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Please sign petition for Black Arts Movement Cultural District for downtown Oakland CA

Please sign petition for Black Arts Movement Cultural District for ...

Will Oakland establish the Black Arts Movement Cultural and Business District?

Please sign this petition: Black Arts Movement Cultural District for downtown Oakland

Marvin X, Black Arts Movement

Ancestor Amiri Baraka and Elder Marvin X, two founders of the Black Arts Movement, coast to coast. These brothers enjoyed a 47 year friendship and artistic relationship.

If you ever find
yourself, some where
lost and surrounded
by enemies
who won't let you
speak in your own language

who destroy your statues

& instruments
who ban
your omm bomm ba boom

then you are in trouble
deep trouble
they ban your
omm boom ba boom
you in deep deep


probably take you several hundred years
to get
--Amiri Baraka

Bay Area authors, artists, activists celebrate Chauncey Bailey
in the BAM District--Joyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin 
 photo Gene Hazzard/Adam Turner

We are calling for the Black Arts Movement District along the 14th Street corridor, downtown Oakland, from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Alice Street. This corridor should be the resurrection of 7th Street, West Oakland, Harlem of the West. It should be the cultural and economic expression of North American Africans who have been the vanguard of resistance to white supremacy domination in Oakland and America. Yes, Oakland is the City of Resistance, like Fallujah in Iraq. Let's be clear, during the 1960s North American Africans in Oakland suffered a military defeat by the US Government's Cointelpro, the effort to prevent the rise of a black messiah and the liberation of the Black Masses. The revolutionary Black Panther Party was ultimately defeated on the streets of Oakland by police, military and intelligence agencies of America. See Stanley Nelson's film Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution. Fifty years later we are still fighting the police, miseducation of our children, urban removal (now called gentrification), joblessness and incarceration; still suffering traumatic slave syndrome, unresolved grief and a pervasive toxic environment.
Culturally, housing for North American Africans is disappearing rapidly, artistic institutions are few and funding is minimal while European American art and cultural institutions flourish, especially in the downtown area. 
Our cultural gatherings are under attack. We are fined for singing in church while Black, drumming while Black, partying at Lake Merritt while Black: No amplified music, no Bar b Que, no alcohol= No Nigguhs at the Lake! Black women from the Bay were recently kicked off the Napa Wine Train for laughing while Black. 
Richard Wright said it best in Native Son, "Your very presence is a crime against the State!...."
It is time to stand our ground, maybe it's the last stand, but stand and resist white supremacy domination in Oakland. Oakland's socalled multi-racial demographics is not what Oakland is about. Oakland is the City of Resistance to oppression and pervasive discrimination in every sphere of cultural life: political, economic, educational, religious. Resistance is the key to Oakland's past and future. The Black Arts Movement District will continue the tradition of art for liberation, not to perpetuate the world of make believe projected by the dominate culture.
WE call upon all conscious people to attend the upcoming planning meetings to demand the Black Arts Movement District.
--Marvin X
Black Arts Movement co-founder

 Black Arts Movement/Black Liberation fighters Angela Davis, Marvin X, Sonia Sanchez
Letter from City of Oakland Planning Department

From: Parker, Alicia a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">>
Date: Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 2:57 PM
Subject: Plan Downtown - Artists Group on 10/27 at 11am
To: "" a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">>

Dear Ms. Diouf,

My name is Alicia and it is my pleasure to invite you to a meeting to discuss arts in Downtown Oakland. As part of Plan Downtown we are convening a meeting with artists and cultural leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 11am at 1544 Broadway. The group will be composed of artists, downtown gallery owners and curators, representatives from performance venues, and cultural leaders. We will discuss the place for arts in the future of downtown, how to ensure equity as we grow as a city and how to reach the widest audience (across cultures and ages).

It would be great if you are able to make it. I’ve attached some flyers so that you can add the other community events to your calendar. We’re having a “hands-on design” session at 6pm Monday, Oct. 19 (the Rotunda Building, 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza), a “pin-up” session at 6pm on Thursday, Oct. 22 (1544 Broadway) and a “work-in-progress” presentation at 6pm Wednesday, Oct. 28 (The Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway).

Please let me know if you have any questions or need any clarification. I look forward to hearing from you. (510) 238-3362

Thank you,

Alicia Parker, AICP, Planner III | City of Oakland | Bureau of Planning | 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3315, Oakland, CA 94612 | Phone: (510) 238-3362 | Fax: (510) 238-6538 |Email:  |  Website:

City of Oakland Planning Meetings on the Downtown Future
Be there or be square!

We hope to see you at tonight’s Hands-On Design Workshop, which kicks off a ten-day series of events to engage the public in planning Downtown Oakland’s future. 
At the end of the ten-day charrette, the community and planning team will have collaboratively developed the bones of Plan Downtown, which will guide future land use, development, housing, employment, transportation, community character and arts and culture in Downtown.
Monday, October 19, 6 to 8pm
Hands-On Design Workshop – TONIGHT
The Rotunda Building, 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Consultants will lead the public through discussion and activities to identify the important issues associated with the future of Downtown and illustrate how Oaklanders might like to see the area evolve.
Tuesday, October 20 through Tuesday, October 27
Open Design Studio
9 am to 6 pm daily (closed Sunday), open until 8 pm on Tuesdays and Thursday
1544 Broadway, across from Latham Square
Drop by at any time to meet the City’s Plan Downtown team, including experts in fields such as environment, architecture and economics. Share your ideas, ask questions and find out what other Oaklanders are envisioning for Downtown.
Thursday, October 22, 6 to 7 pm
Pin-up Open House
1544 Broadway
An illustrative plan designed throughout the week to help visualize change will be pinned up on the wall for the public to see and discuss.
Saturday, October 24, 9 am to Noon
Downtown Walking Tour
Tour departs from 1544 Broadway
The walking tour will highlight areas of change and opportunity in Downtown, giving tour participants a chance to consider the existing urban form and possibilities for growth.
Tuesday, October 27, 12:30 to 1:30 pm
Parking Summit
1544 Broadway
City transportation staff will provide information about the Downtown Oakland Parking Study and facilitate a conversation about parking strategies.
Wednesday, October 28, 6 to 8 pm
Work-In-Progress Presentation
The Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway
The planning team will present the ideas, goals and draft visualizations generated for Plan Downtown to get feedback from the public to make sure the plan is on the right track.
For more information on the Plan Downtown Oakland, please visit the project web page at

Gay Plair Cobb, Marvin X, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Laney College President Elnora T. Webb, Dr. Nathan Hare, father of Black Studies, and Post Newspaper Publisher Paul Cobb. Laney College celebration of the BAM 50th Anniversary, 2015.
photo Ken Johnson

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Black Arts Movement at Laney College, Feb. 14, 2015. Left to Right: Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb, Laney Art Professor Leslee Stradford, Rt. Col. Conway Jones, Jr., BAM co-founder Marvin X, Mayor Schaaf holding X's granddaughter Naeemah, grandson Jahamiel, Laney College President Elnora T. Webb, Dr. Nathan Hare, Lynette McElhaney, President of the Oakland City Council. 

California ArtBeat
California Arts Council
Advancing California through the Arts and Creativity
October 02, 2015

Gov. Brown Signs Legislation Creating CA Cultural Districts

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 189, a measure empowering the California Arts Council to designate areas as Cultural Districts!
The districts will be approved by the Council through a competitive application process. As part of the program, we'll provide technical and promotional support to the districts, as well as collaborate with public agencies and private entities to maximize the benefits to the local and state economy.

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom with co-authors Assembly Members Ian Calderon and Marie Waldron, and Senator Ben Allen. 

"Whether it be the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, the Tower District of Fresno, or the artistic enclaves of the North Coast, California is internationally recognized for its abundance of creative and cultural businesses, organizations and events," stated Assemblymember Bloom. "Designating areas with vibrant creative communities as Cultural Districts will not only celebrate California's diverse cultural landscape, but will also help to draw economic development and tourism to local economies."
Stay tuned for more information on the launch of the California statewide Cultural Districts program. 


The Black Arts Movement Poet's Choir and Arkestra, University of California, Merced, 2014 


From the archives of the Oakland Post Newspaper

Friday, November 21, 2014

BAM Artists seek "Black Arts Movement District" in Oakland

Caption: Left to right, Amiri Baraka, chief visionary of the Black Arts Movement; Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party; theatre director Dr. Ayodele Nzinga; Ahi Baraka; and Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. Man in background is NOI fan of Marvin X. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

By Ashley Chambers, Associate Editor, Post News Group

With plans underway for  BAM’s ,(Bay Area Black Arts Movement) 50th anniversary celebration, BAM producer Marvin X Jackmon  and Post Publisher Paul Cobb are proposing that the City Council  and Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf  declare 14th Street, between Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Alice Street in downtown Oakland, as “Black Arts Movement District.”

The movement revolutionized the arts, literature and ethnic studies in America. Leading artists include Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Woodie King, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Touré, Marvin X, Val Gray Ward, and others.

“I think what Black Arts did was inspire a whole lot of Black people to write,” said author Ishmael Reed. “Moreover, there would be no multiculturalism movement without Black Arts. Latinos, Asian Americans, and others all say they began writing as a result of the example of the 1960s,” said Marvin.

“When the Post Newspapers were founded 50 years ago, we also founded El Mundo, a Spanish language paper as well. Many artists, writers and musicians have been covered and promoted by our publications,” said Cobb.

Cobb is optimistic that the city could designate the district because while he was Religion Editor and a columnist at the Oakland Tribune and at the Post, he proposed the renaming of 20th Street to Thomas L. Berkley Way, to honor the late Post Publisher.  And now, ironically, the Oakland Tribune offices are located at Broadway and Thomas L.Berkley Way. Cobb also proposed the renaming of Cypress Street to Mandela Parkway after the freeway collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Marvin and Cobb said the BAM district could start at 14th and Brush Street location, at the off ramp of the John Miller Freeway, which also borders the Oak Center District championed by the late Lillian Love.  From Castro  Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way sits the Preservation Park Development which was organized by the late Black Chamber of Commerce leaders  Oscar Coffey, Leon Miller and C.J.Patterson along with the OCCUR organization led by Paul Cobb. The home of Ellen G. White, the Black prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is located inside Preservation Park.  Writer Jack London, who was raised and breast-fed by Jennie Prentice, his African American surrogate mother, studied at the Charles Greene Library, now renamed the African American Museum/Library (AAMLO) at 14th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

Walking up 14th are the C. L. Dellums apartments, across the street from AAMLO, in honor of the Pullman Porters Union, the first Black union in America.

At 14th and Brush Streets which is at the edge of the Oak Center District and at the off ramp of the John Miller Freeway stands the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building with a statue of the late NAACP leader and Judge Donald McCullum in the plaza area adjacent to the Post Office named for the late Pharmacist and Senator Byron Rumford. The Elihu Harris State Building is also located on Clay Street.

 City Hall Plaza which honors Japanese American vice Mayor Frank Ogawa, is adjacent to the Lionel Wilson office Building named after Oakland’s first Black Mayor

At 14th and Broadway, we enter the outdoor classroom of Marvin X, a literacy center, site of mentoring and grief counseling. Readings and dramatic performances happen there. The Oscar Grant rebellion and Occupy Oakland occurred in his classroom, which is located above the bust of the late John B. Williams, the first Black Redevelopment Director of Oakland. Williams is celebrated for revitalizing West Oakland, Old Oakland and portions of Chinatown along with the George Scotland Convention Center housed inside the Marriott Hotel, which is diagonal to the Key System Building where Josephine Baker led a protest for workers.

Marvin X with the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir & Arkestra (David Murray on sax, Earl Davis on trumpet). Malcolm X Jazz/Art Festival, Oakland, May 17, 2014
photo Gene Hazzard
Marvin plans to help conduct walking tours similar to those led by the City of Oakland’s Anna Lee Allen. The sites will include Geoffrey’s Inner Circle the premiere Black Entertainment Complex at 14th and Franklin, which faces the offices of the Post Newspaper in the Financial Center Building.  Historically Geoffrey Pete’s building, the Niles Club, once denied entrance to Blacks. Other Black venues at Geoffrey’s include: The Joyce Gordon Gallery, Imagine Affairs special events, Exhale Hair Salon, Oakland Tattoos, Central Nails, When Harlem Was In Vogue, Club Vinyl, a nightclub and Halftime Sports Bar

Walking  eastward toward Webster Street is the site of  former Black owned Bank of Oakland,  now owned by the Greenlining Institute.

The tour moves past the Club Caribee towards the Malonga Arts Center at 14th and Alice Streets, which is across the street from the site of the assassination of Post Editor Chauncey Bailey. At the end of the walking tours Marvin said they would visit the Rene C. Davidson County Courthouse where the trials Bailey’s Murderer and Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton were conducted. Davidson was the first countywide elected Black official.

The tour concludes with visits to the once Black-owned Tribune Building.  Robert C. Maynard was the first Black publisher of a major metropolitan daily newspaper. Many Black editors, writers, photographers and columnists worked for the Tribune, including Delilah Beasley, Chauncey Bailey, Martin Reynolds, Pearl Stewart and Paul Cobb. The building now houses offices of the African American Chamber of Commerce and the offices of Congresswoman Barbara Lee.


  The Black Arts Movement Poet's Choir and Arkestra, Malcolm X Jazz/Arts Festival, Oakland, 2014

photo collage by Adam Turner, Post News Group

For information call 510-200-4164 or email:

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