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Investing in Black America's future

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Oct 22, 2013 - 11:40:07 PM

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Nearly 8,000 people packed Tuskegee Square Oct. 20 to celebrate the 18th Anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement. Photo: Mikal Veale/ChoiceImagery

Standing room only crowd witnesses re-launch of Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint

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Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford and Ishmael Muhammad who delivered the keynote message Oct. 20. Photo: Mikal Veale/ChhoiceImagery
TUSKEGEE, Ala. ( - With America suffering economically, experiencing political gridlock and moral decay, the solutions to those problems plaguing her and ill affecting Black people disproportionately are found in the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

An enthusiastic standing room only crowd gathered in famed Tuskegee Square to hear the next steps on the way to building an independent and viable Black nation. Those steps include supporting Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint, which was initially announced last February, and an economic savings fund that is now up and running. Its purpose is to allow Blacks to collectively build a brighter future by giving just 35 cents a week to a national treasury. The website was also launched.

According to the most recently available demographic data, Tuskegee’s population stands at around 9,500 making it even more notable that, according to organizers, nearly 8,000 people packed the square Oct. 20 to celebrate the 18th Anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement.

Minister Farrakhan’s daughter Donna electrified the crowd during her comments Oct. 20.

Anticipation was high as many looked forward to hearing from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, however, his daughter, Donna Farrakhan, brought surprising news.  She stepped to the podium to address the crowd and announced Minister Farrakhan would not be speaking live in Tuskegee as he was recuperating from a bacterial infection that weakened him. Doctors recommended that he discontinue his grueling schedule, said Donna Farrakhan. He is being attended to by his daughter Hanan, a registered nurse, she added.

“I and we thank Allah for intervening in this affair concerning the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for only Allah knows best his servant’s heart and his condition,” said Donna Farrakhan.

Clearly, some in the standing room crowd were disappointed, some began to cry, others bowed their heads in silent prayer, however, in just a short time, she turned their disappointment into delight as she delivered a soul stirring call to action reminding them that Jesus told his disciples “love ye one another as I have loved you.”

“Farrakhan has loved us! I am asking in his name that ye love one another as he has loved us, with great passion and affection. He has gone before us so we could see and know what love looks like! You don’t have to guess what  lovelooks like or how love serves, you’ve had an example in front of you for over 50 years serving the Black man and woman of America and humanity!”

“Allah knows best his servant and he knows when to call him in but his calling him in is not a test for Farrakhan, it is a test for those who say you believe!” she added.

She challenged listeners to demonstrate their love for a man who has dedicated his life to the cause of liberation not by simply cheering for him when he speaks, but by following the instructions he has delivered and demonstrating love for those who suffer. She spoke of going beyond focusing on a man’s personality to demonstrating the principles he has taught.

“Farrakhan may not be physically present, but I beg to differ! I am looking at Farrakhans in front me. I am looking at Farrakhan Muhammad in front of me. I am looking at a new nation that Master Fard Muhammad has put into existence! You are that new beginning!” said Donna Farrakhan, as the crowd cheered. “You have all that it takes you shining star!  He has given you his light! I’m asking you today to turn it on!”

Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, first lady of the Nation of Islam, stood several times smiling approvingly at her daughter’s message and applauding.

“Father take as much time as you need to heal. This is your family of daughters and children that want you to heal completely and do not want any interference in that healing process,” she said. “He’s got the soldiers around him, he’s got Allah all around him, he’s in good company!”

Mayor Johnny Ford, a gracious host who attended every event associated with the march anniversary and Day of Atonement, welcomed all to Tuskegee, the home of Tuskegee University, the famous Tuskegee Airmen, civil rights icon Mother Rosa Parks, scientist and inventor George Washington Carver, and the great Booker T. Washington. He also mentioned news that Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon resigned as president of Tuskegee University Oct. 18 during the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees after three years on the post.

“I want you to know that his resignation had nothing to do with your coming,” Mayor Ford told the crowd.

He then introduced the keynote speaker, Ishmael Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan’s assistant minister at the Nation of Islam’s international headquarters Mosque Maryam. The mayor thanked the son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad for consistently traveling in and out of Tuskegee over the past few weeks in preparation for the weekend’s activities.

Ishmael Muhammad told the crowd that up to the night before, Minister Farrakhan had hopes of making it to the day’s activities.

Mr. Muhammad discussed the Million Man March which took place October 16, 1995 at the call of Minister Farrakhan. He called for a million and two million showed up to participate in a “Day of Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility,” said the Nation of Islam student minister.

Spectators enjoyed a beautiful mid-October day in Tuskeegee Square to commemorate the 1995 Million Man March. Photo: Courtney X. Powell

“We demonstrated 18 years ago our willingness to atone for our failures and to be the kind of men that God intended for us to be, the kind of men that our women and families would be proud of,” said Mr. Muhammad. “We did not make a demand on government, we made a demand on ourselves … we stood together shoulder to shoulder like soldiers in ranks,” he added.

Organizational and ideological labels were stripped away and the world saw a miraculous display of brotherhood, Mr. Muhammad continued.

Those at the Million Man March submitted to a call that was bigger than their individual thoughts, ideas and differences, he noted.

“The world didn’t see us as criminals that day, they didn’t see us as thugs that day, they didn’t see us as gang bangers that day, they saw us as men in the image and reflection of God,” said Mr. Muhammad. “That’s what made the Million Man March so effective all over the world. That day was produced by God through a man who loves his people and wants to see his people free,” he added.

Tuskegee and Booker T. Washington

“The little humble city of Tuskegee has given us as a people, America and the world so much to be grateful for,” Mr. Muhammad said.

Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee University’s first leader, was known for his emphasis on thrift and self-reliance, economic development, land acquisition, respect for others, proper education and civilized behavior.

“We must revisit the principles that Tuskegee University was founded upon and ingrain those principles into our very beings for our future is at stake,” said Mr. Muhammad. “This man is not fully appreciated by those who struggle to see our people free.”

He showed parallels between the “immutable principles” outlined by Booker T. Washington and the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as represented by Minister Farrakhan.

The Black community is in need of guidance and the greatest gift after life is the gift of divine guidance, said Ishmael Muhammad.

What is now needed is a synthesis of all the great ideas of leaders such as Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Noble Drew Ali, and Martin Luther King Jr., he declared.

“All of these great men and women are hardly mentioned in the history books,” said Mr. Muhammad. These are all pieces to a puzzle, “and that puzzle is called Black Liberation!” he said.

An Economic Blueprint

As promised by Minister Farrakhan, the place to send donations for and the official website to support Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint were announced and the official website was launched.

Ishmael Muhammad told the cheering crowd that if 16 million Blacks saved just 35 cents a week in a national treasury, nearly $300 million could be raised in one year for economic development. 

This is the long-awaited announcement and initiative that will allow Black America to pool its financial resources to acquire land, grow food and create commerce. All self-respecting people act to serve their own needs, said Ishmael Muhammad.

“You’ve got to stand up and be a man in order to get the respect of White people,” said Mr. Muhammad. “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your freedom?”

“Farrakhan is giving to us a vision for ourselves that comes directly from God and a program that if we support it, we will secure a better future for ourselves,” said Mr. Muhammad. “Farrakhan is the one that synthesizes the greatness, the philosophies and the ideas of all of these great men and women so that a people can go free.”

Many seemed to enjoy Mr. Muhammad’s message, which should inspire members of the Black community to become more productive, and more prudent in their spending and actions.

“Minister Ishmael Muhammad stood in the gap and showed great maturity and preparedness and did more than hold his own with a ‘Do for Self’ message,” said Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz, director of Black Lawyers for Justice. “All the Black nation should support the Nation of Islam’s new leadership and the program of the Nation of Islam,” he added.

A threatened bikers protest against Minister Farrakhan’s appearance never fully materialized. Prior to the start of the event, a dozen or so Harley Davidson riders sped by on the outskirts of Tuskegee Square, far removed from the main staging area. As always, a watchful garrison of the Fruit of Islam remained vigilant ready to defend the peace and sanctity of the day’s activities. 

Tuskegee residents glared at the White bikers openly disdainful and unafraid. Many of the bikers displayed Confederate battle flag designs on their motorcycles and clothing. A biker’s attempt to disrupt the event was met with swift intervention by the professional services of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department. There was no incident and the potential troublemaker left the area.