Oakland City Hall held its first Black History celebration tonight with an African style event with dancers and djembe
drummers bringing the Holy Ghost to City Hall chambers. President of the Oakland City Council, Lynette McElhaney
, dressed like an African Queen, presided over the celebration that began with her libations to the ancestors.
Marvin X and African Queen, Oakland City Council President, Lynette McElhaney at Oakland City Council Black History Celebration. photo Adam Turner, BAMBD Media Team/Post News Group
The audience stood to sing the Black National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson:
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and
Ring with the harmonies of
Let our rejoicing rise,
The list'ning skies, let it resound loud as the
Sing a song full of faith that the
Dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of
The hope that the present has brought
Facing the rising sun of our new day
Let us march on till victory is
Stony the road we trod,
Felt in the day that hope
Unborn had died;
Yet with a steady
Have not our weary feet,
Come to the
Place on which our fathers sighed?
Come over a way that with tears has been
We have come, treading our path
Through the blood of the slaughtered,
The gloomy past, till now we stand at
Where the white gleam of our star is
God of our weary years,
Our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus
Far on the way;
Thou who has by thy
Led us into the light,
Forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet
Stray from the places, our God, where we met
Least our hearts, drunk with the wine of
The world, we forget thee,
Shadowed beneath the
May we forever stand,
Tru to our
Tru to our native land
When she called Marvin X to the mike, he called for a United Front of all Oakland citizens. Marvin X recently moved to the ideological position long held by his dear friend of 47 years, Black Arts Movement chief architect Amiri Baraka. Baraka repeatedly called for the United Front against imperialism and globalism.
Amiri Baraka (RIP) and Marvin X. They enjoyed a 47 year friendship as Black Arts Movement movers and shakers.
Marvin praised President McElhaney
and the entire city council for passing legislation proclaiming the Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor downtown. He asked the crowd were they ready to see the Red, Black and Green flag flying along the BAMBD corridor. They shouted yes!
Graphic design by Adam Turner, BAMBD Media Group
Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
The Mayor asked President McElhaney to expedite banners along the BAMBD corridor no matter the cost! The President replied to Madam Mayor she is working on putting up the BAMBD flag along the 14th Street corridor.
photo Troy Williams, BAMBD Media Team/Post News Group
Earlier in the day the poet/planner had a conversation with his adviser and childhood friend, Paul Cobb, Publisher of the Oakland Post News Group. Paul chided him for his leadership style that apparently came from his work in the Black Arts Theatre. Paul said, "You can't treat people like they're actors in one of your plays. You must share leadership in a communal manner. And you can't be paranoid like your friends Bobby Seale
and Huey Newton were in the Black Panther Party. You must trust people to some extent. Everybody is not your enemy and didn't somebody tell you there are more people who love you than hate you?"
Paul Cobb, Oakland Post Newspaper Publisher, and Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland
photo Walter Riley, Esq.
http://mije.org/sites/default/files/resize/files/u426/chauncey-bailey-784279-151x208.jpg" style="height: 208px; width: 151px;" height="640" width="464" /> Paul Cobb's Editor, Chauncey Bailey assassinated at 14th and Alice,downtown in the now declared Black Arts Movement Business District. The BAMBD shall honor Chauncey Bailey. Bay Area Artists and Activists honor the memory of Chauncey Bailey at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in the BAMBD, 14th and Franklin. photo Adam Turner and Gene Hazzard, Post News Group
After listening to Paul, Marvin X went home for a power nap before the event at City Hall. But after a few minutes he got a call from Newark, New Jersey. It was Mrs. Amina Baraka
, widow of Black Arts Movement chief architect Amiri Baraka
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-3XloANDbRPQ/URnPjGQzxSI/AAAAAAAAH0M/AYh-eFE0ANE/s1600/DSC00789.JPG" style="height: 514px; width: 686px;" /> Professor Molefe Asante, Mrs. Amina Baraka, Marvin X, Amiri Baraka, Jr. and Kenny Gamble, Producer of the Philly Sound. They participated in the Black Power Babies conversation produced by Muhammida El Muhajir and Black Talk Radio station WURD, Philadelphia.
Mrs. Baraka told him she'd just talked with art workers in Oakland that she had told him to avoid but was now calling to let him know she'd changed her mind and he must call for a United Front of the entire radical and progressive community; not just Blacks, but Asians, Latinos, Whites, Native Americans and gender groups.
"The time is too critical for disunity. You must call for the United Front of the entire community or we're doomed. If you call for the United Front, I will put all my resources behind your Black Arts Movement Business District. If my son, Ras Baraka
, Mayor of Newark, cannot come the the West Coast to assist you, I will send one of my other sons. You know I have four sons: Amiri Baraka
, Jr., is the Mayor's chief of staff. My other sons are Obalaji
. I will send you whatever books of my husband you need, and give you rights to produce any of his dramatic works. just do the United Front!"
In his remarks, Marvin X did indeed call for a United Front to fight the oppressive conditions of all Oakland citizens, no matter what ethnic or gender group. Before his time was up, he called up his adviser and childhood friend, Paul Cobb, who thanked the City Council President for pushing through the legislation establishing the Black Arts Movement District. He also thanked Council member Roberta Kaplan. Paul explained why he wanted "Movement" in the district name. "This must be a movement because Oakland is Oakland because of its radical tradition. We need the Movement right now to fight joblessness, homelessness, gentrification and the residue of white supremacy. There must be a movement not only of artists but workers, youth and other marginalized people."