Town hall attendees in Holly Springs, Miss. Photos: Alicia X

by Lekesha Deberry

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss.—The Mississippi on the Move Town Talk Tour is reviving the spirit of liberation in North Mississippi.

The idea of Mississippi on the Move began with three men, Student Minister Abdul Shahid Muhammad of the Nation of Islam (NOI) Holly Springs Study Group, Patrick “Lumumba” Alexander of the Black Liberation Movement and Kenneth Muhammad of the NOI Holly Springs Study Group.

The three began discussing the topic of “Mississippi on the Move” on the local talk radio program “Saving-Our-Selves,” on how to carry the spirit of the Separation Town Hall meeting, held in Coldwater, Mississippi, on Oct. 26, 2019, throughout the state.


The Mississippi on the Move “Town Talk Tour” was led by Mr. Alexander and had its first stop in Holly Springs.

“The Town Talk is to create awareness and establish an initiative to protect our people and embrace the charge left by our ancestors,” Mr. Alexander declared. “This is the call to our Black community in Mississippi to take the responsibility and become controllers of our own destiny.”

From left: Baba Levern Murphy, Baba Kamal Karriem, Student Minister Abdul Shahid Muhammad, Holly Springs Alderman Andre’ Jones and former Holly Springs Mayor Andre’ DeBerry and Patrick Alexander (in background) at Mississippi on the Move Town Talk Tour that took place March 6

He established a lineup of panelists consisting of Baba Dr. Levern Murphy; Student Minister Abdul Shahid Muhammad; Lead Counsel of the Black Liberation Movement Baba Kamal Karriem; former Holly Springs mayor Andre’ DeBerry; and the youngest Black alderman of Holly Springs, Andre Jones.

The  March 6 forum discussed specific issues within Holly Springs’ Black community like breaking barriers stifling Black economics, division in religion, investing, community involvement and political awareness.

Baba Kamal Karriem stated: “We are like dogs chasing our tails, the way we have been doing things, through trying to be inclusive, trying to be accepted by Whites, and trying to be accepted by their system. The way we are doing things is not working.”

Dr. Murphy discussed politics and the importance of understanding the belief system they have established without acknowledging Black people.

Audience listens to presenters at Holly Springs, Miss., town hall on issues facing the Black community.

Former Mayor DeBerry reminded the audience that, “just because a politician wears the same skin as us does not mean they are for us.”

While analyzing Senate Bill 2113: Critical Race Theory, which lawmakers are pushing to ban in all Mississippi classrooms, Minister Abdul Shahid Muhammad stated, “We are not a theory, you don’t call what has happened to me a theory. To characterize what happened to African people in America as ‘theory’ is an insult. We need to understand ourselves and what our ancestors experienced and accomplished through their blood, sweat, and tears.”

The moderator Antjuan Lester questioned, “If our children are our future, then what are we leaving them? We believe that they are our future, however, our community is caught in a whirlwind where we allow the White counterparts to design their future which leads to jail or death.”

The panel agreed that Black people have been begging Whites to do what Blacks can do for themselves.

Minister Muhammad, a 27-year veteran law enforcement officer, made himself clear about his profession choice by stating: “Based on what we are dealing with now, how can I expect another man to come and clean up my community that don’t look like me? Then, when he doesn’t do it the way I want it to be done, I get angry? So, why don’t I clean up my own community?”