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'Education is the key to the future. But what kind of education?'

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Oct 10, 2012 - 12:57:55 PM

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Proper education creates love and productivity, says Farrakhan in message urging students to create their own future. Thousands at Southern University choose to hear from outspoken leader as opposed to watching first televised presidential debate.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Oct. 3.
Photo: Ariana Triggs
BATON ROUGE, La. ( - An enthusiastic crowd of over 3,000 inside Southern University’s Felton G. Clark Activity Center greeted the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Oct. 3, where he challenged students to develop new strategies and solutions to solve today’s problems.

These solutions will not come from corporate America, President Barack H. Obama, nor his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, he added.

“I did not come here tonight to make you think that because we have a Black president that everything is going to be all right,” Minister Farrakhan told the thousands in attendance and those viewing live via Internet webcast. “It’s wonderful that our brother has been selected and elected to lead, but the real burden is on us to make the change that is necessary and to do the things that will prepare a future for us and our people.”

The Minister praised Southern University as a “great institution of learning” valiantly attempting to prepare the young Black students for a productive future, even though it faces financial challenges like many historically Black colleges and universities across the country.

A diverse cross-section of students listened closely to Minister Farrakhan's message. (Photo: Marc D. Muhammad)
“I’m saddened to learn of financial difficulties because the program that Southern University offers to its students is a fine educational program. It will prepare you for hard times that are just ahead,” said Minister Farrakhan.

The crowd, largely comprised of university students, listened carefully as Minister Farrakhan talked about the importance of proper education, while encouraging them to use their skills and talents to solve the problems plaguing society. A rich legacy exists at the 132-year-old university located in Baton Rouge, the industrial center for the Southern part of the state. According to officials, nearly 7,500 students attend the school.

“Education is the key to the future … but what kind of education and what quality of education?” he asked.

“The slave master’s children will not educate you to free you from their control, and it would be foolish of us to think that they would. So the scripture says, ‘how can they know except that they have a teacher and how can they have a teacher except he be sent.’ The enemy is not going to send a teacher to you that will prepare you for an independent future. Your education is to make you more serviceable in a society based on White supremacy, and so in order to free you from such, you must have a superior education, not an equal education,” said the Minister. “That’s how you can tell whether our education is a proper education because a proper education will make us a productive people.”

Any self-respecting group produces goods and serves the needs of its people. There are many examples of independence and self-determination throughout the cities of America over the last century, while Blacks have been in America over four centuries. The inferior education given to Black people has not created a productive people, the Minister said. It has created beggars waiting on the benevolence and generosity of others to provide goods and services, he added.

“If we were educated properly, we wouldn’t have to want to mix in somebody else’s community, we could take our own community and make it a decent and respectful place for all of us to live—a safe place,” said Minister Farrakhan. “Proper education makes you want to respect yourself, proper education makes us a self-determined people, proper education gives you self love, proper education is based on a rich knowledge of your own history and a rich knowledge of the contributions that your people have made to the advancement of civilization.”

Southern University Chancellor Dr. James Llorens.
Using the example of the Indian-American Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal, and the dominance of Indians in the area of franchise ownership and education, the Minister said their rise is an example of self-determination to be studied.

“They’re building their community. Go in an all Indian community and you’ll see that everything there is owned by them, run by them, governed by them,” he said.

This is also true for the Chinese, who have established Chinatown in many metropolitan areas within the United States, he said.

“Go to the Chinese community. The Chinese people are very busy producing business for themselves and their people, and then when you look in the Black community, you’ll see a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese this and a Chinese that, and we buy, and they take the money from our community and take it back to build their community while our community continues to go down.”

The problem with the way Blacks have been educated is that their contributions have been minimized or altogether ignored in favor of Eurocentric curriculum and Western values.

“If you don’t see yourself in the process called education, it minimizes your interest in it,” said Minister Farrakhan. “To teach Black people how Columbus discovered America with millions of people already here is a travesty! To teach George Washington never told a lie and Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and you’re still singing ‘We Shall Overcome’—something is wrong with that picture!”

Southern University student Delane Ross presents Minister Farrakhan with an award after his address as NOISA SU director Deborah L. Muhammad, looks on. Photos: Marc D. Muhammad
“This is not racism, it’s just how can you love yourself if you don’t know yourself and how can you know yourself if those who have knowledge won’t teach you what they know of you?” he asked.

The Minister informed the crowd that White Masons and Shriners study Black people, and know the true history of the “Master Architect” known as Hiram Abiff, who was hit in the head by ruffians, taken on a Westerly course and buried in a “shallow grave.” This is the main reason those temples have not been integrated, because they don’t want Blacks to know the truth of their great past, and destiny, he said.

“Now please don’t look hard on me because I am revealing some of your secrets, because you have 33 degrees, I have over 180, on my way to 360, so I’m already your master. I’m not arrogant, you just don’t know what you need to know in order to be free. Jesus said ‘you shall know the truth’—future tense—‘and the truth shall set you free’ so when the Shriners meet, they talk about the Master Architect.”

The Minister continued, “He’s a builder in his DNA, but his conscious mind has been broken so he can’t build like he used to build. He’s in a shallow grave and nobody has been able to raise him—they tried—but someone came with a Master Grip and pulled Hiram up out of the grave, and what you don’t know is Hiram is a symbolic picture of the Black man and woman of America.”

“Did you know your ancestors were natural builders?” he asked the audience.

Election 2012 and President Obama

The Minister briefly talked about the hatred building for President Obama, but not because he is a bad president. Mr. Obama inherited a mess after two terms of George W. Bush, said Min. Farrakhan. He is doing the best he can, however, racism and anger exists and is spreading unbridled and unchecked in America, the Minister said.

(L) Southern University’s Student Government Association president Willie McCorkle III, prepares his notes prior to speaking at the program. | Ryan Tucker, a 22-year-old psychology major of Kappa Alpha Psi and (R) Ebony Yarbrough, a 21-year-old english major of Delta Sigma Theta sorority enjoyed the Minister’s message.
With such high expectations, many Blacks who supported him in the last election are also disappointed with the president, he noted.

“It’s really unfair for us to think that because he’s the president of the United States of America that he is the Black president functioning from a Black agenda,” Minister Farrakhan explained. “That’s unjust to him and unjust to yourself. He’s the president and he can create an atmosphere for us, but the work has to be done by us.”

With 24 million out of work, President Obama’s jobs bill—if passed—would only create jobs for three million people, and Whites will look out for their own, the Minister told his audience.

“Our 400 years of servitude for America according to prophecy is up. You now have to think about preparing a future for yourself and your people,” said Minister Farrakhan, continuing his emphasis regarding the importance of land.

“Every one of you should aspire to own land,” the Minister said. “Agriculture is the foundation of any nation.”

Southern University turns out for Minister

The speaking engagement was arranged by the Southern University chapter of the Nation of Islam Student Association (NOISA) in cooperation with campus administrators and the Student Government Association.

Students were given priority seating and filled the blue and gold seats of the arena quickly. The SGA also used Twitter to inform students of the event. In the days leading up to the event, Southern’s SGA president Willie McCorkle III, a 21-year-old public relations major originally from New Orleans, said he described the Minister’s appearance on campus to others as a chance to hear from “the Malcolm X of today’s era.”

Minister Farrakhan makes a point during interview with the Southern Digest.
Jael Gordon, coordinator for Student Organizations at Southern University, said it was a wonderful opportunity for the students to hear from “a great, powerful, colorful and sometimes controversial speaker.”

“We welcomed him with open arms,” said Ms. Gordon, who graduated from Southern University with a degree in history and is now a graduate student in museum studies. “Sometimes, you have to accept the controversy, because controversy brings people, controversy brings movements and brings people to do different things including voicing their opinions.”

Ms. Gordon said despite the fact that the presidential debate was held the same evening and during the same time, there was no hesitation regarding where she planned to be.

“We’re going to have a president regardless, but I may never be able to see Minister Farrakhan here on this campus again. I can always record the debate,” she said.

Those sentiments appeared to be shared by staff at Southern University who worked diligently to ensure the technical and staging preparations were suitable for the Minister’s appearance.

Delane Ross, a member of NOISA at Southern, presented the Minister with an award at the end of his keynote address and Baton Rouge Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison gave the Minister a certificate of appreciation and a medallion.

Special moments with young, gifted and Black

Following his keynote message, a private reception was held with approximately 30 student leaders representing Black Greek letter organizations and other campus groups. Min. Farrakhan answered several additional questions and delivered more guidance to the young, gifted and Black students.

The students echoed almost identical sentiments, describing Minister Farrakhan and his words as fascinating and enlightening. It also brought an end to a full day of activities for Minister Farrakhan.

A few hours prior to the delivery of his keynote address, Evan Taylor, editor-in-chief of the Southern Digest newspaper, conducted a 45-minute interview with the Minister. Staff photographer Ariana Triggs snapped photos under the observant eye of Heather Freeman, director of Student Media for Southern University.

Throughout the events of the day, the Minister repeatedly expressed how much he enjoys speaking to the young Black college students who represent the future. In early spring of this year, Minister Farrakhan toured several HBCUs.

(L-R) Heather Freeman, Southern University’s director of Student Media, Minister Farrakhan, Editor-in-Chief of the Southern Digest newspaper Evan Taylor, and Staff Photographer Ariana Triggs following the interview. Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad

This was his first message to an HBCU audience this semester, but won’t be his last. Many students from the combined 19 HBCUs in North and South Carolina will be present for his Oct. 14 message to be delivered in Charlotte, N.C., to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the historic Million Man March. He is also scheduled to speak at both Bowie State University in Maryland and Tennessee State University in Nashville, within the next 30 days.

Deborah L. Muhammad enjoyed a great deal of relief once Minister Farrakhan got up on stage and began to speak and felt the hard work of NOISA members paid off. She thanked the regional and local Nation of Islam laborers, especially the Fruit of Islam who worked to make the event a success. Southwestern Regional Student Minister Robert Muhammad described her as “a sister soldier, a lady leader and a woman warrior.”

“I really want people to understand what the Nation of Islam Student Association is. I want them to understand that it is okay to be young and righteous,” said Mrs. Muhammad.

The Minister was “masterful and skillful” as he connected with the students, guiding them without condemning or talking down to them, she said.

“He was able to go up under the issue of mis-education and bring them up and inspire them to want to become properly educated,” Mrs. Muhammad said.

“The media has tried their best to make him look like a bad person, so we were able to present the true side of Minister Farrakhan that the students did not know, and I guarantee you there will be a change in Baton Rouge, from this day on,” said Orell Muhammad, Mrs. Muhammad’s 23-year-old son.

Emmanuel Muhammad, the 18-year old son of Dr. Larry Muhammad, national director of Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago is in his first semester at Southern University. Although being down South is a much different environment, the F.O.I. in Baton Rouge made him feel right at home.

“I have to applaud them, because the brothers pushed, and it was an amazing push because they only have a small amount of brothers but the numbers they were able to bring out—I definitely applaud them,” said Emmanuel Muhammad. “They’ve shown me love and brotherhood and I got to go out with them a couple of times when I was available—they have definitely treated me like a brother.”

Ebony Yarbrough, a 21-year-old senior English major and president of Southern’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, told The Final Call that Minister Farrakhan’s message was “profound, empowering and uplifting.”

“A university that is going through as much as we have, and a people that have gone through as much as we have, it was a pleasure to hear something like that because it really helped uplift the students and put our minds where they needed to be,” she said.

Ryan Tucker, a 22-year-old psychology major and president of Southern’s chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, was “blown away” by the Minister’s words after hearing him for the very first time in person that evening.

“He influenced me in so many ways and I know this will continue to drive me towards success,” said Mr. Tucker. “This was one of the best experiences in my life. Better than the debate,” he added.