Crowds file into the Harold Washington Cultural Center to attend the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s address on Wednesday June 8, 2011.

CHICAGO ( – The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan told hundreds gathered for a town hall meeting here that those who resist the enemy and fight for justice should be supported and defended, and Black institutions should remain controlled by Black communities.

“Now, there’s a few things I want to say tonight about how the enemy’s pattern never changes. Once you understand the methodology and the modus operandi of the enemy, when you see your brother and sister being assaulted, instead of running away from them, you should run to them to get their side of the story before you make your judgment,” Minister Farrakhan told the crowd gathered at the Harold Washington Cultural Center June 8.

In a presentation and town hall meeting also viewed nationally via internet webcast, officials from the cultural center updated the community regarding their protracted legal battle and also countered media claims of mismanagement by the center’s officials and nepotism aimed at former Alderwoman Dorothy Wright Tillman who worked tirelessly to bring the cultural center into existence.

Fmr. Ald. Dorothy Wright Tillman Photo:

The Minister said the enemy assaults the character of a leader, tells lies and then gets the media to support the lies. Then when those who lack facts read the accounts of those within the media, they begin to believe it and proceed to spread the misinformation and disinformation.

The use of false witnesses is also a reliable weapon in the arsenal of the enemy’s wicked defamatory schemes. Mentioning leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois and Adam Clayton Powell, the Minister said they were maligned in the media, and in many cases, betrayed by those within their inner circle. This is a difficult road that faces all Black leaders who desire to represent the legitimate aspirations of their people.

“If we are going to be free, we have to be willing to pay the price. There is no easy road in building God’s kingdom,” Minister Farrakhan said.

The Minister said Dorothy Wright Tillman has always been an outspoken defender of the people. While alderman, she insisted that Black contractors receive work in the city and was never a politician that could be easily moved from her positions. While many politicians seem to adopt an self-serving and greedy attitude, Ms. Tillman always worked to serve the people.

“Of all politicians that we have elected that have done good works, Dorothy Tillman is the only one that left office and built an institution for her people,” said Min. Farrakhan. “And bringing reparations to the table in the city council, now, you have to admire a woman that recognizes that this government and people owe Black people something and we’ve never been paid, and you must never think that a Black president in the White House is payment for 450 years of evil and injustice.”

“I’m here to defend the honor, the integrity, the warrior spirit of a woman and to defend her legacy because this cultural center represents what’s deep within her being for us. How she used her skill in politics to get money to build this institution,” said Min. Farrakhan. “Who would want to take such as thing away from us, and why would we permit it?” the Minister asked.

Minister’s support

Early in March, Dorothy Wright Tillman spoke with Minister Farrakhan in Pittsburgh, when they appeared on the Bev Smith Show’s Town Hall Meeting on “The Disappearing Black Community”. Ms. Tillman discussed some of the challenges they were facing surrounding the Harold Washington Cultural Center, and Minister Farrakhan said he would meet with her about it when they returned to Chicago.

After meeting with Ms. Tillman and looking over the paperwork Minister Farrakhan brought Student National Secretary Berve Power Muhammad into the mix along with his legal expertise and the resources of his Chicago-based law firm Power and Dixon. Atty. Muhammad looked at the paperwork and determined that evidence suggests impropriety on the part of not only Shore Bank, but also possibly the City of Chicago and the City Colleges of Chicago.

Minister Farrakhan also brought in well-connected and long-time aide Leonard F. Muhammad calling him “a master tactician and strategist” to advise the Tillman family in this matter.

According to officials, the Harold Washington Cultural Center is currently worth $15 million and sits in a prime location. The U.S. economic downturn has hit the area hard, and the loss of the 2016 Olympic Games slowed some business investment, but there is still potential for economic development.

Atty. Muhammad after looking into the case discovered that the original lender, Shore Bank, appeared to make money off mortgage payments made by Tobacco Road Inc., applying TRI’s payments–totaling over $280,000–completely to interest and none to the principal amount of the loan.

During the discovery process, Atty. Muhammad found that City Colleges of Chicago became the plaintiff in the case in December 2010. Shore Bank and the City of Chicago engaged in a civil conspiracy with the goal of wrestling control of the Harold Washington Cultural Center away from Tobacco Road Inc., he charged.

About the center

The Harold Washington Cultural Center is owned and operated by Tobacco Road, Inc., a non profit organization, and supported through private donations, rental fees for events, and corporate sponsorships.

The majestic $19.5 million 45,000-square-foot limestone edifice rests on the corner of 47th Street and Martin Luther King Drive in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. A 20-foot high 750-pound sculpted statue of the late Mayor Harold Washington greets those approaching the center.

Mr. Washington–the first Black mayor to be elected in Chicago–grew up in the neighborhood, and was a beloved figure for many Blacks who supported him, unified behind him, and ultimately, lifted him into office. A shrewd politician and effective administrator, Mr. Washington died in 1987 just months into his second term. Since his death, the Black community in Chicago has been fragmented and powerless.

When construction was completed and the Harold Washington Cultural Center opened in August of 2004, its presence was a great source of pride in the community. With its state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, iron staircases, terrazzo marble floors and flat panel plasma screen televisions throughout, its beauty is only matched by it availability and functionality, according to its executive director, Jimalita Tillman.

Describing its 1,000 seat ComEd Performing Arts Theater, conference meeting rooms and reception areas, and computer lab, Ms. Tillman said she is proudest of the fact that many youth are able to take advantage of free programs while finding a “safe haven” at the center, especially those having to take the train or the bus through some of the city’s hot spots to get home.

“Whether they have Prada or they have nada, our babies are fine here at the Harold Washington Cultural Center,” said Ms. Tillman. “Our doors are open because of the community. It is more than brick and mortar,” she added.

Troubled bank and deception?

In a very easy to understand manner, Atty. Muhammad delivered a legal summary describing just a few aspects of the case. He pointed to possible improprieties conducted by executives at Shore Bank and the City Colleges of Chicago.

As for Shore Bank, it was the largest Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the country. CDFIs operate with a stated mission and focus aimed at creating economic development in low to moderate income communities. In many cases, these are also traditionally underserved markets. On Aug. 20, 2010 Shore Bank was declared insolvent and taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation with no advance notice given to the public.

At the time, Shore Bank was the 114th FDIC-insured institution to fail in the United States in 2010 and the 50th in the state of Illinois.

Many of the accounts and their assets were transferred to Urban Partnership Bank, and its existing branches, were reopened under the new banner.

The entire board of directors and executives who led Shore Bank as its financial condition worsened were fired.

“New management leading the efforts to save the institution and that did not contribute to the bank’s problems will be retained,” read a supplemental fact sheet statement from the FDIC.

Minister Farrakhan said he was very proud of Atty. Muhammad, and advised the community to remain vigilant because often things are floated in the media, and then the community begins to echo what the corporate media says. This kills the spirit in the people to support and fight for what is right, and America’s corrupt legal system, truth and justice often loses out to White Supremacy, he said.

“Brother Berve has laid out a beautiful legal defense, as he did a few years ago for a Black man that was killed while he was in custody. He fought the case and whipped everybody. If you were judging by the way he handled them and the lies he manifested in them, you would say he won the case, which he did. But when the deal went down, White supremacy prevailed,” said Min. Farrakhan. “We should win, but Jesus was innocent–the malefactors and false witnesses condemned an innocent man.”

America’s corrupt government

Any leader that stands and won’t bend will be attacked, whether in the United States or abroad. Using NATO’s assassination attempt to kill Libyan Leader Muammar Gadhafi, the Minister said this “rebel government” that does what it wants to do in the name of the American people. Wars have been fought for greedy bankers, oil and resources, not freedom nor democracy, he said.

“If you don’t stand up, you deserve the hell that you are going to suffer because of your weakness, your cowardice and your love on an enemy that means no good for you!” Minister Farrakhan said.

“The United Nations is finished and every one of the coalition partners–I’m here to pronounce your doom. Let me just tell you. God is angry and He is the master of the chess board, and when you think it is your move, it is He guiding your mind to make a move that He’s already got the checkmate for, so that your move will ultimately bring about His Will,” said Min. Farrakhan. “God intends to kill the warmongers because there will never be peace on earth as long as warmongers are in power, and it is sad that our brother who got a Nobel Peace Prize is now sending drones into Pakistan and into Yemen and Somalia killing men, women and children, some of the guilty, but many of the innocent are dying from the bombs of these drones.”

Pres. Obama recently was in the United Kingdom, and recently met with Germany’s Angela Merkel. This is part of the global setup, said Min. Farrakhan reminding the crowd of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s guidance.

“Elijah Muhammad said in the end, England was going to trick America into war, France would be in it, but she would get out. But that war would bring all the nations into war. We’re at the door now–The War of Armageddon and I’m telling you, no easy days are in front. If we can get through this, easy days will come behind it,” said Min. Farrakhan.

He ended his message with a word of warning and guidance.

“God is watching how we treat those who fight for us and if we do to her (Tillman) and to others what we did to Mr. Garvey, to Noble Drew Ali, to Malcolm X, to Muhammad Ali, to Elijah Muhammad, when the enemy turned down on them, we turned down too. Don’t do that because God will chastise you today for weakness, cowardice and betraying those who fight for you.”