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Finding Aid to the Marvin X Papers, 1965-2006, bulk 1993-2006
BANC MSS 2006/217  
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Collection Overview
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The Marvin X Papers document the life and work of playwright, poet, essayist, and activist Marvin X during the nineties and the first decade of the 21st Century. The papers include correspondence; Marvin X's writings; materials related to the Recovery Theatre; works by his children and colleagues; and resource files. Correspondence includes letters, cards, and e-mails; correspondents include Amiri Baraka and other prominent African-American intellectuals. Marvin X's writings include notebooks, drafts, and manuscripts of poetry, novels, plays, essays, and planned anthologies. Documents from the Recovery Theatre include organizational and financial records and promotional material. Writings by others include essays, scripts, and academic papers by his three daughters. Resource files include academic articles, e-mails, flyers, news clippings and programs that contextualize and document Marvin X's involvement as an activist, intellectual, and literary figure in the African American community in the Bay Area in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Photographs include snapshots of family, friends, colleagues, and productions at the Recovery Theatre.
Poet, playwright and essayist Marvin X was born Marvin E. Jackmon on May 29, 1944 in Fowler, California. He grew up in Fresno and Oakland, in an activist household. X attended Oakland City College (Merritt College), where he was introduced to Black Nationalism and became friends with future Black Panther founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. X earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from San Francisco State University and emerged as an important voice in the Black Arts Movement (BAM), the artistic arm of the Black Power movement, in the mid-to-late Sixties. X wrote for many of the BAM's key journals. He also co-founded, with playwright Ed Bullins and others, two of BAM's premier West Coast headquarters and venues - Oakland's Black House and San Francisco's Black Arts/West Theatre. In 1967, X joined the Nation of Islam and became known as El Muhajir. In the eighties, he organized the Melvin Black Forum on Human Rights and the first Annual All Black Men's Conference. He also served as an aide to former Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver and attempted to create the Marvin X Center for the Study of World Religions. In 1999, X founded San Francisco's Recovery Theatre. His production of "One Day in the Life," the play he wrote about his drug addiction and recovery, became the longest-running African-American drama in Northern California. In 2004, in celebration of Black History Month, X produced the San Francisco Tenderloin Book Fair (also known as the San Francisco Black Radical Book Fair) and University of Poetry. X has taught Black Studies, drama, creative writing, journalism, English and Arabic at a variety of California universities and colleges. He continues to work as an activist, educator, writer, and producer.
Number of containers: 8 cartons, 1 box Linear feet: 10.2
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94270-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Collection is open for research.