Now, back to Brother Akbar’s answer to my questions for a book that did not come out 20-plus years ago.
Brother Akbar: It made him careful. It made him extremely careful. I think those words, when he was about to have the press conference, and he was about to do the thing in February of 1971, I think. He was getting ready to do “Is it too late?” program.
Brother Jabril: What was the press conference about?
Brother Akbar: The press conference was in May of 1972. The Mosque was attacked on the 14th of April 1972. We went to see the Messenger on the 27th, and we came back to have a press conference.
Brother Jabril: What did the Messenger say?
Brother Akbar: The Messenger called him, and told him about being careful with the press conference, and …
Brother Jabril: He was going to hold a press conference …?
Brother Akbar: At the Mosque, about the devils’ attack on the Mosque. I mean, I don’t know exactly what that press conference contained, but he talked to the Messenger before, and the Messenger, “Well what would you have me do, dear Apostle?” I think, he said “Well Brother you do …” Whatever the Messenger said, it gave him the indication that he should not hold this press conference. He sent me downstairs to tell the press people there would be no press conference.
Brother Jabril: How did the press react to that?
Brother Akbar: They were upset. Why? They wanted the reason why. I said there’ll be no press conference. End of it.
Again I would have to consult my journals, that the “Is it too late” program. … And we had went downtown and got him a hotel room. It was going to be a live program, all over the country, with Black leaders, and that’s when he called the Messenger right before he went on, and the Messenger said that he thought he would do the show himself. He said I think I’ll do the show, because the Messenger hadn’t been feeling well, and I remember I think Valaura or somebody took him some soup, and he got some of his strength back that day, but the Minister had to jump on a plane, and get out to Chicago immediately.
The Messenger had a, they had a helicopter or something to bring him to Meigs Field, took him right to the house, and then the Messenger did the show himself. But it was a great test, because everything was set, the Minister had, I think he had even fasted or I know we got him a hotel room, so he would be ready for the show, and at the last minute, I had to go tell Tony Brown that he wouldn’t be doing the show, and that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad himself would be coming on.
Also we had an educational banquet in ‘69, and I think that was the first time that I saw the Minister. Duke Ellington was there, but it was the first time that I saw him (Minister Farrakhan) with tears in his eyes like that in the public.
We played a videotape of the Messenger then he was introduced, and somebody introduced him very well. I don’t know who it was. He got up and he said that I’m a finite being, you know, and he talked about the praise and he talked about his desire only is to serve his leader and to resurrect these people.
He talked about his love of Black people, though they were heaping the praise on him, you know … . That word I’m a finite being, and tears rolled down his eyes. It was a very touching set. So, I’m just giving you that. So go ahead. What else?
Brother Jabril: Jump ahead just for a moment. By now of course it’s the ‘70s. By the time the Honorable Elijah Muhammad left the scene, you knew the Minister, how would you summarize the kind of person he was? By the time, the end of 1974, you’ve seen him under all kinds of circumstances. There’s areas where he interacted with your family.
Give an example of the time he went, he prayed with you, went to the hospital concerning your wife. Mention that incident and how you. … That was one of those further, another one of those bonding instances, wasn’t it?
Brother Akbar: Yes. Yes.
Brother Jabril: Tell me about that. Then after you tell me about it, then tell me, how would you summarize what kind of person would you say he is by the time 1974, Saviour’s Day ‘75 rolled around, and that would give me the basis for my next question, the main question.
About before we get to this very short summary, one of which you told me had a profound effect on me.
There was an incident where this girl went off a roof and landed five stories below and he went downstairs and prayed for her. He went to the hospital and prayed for her. Do you remember anything about that?
Brother Akbar: I think this happened after; I think it happened after ‘72.
Brother Jabril: Were you in there in the Mosque when that happened?
Brother Akbar: I wasn’t there that day. I had went on the road or something. I went somewhere out of the city to teach.
Brother Jabril: And what did you hear about it when you …
Brother Akbar: I heard that the sister tried to commit suicide.
Brother Jabril: Muslim Sister?
Brother Akbar: Muslim Sister. I know her and her brother.
Brother Jabril: How old was she?
Brother Akbar: She was about, she was a young sister, maybe about 21, 22 years old. She jumped out of a window in the projects, and they thought she was going to die. She just broke both her legs.
The Minister heard of it and ran to where she lay and prayed for her. Then he went with her to the hospital, and prayed for her all the way there.
They really thought that she wasn’t going to make it, because she had some internal injuries or something … internal injuries.
But when I got back to town, they told me about it and how the Minister had prayed for her and went to the hospital and she made it.
Brother Jabril: Before the Honorable Elijah Muhammad departed in ‘75, do you recall, in your summary or your view of him, what were among the most extraordinary things or incidences? I should say first, specific instances that you can remember that really surprised you about the kind of person that he is? Any extraordinary gifts or powers or anything like that at all? Or any indication that there might have been something very special about him?
Brother Akbar: Well, I mean, there’s always been something special about the Minister in everything that he has done. It seems like everything that he had been thrown into, Allah brings him out on top. Everything. So that, in itself, somebody who works with him can see him in all kinds of circumstances, and see his strong faith in God, Who just brings him out on top.
Under extraordinary circumstances, regardless to how bad things look, he emerges through the strength of his faith–with Allah’s backing–on top.
One of the great qualities of the Minister is, you know I never saw him bitter, other than when after the Messenger left, because of what they did to him.
But before that, regardless to what bad things was coming his way, and despite what people accused him of, and attacked him on, and the level of jealousy that existed among some of his brothers, he was never bitter at them. That’s an extraordinary quality.
Brother Jabril: You were in personal position to see him for seven years. At least ‘67 through Saviour’s Day ‘75.
Brother Akbar: That’s right.
Bro. Jabril: It’s about a good eight years.
Brother Akbar: … ‘65. From ‘65-‘75.
Brother Jabril: Ten years.
Brother Akbar: Ten years. Practically everyday other than when he was away or something, but it was a very trying time right before, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad left.
In my book I have done these chapters already. These chapters are being proofed. But right before the Messenger left, it was a very trying time. Because we had reached a peak in New York, that Black Family Day, in March of 1974 was tremendous–70,000 people!
I’m asking the reader to see, the above 70,000 was a sign which is happening NOW.
More next issue, Allah willing.