Left to Right: Leroy James, Patron of Marvin X and the BAM/BLM; his brother, Hasan James, both believed in the do 4 self teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The brothers helped Marvin X produce the 1979 Melvin Black Human Rights Forum at the Oakland Auditorium; the 1980 Oakland Black Men's Conference at the Oakland Auditorium; Recovery Theatre's production of the docudrama, One Day in the Life by Marvin X, featuring the scene of his last meeting with Huey P. Newton, fellow student from Merritt College and co-founder of the Black Panther Party.
I cannot recall when or how I met Leroy James, although we grew up in West Oakland, but he was a few years younger than I, so in the age-grade society of West Oakland, I would not be hanging around with Leroy, so I didn't know him growing up in West Oakland. FYI, on the other hand, another most dear patron of the arts from West Oakland is my childhood friend since Cub Scouts until this very moment, Mr. Leon Teasley and his wife Carolyn, who have supported me throughout my writing career. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Leon and Carolyn Teasley. Lone Live West Oakland peoples!
But Leroy James allowed Marvin X to write at his many properties throughout California: Oakland Hills, Castro Valley (across the street from Lake Chabot); Cherokee, Ca. (17 miles north of Oroville where Marvin X lived five years in solitude on the ten acre estate of Mr. James and his brother, Hasan). During those five years of solitude, Marvin X produced five titles: In the Crazy House Called America, essays; Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality, essays; Land of My Daughter's, poetry; Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, essays and How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy.
Leroy James also helped Marvin X with his productions, especially the Recovery Theatre's production of Marvin's docudrama One Day in the Life, also of the Kings and Queens of Consciousness Concert at San Francisco State University, featuring Rev. Cecil Williams, Dr. Cornel West, Amina and Amiri Baraka, Rev. Andriette Earl, Dr. Julia Hare, Dr. Theophille Obenga, Destiny Muhammad, Ishmael Reed, Tarika Lewis, Avotcha, Rudi Mwongozi, et al., 2001).and the Black Radical Bookfair in San Francisco's Tenderloin, 2004.
When Marvin X produced the Melvin Black Human Rights Forum at the Oakland Auditorium (5,000 blacks attended) to protest the monthly police killing of black men, Mr. James offered housing for Marvin's participants, including Minister Louis Farakhan, 1979. Leroy helped Marvin produce the 1980 Black Men's Conference at the Oakland Auditorium and provided office space at one of his properties.
He was a real estate investor but apparently lived his artistic inclinations through helping Marvin X.
Through Marvin X, Leroy met all the Black Arts Movement icons, especially LeRoi Jones, aka Amiri Baraka, Mrs. Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Sun Ra, Askia Toure, Sam Anderson, Ishmael Reed, Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare, et. al.
To return favors to his patron, Marvin X paid for Leroy and his partner to accompany him on one of his east coast book tours.
For all those well heeled black people, let Leroy James be the model of how they can share their wealth by funding the publication of works by struggling artists and provide housing so they can write and create without stress. Amiri Baraka once said, "Your artists give you visions and prophesy. If and when you don't support them, you shall get no visions or prophesy!"
All praise is due Allah for my patron of the Black Arts Movement, Leroy James (RIP)!
--Marvin X/El Muhajir