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Are we not spending twelve billion dollars per month to maim and murder in Iraq?

Do we not have a trillion dollar annual defense budget. It is predicted the total

cost of the war in Iraq will be three trillion dollars. Do we yet expect peace at home?

Bush says better over there than here, apparently he is blind to the slaughter



Parable of the Man Who Left the Mountain

By Marvin X

On April 4, 2008, forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I found myself packing to return to the Bay Area, a killing floor for black people. During the past five years, I was blessed to write and publish five books at my retreat in the rolling hills of Cherokee, California: (In the Crazy House Called America, Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, Land of My Daughters; Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality; How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy.
I thank my patron, Abdul Leroy James, for making it possible for me to write the books. I appreciate the wonderful care doctors gave me at the hospital in Paradise, especially Dr. Linda Valles, who urged me to take care of my health because she realized I had great work to do. I shared my writings with her and she shared them with the other doctors who treated me.
She was seriously concerned that nothing happen to me “on her watch,” such as a heart attack or stroke. She admonished and inspired me to keep my blood pressure under control, along with my cholesterol (LDL) and enlarged prostate. I encourage my brothers to do the same. It takes time and work, but as they say, our health is our wealth.
And as the brothers told me when I entered prison, “Don’t get sick!” But it wasn’t the fortieth anniversary of MLK’s transition that made me sit at the computer to pen this article. Of course I can never forget that day. I was underground in Chicago when he was killed, having returned to the US from Canada as a resister to the war in Viet Nam. The west side of Chicago burned, as did one hundred American cities.
I got up the next morning on the south side to find it under occupation by the National Guard. A few days later, in reprisal to the murder of King, on April 8, 1968, my friends in California in the Black Panther Party staged a shootout with the Oakland police. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded and 17 year old Lil’ Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs after his surrender.
But as I packed for the return to the city, it reminded me of when I returned to Oakland in 1979, specifically to help stop the killing of black men by the Oakland police. I was teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno, and was treated royally by the people of Nevada, even though it is considered one of the most conservative states in the Union.
 In mockery of the sign Welcome to the Biggest Little City in the World, I’d written The Biggest Little Mississippi in the World. Was I ungrateful? But my friends in Oakland urged me to give up the “good life” and return to the battlefield, especially after my best friend’s 15 year old brother was killed by the police, Melvin Black, shot twelve times.
The OPD had been killing a black man per month. Melvin was the last. I returned to help plan and organize the Melvin Black Human Rights Forum at the Oakland Auditorium. I invited Minister Farrakhan, Angela Davis, Donald Warden, Oba T’Shaka, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Paul Cobb and others. Five thousand people came and stayed from twelve noon to midnight without incident. Journalist Edith Austin wrote a classic review of the event in the Sun Reporter newspaper.

Oakland’s first black mayor Lionel Wilson and Congressman Ron Dellums refused to come. Farrakhan blasted them in his keynote address. But after this event, the police killing of black men ceased. But our relief was short lived because what followed has continued since 1979: black on black homicide. At first it was turf wars over Crack, drive-by killings with Uzi’s.
These days, assault weapons are en vogue, but thirty years later the slaughter continues. But I am not returning as the self-appointed savior. I am older and wiser now. I see the matter as an economic problem, but equally a spiritual disease or mental health issue, for only sick souls desire to murder each other, and once it starts, after a short time it becomes an addiction, a pandemic—yes, worldwide.
Are we not spending twelve billion dollars per month to maim and murder in Iraq? Do we not have a trillion dollar annual defense budget. It is predicted the total cost of the war in Iraq will be three trillion dollars. Do we yet expect peace at home? Bush says better over there than here, apparently he is blind to the slaughter outside the White House where disease, ignorance, drugs wars and murder fill the streets of Washington, DC and other cities coast to coast.
In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, there is one murder or more per day. The mayor called for one hundred thousand peace keepers to help make the streets safe. What if the defense budget was truly spent on homeland security: for economic parity, health care for all, educational upgrade in science and technology, reformation of prison inmates so they can be productive members of society?
What if, what if, what if? And so, in the fourth quarter of my life, I can only attempt to finish the work of being active in the cause of social justice, of using my pen to speak truth, to put my body in the battlefield for the freedom we all deserve. The true test of the holy man is not up in the mountains but down on the ground, on the streets of the wicked cities where the devils roam in the day and in the night. We must embrace them with unconditional love, for if there is one thing a devil needs, it is love, to learn to love and to be loved in return.
Yes, the old soldier is going home to Oakland, the town that consumed those wonderful years of his childhood and most of his adulthood, from 7th Street in West Oakland to Grove Street (MLK) where he obtained black consciousness on the steps of Merritt College, along with Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and others. Perhaps it is possible the City of Oakland needs to be reminded that to win over the insurgents in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the US gave them jobs securing their neighborhoods. Maybe if our youth were given similar jobs, crime, including drug selling, homicide and prostitution would decline, maybe overnight.
Certainly it’s worth the try. Mayor Ron Dellums has made a start by not asking the criminal history of job applicants. He can immediately train and hire unemployed youth, including former prison inmates, to secure the hood, block by block. They should be trained in conflict resolution and anger management. It is obvious the Oakland police are unable, unwilling or unqualified to stop the killing. Isn’t it time to try Plan B?
Do it in the name of our brother, the Prince of Peace, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just remember, he wasn’t a glorified social worker—he was a revolutionary! He didn’t try to maintain the status quo, he caused a radical change in the status quo. We have the same task, youth and elders, for we stand on the shoulders of MLK and all the ancestors who resisted through the centuries.
posted 28 March 2010 

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Ronald Vernie "Ron" Dellums (born November 24, 1935) served as Oakland's forty-fifth (and third African-American) mayor. From 1971 to 1998, he was elected to thirteen terms as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Northern California's 9th Congressional District, after which he worked as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. Dellums was born into a family of labor organizers, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps before serving on the Berkeley, California, City Council. Dellums was the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and the first openly Socialist Congressman since World War II. His politics earned him a place on President Nixon's enemies list.

During his career in Congress, he fought the MX Missile project and opposed expansion of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber program. When President Ronald Reagan vetoed Dellums' Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate overrode Reagan's veto, the first override of a presidential foreign policy veto in the 20th century.—wikipedia

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Parable of the Cellphone (Marvin X)

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Now Available from Black Bird Press

The Wisdom of Plato Negro:Parables/Fables By Marvin X

On Saturday, September 1, 2012, 3-6pm, Marvin X will read and sign The Wisdom of Plato Negro at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin Streets, downtown Oakland. Donation $20.00, includes signed copy of book. For more information, please call 510-200-4164.

Sponsored by the Post Newspaper Group, Lajones Associates, OCCUR, West Oakland Renaissance Committee/Elders Council, Black Bird Press. Proceeds benefit Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway.


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Renaissance of Imagination

Review of Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/Fables by Marvin X

Interview w/ Marvin X20 August 2012 @35 min.

On Saturday, September 1, 2012, 3-6pm, Marvin X will read and sign The Wisdom of Plato Negro at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin Streets, downtown Oakland. Donation $20.00, includes signed copy of book. For more information, please call 510-200-4164.

Sponsored by the Post Newspaper Group, Lajones Associates, OCCUR, West Oakland Renaissance Committee/Elders Council, Black Bird Press. Proceeds benefit Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway.

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*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .  The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.” 

His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.”

Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Season of Adventure

By George Lamming

First published in 1960, Season of Adventure details the story of Fola, a light-skinned middle-class girl who has been tipped out of her easy hammock of social privilege into the complex political and cultural world of her recently independent homeland, the Caribbean island of San Cristobal. After attending a ceremony of the souls to raise the dead, she is carried off by the unrelenting accompaniment of steel drums onto a mysterious journey in search of her past and of her identity. Gradually, she is caught in the crossfire of a struggle between people who have "pawned their future to possessions" and those "condemned by lack of learning to a deeper truth." The music of the drums sounds throughout the novel, "loud as gospel to a believer's ears," and at the end stands alone as witness to the tradition which is slowly being destroyed in the name of European values. Whether through literary production or public pronouncements, George Lamming has explored the phenomena of colonialism and imperialism and their impact on the psyche of Caribbean people.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel.

Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong.Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)

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Ghosts in Our Blood

With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean

By Jan R. Carew

Carew, an activist, scholar, and journalist, met Malcolm X during his last trip abroad only a few weeks before he was killed in 1965. It made such an impression on Carew that he felt compelled to search out Malcolm's family and friends in order to flesh out the family history. He interviewed Wilfred (Malcolm's older brother) and a Grenadian friend of Malcolm's mother named Tanta Bess. Comparing his family's experiences with that of Malcolm X, he gives the most complete picture yet of Malcolm's mother. Carew also offers a tantalizing glimpse of Malcolm X's transforming himself into El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, a man less blinded by his own racial prejudices yet as committed to the betterment of his race as ever. Just before his death, Malcolm X became convinced that a U.S. agency was involved with those trying to kill him, and Carew here reveals the evidence Malcolm X gave him to support these beliefs. The mystery of Malcolm's death remains unresolved, and we are once again filled with regret that he was cut down before he could fulfill the promise of his later days. While this book will not replace The Autobiography of Malcolm X (LJ 1/1/66), it is an important supplement. All libraries that own the autobiography should also purchase this one.—Library Journal

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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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 Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 10 August 2012




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Related files: Parable of the Man Who Left the Mountain  / Parable of Zionism and National Insanity  / Parable of Love