My Friend the Devil—Eldridge Cleaver
By Marvin X
Marvin X met Eldridge Cleaver on a visit to California’s Soledad Prison, 1966. Upon Cleaver’s release from prison in 1967, Marvin X was the first person he hooked up with.
They remained friends off and on until Cleaver’s death, May 1, 1998. Marvin did not attend his funeral in Los Angeles, but he organized and officiated a memorial service for Cleaver in Oakland, CA. Cleaver was a mercurial personality and Marvin experienced many of the changes with the author of the 60s classic Soul on Ice.
Marvin relies on his personal experience with Cleaver to describe the life of one of the most controversial men in America and the world. He recalls from memory Cleaver’s journey through Communism, Black Panthers, Christianity, Moonism, Mormonism, Crack addiction and death.
Marvin X introduced Cleaver to his old friends at Oakland’s Merritt College, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, co-founders of the Black Panther Party. Eldridge joined immediately, becoming Minister of Information. After a split in party ranks, Cleaver established his army on the East coast, Huey held down his troops on the West coast.
Internecine battles ensued, even while Cleaver fled the country to evade criminal charges stemming from a shootout with the Oakland police in which Lil Bobby Hutton was killed and Cleaver wounded. He became the international representative of the Black Panther Party, giving Black Americans diplomatic status with an embassy in Algeria, North Africa.
With astounding power of recall and vivid imagery, Marvin X describes a man ever on the search for knowledge and experience, delving into each experience with ineluctable energy.
This memoir is American history, African American history and world history.
Comments on My Friend the Devil by Marvin X
Wonderful appreciation of both Elijah and Clara. Rare perception nowadays, what with the Malcolm cult. The pendulum is swinging.
--John Woodford, former Editor, Muhammad Speaks
Editor, Michigan Today, Univ. of Mich.
Hallelujah! MX is reminiscing, I must say, entertainingly, about his historic dalliance w/ shaitan…rat on....
--Amiri Baraka, Newark, NJ
More and more I am convinced this work will be a best-seller. Though I have never read a Cleaver biography, a lot of this material seems to be new and if not factually new, it is from a novel perspective.
– Rudy Lewis, editor, Chickenbones: A Journal, Virginia
Thank you Marvin...get it all out...write it out...sweat it out...dance it out...cry it out, swear it out, walk it out...work it out....thank you for sharing ...respect.
--Joan Tarika Lewis, Violinist, Oakland
First female member of the Black Panther Party
Enjoyed your post about Cleaver. Very interesting. Contained vivid imagery.
--Martin Reynolds, Editor, Oakland Tribune
About the Author
Marvin X is one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement and the father of Muslim American literature. He has written poetry, plays, and novels. His play Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam was produced at the New Federal Theatre in New York last year.
His first play written as a student and produced by the drama department at San Francisco State College/now Univeristy, 1965, was produced recently in San Francisco and Oakland by the Lower Bottom Playaz. His drama One Day in the Life was the longest running Afro-American drama in Northern California from 1996 thru 2000. His books of essays include In the Crazy House Called America, Wish I Could Tell You the Truth,Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality and How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy. His recent poetry is Love and War and Land of My Daughters.
Contact his agent:
Muhammida El Muhajir,
Sun in Leo Agency
145 Van Buren Street
Brooklyn, New York