Posts tagged ‘Black Panthers’

October 23, 2013

Arts in the Valley, October 2013, 1480 KYOS AM, Merced, CA

by arthouseflower

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Kim McMillon, the host of Arts in the Valley, interviews Marina Drummer on Herman Wallace, and the Angola 3 and Herman Wallace.

To listen to the interview on Herman Wallace:
KPFA Evening News Anchor: A memorial service and funeral were held in New Orleans today (Oct. 12) for famed Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace. Wallace died of liver cancer last week, three days after his indictment was overturned and he was released in an ambulance from Louisiana’s Hunt Correctional Center.

His death also came one day after a Louisiana grand jury re-indicted him for the murder of a prison guard which he always maintained he did not commit, as have Robert King and Albert Woodfox, the other two members of the Angola 3. The three say they were framed and held in solitary confinement for founding a chapter of the Black Panther Party in the Angola State Prison.

KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Marina Drummer, a longtime Northern California-based organizer for the Angola 3.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Marina, could you briefly review the major flaws in the evidence against Herman Wallace, Robert King and Albert Woodfox.

Marina Drummer: Well, the major flaw is that there was no evidence. There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever. All there was was conflicting eyewitness reports and a prison administration that was determined to stop Herman and Albert from organizing in the prison.

KPFA: In the film “Herman’s House,” Herman describes the moment in 2008 when he and Albert Woodfox were inexplicably returned to the general prison population.


TV Newscaster: After 36 years in solitary confinement, two of the men known as the Angola 3 have been moved into a dormitory with other inmates at Angola. Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of killing a prison guard but they claim they didn’t do it. They have sued the state claiming cruel and unusual punishment, because they’ve been kept in solitary confinement since the early ‘70s.

Herman Wallace: It happened … ummmm … after 35 years, 11 months and 7 days in a cell, that we were taken from the cell and put on a bus, and we were bused on the concrete all the way out here to Camp B. And, you know, and then they removed all the restraints off of us … off of us … and we walked into the dormitory and I tell you, it was spectacular. I’ve been in dormitory before, but, it has been, you know, 36 years. And, it’s just going to take time for me to drop a great deal of my defense mechanisms, you know, and blend in with some of the social activities that’s going on around me. It’s good, and it’s preparing me for the street.

KPFA: Eight months later, Herman and Albert were returned to solitary confinement, this time to different prisons, far from one another. Was there ever any official explanation besides “General Prohibited Behavior”?

Marina Drummer: No. The thing about the prisons is even the sentence that they had didn’t say anything about solitary confinement. They were sentenced to life in prison and yet they spent that in solitary.

The kinds of decisions that are made about moving prisoners or where they’re kept are made entirely internally. These are not court ordered decisions. They’re made by the correctional department, and frequently at the whim of a warden or a guard.

And in Herman and Albert’s case, and King, when he was there, they were reviewed every few months as to why they were in solitary, and every time they were reviewed, it came back “reason is stated as cause of original sentence,” which … who knows what that means?

There was never ever any kind of explanation for what was going on, neither when they were put in solitary, when they were taken out of solitary, nor when they were moved back into solitary, although I’m sure that the move to separate prisons was something the warden at Angola certainly wished he had thought of 20 or 30 years earlier because it took all of the heat off of him.

KPFA: Do you think the unprecedented media attention that Herman won in the last few months of his life, and now in death, has a good chance of leading to the freedom of Albert Woodfox?

Marina Drummer: We certainly hope so and we’re certainly going to do everything we can to push for that and utilize the critical mass that’s developed. And yet, I cannot stress enough that the state could care less what the U.N. says, what the Congress says, what Amnesty says, what anybody says. They’re determined to fight this to the end, as was shown by the fact that even on his dying day, or two days before he died, they went to the trouble of calling a special grand jury to re-indict him.

KPFA: PBS has made the film “Herman’s House” available online for free until Nov. 2 in honor of Herman Wallace. Other films that tell more of the history of Angola Prison and the Angola 3 include “In the Land of the Free,” “Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation” and “Hard Time,” all of which are available online.

December 20, 2012

Arts in the Valley, Saturday, December 22, 2012, 1480 KYOS AM, 9 pm

by arthouseflower


Kim McMillon interviews author, poet, and activist Marvin X on the Black Arts Movement on Saturday, December 22nd at 9 pm on Arts in the Valley, 1480 KYOS AM in Merced, Ca.

 To listen to the interview with Marvin X, please click here:
About the Marvin X
Marvin X was born May 29, 1944, Fowler CA, nine miles south of Fresno in the central valley of California. In Fresno his parents published the Fresno Voice, a black newspaper.
Marvin attended Oakland’s Merritt College where he encountered fellow students how became Black Panther Party co-founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. They taught him black nationalism.  Marvin’s first play Flowers for the Trashman was produced by the Drama department at San Francisco State University, 1965.  Marvin X dropped out to established his own Black Arts West Theatre in the Fillmore, 1966, along with playwright Ed Bullins. Months later Marvin would co-found Black House with Eldridge Cleaver, 1967.
Marvin introduced  Eldridge Cleaver to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.  Eldridge immediately joined the Black Panther Party.  Huey Newton said, “Marvin X was my teacher, many of our comrades came from his Black Arts Theatre: Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver,  Emory Douglas and Samuel Napier.”
One of the movers and shakers of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) Marvin X has published 30 books, including essays, poetry, and his autobiography Somethin’ Proper. Important books include Fly to Allah, poems, Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality, essays on consciousness, and How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a manual based on the 12 step Recovery model.
Marvin received his MA in English/Creative writing from San Francisco State University, 1975. He has taught at San Francisco State University, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley and San Diego, Mills College, Merritt and Laney Colleges in Oakland, University of Nevada, Reno.  He lectures coast to coast at such colleges and universities as University of Arkansas, University of Houston, Morehouse and Spelman, Atlanta, University of Virginia, Howard University, Univ. of Penn, Temple Univ., Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, UMASS, Boston.

His latest book is the Wisdom of Plato Negro, parables/fables, Black Bird Press, Berkeley. He currently teaches at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, “Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland.”

For speaking, readings and performance, contact Marvin X @,

October 12, 2012

Arts in the Valley, September 2012, 1480 KYOS AM, Merced, CA

by arthouseflower

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Arts in the Valley host Kim McMillon interviews filmmaker Lenore Norrgard on her film American Ubuntu.

To listen to the interview with Lenore Norrgard, click onto the link:lenore-2

Below is a description of her film


“Because we are, I am”

How would you like to walk into a movie theater and see, on the screen, a drama that features people like you — people who are working to create a new world from the ashes of the old — and are succeeding?

Would you like to see an aging white man who, in his struggle to love, faces a past in which he was traumatized by racism — and who, in turn, hurt others with the same foul tool — and now is determined to make the past right?

Would you like to see a young artist who carries on the original, progressive tradition of hip hop, before it was hijacked by the cynical, exploitive music industry? A hip hop artist who also is an activist, and a shaman — and creates a brave new blend of these three practices to heal the world?


Would you like to see a former Black Panther, a widower who remains devoted to his visionary wife, long dead? A man who is a steadfast, loving father to his stepdaughter — and accepts her lesbianism?

Would you like to enter into a vibrant, sustainable and visionary communal village founded by profoundly diverse 1970s radicals — that still is thriving and growing after 20 years?

Welcome to my film – AMERICAN UBUNTU!

Showing in a theater near you – NOT.

That is to say, not YET.


Born of September 11

In the days following September 11, I curled up in a fetal position on my single futon in the kitchen-bedroom of my tiny apartment in San Francisco, asking myself, How do I respond to this, as a healer, as a radical, and as an artist?

How do we get out of this nightmare?

As I continued to repeat these questions to myself, day after day, I fell into a reverie, in which new characters, and the beginnings of a new story, were seeded in my imagination.

There are no new stories, some insist.

But I dare — like Adesimba, my hip hop shaman character — to blend my diverse practices and experiences, and thereby create something new.

How is it new? It is a healing story for the battered U.S. psyche.

Now, you know we need that!

What is a healing story?

A healing story is one in which we accompany characters on their journey, and through experiencing their struggles, setbacks and victories, our own wounded consciousness vicariously heals.

The tradition of healing through stories is as old as storytelling itself. In fact, healing was the original purpose of story making.

Shamans, our original healers, are our oldest storytellers. By conceiving and sharing a story of healing with a wounded patient, a template is created for the patient’s wound actually to heal — thus setting the process in motion.

So, telling a healing story is not new.

What is new about AMERICAN UBUNTU is that it creates a template for healing not only individual psyches, but for healing the collective consciousness of the American people.


A Healing Story for America

Together with an aging protagonist, we make the journey of facing his youth, where not only did he receive racist wounds, but he inflicted them, as well.


We experience his regret about his past actions, and his determination to make things right — a determination that grows out of a profound love that is stronger than his wounds.

We experience the obstacles, internal and external, his determination helps him to navigate. And we experience the liberation and healing that his love-based determination achieves — for himself, and for others.


Hence, this new, healing template: We can choose to face our past — both as individuals, and as a people — and, with the commitment to making the past right, we have the power to heal and transform, both ourselves and others.

Not only as individuals, but as a nation.

Accompanying the protagonist on his journey, we also experience another possible way we could choose to live in the U.S.: Connected with the Earth and with Spirit; in a sustainable, collective economy that cares for everyone; a self-governed society of equals, where conflict is engaged openly and in a context of love.

And so, another template is laid down: Namely, that it is possible for Americans to live in peace — not only with one another, but with the rest of the Earth, and with other peoples.

It takes a village to make this film


As I’ve begun looking for a producer and backers to bring this story to the screen, a friend commented, “It’s going to take a village to make this film.”


Yes. After all, ubuntu is a Zulu word meaning, Because we are, I am — and therein lies the film’s healing message.


Do you want to be part of the AMERICAN UBUNTU-making village?


Can you help with any of the following:


Donate a design for an AMERICAN UBUNTU web site?

Help me connect with filmmaker Todd Haynes?

Help me connect with Christine Vachon, Kasi Lemmons, Charles Burnett, John Sayles, Oprah Winfrey, Andrea Arnold, or Ang Lee?

Provide development funds?

Connect me with a visionary producer with a strong track record?

Connect me with a movie distribution genius?

Invest in the film, or raise money for the film?

Something else?

I welcome your contribution, and would love to give you a credit in my film!

Lenore Norrgard, MA, CSC, has been creating new stories for decades, and has practiced filmmaking since 1998. She has practiced shamanic healing and teaching for nearly 20 years, and is known for pioneering the application of shamanic practices in healing social wounds.

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