The Honorable John Douimbia, founder of the Black Men’s Conference
John Douimbia, founder of the 1980 Black Men’s Conference at the Oakland Auditorium, made his transition recently. It appears he had been dead for several weeks before the coroner was notified, and then only after a friend arrived from out of town to inquire about him. Apparently neighbors and friends had been going in and out of his home “tomb robbing” while he lay dead.
A former merchant seaman, he was affectionately known as John D. Before moving to the West coast, John D, also known as the Count, lived in Harlem and was a hustling friend of Malcolm X. After his release from prison and joining the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X came to Los Angeles and reconnected with John. John invited Malcolm to a meeting packed with white socialists. Malcolm was impressed with John’s organizing and asked if he would help organize the temple in San Francisco. John told Malcolm when he returned from overseas he would look into the matter, which he did. He is one of the pioneers of Mosque 26, although many would consider him a so-called hypocrite, since that was the label put on all those with independent thoughts. John had a long held dream of a secular organization of Black Men. For over twenty years he discussed his dream with various Bay Area brothers, but nothing happened until he ran into Marvin X, and together they planned and organized the Black Men’s Conference, 1980. Participants included Dr. Nathan Hare, Oba T’s Shaka, Dr. Wade Nobles, Paul Cobb, Dr. Yusef Bey, Dr. Lige Dailey, Michael Lange and others. Dezzie Woods-Jones, Betty King and Edith Austin also helped organize the event. The idea went coast to coast with brothers organizing similar meetings in Philadelphia and New York. Fifteen years later, Minister Farakhan organized the Million Man March.
John Douimbia dressed immaculately every day as he walked the streets of San Francisco. The only man who out dressed John was his friend Willie Brown.
His prophetic last words were told to Marvin X and Rashid Easley, “Watch that guy Obama.” “When John told us to watch Obama we didn’t know who he was, had never heard of him,” says Marvin X. John was a perennial figure in San Francisco politics and was a long-time member and officer of the NAACP. The Black men of the Bay Area are eternally indebted to John D.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Call Marvin X for more information: 510-355-6339.