On the 68th anniversary of his physical birth, a couple of Khalid Muhammad’s comrades reflected on his legacy. Locally, Tuesday, Jan. 12, one tribute was conducted at a Brooklyn location on Atlantic Avenue, while another was held at Harlem’s U.C.L.A.— the University on the Corner of Lenox Avenue.
Whether as minister at the Nation of Islam’s Temple #7 (2031 5th Ave., late 1980s to 1993) or as chairman of the New Black Panther Party (1995 to 2001) the Black Power general unapologetically made his presence known while here on this physical plateau.
“Dr. Khalid represented a special brand of the warrior spirit,” reflected African scholar-warrior Dr. Leonard Jeffries, who commemorates his own (79th) physical day Jan. 19. “He was a product of our enormous struggle at the highest level.”
With this current generation of Americanized-Africans pleading that “Black lives matter” and with police killings of civilians escalating annually for the past decade—surpassing 1,000 in 2015—some wonder what the uncompromising Muhammad would say today?
“I would try to embody him in this climate of terrorism,” assessed Divine Allah, one-time NJ chairman of the New Black Panther Party and national youth minister. “He would say to us, in a strict manner … ‘The revolution won’t be televised; it won’t be on Instagram or Twitter.’ He would say… ‘Dammit, it gotta happen somewhere! At least make the revolution happen upside that crackers head!’ I honestly believe those would be his words if he were here right now.”
As some activists determined that the “government-sponsored” crack epidemic destabilized Black communities across New York City during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, it was the transplanted Texan with the shiny bald head the Harlem youth gravitated towards, as proved by 1999’s Million Youth March along Malcolm X Boulevard
Allah said, “He always said to us ‘Connect the dots, expand your base.’ … Those were some of his lessons as a Panther. ‘If you’re going to be in the church, be a revolutionary pastor … If you’re going to be a janitor, be a revolutionary janitor … If you’re going to be a teacher, be a revolutionary teacher. Whatever hat you wore, be a revolutionary.’ … He stressed that!”
Always speaking truth to power, Muhammad brought the knowledge he learned throughout his life and shared it freely.
“He understood that he had some young brothers around him who weren’t stupid … people who were organizing their communities … He was like, ‘Since you’re organizing, fuse this into that,’” recalled Allah. “We haven’t had anyone else like him. … We can only continue on where he left off at.”
Jeffries concluded, “I was fortunate to be with him on many of these battlefields. Dr. Khalid was in the middle of these struggles. The brother has to be recognized for making his contributions … like Frantz Fannon said, ‘Every generation has to make their contributions to the forward march of our people, or betray it.’”
Fruit of Islam member and long-time Khalid supporter, Daleel Muhammad, said, “Our brother, Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, was and will always be remembered as a soldier, a warrior, a minister, a captain and a trainer of men. He inspired me, and others, with his boldness, whether in private conversations or whether in public arenas. He was an uncompromising straight talker with no chaser. In his spirit was a profound love for Black empowerment and Black development. On a personal note, he inspired me to study more, love the N.O.I. more, love Minister Farrakhan more and to love Black people more. He trained the brothers with tact, spirit and military science. He left an indelible and an undeniable legacy that still resonates within me when I hear his name or his masterful theological and historical speeches. Long live the spirit of Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Gone, but not forgotten.”