Friday, August 20, 2010
Take your time Lisa. All we have is time. You will get where you're going, there is no rush, no need to keep up with the Jones. The boy is precious--all the forces in the universe are out to get him for he is a pleasure to himself and others, also a danger to himself and others. He must walk on a tightrope because if the police don't get him his brothers might. He must put on the amour of God, this is the only way he will make it out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death alive. What is the amour of God: consciousness, being in this world but not of this world, for most of this world is illusion, as you found out and he shall find out. Most of his friends ain't friends. Most will turn states evidence against him. You are his best friend because you will be with him down to last wire when his friends have long gone. They will not visit him in prison, you will. They will not come to court, you will. They will not send him money on the books, you will. Tell him this.
Love, Marvin X
Monday, August 16, 2010
Parable of Black August
The American prison movement began around the time the staff of Black Dialogue magazine made a trip to Soledad prison to visit the black culture club chaired by Eldridge Cleaver and his lieutenant Alprentis Bunchy Carter, 1966. It was a historic meeting of the black student movement and the budding prison movement. George Jackson would eventually emerge as the hero and prophet of the movement, but there were many others who played a role.
My brother served time in Soledad, but he was in, North, another section from Cleaver, George Jackson and others who were in Central. Yet he had the same duties to gain consciousness and fight for survival. He said after reading John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom, he was seething with hatred for the white man when he learned of conditions during the Middle Passage and the cruelty of plantation life. He and forty other brothers were shipped out of Soledad to San Quentin in 1965 after a racial disturbance that lead to the death of several white inmates. My brother said the department of correction sent a letter to Mama saying he was sent out on suspician of murder and rebel rousing.
According to my brother, George Jackson's best friend was Doug Nolan. Everybody knew Doug was going to eventually get killed because he was a boxer and "more militant" than Malcolm X.
One of Marvin X's recent books is a memoir of Eldridge Cleaver, My friend the
Devil, Black Bird Press, 2099. He teaches at his Academy of Da Corner, 14th and
Broadway, downtown Oakland. Email him at email@example.com.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Academy of Da Corner at Berkeley Flea Market
Rashidah Sabreen, vocalist, musician,
dancer, Linda Johnson, choreographer/dancer, and Raynetta Rayzetta, choreographer/dancer, will participate in the Bay Area Black Theatre Festival. We anticipate drummer Val Serrant, in background,
will participate as well.
Marvin X's Academy of Da Corner received tentative support for the Bay Area Black Theatre Festival at the Berkeley Flea Market. A representative of Laney College BSU pledged support. Brother Tim, a BSU leader, missed the black plays performed last Sunday at the San Francisco Theatre Festival. Marvin X chided him for missing the performance of his friend, rapper Ghetto Prophet in X's Flowers for the Trashman. Hopefully, one venue for the BABTF will be the Laney College Theatre, X's former classroom when he taught theatre at Laney, 1981, and produced In the Name of Love.
Possible venues include Malonga Theatre, Black Repertory Group Theatre, EGYPT theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Buriel Clay Theatre in San Francisco.
After discussing the festival idea with a painter, X suggested painters should exhibit their works at the festival, including Dewey Crumpler, Arthur Monroe, Ted Pontiflet, et al. Actually, after seeing , director, painter Paul Roach make use of his paintings in his dramatic productions, X thinks this is a way to make the paintings more functional as part of the set.
The Oakland Post and OCCUR have agreed to be sponsors. If you or your organization would like to be a sponsor of the Bay Area Theatre Festival, please contact Marvin X ASAP.
If Bay Area folks would like to get a taste of works that will be performed at the festival, they are encouraged to make their way to West Oakland's Thea Bowman Theatre, 10th and Peralta. Go attend the Lower Bottom Playaz production of Mama at Twilight. After three years, Ayodele Nzingha's crew have created a well oiled production, despite the cold. Last night a woman said during the Q and A that the play is worth defying the cold of the outside theatre. We agree,
we doubt there is a finer group of actors, especially young actors in Bay Area black theatre.
Their lines are well timed, movement also. And the leit motif musical arrangement is a perfect enhancement of the drama, accenting the action at every turn. We thank the technical crew for their perfection.
Ayodele has written, directed and produced a classic in the genre of black family drama, on par with Raisin in the Sun. The subject is AIDS and the problems thereof, denial, infidelity, faith, and family cohesion. The actors must all be congratulated for their concentration and dedication to the art of drama, especially the young members of the cast. Cat Brooks as Mama was remarkable in her portrayal of an infected wife who has the faith of Job that her husband didn't infect her since he is HIV negative. There is a hint the wife may have indulged with her deacon, or her husband may have had a gay encounter while in prison. Adimu Madyun as Pappi has a powerful voice although some variation in range may add another level to his character.
Koran Jenkins as Kris is coming into his own as a young actor. Along with his brother Stanley as Sun, and Tatiana Monet as Toyna, we see the next generation of actors evolving before our eyes and we are pleased.
Ayodele asked someone in the audience what they thought about her "McGwyver Theatre"? Well, we can say again that it is a well oiled machine: Cast, tech crew, director.
Don't miss a work of art in the hood. The cultural revolution lives!
August 13,14, 20,21, 7:30 pm.
August 15 and 22, 2pm.
Tickets $20.00, $15.00
Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theatre
920 Peralta Street, Oakland 94607
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Parable of They Will Come
If you build, they will come--from Field of Dreams
They are coming to Academy of Da Corner. In agitated states of mind, they come. They do not give their names or say hello, how are you, they just come and begin talking as if Plato is an old friend who knows them, although he does not, though they may have seen him standing on the corner for years. Most have never said anything to him before today. But they are now in his face spilling their guts, their trauma and grief. He listens patiently, saying nothing.
A father said his son was shot in the arm last week while walking with friends at the BART subway station. The father said his son had been shot before, ten times in the chest, but survived. After recovery, the father and son confronted the killer. The son lifted his shirt and showed the villain his wounds.
He told the shooter he forgave him, then turned as if to go, then turned back around and shot the shooter in the head, spilling his brains on the ground. The father and son walked away. The father said he felt no remorse.
Another person came to Plato Negro. He didn't say hello, how are you brother, As-Salaam-Alaikum. He began talking as if he had an appointment with the street doctor: he said the FBI was harassing him. Wherever he travels throughout the US, the FBI follows him. He said they were following him because his father was a pimp and gangsta. The father was serving 24 years but was about to be released. The son said he didn't know the dark side of his father, he thought he was a square who went to work, but pimping was his other life.
He couldn't understand why the FBI was harassing him, but Atlanta was the only city that assisted him regarding the harassment. The Atlanta FBI directed him to a lawyer for assistance.
A woman came up to Plato Negro and also began talking without saying hello or anything, like she knew Plato from way back, though he couldn't recall talking with the woman. She told him welfare killed the black family, especially the black man. She said it was a trick by the white man to destroy black people.
Plato told her we were not brought here to have healthy, stable families, although some of us are able to maintain stable families, but none of us have a clean bill of health--we are all victims of traumatic stress slave syndrome--not post because the slavery is still active and real with wage slavery and virtual slavery or involuntary servitude under the US constitution when incarcerated. And the white man is sick as well with his full blown addiction to white supremacy racism and domination. The woman agreed and continued down the street.
Plato stood on the corner thinking about his own trauma and grief. For some reason a friend came to mind. When two friends came by he shared with them what was on his mind: the memory of his friend William Carlyle who joined the ancestors a few years ago. He was a hustler and theology student. While hustling T shirts on the street, he got into a dispute with a woman over a T shirt he'd sold her. She departed but came back with some friends who beat down William with a baseball bat, then robbed him. He later died at the hospital from a blood clot in his leg as a result of the beating.
He was a conscious brother who sought knowledge at every turn. As he made big money hustling, he would pay a person to share knowledge with him. He was a student at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. The two brothers also knew William but said they had no idea how he died until now. They agreed he was a good brother who should not have died like a dog.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Marvin X, America's Rumi, Plato (Negro), Hafiz, Saadi
Marvin X, one of the movers and shakers of the 1960s Black Arts Movement, is also considered the father of Muslim American literature, according to Dr. Mohja Khaf, novelist and professor of English and Islamic literature at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. In her essay Teaching Diaspora Literature: Muslim American literature as an emerging field, she said, "Marvin X is
If there is such a thing as Muslim American literature (MAL) and she argues there is, "It begins with the Muslims of the Black Arts Movement (1965–75). The Autobiography of Malcolm X is one of its iconic texts; it includes American Sufi writing, secular ethnic novels, writing by immigrant and second-generation Muslims, and religious American Muslim literature.
Sonia Sanchez, whose A Blues Book for Blue Black Magical Women (1974) is the work of
her Muslim period. Amiri Baraka, whose A Black Mass (2002) renders the Nation of Islam’s Yacoub genesis theology into drama. As with Sanchez, the author was Muslim only briefly but the influence of the Islamic period stretches over a significant part of his overall production.
as Marvin X."
Suheir Hammad, Palestinian New Yorker, diva of Def Poetry Jam (on Broadway and HBO),
whose tribute to June Jordan in her first book of poetry, Born Palestinian, Born Black
(1996), establishes her line of descent from the BAM, at least as one (major) influence on
Of Marvin X, Mohja had this to say in her review of his 1995 collection Love and War:
Have spent the last few days (when not mourning with friends and family the passing of my family friend and mentor in Muslim feminism and Islamic work, Sharifa AlKhateeb, (may she dwell in Rahma), immersed in the work of Marvin X and amazed at his brilliance. This poet has been prolific since his first book of poems, Fly to Allah, (1969), right up to his most recent Love and War Poems (1995) and Land of My Daughters, 2005, not to mention his plays, which were produced (without royalties) in Black community theatres from the 1960s to the present, and essay collections such as In the Crazy House Called America, 2002, and Wish I Could Tell You The Truth, 2005.
Marvin X was a prime shaper of the Black Arts Movement (1964-1970s) which is, among other things, the birthplace of modern Muslim American literature, and it begins with him. Well, Malik Shabazz and him. But while the Autobiography of Malcolm X is a touchstone of Muslim American culture, Marvin X and other Muslims in BAM were the emergence of a cultural expression of Black Power and Muslim thought inspired by Malcolm, who was, of course, ignited by the teachings and writings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And that, taken all together, is what I see as the starting point of Muslim American literature. Then there are others, immigrant Muslims and white American Muslims and so forth, that follow.
There are also antecedents, such as the letters of Africans enslaved in America. Maybe there is writing by Muslims in the Spanish and Portuguese era or earlier, but that requires archival research of a sort I am not going to be able to do. My interest is contemporary literature, and by literature I am more interested in poetry and fiction than memoir and non-fiction, although that is a flexible thing.
I argue that it is time to call Muslim American literature a field, even though many of these writings can be and have been classified in other ways—studied under African American literature or to take the writings of immigrant Muslims, studied under South Asian ethnic literature or Arab American literature.
With respect to Marvin X, I wonder why I am just now hearing about him—I read Malcolm when I was 12, I read Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez and others from the BAM in college and graduate school—why is attention not given to his work in the same places I encountered these other authors? Declaring Muslim American literature as a field of study is valuable because recontextualizing it will add another layer of attention to his incredibly rich body of work.
He deserves to be WAY better known than he is among Muslim Americans and generally, in the world of writing and the world at large. By we who are younger Muslim American poets, in particular, Marvin should be honored as our elder, one who is still kickin, still true to the word!
Love and War Poems is wrenching and powerful, combining a powerful critique of America ("America downsizes like a cripple whore/won't retire/too greedy to sleep/too fat to rest") but also a critique of deadbeat dads and drug addicts (not sparing himself) and men who hate. "For the Men" is so Quranic poem it gave me chills with verses such as:
| for the men who honor wives |
and the men who abuse them
for the men who win
and the men who sin
for the men who love God
and the men who hate
for the men who are brothers
and the men who are beasts
"O Men, listen to the wise," the poet pleads:
| there is no escape |
for the men of this world
or the men of the next
He is sexist as all get out, in the way that is common for men of his generation and his radicalism, but he is refreshingly aware of that and working on it. It's just that the work isn't done and if that offends you to see a man in process and still using the 'b' word, look out. Speaking of the easily offended, he warns in his introduction that "life is often profane and obscene, such as the present condition of African American people." If you want pure and holy, he says, read the Quran and the Bible, because Marvin is talking about "the low down dirty truth." For all that, the poetry of Marvin X is like prayer, beauty-full of reverence and honor for Truth. "It is. it is. it is."
A poem to his daughter Muhammida is a sweet mix of parental love and pride and fatherly freak-out at her sexuality and independence, ending humbly with:
| peace Mu |
it's on you
Other people don't get off so easy, including a certain "black joint chief of staff ass nigguh (kill 200,000 Muslims in Iraq)" in the sharply aimed poem "Free Me from My Freedom." (Mmm hmm, the 'n' word is all over the place in Marvin too.) Nature poem, wedding poem, depression poem, wake-up call poems, it's all here. Haiti, Rwanda, the Million Man March, Betsy Ross's maid, OJ, Rabin, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and other topics make it into this prophetically voiced collection of dissent poetry, so Islamic and so African American in its language and its themes, a book that will stand in its beauty long after the people mentioned in it pass. READ MARVIN X for RAMADAN!
According to Bob Holman of New York's Bowery Poetry Club, Marvin X is the USA’s Rumi, and his nation is not “where our fathers died” but where our daughters live. The death of patriarchal war culture is his everyday reality.
X’s poems vibrate, whip, love in the most meta- and physical ways imaginable and un-. He’s got the humor of Pietri, the politics of Baraka, and the spiritual Muslim grounding that is totally new in English –- the ecstasy of Hafiz, the wisdom of Saadi. It’s not unusual for him to have a sequence of shortish lines followed by a culminating line that stretches a quarter page –- it is the dance of the dervishes, the rhythms of a Qasida.
“I am the black bird in love
I fly with love
I swoop into the ocean and pluck fish
in the name of love
oceans flow with love
let the ocean wash me with love
even the cold ocean is love
the morning swim is love
the ocean chills me with love
from the deep come fish full of love” (from the opening poem, “In the Name of Love”)
“How to Love A Thinking Woman”:
“Be revolutionary, radical, bodacious
Stay beyond the common
Have some class about yaself
Say things she’s never heard before
Ihdina sirata al mustaquim
(guide us on the straight path)
Make her laugh til she comes in her panties
serious jokes to get her mind off the world.”
There are anthems (“When I’ll Wave the Flag/Cuando Voy a Flamear la Bandera”), rants (“JESUS AND LIQUOR STORES”), love poems (“Thursday”) and poems totally uncategorizable (“Dreamtime”). Read this one cover to cover when you’ve got the time to “Marry a Tree.”
X's latest works include The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables, Black Bird Press, 2010, Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez and Yoself, Black Bird Press, 2010. His Academy of Da Corner Reader's Theatre recently performed The Wisdom of Plato Negro at the San Francisco Theatre Festival. His play (with Ed Bullins) Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam, was produced in New York at the New Federal Theatre, 2008. One Day in the Life, a docudrama of addiction and recovery, is the longest running African American drama in Northern California, running from 1997 through 2002.
White America Discovers Marvin X--Fifty Years Later
Marvin X and his Academy of Da Corner rocked the San Francisco Theatre Festival today. Not only did the largely white audience enjoy his very first play Flowers for the Trashman, 1965, produced by the drama department at San Francisco State University, but they enjoyed as well his current production of The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables.
Additionally, the audience was blessed with the productions of his two top drama students, Ayodele Nzingha, Lower Bottom Playaz, and Geoffrey Grier, San Francisco Recovery Theatre. Both playwrights, actors and directors evolved from the mentoring of Marvin X.
Ayodele as actress, director and producer was consummate in her rendition of Opal Palmer Adisa's Bathroom Graffiti Queen. Since an actor can only excel when given a proper script, we must acknowledge the fine writing of Opal Palmer Adisa. But the actor takes the script to the next level of excellence and Ayo surpassed the script with her acting ability.
Her Lower Bottom Playaz performed in grand manner Marvin X's first play Flowers for the Tashman. The playwright was totally pleased with the young men who delivered the drama in the classical form it deserved after a half century in the Black Arts Movement.
Ayo's Mama at Twilight remains a touching story of denial and faith in the family drama about HIV/AIDS. The Lower Bottom Playaz of West Oakland, childhood home of Marvin X, have had time to become well skilled in the presentation of their repertory. All the actors must be congratulated. Someone mentioned they were especially happy to see the young men's performance in Flowers for the Trashman.
Geoffrey Grier's plays, Jet, The Spot, and Night at the Blackhawk, are equally honorable and worthy of praise. We especially enjoyed his production of Amiri Baraka's Dutchman. The audience enjoyed it as well. Even though we may have wanted a younger actor to perform the role of Clay, the person who did it was so skillful we excused his age.
It was amazing to see that Flowers for the Trashman and the Dutchman are indeed classics that have withstood the test of time. Fifty years later they are still relevant and powerful dramas of black consciousness in America. Lula said to Clay that it's all about your manhood. And so it is.
The day ended with the Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables by Marvin X. The mostly white audience sat in anticipation as members of Academy of the Corner Reader's Theatre gathered on stage. Marvin X opened with singer/guitarist Rashidah Sabreen's original song A Real Love, joined by Marvin's poem What is Love. The audience sensed they were in for something different.
Paradise Jah Love came with Parable of the Penguin, then Parable of Oakland's Day of Absence, recounting the day the Oscar Grant verdict was announced. It was a communal ritual read also by Talibah, who joined with her drum. It the background was the music of Elliott Bey's synthesizer. Rashidah added dance numbers. The group held up poster pictures of Oscar Grant.
Mechelle LaChaux performed Parable of the Cell Phone. The audience went stone wild. Mechelle is an actress and singer, so her linguistic flexibility is unmatched. Marvin X's language will put Tyler Perry in pre-school. Critic Wanda Sabir said his language will "knock the socks off old ladies." Well, there were several senior women in the audience who didn't miss a linguistic beat.
We think the hottest piece was Parable of the Woman in the Box, performed by choreographer/dancer Raynetta Rayzetta, accompanied by Rashidah. Raynetta is X's favorite choreographer/dancer. She had the audience inside the box with her, as someone said.
X ended with his poem You Don't Know Me, accompanied by a Rashidah Sebreen original song.
White America has discovered Marvin X! Yes, fifty years later!
The USA's Rumi...the politics of Baraka, the ecstasy of Hafiz, the wisdom of Saadi....
--Bob Holman, Bowery Poetry Club, New York City
If you want to learn about motiviation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.
Marvin X is available for readings/lectures on a variety of topics. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, August 6, 2010
- Oakland City Mayor Ron Dellums speaks during a press conference about a protest in downtown Oakland over the involuntary manslaughter conviction of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle for the shooting death of Oscar Grant, July 9, 2010 in Oakland, California. Photograph by David Paul Morris/Special to the ChronicleCredit: David Paul Morris
(08-01) 17:27 PDT OAKLAND — This is decision week for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who has promised to let everyone know on Friday, the last day possible, whether he'll run for a second term.
Critics might see Dellums' long silence on a possible re-election campaign as a symbol of his four years in office, during which, in their eyes, he has been missing in action for extended stretches. In this case, however, the lack of communication has been a sign to his most ardent supporters that they should move on.
"I worked for him for 25 years," said Assemblyman Sandré R. Swanson, D-Alameda, who served as an aide to Dellums before running for office himself. "I would assume that if he were planning to run, that he would call me."
Oakland Mayor Dellums Decides Against Second Term
Posted: 10:55 pm PDT August 3, 2010Updated: 3:57 pm PDT August 4, 2010
Copyright 2010 by KTVU.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums won't seek second term
OAKLAND -- Mayor Ron Dellums has announced he will not seek a second term.
Dellums cited personal reasons. He announced his decision during a meeting with several dozen City Hall department heads, community leaders and supporters, and at a meeting with other supporters at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland.
Dellums became emotional during the Marriott meeting, sources said.
With the deadline looming Friday for taking out election papers, speculation had been widespread among City Hall insiders that the 74-year-old mayor would not seek re-election.
Six other candidates, including City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Jean Quan and former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, are running in the Nov. 2 election.
Dellums spent 28 years in Congress and was a lobbyist for several years in Washington, D.C., before being elected mayor of Oakland in June 2006.
"Five years ago, my wife and I accepted the call to service based on our love of Oakland, our home, and our lifelong commitment to public service," Dellums said in a statement. "I have dedicated 35 incredible years -- most of my adult life -- to my community. I have been a political activist, community organizer, social worker, city councilmember, legislator, and now an executive. Now it's time to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership."
Over the last four years, Dellums was criticized for appearing disengaged on the city's biggest issues, including Oakland's multimillion-dollar budget deficits, and particularly early in his tenure, crime. He has also come under fire for running up tens of thousands of dollars in bills for out-of-town trips, and for tax problems. The IRS placed more than $250,000 in liens against his property for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.
He has also been called "missing in action," and often has not shown up for major city functions. He did not attend Tuesday night's National Night Out event, which brought more than 25,000 people into the streets of Oakland at neighborhood parties and barbecues.
"He may not have held as many press conferences as people would have liked," Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, said. "But he's never been the kind of statesman that sought publicity. I personally will celebrate his career and respect his decision."
Robert Smith, a political-science professor at San Francisco State who has followed Dellums' political career and considered writing a book about him, said he was "not surprised at all."
"He understands that people in the city are not happy with what he has done. I think he thinks he can't win another election. Even if he could win, I don't think he would run.
"I don't think he has enjoyed the job. Watching him for many years and understanding his background in Congress, he wasn't in a position for executive leadership."
Quan also said Dellums' decision did not shock her.
"I'm one of the few people who was saying all along that Ron would not run again, so I'm not terribly surprised," said Quan (Montclair-Laurel). "I will always respect his work in the Congress. And he's done a great service to this city. He's probably done a better job than people give him credit for.
"But being mayor was probably not the right fit for him," she said. "He's more of a big picture kind of guy. He did accomplish things during his term, like working to win the arbitration to get control of police scheduling, and stepping up to try to woo Major League Baseball when others had pretty much given up. Big-picture stuff. But ask him to make a budget where he has to go through all the little details and mediate between community groups -- that's just not his thing."
Kaplan said she was grateful for the "mayor's many, many years of public service" and planned to meet with him next week. She is hopeful that Dellums supporters will now support her candidacy, she said.
According to sources, Dellums said during his meeting at the Marriott that he was "tired" and wanted to focus the remainder of his life on himself and his wife. He did, however, say he would continue to offer his services to Oakland.
"It's clear he has earned time to rest after having had a very extensive public service career over four decades. An outstanding career," said Swanson, who attended the small meeting at the Marriott on Wednesday morning.
Perata said Dellums will always "have a special place in the pantheon of American leaders."
"His work to end the Vietnam War, apartheid and give AIDS international attention constitutes a great legacy for this nation. He's brought honor and dignity to his place of birth, and to a profession too often lacking same. As always, I wish him good fortune," Perata said.
Dellums credits himself with bringing more diversity to Oakland's boards and commissions, engaging young people in the political process and building collaborative relationships across community -- including philanthropic, nonprofit partners and government.
Geoffrey Pete, an Oakland businessman and longtime Dellums supporter, called Dellums' decision a "travesty for Oakland."
"He is a statesman," Pete said. "He has set a tone for this city, and now it's going to revert to the same backbiting and pettiness and bickering that was so prevalent before his term in office.
"Here's a man who knows Washington like the back of his hand, can represent us there, knows all the players, and we didn't realize what we had."
"The media should be ashamed of itself for the way they treated this world-class statesman. His shoulders were big and broad. The fruits of the foundations he laid, we will benefit from for years to come. (His departure) is our loss. More than we know."
We are honored to present this interview with Augusta , a Bay Area blues living legend. We met Augusta while we were both drug addicted and homeless on the streets of the Bay Area. We both had a life before our fall into the the lower depths. We both have recovered and again our creative selves. Augusta performed at the San Francisco 75th birthday bash for at the Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center. Also at the African American Musuem/library reading of the Wisdom of Plato Negro. From the interview, you will see he is more than qualified to sing the blues.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Parable of Fallujah
A former US soldier who fought in the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, told Plato Negro he and his buddies kicked in 400 doors in Fallujah. He said they became professional home invaders. Once inside, they were able to discover a weapons cache in 90 seconds, whether hidden in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, attic , under the floor, etc.
They separated men from women then searched and seized anything of value, money, jewelery, whatever.
After awhile, the soldier said he no longer dodged bullets. He accepted his fate for he knew he deserved death or whatever. He was wounded several times, once by an IUD, a stabbing, bullets. He showed Plato Negro is wounds.
He said it is very difficult if not impossible to defeat a people who do not fear death, who relish death like a thirsty man craves water. He mocked the insurgents who desire to die for virgins in the sky!
His remarks reminded Plato Negro of another former soldier who also said after a time he did not bother to stay on his post at night because he knew he deserved death, so he went to sleep.
A Special Forces veteran told Plato Negro America deserved 9/11 for the crimes she had him doing around the world, mainly murdering in cold blood and other despicable actions. He loves Plato Negro but says he cannot read but twenty pages of his writings at a time because it inflames him and makes him again want to kill, this time the real enemy!
As per Fallujah, Plato Negro is aware the town is suffering an epidemic of birth defects in newborn children, supposedly from depleted uranium used in bullets, shells and bombs. The birth defect rate is higher than in Japan after the US dropped the atomic bomb in WWII.
In Fallujah, babies are born with no arms, no legs, no head, two heads, etc. The town was brought to its knees after being one of the most radical centers of Sunni resistance to the US occupation. It had to be broken--and it was!
The veteran who was a master home invader is now working security at an after hours club in Oakland. He appreciated Plato's book Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez and Yoself. The brother said it is ironic Plato's classroom is at 14th and Broadway and his after hours club is two blocks away at 14th and Webster, but he does not allow youth in his club wearing sagging pants. He encouraged Plato Negro to attend the after hours to distribute his literature.
At the club, the brother is as armed as he was in Iraq, body armor, tasser and side arm. The women must be searched as well since the men hide their weapons with the women. He said the brothers and sisters don't understand he is not going to take any b.s. from them, especially after facing death angels in Iraq. And even though he is only 5'8'' or 9'', no one is going to push him aside and enter the club. He presses 400lbs. One night a tall, drunk brother tried to go pass him but it didn't happen. The brother departed but returned to apologize to the man who had faced death angels on the streets of Fallujah!
Marvin X and the Academy of Da Corner performs Pull Yo Pants Up fada Prez and The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Friday, August 6, 7pm, Third Eye Video, 6040 Telegraph, Oakland. Donation $10.00.
They perform Sunday, August 8, 11:30 and 4:30, at the San Francisco Theatre Festival, Yerba Buena Center, 4th and Mission Streets.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
| From: Marvin X Jackmon |
List Editor: Abdul Alkalimat
Editor's Subject: Fw: David Blackwell Passes Away
Author's Subject: Fw: David Blackwell Passes Away
Date Written: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 08:33:07 -0500
Date Posted: Tue, 19 Jul 2010 09:33:07 -0400
*From:* Lee O. Cherry of the African Scientific Institute
*Dr. David Blackwell was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th
century. He was featured in our African Scientific Institute's /"Blacks
In Science Calendars"/ during the 1990s. We will miss him.*
/from New York Times, Published: July 16, 2010/
David Blackwell, Scholar of Probability, Dies at 91
By William Grimes
David Blackwell, a statistician and mathematician who wrote
groundbreaking papers on probability and game theory and was the first
black scholar to be admitted to the National Academy of Sciences, died
July 8 in Berkeley, Calif. He was 91.
The death was confirmed by his son Hugo.
Mr. Blackwell, the son of a railroad worker with a fourth-grade
education, taught for nearly 35 years at the University of California,
Berkeley, where he became the first black tenured professor.
He made his mark as a free-ranging problem solver in numerous
sub-disciplines. His fascination with game theory, for example, prompted
him to investigate the mathematics of bluffing and to develop a theory
on the optimal moment for an advancing duelist to open fire.
“He went from one area to another, and he’d write a fundamental paper in
each,” Thomas Ferguson, an emeritus professor of statistics at the
University of California, Los Angeles, told the Berkeley Web site. “He
would come into a field that had been well studied and find something
really new that was remarkable. That was his forte.”
David Harold Blackwell was born on April 24, 1919, in Centralia, Ill.
Early on, he showed a talent for mathematics, but he entered the
University of Illinois with the modest ambition of becoming an
elementary school teacher. *He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics
in 1938 and, adjusting his sights, went on to earn a master’s degree in
1939 and a doctorate in 1941, when he was only 22. *
After being awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship, established by the clothing
magnate Julius Rosenwald to aid black scholars, he attended the
Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton but left after a year when,
because of his race, he was not issued the customary invitation to
become an honorary faculty member. At Berkeley, where the statistician
Jerzy Neyman wanted to hire him in the mathematics department, racial
objections also blocked his appointment.
Instead, Mr. Blackwell sent out applications to 104 black colleges on
the assumption that no other schools would hire him. After working for a
year at the Office of Price Administration, he taught briefly at
Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and Clark College in Atlanta
before joining the mathematics department at Howard University in
Washington in 1944.
While at Howard, he attended a lecture by Meyer A. Girshick at the local
chapter of the American Statistical Association. He became intensely
interested in statistics and developed a lifelong friendship with
Girshick, with whom he wrote “Theory of Games and Statistical
As a consultant to the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1950, he applied
game theory to military situations. It was there that he turned his
attention to what might be called the duelist’s dilemma, a problem with
application to the battlefield, where the question of when to open fire
His “Basic Statistics” (1969) was one of the first textbooks on Bayesian
statistics, which assess the uncertainty of future outcomes by
incorporating new evidence as it arises, rather than relying on
historical data. He also wrote numerous papers on multistage
“He had this great talent for making things appear simple,” Peter
Bickel, a statistics professor at Berkeley, told the university’s Web
site. “He liked elegance and simplicity. That is the ultimate best thing
in mathematics, if you have an insight that something seemingly
complicated is really simple, but simple after the fact.”
Mr. Blackwell was hired by Berkeley in 1954 and became a full professor in
the statistics department when it split off from the mathematics
department in 1955. He was chairman of the department from 1957 to 1961
and assistant dean of the College of Letters and Science from 1964 to
1968. He retired in 1988.
In 1965 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
In addition to his son Hugo, of Berkeley, he is survived by three of his
eight children, Ann Blackwell and Vera Gleason, both of Oakland, and
Sarah Hunt Dahlquist of Houston; a sister, Elizabeth Cowan of Clayton,
N.C.; and 14 grandchildren.
Mr. Blackwell described himself as a “dilettante” in a 1983 interview
for “Mathematical People,” a collection of profiles and interviews.
“Basically, I’m not interested in doing research and I never have been,”
he said. “I’m interested in /understanding/, which is quite a different
thing. And often to understand something you have to work it out
yourself because no one else has done it.”