Khalid Abdul Muhammad (Azim Thomas photo)

As we now look to commemorate his February 17 transition, we also acknowledge that Jan. 12 marked the 75th physical-day anniversary of the “Black History hitman,” Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad. 

The community looked into some of his experiences in Harlem to commemorate this occasion. Although he was born in Texas in 1948, he relocated to NYC during the 1980s and made Harlem his home throughout many of his later years.

As minister of Nation of Islam (NOI) Temple No. 7 when it was located at 2033 5th Ave., during the late 1980s–early ’90s, he helped provide some spiritual guidance for several inner-city young men. The hip-hop generation was coming of age and he was a major influence on them. His “take no prisoners” attitude magnetized many who were enduring the rampant crack epidemic of that era.

After leaving the NOI in early 1994, he soon was appointed as chair of the New Black Panther Party and set up shop in Harlem, residing on W. 140th St. in Striver’s Row. He trained many young men in military-style combat, preparing them for any possible confrontations. “The Truth Terrorist,” as he was also known, struck fear in “community coons,” and religious figures posing as upright leaders who were primarily out for self-glorification. 

“Khalid’s impact and influence on Harlem was seen by the way he drew the youth to him, and most of the politicians and clergymen away from him,” said Kem-Neter, NBPP’s former minister of information. “His charisma, clarity of our situation as a people, his intellect, wit and brutal honesty made him loved by the masses, and hated and feared by those under the political and religious power structures, as well as the policing agencies. He was a ‘wolf amongst sheep.’” 

On departing from the NOI’s doctrine, he continued his studies and built personal relationships with such noted African scholar warriors as Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan (born December 31, 1918), and Dr. Leonard Jeffries (born January 19, 1937), which helped feed his voracious appetite for knowledge of self.

He continued reading all types of literature, often stopping along Harlem’s 125th St. to purchase rare books from street vendors to prepare him for his speaking engagements. He presented several lectures at local churches, halls and schools, often touching on volatile subjects. He usually made profound impacts on younger generations.

“Khalid brought information to the local youths to uplift their consciousness,” said his colleague, Prof. James Small. “Khalid was a very courageous man. He never bit his tongue, whether he was debating a rabbi on the origins of Judaism and its relationship with the Black community, or against a Black preacher on the abuses of the Black church. He was courageous in telling the truth, pulling the cover off the hypocrites and imposters in our community so our people will have the chance to see.”

On Sept. 5, 1998, he moderated the Million Youth March along Malcolm X Blvd. and fearlessly stood his ground when pressure came from the NYYD rushing the stage.

As time elapses, his legacy has continued to grow, especially locally. Due to social media, he has been exposed to a new generation.

“Khalid is almost like a god amongst young people because he stood up so strongly against oppression, colonialism and imperialism,” said Small. “And he pulled off the cover of the hypocritical behavior of white and Black politicians; not only in America, but also abroad.”

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