Saviours’ Day 2004 Online (FinalCall.com/SavioursDay)
(FinalCall.com) – All across America, the Black community is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Saviours’ Day, the crowning event of Black History Month. From coast to coast, in small cities and large, urban and rural, Black people are preparing to hear the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s message delivered from Chicago via satellite.
Around the globe in the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, the anticipation is equally as high for those eager to hear from the leader of the Nation of Islam.
“I’m very excited and the Believers everywhere are excited too,” explained Ishmael Muhammad, assistant minister to Minister Farrakhan.
“I’ve spoken to the ministers in several cities and the spirit is very high. We’ve almost sold out the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion which holds 10,000 and we’re working on a second venue for the overflow crowd,” said Min. Ishmael, who also serves as the Central Regional Minister at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Illinois.
Saviours’ Day is the yearly commemoration of the birth of Master Fard Muhammad, which is February 26. He came by Himself to America from the Middle East with a special message of Islam for the Black man and woman. During His travels across the country in 1931, He met Elijah Poole in Detroit, Mich., and personally taught and trained him for three-and-a-half years.
As the Founder of the Nation of Islam, Master W. Fard Muhammad transformed the downtrodden, suffering Black masses into a respectable people with the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of God.
Members of the Nation of Islam have followed the lead of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and celebrated the birth of their Saviour with a weekend of events that culminated with a special deliverance by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad then, and now by Minister Farrakhan.
This year, Minister Farrakhan’s address will focus on reparations, “What does America and Europe Owe? What does Allah (God) Promise?”
“We set a national agenda from headquarters in Chicago that each city will follow. We’re having a special gathering on February 26 to show our gratitude for Allah coming in the person of Master Fard Muhammad and raising the Honorable Elijah Muhammad up amongst us as a leader, teacher and guide, and for giving us the Honorable Minister Farrakhan,” Min. Ishmael explained.
“We’re also bringing back the tradition of gift giving at Saviours’ Day. When I was a child growing up, I looked forward to Saviours’ Day as the time when my parents would buy me lots of gifts. All the children were excited about Saviours’ Day.”
Dealing with the issues
Weekend events around the country will include town hall meetings on reparations and workshops on issues relevant to the Black community.
Muhammad’s Mosque 28-B in East St. Louis, Mo. have planned events for the entire family such as a hip hop summit, concert and a jazz festival, along with their program of workshops on reparations. Various discussions regarding reparations have included the United States’ history of supporting the initiative as it relates to other ethnic groups, including a formal apology and reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II and reparations to various indigenous nations.
“This matter hearkens back to the issue of taxation without representation,” said East. St. Louis Minister Ralph Muhammad.
“All of us must be educated about reparations, which aligns with the ideals of repairing the inherent damage slavery put upon us. Our ancestors built this country, so we are just demanding what is rightly due us.”
The issues relating to reparations are on the minds of Black people, especially since a federal judge in Chicago dismissed nine lawsuits brought by descendants of African slaves seeking reparations from corporations they charged had benefited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle said the plaintiffs had established no clear link to the companies they targeted. But a local woman who served as one of the plaintiffs in the rejected lawsuit said the effort will continue to be at the forefront of her actions.
“My father bought 500 acres of land so we would never have to sharecrop, or be beholden to anyone,” said the Rev. Hannah Hurdle-Toomey of Belleville, the youngest of 25 children born to A.J. Hurdle, a former slave.
A.J. Hurdle, the other plaintiff in the lawsuit said, “During the Civil War, General (William) Sherman came up with the idea to award land to assist freed slaves in gaining self-sufficiency, but when President Lincoln was assassinated, his successor, Andrew Johnson, returned the land back to the Confederacy and now it’s playing out again here in the 21st Century.”
Ms. Hurdle-Toomey, 72, said the ruling leaves the door open for continued pursuit of justice as it relates to reparations. “I would like to make it crystal clear, in my opinion, that this is not about a check,” she said. “In my opinion, if you gave us $20,000 apiece tomorrow, $19,000 of it would be given back in a month.” She continued,”We need institutions such as health clinics, vehicles that would speak to a renewed approach to educating our people, and measures to enhance our socialization process. This lawsuit rejection was just ‘Round One’ of a fight that will be very lengthy.”
A local appeal
Minister Jamil Muhammad, a national spokesman for Minister Farrakhan, crisscrossed the country along with Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, former Supreme Captain, visiting over 40 cities, preaching to people to come and hear the Minister’s Saviours’ Day address.
“Anticipation is in the air. Black America is abuzz with interest in what Minister Farrakhan will say in regards to reparations and the progress of the Nation of Islam,” shared Min. Jamil. “In every city, once people hear the plans of Min. Farrakhan’s message, they light up.”
But it’s not just the Black community that is waiting with baited breath for Saviours’ Day. “There is a great presence of Islam in the Southwest region, not only from the ‘African American tradition,’ particularly followers of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, but also in the spread of Islam in our immigrant population,” said Southwest Regional Minister Robert Muhammad.
“There is a growth of Islam I’m finding among the Latino populations, evidenced in our mosque,” he continued. “We are welcoming a variety of brothers who have been exposed to Islam either in prison, or through our dawah, or the propagation efforts, whether it be The Final Call newspaper or through other Islamic sources.”
With the exception of the Albuquerque, N.M. Study Group, every major city in the Southwest region will broadcast the Saviours’ Day address including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Ok..; Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and Texarkana, Texas; Shreveport, Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; and Little Rock, Arkansas.
This is the third year that the Nation of Islam has held local Saviours’ Day observances instead of coming to headquarters in Chicago. Minister Farrakhan’s reason was that many more people would be able to hear his message if the events were localized.
“Minister Farrakhan’s decision that local mosques and study groups should observe Saviours’ Day in their own cities, rather than convening in Chicago, amounts to an economic windfall,” according to Min. Robert. “Money which would normally be spent on travel and in lodging have been put toward economic development of the Nation this year,” he said.
On the West Coast, the anxiety for Saviours’ Day is near a fever pitch. San Diego will host its “First Annual Saviours’ Day Youth Day” which includes several workshops covering reparations, education, criminal justice, health and a children’s science fair.
San Diego Minister Hugh Muhammad has promoted their events with an open letter in local newspapers.
“We put in it an appeal based on the response to the question that Min. Farrakhan gave, closing out an article in the centerfold of The Final Call newspaper a couple of issues ago, inviting the people out to come, see and hear him for themselves,” he said. “Reparations is an issue that regardless of race, religion or nationality, anyone with a good, honest and sincere mind must be able to look at, to see that the damage done to our people coming out of over 400 years of bondage, and still in mental bondage, is something that is needed.”
The Believers in San Francisco are gearing up to host a reparations conference in Sacramento, the state capital of California. “The conference will focus our attention on how to involve all of the communities of the Northern California area to put pressure on those state legislators to support the efforts of reparations as put forth by the Honorable Min. Louis Farrakhan,” San Francisco Minister Christopher Muhammad explained.
In Richmond, Calif., Secretary Eric Muhammad, who produced a TV commercial promoting Saviours’ Day that will run in five cities in the Oakland/Richmond area next to BET, CNN, ESPN and VH1, said, “The message Min. Farrakhan intends to give is very important and having it here locally is a big advantage for the citizens of Richmond. The locals would never be able to benefit from it other than us bringing the videotape back. Having the satellite broadcast is an incredible thing to them, because now they can be a part of the event.”
Askia Muhammad, Douglas Clark Jr. and Earl 3X Reddix contributed to this story.
(For more information on how you can view the Saviours’ Day address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, visit www.finalcall.com/savioursday)