Dr. Marvin X Lectures US State Department on Black History
Dr. Marvin X was invited to give testimony on his years as a drug addict on the streets of San Francisco. He was a replacement speaker for Tim Wise, who has written on white privilege. But the poet was asked not to speak on his latest book How to Recover from White Supremacy, rather speak on his life as a Crack addict in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin. He told the mostly white but multicultural State Department workers that the movie Pursuit of Happiness was a miller lite version of homelessness and addiction in the TL. The poet told the workers crowded into a conference room that he spent many years sleeping on benches at the East Bay Terminal, and on 6th Street, one of the poorest streets in America. But after recovery, the poet was invited to speak at New York University, and he left his hotel room for a walk to find himself in front of the New York Stock Exchange, so he had gone from the poorest street in the world to the richest street in the world.
He said his addiction occurred during his midlife crisis as he turned forty. He was disillusioned with life, marriage, teaching, religion, politics and everything else. After making two thousand dollars per day selling political buttons during the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco, the poet was a sitting duck for dope dealers who lined up at his stand at Market and Powell, at the Cable car turn around.
For his salesmanship, the San Francisco Chronicle labeled him the Button King, but he soon turned into one of the biggest Crack monsters in San Francisco, in spite of controlling and organizing vendors on the streets of San Francisco, including in the lucrative Union Square shopping area.. The vendors, mostly white, worked under his non-profit papers, and this so incensed the SF police that they harassed him daily under the color of law. They could not stand a nigger having that much power on the streets of San Francisco.
No drug program worked for him, he had to stretch his addiction over twelve years, during which time his parents passed, his partner made her transition, and his daughters became young women. With the help of God Almighty, he recovered. He is again the creative person people know him to be. He has written and published five books in the last five years.
The poet ended his talk by reading Black History is World History, his classic poem.