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Making the 'case for separation' in Birmingham

By Phyllis U. Muhammad | Last updated: Jul 17, 2018 - 12:08:10 PM

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BIRMINGHAM—Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (NOI), attorney, popular radio show host and accomplished author, recently moderated a town hall meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, on the failure of integration and making the case for separation, as it relates to Black people in America.

Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad speaks to Point No. 4 of What the Muslims Want.

(L) Southern Regional Student Laborers and Vanguard reinforced support for events. (R) Ms. Pat Bell declares the Nation of Islam has to lead in the push for separation.

The town hall was held at the historic Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the way information was shared to attendees was similar to how evidence is presented to a jury. 

Citizens of the community of Birmingham and Muslims of the Nation of Islam traveled from throughout the Southern Region to attend this event.  Southern Regional representatives of the NOI from Muhammad Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta attended including Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, Student MGT Captain LaShonda Muhammad and Student Protocol Director Saabirah Muhammad.

Prior to taking a seat, Student Min. Sharrieff Muhammad stated, “What I hope that the community will see today is that they will not be able to make the Honorable Elijah Muhammad a liar.”

Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, taught that Black people must “do for self” which includes separation from Whites, who have been an enemy to the rise of Black people. 

Even the location selected for the June 30 event helped to build the case for separation as Student Minister Emeritus William Muhammad, a native of Birmingham, shared opening statements noting that the same grounds where the institute is built, was once a viable Black-owned business prior to integration.

Specifically, he noted, entities started by Dr. A. G. Gaston, a Black multi-millionaire businessman in Birmingham are now closed or are no longer Black-owned.  The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is built where Booker T. Washington Insurance Company once stood.

He stated Black businesses owned at one time in the city included: Booker T. Washington Business College (now an empty building), Citizens Federal Bank (first Black-owned Bank in the State of Alabama), WENN Radio (sold), Zion Memorial Gardens (a cemetery now in a state of disrepair), Citizens Drug Store (closed), A. G. Gaston Motel (empty building owned by the city), Carver Theatre (now a museum), Famous Theatre (closed) and Masonic Temple Building (empty) where Black doctors, dentists, lawyers, and professionals maintained offices and served clients and patients. 

Sister Noell sings the Black National Anthem.

Student Min. William Muhammad also noted that the 4th Avenue Black Business District included Black-owned service stations, restaurants, clothing and shoe stores.  But, after integration the Black businesses were abandoned in lieu of doing business where Blacks were once not allowed. 

During her remarks, Student Minister Ava Muhammad recognized Student Min. Sharrieff Muhammad as an example for following the directive given by Min. Farrakhan at the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on 10.10.15. Min. Farrakhan called for 10,000 Fearless Men and Women to make our communities safe and decent places to live. Student Min. Sharrieff Muhammad, along with the 10,000 Fearless of the South, have opened restaurants, a grocery store and have worked tirelessly and are of Atlanta called “the Bluff” providing services to the community. The first step toward separation is “doing for self,” said Student Min. Ava Muhammad.

Pat Bell, former candidate for mayor of Birmingham and a community activist stated, how honored she was to be a special guest at the town hall.

“One of the reasons I’m always around is when we need strong men, we have to come to you,” she said, referring to the Nation of Islam. “Oftentimes I have to leave my Pentecostal ground and come to the Nation because you are talking about the things that those of us who speak in tongue ought to be talking about; standing up and doing for ourselves,” said Ms. Bell.

“I believe that in the push toward separation you will have to be the leadership and those of us who know how to love our Black selves will join you.”

DeAngelo Williams, 27, said when he heard of the town hall meeting on separation while attending a mosque meeting, he knew he had to attend.  “We must find opportunities and get out of this environment where we do not get justice,” said Mr. Williams. He said the topic of “separation” is a good subject matter not just for Birmingham but every city in America where there are Black people.

Joshua Seals, 20, a junior at Alabama A & M University majoring in mechanical engineering, attended the town hall meeting and the Sunday lecture the following day.  Mr. Seals said he previously had heard lectures from Student Min. Ava Muhammad and added that he knew that “she would list the facts.”

Birmingham was the first stop on a tour where Student Min. Ava Muhammad will be presenting the case of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Min. Farrakhan that separation is the best and only solution for Black people in America.

Student Minister Tremon Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 69 expressed how the community was honored to have the series of discussions kicked off in Birmingham, “the home of integration.”    

Despite many challenges and obstacles, we were not going to let this opportunity pass us by. I am thankful to Allah that he saw fit for this history to happen,” he said.

The next day, Student Min. Ava Muhammad delivered the keynote address at the mosque meeting. She said she previously planned to deliver Part 2 of a lecture that she delivered a few weeks prior, however, the spirit led her to continue on the previous evening’s discussion on the “Failure of Integration.”

Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad’s popular Blog Talk show, “Elevated Places,” has focused heavily on the topic of separation. She moved forward to fulfill Min.  Farrakhan’s desire for town hall meetings focused on the subject. Working along with Muhammad Mosque No. 69 and Louis Ali, organizer of the Hot Black Coffee Party Think Tank, headquartered in Baton Rouge, the first meeting was set in Birmingham, a city once known as the focal point for marches and protests during the civil rights movement.

Student Minister Ava Muhammad acknowleded the power of protest and expressed appreciation and gratitude to those who protested and laid their lives on the line. She explained how protest is a stage of development and how it is unnatural to be in a perpetual state of protest.  “The season to protest for Black people has come and gone,” she said.

She told the audience that Black people have been in the U.S. for 13 generations but have still not received justice. It is time to put “The Muslim Program” before the people, she argued. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad outlined the causes for separation on the back of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper now on the inside back page of The Final Call.

Separation is No. 4 of “The Muslim Program: What the Muslims Want” and goes into action after you have been denied Points No. 1, 2 and 3.

Student Minister Ava Muhammad also appealed to the audience to listen to Min. Farrakhan’s November 16, 2017 press conference delivered in Washington, D.C., at the Watergate Hotel.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)