By Richard B. Muhammad

By every public account given Brother Arthur Hearn was an honorable man, a family man, a mentor, a barber and a pillar of the Woodlawn community where he worked for many years. But Brother Arthur was also a Muslim, a pioneer in the Nation of Islam and a man beloved by Muslims in the Chicago community.

That love is fueling efforts to find his killer and obtain justice and is also fueling a growing unity between the men who established Islam under the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the men who are reestablishing the Muslim movement under the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Brother Arthur, 88, was the victim of a robbery on an early Thursday morning, Sept. 25, as he headed to a bus stop on the way to work at Farrell’s Barbershop, where he dispensed wisdom as he practiced his craft. He was known to give free haircuts, money, advice, encouragement and protection. At age 69, he heard a woman scream, ran out of his shop and stopped a robbery. During the encounter with an armed attacker, Brother Arthur wrestled away the weapon but suffered a gunshot wound. Brother Arthur was a soldier.


According to police and media reports, Brother Arthur was knocked down by a young man early that morning waiting for a bus and the assault was captured on surveillance cameras. The attacker, accompanied by what was thought to be a young woman, went through Brother Arthur’s pockets as he lay on the ground, police say. His blood still stains the ground at 85th St. and Cottage Grove Avenue in the city’s Chatham neighborhood. It cries out for justice.

A passerby flagged down a police car and the perpetrators fled.

This was a dastardly, cowardly and deadly act. Several days later, Brother Arthur died from injuries, head injuries, which resulted from his fall.

A Muslim has been murdered.

A great-grandfather has been lost and his family and his community ache from the unjust taking of his life.

As of Final Call press time, police had arrested Samuel Higgins, saying the 29-year-old was dressed as a woman and served as a lookout for the man who assaulted Brother Arthur. The suspect is being held on $1 million bond reportedly didn’t live far from where the crime occurred. He is facing murder and robbery charges. His criminal history includes two felony convictions for prostitution, two felony convictions for forgery, felony convictions for identity theft and 11 other misdemeanor convictions, according to reports.

While the police were working, the Muslim brothers of Brother Arthur were working too. After a Wednesday night meeting, I joined some of the brothers of the Fruit of Islam of Mosque Maryam and some of the great Muslim men of Masjid Mustaqeem, who established the Nation in its heyday.

We went out at 5:30 a.m. that Thursday morning. Despite a driving rain we came back the next morning at 4:30 a.m., about the time Brother Arthur and others would regularly be out to collect information and help the police do their job. On Saturday there was additional canvassing of the neighborhood and outreach. Lives are lost daily in Chicago and obtaining justice takes more than calling on a sometimes inundated police department. It takes more than memorials and tears. It takes more than plaintive cries, “Someone should do something.” It takes people, men in particular, to stand up, step up, step forward and move out into the neighborhood for justice, rightness and the good of all of our people.

By that Saturday morning, the media announced an arrest had been made.

Seeing the Muslims out, walking the streets, seeking a murderer, made others feel more protected. Most people responded with gratitude as we talked about what happened to Brother Arthur and the need to make the streets safe for everyone. Some people rushed by, unwilling to take a flier or hear a word. Some were clearly only concerned with themselves. It is that unfortunate and apathetic attitude that helps make the streets of Black Chicago killing fields. We pray that none of these apathetic people are touched by tragedy and find themselves crying for help and compassion, but a deadly encounter may lurk just around the corner.

It is the love of the brotherhood that is fueling the Muslim brothers and their determination. It is respect and appreciation for Brother Arthur’s life and sacrifice that personally fuels my commitment to see that he gets justice. Without men like him, I would not even have the honor of carrying the name Muhammad, would not know the reality and greatness of Allah (God) and would not be working in this mighty cause.

Brother Arthur’s death is bringing life. It is bringing Muslim brothers together. It is bringing brothers like 88-year-old Naeem Muhammad, formerly Lt. Miles X, into the life of younger Fruit and bringing old soldiers back into the embrace of one another. It has Original Fruit and Rebuilding the Nation Fruit standing shoulder to shoulder and bow tie to bow tie like a solid wall. Brother Naeem drove all the way from Mississippi to Chicago when he heard the horrible news. It is allowing us to access the brilliance of young Brother Khalid Habeel, who is using technology and talent to acquire and keep information.

Out of this tragedy we are working for Allah’s (God’s) cause and holding one another tight. We are marching forward for Brother Arthur, his family, our community and our people. We won’t stop until justice is done. Love makes you do that. We don’t need a reward. Our reward will be seeing justice done for our brother and helping to make it happen.

But anyone with information about this crime, can text “CPD” to 274637 and leave a tip. The text goes to the Chicago Police Dept., and you will be given an alias to collect a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of suspects or a suspect responsible for the assault on Brother Arthur. Richard B. Muhammad is editor in chief of The Final Call newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]. Find him on Facebook at Richard B. Muhammad and follow him on Twitter: @RMfinalcall.)