, Contributing Writer
CHICAGO–The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, by some estimates, built a more than $80 million organization that provided education, food, clothing, shelter and an elevated way of life for Black Americans. The Nation of Islam patriarch forever changed the mentality and consciousness of Black people. Much of this historic work was masterminded from the former national home of the Nation of Islam at 4847 S. Woodlawn Ave. in Chicago.This home welcomed the presence of many influential Black leaders such as Muhammad Ali, Senator Adam Clayton Powell, Stokely Carmichael, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Minister Louis Farrakhan and many others. This home, the site of the historic Table Talks collection and so many iconic events, meetings and meals has been vacant for roughly 30 years. Real estate and business developer Wendy Muhammad could not believe her eyes when she discovered via a bank foreclosure alert that the home was being prepared to go to auction; she thought it was a mistake and began rapidly calling around to see if it was true.
After the insistence of her business partner to avoid the competition of the auction and to ensure that the home would be preserved to promote the legacy of its legendary original owner, Wendy Muhammad purchased the turn of the century home built in 1890. The home is an architectural masterpiece in that its design is a unique combination of the Arts and Craft, Vernacular and Chicago Square styles. The home is currently being restored to Landmark status. It is a three-story property that, with a full basement, is close to 12,000 square feet. It includes a 2,000 square foot carriage house.
Wendy Muhammad and her team are currently working to renovate the home.
“Sajdah House, the new name for the former home of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, is dedicated to the cultural exhibition of the economic development of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and impactful entrepreneurs from marginalized communities around the world,” said Wendy Muhammad.
“We plan to use a combination of technology and art to create a unique experience unlike any other cultural center in the world. We are working to restore the first floor so that it looks like it did when the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad lived there during the mid-century and the second floor will host exhibits of the Nation of Islam businesses as well as other impactful Black Entrepreneurs,” she added.
Wendy Muhammad plans to showcase business leaders from various eras such as Annie Malone, “the first Black female millionaire;” influencer, philanthropist and rapper Nipsy Hussle and advertising changemaker Tom Burrell, to name a few. There will be special exhibits on iconic women of the Nation of Islam highlighting their many accomplishments.
“Many people are not familiar with the beauty and significant accomplishments of the women of the Nation of Islam,” Wendy Muhammad explained.
“The use of technology will allow exhibits to rotate throughout the year, keeping the experience fresh, new and exciting. We will showcase our business giants using digital resurrection technology, holograms and 3D projections,” she continued. “This will include a life size ‘holotower’ of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that will greet people when they enter the house. In fact, this collection of digital art used throughout the center is titled, ‘He Lives.’ ”
What really moved me the most was when, after presenting this project to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, he said, “Your mind is in the right place. I don’t have anything to say.”
Additionally, a soul stirring sculpture will sit on the front lawn of the home. The sculpture is a unique work of art entitled, “The Cracked Atom” which will feature seven lifesize human figures that represent seven areas throughout the Black diaspora.
Each figure is touching an illuminated cracked atom with the inscription, “Mr. Muhammad cracked one atom into 10 million parts.” This is a nod to the Supreme Wisdom Lessons that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad received from His Teacher, Master Fard Muhammad. Sajdah House is scheduled to open in October 2020.