ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Convicted, flees into exile a second time, this time to Mexico City and Belize. Marries Barbara Hall,
a student from Fresno State College, in Mexico City. Revolutionary artists
Elizabeth Catlett Mora and Poncho Mora witness civil ceremony
Chronology of Marvin X (El Muhajir )
By Marvin X
1944 Born May 29, Fowler, CA to Owendell and Marian M. Jackmon, second child. Sits atop desk as father and mother publishes Fresno Voice, the Central Valleys first black newspaper. Father was a Race man who served in WWI. He introduced Christian Science to wife who becomes a lifelong follower of Mary Baker Eddy. Mr. Jackmon remained a Methodist. Marvin attended Lincoln and Columbia elementary schools in Fresno. In Oakland where the family moved, he attended Prescott, McFeely and St. Patrick elementary schools, also Lowell Jr. High. Wrote in the childrens section of the Oakland Tribune.
1962 Graduated with honors from Edison High School in Fresno. Classmate and girlfriend was poet/critic/professor Sherely A. Williams (now deceased). Marries Pat Smith, Catholic school girl, first son born, Marvin K. Attends Merritt College in Oakland where he meets Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Ken Freeman and Ernie Allen. Introduced to Black Nationalism. Wins short story contest in college magazine, story published in SoulBook, revolutionary nationalist publication.
1964 Second son born, Darrel, now deceased. Graduates with AA in sociology. Attends San Francisco State College.
1965 At the request of novelist John Gardner, San Francisco State College drama department produced first play, Flowers for the Trashman. Called the best playwright to hit SF State by Kenneth Rexroth. Worked as TA for novelist Leo Litwak.
1966 Writings begin to appear in Soulbook, Black Dialogue, Negro Digest (Black World), Black Scholar, Journal of Black Poetry, Black Theatre, and Muhammad Speaks.
Black Dialogue staff visits Eldridge Cleaver and Bunchy Carter in Soledad prison. Marvin is present. Black Dialogue publishes Cleavers essay, My Queen, I Greet You, later it appears in Soul On Ice. Co-founds Black Arts West Theatre with Ed Bullins, Ethna Wyatt, Duncan Barber, Hillery Broadus and Carl Boissiere.
1967 Co-founds Black House political/cultural center in San Francisco with Eldridge Cleaver, Ed Bullins and Ethna Wyatt. Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Chicago Art Ensemble, Avotja, Reginald Lockett, Emory Douglass, Samuel Napier, Lil Bobby Hutton, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, attend Black House.
Black Panthers plan invasion of state capital at Black House. Marvin joins Nation of Islam, flees to Toronto, Canada to protest draft and resist Vietnam War.
1968 Goes underground to Chicago shortly before assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lived on Southside during riots. Meets Don L. Lee, Gwen Brooks, Hoyt Fuller,
Phil Choran, Carolyn Rogers, Johari Amini and others of Chicago BAM (Black Arts Movement. In Harlem joins Ed Bullins at the New Lafayette Theatre. Works as associate editor of Black Theatre magazine. Associates with Amiri Baraka, Askia Toure, Sun Ra,
Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Last Poets, Barbara Ann Teer, Milford Graves. Publishes Fly to Allah, poems that later establish him as the father of Muslim American literature, according to Dr. Mojah Kahf of the University of Arkansas department of English and Islamic Studies.
1969 Apprehended returned from Montreal, Canada, charged with draft evasion. Defended by Conrad Lynn. Returns to California to stand trial and teach at Fresno State University until removed at the insistence of Governor Ronald Reagan, by any means necessary. Angela Davis is also removed from teaching at UCLA. Student protesters burn computer center at Fresno State. Students from throughout California attend draft trial in San Francisco.
1970 Convicted, flees into exile a second time, this time to Mexico City and Belize. Marries Barbara Hall, a student from Fresno State College, in Mexico City. Revolutionary artists Elizabeth Catlett Mora and Poncho Mora witness civil ceremony. Deported from Belize because his presence was not beneficial to the welfare of the colony of British Honduras. While in custody, police ask him to teach them about black power. Sentenced to five months in Federal prison, Terminal Islam. Serves as Muslim minister.
1971 First daughter born, Nefertiti. Founds Black Educational Theatre in Fresno. Performs musical version of Flowers as Take Care of Business. Reactionary negroes kill choir director in theatre, put hit out on poet. He flees to San Francisco, opens Black Educational Theatre in Fillmore District, joined by Sun Ras Arkestra. Produced five hour musical version of Take Care of Business, with cast of fifty at Harding Theatre on Divisadero, choreography by Raymond Sawyer and Ellendar Barnes.
1972 Produced Resurrection of the Dead, a myth/ritual dance drama with Plunky, Babatunde Lea, Victor Willis as lead singer (Village People), dancers included Raymond Sawyer, Jamilah Hunter, Nisa Ra, Thomas Duckett. Lectures at University of California, Berkeley in Black Studies. Marries UCB student, Nisa (Greta Pope), second daughter born, Muhammida El Muhajir. Awarded National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.
Travels to southern Mexico, Oxaca, Trinidad and Guyana. Interviews prime minister Forbes Burnham. Interview appeared in Black Scholar. Published WomanMans Best Friend, poems, proverbs, lyrics, parables, Al Kitab Sudan Press.
1973 Third daughter, Amira Sauda, born to Barbara (Hasani). Returns to San Francisco State University, awarded BA. Earns MA in one semester, English/Creative writing. Teaches at SF State, black literature, journalism, radio and television writing.
1975 Lectures at Mills College, Oakland. Produced musical version of WomanMans Best Friend. Upward Bound program pressured director Connie Wye to halt production. She refused, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and expired.
1976 Organizes Eldridge Cleaver Crusades. Hires staff of Black Muslims for Cleavers ministry. Meets Donald Rumsfeld, Charles Colson, Jim and Tammy Baker, Rev. Robert Schuller. Deals with Rev. Billy Graham, Rev. Falwell, Pat Roberson, Cal Thomas, Pat Boone, Hal Linsey, Art DeMoss.
1978 Returns to Fresno. Falls in love with Sharon Johnson, childhood friend. See autobiography Somethin Proper.
1979 Lectures at University of Nevada, Reno. Awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities planning grants. Produced Excellence in Education Conference. Participants included Eldridge Cleaver, Dr. Harry Edwards, Dr. Wade Nobles, Fahizah Alim, Sherley A. Williams, Ntizi Cayou, Dr. Ahimsa Sumchi. Publishes Selected Poems. Returns to Oakland to organize Melvin Black Human Rights Conference at Oakland Auditorium to stop police killing of black men. Participants included Minister Farakhan, Angela Davis,
Paul Cobb, Eldridge Cleaver, Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dezzie Woods-Jones. Police killings stop but drive by shootings begin along with introduction of Crack.
1980 Produced National Conference of Black Men at Oakland auditorium. Participants included Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Nathan Hare, Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Oba Tshaka, Dr. Lige Dailey, John Douimbia (founder), Betty King, Dezzie Woods-Jones.
1981 Taught drama at Laney College. Did production of In the Name of Love. Taught manhood training at Merritt College.
1982 Taught English at Kings River Community College, Reedly CA. Retires from Teaching with 97% student retention rate. Meets Marsha Satterfiend.
1983 Vends on streets of San Francisco, organizers vendors (mostly white) under his non-profit corporation. Harassed under color of law, too much power for a nigguh in downtown San Francisco, especially in the Union Square shopping area.
1984 Vends political buttons at Democratic and Republican conventions. San Francisco Chronicle called him the Button King. In Dallas, the Republicans observed his salesmanship and said, If he makes one more dollar, hell be a Republican. Descends into the muck and mire of hell: Crack drives him into the mental hospital several times.
1989 Writes article on Huey Newton, based on last meeting in Oakland Crack house. Article becomes source of Ed Bullins play, Salaam, Huey, Salaam. Article is beginning of autobiography, Somethin Proper.
1990 Begins recovery at San Franciscos Glide Church with Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani. Transcribes testimonies of Crack addicts. Writes docudrama of his addiction and recovery One Day In The Life.
1995 Transition of Marsha Satterfield at 41 years old, cancer. Poet flees to Seattle, WA. Works on autobiography. Publishes Love and War, poems.
1996 Produces One Day In The Life with Majeeda Rahmans Healthy Babies Project, a recovery program for woman and children. Play performed at Alice Arts Theatre.
1997 One Day In the Life opens at Sistas Place in Brooklyn, New York, also Brecht Forum in Manhattan and Kimakos Blues in Newark, New Jersey, home of the Barakas.
1997 Attends National Black Theatre festival, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Meets Carolyn Turner. She provides him with time and space to finish autobiography, plenty of sweet tea and dirty rice, in the tradition of the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
1998 Transition of Eldridge Cleaver. Kathleen Cleaver approves poem Soul Gone Home to be read at funeral in Los Angeles. Marvin and Majeeda Rahman organize memorial service in Oakland. Participants included Emory Douglas, Tarika Lewis, Richard Aoki, Dr. Nathan Hare, Reginald Major, Dr. Yusef Bey, Minister Keith Muhammad, Imam Al Amin, Kathleen and Joju Cleaver. Publication of autobiography Somethin Proper.
1999 Establishes Recovery Theatre. Begins run of One Day in the Life. Gets support from Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco after Uhuru House performance. One Day becomes longest running black play in the Bay. Ishmael Reed says, Its the best drama I ever saw.
2000 Meets Suzzette Celeste, MSW, MPA.
2001 Produces Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness at San Francisco State University. Participants included: Nathan and Julia Hare, Rev. Cecil Williams,
Dr. Cornell West, Amiri and Amina Baraka, Ishamel Reed, Askia Toure, Avotja, Eddie Gale, Rudi Wongozi, Rev. Andriette Earl, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Elliott Bey, Destiny, Tarika Lewis, Phavia Kujichagulia, Suzzette Celeste, Tureeda, Geoffrey Grier, Rev. Otis Lloyd, Kalamu ya Salaam, Ptah Allah-El. Funded by Glide Church and Vanguard foundation.
Video of Kings and Queens screened at New York International Independent film festival. In Newark on 9/11, stopped at airport by police. Daughter Muhammidas documentary Hip Hop the New World Order, screened on 9/12.
2002 Transition of son Darrel at 38, suffered manic oppression. Publication of In the Crazy House Called America, essays.
2004 Produced San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair. Participants included Amiri and Amina Baraka, Nathan and Julia Hare, Al Young, Askia Toure, Kalamu ya Salaam, Ishamel Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Reginald Lockett, Charlie Walker, Jamie Walker, Davey D, Opal Palmer Adisa, Devorah Major, Fillmore Slim, Rosebud Bitterdose, Sam Hamod,
Tarika Lewis. Published Land of My Daughters, poems, and Wish I Could Tell You The Truth, essays. Published issue of Black Bird Press Review newspaper.
2006 Writes Sweet Tea, Dirty Rice, poems; Up From Ignorance, essays; Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality, essays; Mama Said Use The Mind God Gave You, autobiographical novel. Archives go to Bay Area university. Transition of friends: Dr. Salat Townsend, Paul Shular, Alonzo Batin, Dewey Redman and Rufus Harley.
* * * * *
Marvin X in German, Spanish and Italian
A German publisher has requested the rights to translate Marvin X’s 2002 book of essays IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA into German, Spanish and Italian. The publisher wrote the poet that he became interested after reading comments by death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal. Marvin X says, “I don’t know what Mumia said, but it was positive because people have mentioned they read his comments out here on the Left coast.” Regarding the German publisher, Marvin X says “I am definitely interested in translating my work into Spanish for the Latinos throughout the Americas. Who knows, I may join Chavez in Venezuela since he knows the Devil!” The University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library recently acquired the poet’s archives, including several hand written manuscripts.
* * * * *
Marvin X On Discovery Channel
Marvin X has agreed to participate in a Discovery Channel production on the life of Muhammad Ali to be shown next year. There will be a series of three one-hour documentaries on Ali, Mandela and Castro. The documentary will explore Ali’s life and legacy to date, including his passionate fight for civil rights, his 20 year battle against Parkinson’s and his standing up for religious freedom. Marvin X’s life parallels Ali’s, visk-a-vis the Nation of Islam and refusing to fight in Vietnam.
* * * * *
For more on Marvin X at Fresno State University, check out the archives of Gov. Ronald Reagan and FSU President Frederick Ness. Google has ample entries for Marvin X. Visit his blog: www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com . Email him at: jmarvinx@yahoo. com. His books are available from Black Bird Press, 1222 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA 94702, $19.95 each. For speaking engagements, call 510-355-6339
* * * * *
Books by Marvin X
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
posted 21 March 2009