Books by Marvin X
Love and War: Poems /
In the Crazy House Called America /
Woman: Man's Best Friend /
Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality
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Marvin X as Plato
After stopping by Marvin X's
outdoor classroom at 14th and Broadway, downtown
Oakland, Ishmael Reed told the students gathered around
Marvin X, "He's the modern day Plato, teaching his
students on the street." Marvin told the people gathered
in front on DeLauer's bookstore, "Ishmael Reed is my
elder. He's always been supportive of my projects and I
deeply appreciate him for this."
Ishmael had come to the bookstore
/24/7 new stand to get a copy of the Sunday Los
Angeles Times which carried a review of his latest
book. He said the review cut him up as usual. He said
people cut him up for his views on Alice Walker and
other feminists, but according to Ishmael the most
critical review of Walker's Color Purple was by
The people who stop at the open air
classroom include a cross section of Oakland's humanity,
including whites, blacks, youth and elders. David
Glover, director of OCCUR, stopped through to advise
Marvin to be a part of the cultural committee for the
Ron Dellums administration soon to take the reins of
A young sister stopped to say she
was in pain because her friends are being killed on the
streets for no reason. She has vowed not to be a victim
but she is traumatized at the loss of some many friends.
She is 19.
The police officer who works the
beat that includes 14th and Broadway, comes through
picking up litter. Seems a waste of time for the officer
to pick up litter when there are so many unsolved
homicides. The officer is known to post up at 12 o'clock
to listen to Plato talk with his variety of students.
A brother came by to challenge
Plato, telling him he didn't know anything, especially
since he wasn't from the south, New Orleans in
particular. Plato told him New Orleans was as much a
killing floor as Oakland, look at the recent deployment
of National Guard to stop the murders.
Another brother came through and
invited Marvin to speak with youth at a West Oakland
school. He agreed, telling the brother, "I recently
spoke with children at the Black Repertory Group's
summer camp. I was deeply impressed with their
intelligence. They asked serious questions, as serious
as any I've received from college and university
students across the country."
On Sunday, July 30, Plato was given
a book party in Richmond, another Bay Area killing
floor. But the party, hosted by Sister Shukuru, was
probably the most powerful gathering of black
consciousness people in Richmond history. The party was
attended by movement elders and organizers, including
Alona Cliffton, Phil Hutchins of SNCC,
Margo Dashiel, Dr. James Garrett,
Dr. J. Vern Cromartie, Jim Lacey, Ann Lynch, Suzzette
Celeste, Richmond poet President Davis representing
conscious hip hop.
Poet Opal Palmer Adisa gave a
reading of her work that was as spicy and hot as a two
dollar pistol in South Philly.
The audience was enraptured by the
musical accompaniment of Elliott Bey Savoy, who backed
Marvin's reading and the audience discussion. A brother
showed a video of himself reading Marvin X's poem The
Origin of Blackness in Venezuela. He read in Spanish,
then English. The poem was originally written in
English/Arabic. Marvin then read an updated version on
the theme of the poem, Black History is World History.
Much thanks to Sister Shukuru, a great organizer,
formerly with Brooklyn's East.
* * * *
Plato stood at the
subway entrance on Broadway in front of
DeLauer's news store that serves as his
outdoor classroom. Three young girls come
out of the SUB sandwich shop. Seeing Plato's
books on display, they ask if he wrote them.
"You live in Oakland?"
"You grow up in
"Seventh and Campbell."
The girls laugh and
giggle with shame, "He grew up in Campbell
Village," they say to each other.
"He from the bottom."
"I don't know what ya
talkin bout the bottom. I don't use that
term. I grew up on Seventh and Campbell.
That ain't Campbell Village."
"Yes it is," they
insisted, "He from the projects. You wrote
them books, huh?"
"Yeah. And what if I am
from the projects, so damn what?"
"Don't get mad," one
"I ain't mad."
"Why don't you write a
book for young people?"
"What do you want me to
write about young people?"
"Write about how bad
boys treat us."
"I might do that."
"What's your grandson
"Your grandson, what's
"He don't live in West
"Oh, well, we go tell
our mamas to come buy yo books." They ran
down Broadway toward home.
Plato stood thinking
about what they'd said. So what if he grew
up in the projects.
Maybe he should write
something for young people. And how did they
know he had grandsons? Plato scratched his
posted 3 August 2006 /
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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
Caucasian babies. As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
what's in your heart than what's in your
wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons
became one of America's shrewdest
entrepreneurs, achieving a level of
success that most investors only dream
about. No matter how much material gain
he accumulated, he never stopped lending
a hand to those less fortunate. In
Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare
blend of spiritual savvy and
street-smart wisdom to offer a new
definition of wealth-and share timeless
principles for developing an unshakable
sense of self that can weather any
financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy
can make you money, but money can't make
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
update 3 February 2012