PHILADELPHIA (FinalCall.com) – Radio talk show host Bev Smith brought the crowd to its feet at the Philadelphia Convention Center during the 16th Anniversary of the Million Man March celebration October 9.
Her soul stirring words representing the countless mothers, wives, daughters and sisters who supported the Million Man March and worked to make it a success connected with the men and women in the audience, many of them moved to tears.
After ending her remarks, she was spirited away by members of Min. Farrakhan’s staff to meet with him for a brief interview prior to his delivery of the Holy Day of Atonement keynote address. Ms. Smith asked the Minister: “Have you always talked while Black?”
“From as far back as I can remember,” answered Minister Farrakhan gently laughing. “My beautiful Black mother introduced me to Blackness and my father whom I never really knew was a follower of the Honorable Marcus Garvey. My mother was on the fringe of that movement but when I was born, she made sure that with my light skin and her beautiful Black skin, she wanted me to love Black and live for our people. And when you can’t help yourself die in the cause of the freedom of our people.”
Being a long time committed activist and advocate for Black people herself, Ms. Smith knows about sacrifice and the danger that comes with standing up for the rights of the people. She’s been shot at, has marched against the Ku Klux Klan and most recently, when she brought Min. Farrakhan to the city of Pittsburgh to participate in a town hall meeting, she received death threats, however, she never wavered and did not back down. She asked Min. Farrakhan how he faces the reality of giving his life to free Black people.
“You know if you don’t love them you can’t handle our people. Sometimes in our ignorance we are our worst enemy and we try leaders and if we run out of patience with our people, if we are thin-skinned and we can’t take being evil spoken of by our own, maligned by our own, plotted against by our own, instigated by the enemies of our own then we breakdown and give up and die dispirited and die broken as many of our great leaders have done,” said Min. Farrakhan. “But the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught me and God created me with an undying love for our people. And so love casteth out fear and the more you love, the more patient you can be, the more understanding you can be of the horrible condition that 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow, injustice has put on us. So, I think that at 78 years of age not being tired, love will carry me all the way to the end of my life and I just won’t give up in this struggle,”
Ms. Smith then asked the Minister to define Black, and as he always does, he delivered an answer rooted in the foundational teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
“Well the Honorable Elijah Muhammad my wonderful teacher and mentor, described Black is not a color but the origin out of which all color comes. He said that we as Black people are the original people of our planet and the first human beings that God created. We are not millions of years old or billions of years old, we are as old as the universe itself. So I am proud to be the first of God’s creation and from us came Brown and Red and Yellow and White. And because they came from us we have a special responsibility to what we produced. And so here we are Black but we have been taught to be ashamed of it. So the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us about Blackness to give us once again the pride of our Blackness, the dignity of our Blackness and to show us how the Blackman and woman; father and mother of civilization … why did he tell us that? So that we can recover our glorious past and bring that glorious past into the present to create a glorious future; not only for ourselves but for all of those who came from us.”
She then asked Minister Farrakhan about integration, in fact, Ms. Smith forthrightly stated that she considered integration to be a trick.
“I think the trick was integration–not that we weren’t already integrated–the Almighty (God) integrated us. But instead of accepting it as a tool to rise up, we became imitators and as you look around today it’s not integration, it’s imitation that has made us so significantly distracted and contracted and separated from each other,” Ms. Smith continued. “How do we get it back? Because if we don’t get it back Minister what future will there be for my Black nine year old granddaughter and my thirty-two year old daughter?” she asked.
“Martin Luther King and the great Civil Rights Movement was really not about integration it was about equality and justice in the American society. All of a sudden that became known as integration; the slave wanting to be next to his former slave master, marrying into the family of his former slave master. Being in the bedroom and neglecting the boardroom,” said the Minister. Integration has been practiced by every racial and ethnic group that came into America and they have made progress, he added.
“Let’s take a look at the Chinese. They came, they’re not integrated socially, but they adapted to the constitutional guarantees and they built a community where they own the real estate, they own the banks, they own the homes, they own the businesses so the Chinese are integrated but yet separate. So are the Polish, so are the Germans, so are the Italians, so are the Irish, so is everyone else. We also live in an enclave that is all ours but we don’t own the land, we don’t own the businesses, we don’t run the politics, we don’t run it so we don’t benefit from the separate status that everybody else benefits from,” said the Minister.
Ms. Smith was key in publicizing the Million Man March back in 1995. In fact, it was on The Bev Smith Show which aired on Black Entertainment Television that Minister Farrakhan, Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis first spoke to a national audience regarding the plan for the march. After that show, momentum for the Million Man March really began to build. Ms. Smith offered her help in getting the word out to the people again in whatever initiatives Min. Farrakhan would launch for the liberation of Black people.
“We need you more than ever Bev and today, it’s like calling all the resources of our community together because no one person can do it. No one group or organization can do it, no one fraternity or sorority can do it, no one denomination can do it. It’s going to take all of us working together for our survival and our survival depends on it,” said Minister Farrakhan.
Ms. Smith is writing a book titled “Talking While Black” and the entire interview conducted with the Minister is available on her website www.BevSmithTalks.com.