A recent informative, virtual town hall meeting dealt with the separation of Blacks into an independent state or territory and included discussion of how such a reality could be developed inside the United States.
The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of Greenville, Miss., organized the forum which was also held to mark the 26th anniversary of the historic Million Man March,
Kareem Annoor Muhammad, of the Greenville LOC, moderated the discussion among panelists that included Student Minister Ava Muhammad, who serves as National Spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan; Dr. Robert White, a professor at Alabama State University; Attorney Pamela Muhammad of Houston and Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, co-founder and president of Black Lawyers for Justice and former chairman of the New Black Panther Party.
Dr. Ava Muhammad talked about the importance of understanding the thinking of many Blacks today who feel separation is an impossibility. “They can’t process it in their minds,” she said. But after slavery, “our people knew they didn’t want to be around White people,” commented Student Minister Muhammad.
“This mindset existed right up to the ’60s. The civil rights struggle was not to sit next to White people or have lunch with White people. It was to come out from under the debilitating effects of Jim Crow. It was to demand our right to vote, our right to have a decent life!” she added.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Min. Ava Muhammad, at the direction of Min. Farrakhan, conducted Separation Town Hall meetings in various cities throughout the country. The town hall meetings and the idea of separation were well received.
“Integration was pushed on us and from the time we’ve gotten caught up in integration … over the past 50 years. The more we integrated the less we have. Because the idea of integration to White people is that we’re free to come and spend all our money in their hotels, their airlines, their restaurants, buy cars from them and the list goes on and on,” she explained.
Can nationhood be established without a clear agenda for separation, moderator Kareem Muhammad asked?
“No we can’t, not on this side, not living in a White reality,” said Ava Muhammad, after a pause. “The first thing that needs to happen is to leave. …We have been in an integration mindset for only 50 years, 50 of the 450.”
The important thing for Blacks is “the common ancestry, the common history, and the common experience,” she said. “That’s what we need and that’s all we need. We geographically are going to have to come together, and we will work these things out!”
During the nearly two-hour discussion, attorney Pamela Muhammad argued the answer to what Blacks are seeking is found in the Muslim Program of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam program and position are found each week on the inside back page of The Final Call newspaper. Prior to that it appeared in Muhammad Speaks, the NOI newspaper of the 1960s and 1970s. Under “What the Muslims Want” in the Muslim Program, Point No. 4 and 5 states:
“We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own—either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally-rich. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years—until we are able to produce and supply our own needs.
“Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality, after giving them 400 years of our sweat and blood and receiving in return some of the worst treatment human beings have ever experienced, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by white America, justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own. … We know that the above plan for the solution of the black and white conflict is the best and only answer to the problem between two people.”
Dr. White, of Alabama State University, spoke on some of the history of political activism of Blacks in the U.S. and Black self-determination. “In the South, if you ran for any political office and were in any position of prominence, they would lynch you,” he said. “There’s a museum in Montgomery, Ala., called the Equal Justice Initiative, a legacy museum that’s dedicated to the thousands of people who practiced self-determination and were cut down because of it,” he stated.
The notion that Black efforts at independence or doing for self were unusual is not true, said Dr. White.
“The truth is that if you read (Herbert) Gutman’s book, “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom,” you will see that our social structure, and our families were far more intact than the liberal scholarship would claim it to had been,” explained Dr. White.
“As the Honorable Minister Farrakhan has said, we must defend what we develop, because if we don’t defend what we develop a savage beast can come and take it from us. So, we need a military force to protect our sovereignty,” said Attorney Shabazz.
“A movement is a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social and artistic ideas, in this case their political interests. We do declare that we are politically interested in separation, sovereignty and independence and self-determination,” he added. “My question is, can it be built and what will it do?”
Atty. Pamela Muhammad was optimistic that separation is possible. “For us to set up our own community, our own neighborhoods that’s really a step up and makes us safer. Then we have to talk about how we are going to sustain it and how we are going to build economic bases. Like in the Mississippi Delta, where you already have some infrastructure, you have businesses. So, all we have to do is look at how we can satisfy the needs of those that are there,” she said.
“It’s going to take some planning and coming together like we see with the LOC’s where we might not have the same religious background, but we have the same desire to have full and complete freedom.”
Kareem Muhammad was very pleased with the turnout for the Oct. 16 virtual town hall. He shared with The Final Call what inspired him to host the event. “The Honorable Minister Farrakhan established LOCs across the country to help organize for the Million Man March and to keep working in our communities afterwards. We have been organizing ever since 1995 and during this town hall meeting we called on the spirit of our ancestors,” he said.
“Not merely to reflect on the tragedy that happened in 1921, 100 years ago in Tulsa, Okla., but we were here to call on the spirit of self-determination for our families to be free to self-govern from the principle of unity,” he continued, referring to Black Wall Street, the historic all-Black section of Tulsa that was attacked and destroyed by Whites.
“Our purpose for having this discussion is to develop a blueprint under the National Agenda book made available during the Million Man March whereas we can build a political think tank and the LOC here in Greenville that will be the engine to implement the plan. We have been organizing … keeping the spirit of the Million Man March alive,” he added.