Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eldridge Cleaver, My Friend the Devil,
A Memoir
Marvin X

Introduction by Amiri Baraka

Marvin X‘s newest book, “Eldridge Cleaver: My Friend, The Devil” is an important Expose!, notonly of whom his good friend really was… (I confess I thought something like that, in less metaphysical terms, from the day we met, at San Francisco State, 1967) But also of whom Marvin was/is. Now, Marvin has confessed to being Yacub, whom Elijah Muhammad taught us was the “evil big head scientist” who created the devil. (Marvin’s head is very large for his age.)

What is good about this book is Marvin’s telling us something about who Eldridge became as the Black Panther years receded in the rear view mirror. I remember during this period, when I learned that Marvin was hanging around Cleaver even after he’d made his televised switch from anti-capitalist revolutionary to Christian minister, denouncing the 3rd World revolutionaries and the little Marxism he thought he knew, while openly acknowledging beating his wife as a God given male prerogative, I said to Marvin, “I thought you was a Muslim” . His retort, “Jesus pay more money than Allah, Bro”, should be a classic statement of vituperative recidivism.

But this is one of the charms of this memoir. It makes the bizarre fathomable. Especially the tales of fraternization with arguably the most racist & whitest of the Xtian born agains with Marvin as agent, road manager, co-conspirator-confessor, for the post-Panther – very shot- out Cleaver. It also partially explains some of Cleaver’s moves to get back in this country, he had onetime denounced, and what he did after the big cop out. Plus, some of the time, these goings on seem straight out hilarious. Though frequently, that mirth is laced with a sting of regret. Likewise, I want everyone to know that I am writing this against my will, as a favor to Yacub.

Amiri Baraka
Newark, 5/13/09

One of America's great storytellers. Maybe second only to Mark Twain. Of course, I'd place Marvin X ahead of him even. 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 andif not factually new, it is from a novel perspective.--Rudolph Lewis, editor, Chickenbones. A Journal,

You are doing a tremendous service telling our history inour own words. I am proud to be one of your students.- Ramal Lamar (storyteller in training)

Wonderful appreciation of both Elijah and Clara. Rare perception nowadays,what with the Malcolm cult. The pendulum is swinging.--John Woodford, former Editor, Muhammad SpeaksEditor, 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

Excellent!--Eric Rhodes, Houston, TX

Great stuff, man, priceless….--Rudi Mwongozi, Pianist, Oakland CA

Thank you Marvin...get it all out...write it out...sweat it itout...cry it out, swear it out, walk it it out....thank you forsharing ...respect.--Joan Tarika Lewis, Violinist, OaklandFirst female member of the Black Panther Party

Enjoyed your post about Cleaver. Very interesting. Contained vivid imagery.
--Martin Reynolds, Editor, Oakland Tribune

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