, college funds, home ownership, investments. He may have just put a small amount aside just for the club, to create the illusion of wealth to attract more business. If this is true he would be doing way better than the Black collective basically throwing away billions of dollars each year with no real R.O.I.

    While I do agree that there has been a general failure in the handling of Black people not just from politicians, but the U.S government in general. There are things that could be done now, with what we have, that could turn the tide economically. There are factors that can be applied to our 1 trillion dollar economy that could set us up to build and grow and sustain ourselves with an economic platform to last for generations to come! These same factors can and should be applied to your personal finances fist, your home economy which is your business. Are you running your home finances like a trip to the strip club? There are six principles to live by economically that can sustain you as a family I will be covering these in a little more detail in later posts so stay tuned.
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    22. The Black Arts Movement Business District Town Hall Meeting, Sunday, June 12, 3-6PM
    by Aries Jordan
    Aries Jordan

    Marvin X. Jackmon

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