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Nation of Islam history goes on tour, first stop Newark

By Nisa Islam Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Apr 23, 2012 - 6:09:02 PM

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( - What was once only seen during the Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day annual convention celebration in February will now be open to the public in a nationwide tour. First stop Newark, N.J., May 3-5.

“The Women In Support of the Million Man March (WISOMMM), are honored and highly favored to be able to be the very first town, Newark, N.J., outside of N.O.I. headquarters in Chicago, to host the historic Nation of Islam Exhibit from 1930–Present,” said Fredrica Bey, head of WISOMMM.

“It is absolutely timely that this special exhibit highlighting the Nation of Islam, is going on tour nationally, and being made available to the general public, as a reminder of the excellent teachings and works of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”

The Nation of Islam Historical Exhibit is under the charge of curators Stacey Muhammad from Detroit and Carlos Muhammad from Baltimore. The exhibit started in 2006 at the Saviours’ Day celebration in Detroit birthplace of the Nation of Islam.

Fredricka Bey, Adelaide L. Sandford. Photo:
“I asked Bro. Ishmael during a planning meeting if we could share the history of the Nation of Islam with the people coming to Detroit. He told me to go for it and I did. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history was the perfect place and they cleaned out what was a storage closet for a dedicated space,” Stacey Muhammad told The Final Call.

“We spoke to Mother Tynnetta (Muhammad) and she had great ideas. I reached out to the Messenger’s family and they loaned articles as well as the Minister’s family. Since 2007 it has just been at Saviour’s Day. All of the items are on loan. Many people have different things to put on display. Taking it on tour is a fabulous idea. It’s something everyone wants to see in their city.”

Carlos Muhammad has been a collector of Nation of Islam memorabilia for years. Looking for a tape Minister Farrakhan did in the 1970s? Chances are he knows the name and may even have a copy. Looking for a particular Muhammad Speaks, the Nation of Islam’s successful 1960s and 1970s newspaper, check our Mr. Muhammad’s collection.

The Nation of Islam’s exhibit contains many items from the John and Burnsteen Muhammad family. Their children Medina and Nurideen are actively involved in preserving the history.

“The collection contains items from Master Fard Muhammad that were preserved by the family like an ink pen he used, early transcripts of his writings, letters, gifts and his Arabic writing,” Carlos Muhammad told The Final Call.

Burnsteen Sharieff Muhammad was called the “Reformer” because of her rapid typing skills. She was the secretary of Master Fard Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam.

“She was called Reformer because it means one who changes. She could type 95 words per minute with 98 percent accuracy. She converted all of his longhand writing to typing. She was the only female laborer. That was in 1932 and she was only 17. She later married the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s brother John and Master Fard Muhammad gave their family the name Sharieff,” said Carlos Muhammad.

The touring exhibit will include the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s first white uniform, donated by his wife Mother Tynnetta Muhammad. Minister Farrakhan has donated gifts he received from several World Friendship Tours, Muhammad Speaks newspapers, and an original identification card that every Muslim carried.

“Especially at this time given what has taken place in Sanford, Fla., with the Emmett Till style killing of Trayvon Martin, and a lot of the gains that we as Black People thought we made are being eroded. Voter rights eroded, random lynching of Black men, claiming ‘Justifiable Homicide’ and targeting organizations like WISOMMM for destruction. This is classic Americana. We need a reminder of our history,” said Mrs. Bey.

The Black community needs to be reminded, she said, “Up you mighty people you can accomplish what you will. You first must know, respect, love, and do for yourself and you can have money, good homes, and friendships in all walks of life. This is what this exhibit displays, Long live Muhammad, and long live Farrakhan! Victory belongs to those who believe, we believe!”

There will also be a call for local memorabilia from people in the Newark area that can be added to the exhibit.