Black America added yet another deadly racist attack to the growing tally when recently a 21-year-old White man used his assault-style rifle to kill three Black people at a Jacksonville, Fla., Dollar Store.
Incidents such as these are a stark and brutal reminder of the supermarket shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., where a White man slaughtered 10 Black people in a mass shooting; the Charleston, S.C., mass shooting, where a White man targeted a Black church, killing nine worshippers, and more.
The growing number of deadly attacks leaves no room for doubt, that White people are disagreeable to live with in peace, and that Black people must establish independence in order to survive.
Horror in Jacksonville
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the Jacksonville shooting, which happened August 26, as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. The gunman, identified as Ryan Christopher Palmeter, shot and killed Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; Jerrald Gallion, 29; and Angela Michelle Carr, 52, before he killed himself.
Prior to targeting the store, authorities say Mr. Palmeter stopped by Edward Waters University, a historically Black college in Jacksonville, but was deterred after students reportedly saw him putting on a tactical vest, then notified security. Mr. Palmeter had left racist writings and used racial slurs before his rampage, according to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.
Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks, a Jacksonville-based activist, says he was disturbed and saddened upon hearing about the shooting. However, he’s not surprised.
“We have to always look at the systemic and long, long, deep-rooted issues of Jacksonville, Florida, which is rooted in racism and rooted all the way into the power structure that’s here,” he said.
Jacksonville is a city located in northeastern Florida, near the Georgia state border.
“People may think, through television and promotion, that [Florida] is just a retirement state but this isn’t,” he said. “This is Jim Crow South.”
Rodney L. Hurst Sr., a civil rights activist, historian and Jacksonville native, writes about the city’s racist roots. In 1960, he was Jacksonville’s NAACP Youth Council president and witnessed “Ax Handle Saturday.” He, along with other protesters, had staged sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. In August of that year, 200 Whites had armed themselves with ax handles and baseball bats and attacked them across the city.
The Civil Rights Movement Archive has a snippet of Mr. Hurst’s book titled, “It Was Never About a Hotdog and a Coke!” He writes, “Here is a country based on the Christian ethic of loving your fellow man and embracing Jesus Christ. … Yet, here is a country throwing those very teachings and its accompanying love out the window, violently attacking young Blacks for pursuing their God-given and constitutionally assured rights.”
He further writes, “Blacks in Jacksonville endured an enormous amount of racism, discrimination, pain, and suffering in the fight for civil rights. They endeavored to leave a legacy and heritage from which we can benefit and of which we all can be proud.”
“In the wake of Charleston, Buffalo, and now our hometown here in Jacksonville, there seems to be a pattern that folks want to see how far they can go,” said Anthony Brown, co-founder of the Red Alliance for Justice, an organization dedicated to the revitalization of Black communities. “And if there’s not going to be any pushback or any resistance or retaliation, then you will continue to see these tragedies take place.”
Student Minister Nolan X of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 66 in Jacksonville, says attacks like the one in Jacksonville are related to Black people attacking one another.
“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan pointed out in the scriptures where God will send fiery serpents and he mentioned fiery serpents just simply means angry White people,” Student Minister Nolan X said. “So, we keep killing each other, we keep doing harm to each other, hating each other. … The more we keep harming each other, the enemy, by God’s permission, is going to turn it up.”
A climate of violent racism and grounds for separation
On April 13, Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager, was shot in the head by an 84-year-old White man in Kansas City, Missouri. Ralph, who’s now 17, was trying to pick up his younger brothers but went to the wrong home. He survived the shooting. Now a judge has ruled the gunman, Andrew Lester, must stand trial. He was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action and previously pleaded not guilty.
D’Monterrio Gibson, a 25-year-old Black man, says he was fired from his job at FedEx on July 26, after two White men chased and shot at him in Mississippi in 2022. A judge recently declared a mistrial for the father and son charged in the attack, citing police errors.
In Amherst, Penn., a White man armed with a shotgun was accused of threatening two women before attempting to enter a predominantly Black church on Aug. 31. According to the Associated Press, investigators say they have no evidence the man was motivated by racial hate, to the dismay of the members of that church.
And the list goes on.
Krystal Muhammad, the national chair of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, says she receives messages describing racial attacks on a daily and weekly basis.
“There are tons and tons of local reports of racial attacks and the exaggerated energy of racism that’s being displayed openly,” Ms. Muhammad told The Final Call. She says these reports don’t always reach the national media.
“We’re living in a time where we just formerly were under the presidency of a well-known racist, who came out on a platform to basically be the opposite of what (President Barack) Obama was to Black people, for the Whites in this country, which would be, Donald Trump.”
She says these attacks have never slowed down, but the advent of social media has made them more visible.
Dr. Jared Ball, a professor of communications at Morgan State University, says, “At the end of the day, these random acts of violence, as horrific as they are…to paraphrase what [Martin Luther King Jr.] says, they are the derivative crimes of an already criminal arrangement that we have with this society. They are themselves extensions of a society’s public policy of a national material and immaterial will against Black people.”
Ms. Muhammad points to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s solution to these issues, which is separation. The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam’s program which includes separation is found in the Muslim Program, “What The Muslims Want” and “What The Muslims Believe.” The program was printed in every edition of Muhammad Speaks newspaper and is also on the inside back page of The Final Call.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated, “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.”
He further states, “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.”
As long as Black people are under the rulership of the slave masters’ children this pattern of violence and attacks by Whites will continue, explained Ms. Muhammad. “You can’t get a scorpion to change their ways. You can’t get a rattlesnake to not be a rattlesnake.”
On page 204 of His monumental book titled “Message to the Black Man in America,” The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes, “We, once slaves, have grown to be a nation of twenty million or more in a nation that enslaved our fathers and to this day has deprived us of equal justice under their own laws.
No equal civil rights–most of us are treated by White citizens of America as animals. It is common to see and hear of White mobs attacking, beating, and shooting down poor Blacks whose fathers’ and mothers’ labor, sweat and blood helped make America the richest government on earth; nevertheless, we are yet the most hated and mistreated people.”
“Allah (God) wants to make a great nation out of us (so-called Negroes). But if we desire to remain the slave of servants for our slave-masters, it is all right with Allah. Do we love ourselves and our children? If so, why not build a future for ourselves rather than beg the same slave-masters for jobs and equal shares in whatever they have even to equal membership in their society and families (intermarriage).”
Krystal Muhammad says an honest dialogue must be had within the Black community about the current reality, and Black children must be told about the kind of people they are dealing with.
“We are going to have to be honest and stop trying to just stay assimilated into a system that is stacked against us,” she said. “But what we have not done and have yet to do and it’s gonna be the only solution is to make the decision to separate and operate as a separate nation and to be self-governed.”
Mr. Brown believes there are legislators who “represent (the community) in rhetoric but don’t represent them in practice. And until that improves, you’re not going to see the type of legislation that you need in order for us to have that protection.”
But he also believes Blacks need to start taking matters into their own hands.
“I think these communities need to be a little bit more proactive in creating a neighborhood watch or a group of individuals that kind of patrol their own community and make sure that nothing irregular is taking place, make sure that someone who looks suspicious that they can kind of do what they need to do because if you’re waiting on the government to come at this particular time, you might be waiting a long time,” he said.
As Jacksonville begins its journey toward healing, Mr. Brown and Student Minister Nolan X plan to participate in a September 6 town hall that will enable local organizations to plan strategically and offer resources to the community.
“Allah (God) is showing us who the true enemy of self is,” Student Minister Nolan X said. “This is going to continue to escalate and get worse and worse and worse, so teaches the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, if we continue to do what we have been brainwashed to do. But the Teachings (of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad) have washed our brains and we have to be acquainted with the God that saves and the true reality of ourselves.”
A May 2022 Time magazine article titled “Anti-Black Violence Has Long Been the Most Common American Hate Crime—And We Still Don’t Know the Full Extent” reported that as the country publicly declared itself to be in the midst of a racial reckoning, “it turns out Black Americans were being hunted and hurt at a level unmatched since 2008—the year that saw the election of the first Black president and an attendant, hate-fueled backlash.”
In 2020, the most recent year for which the FBI has gathered and reported nationwide hate crime data, 2,871 Black Americans became victims of hate crimes, the article noted.
In a message titled, “Can Black and White Live Together in Peace,” from part 39 of the 2013 online lecture series, “The Time and What Must Be Done,” Minister Farrakhan stated:
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that one of the things that must be done, in this time, is that we must be separated from our former slave masters and their children—because time will prove that they will become more and more disagreeable to live with in peace.
“Unfortunately, race relations will continue to get worse because the government just cannot provide enough food, clothing, shelter and jobs, or justice, for us. And as we sit around, waiting for somebody else to do this for us—and demanding what we feel are our basic rights as so-called citizens—
We are making our former slave masters and their children more angry with us; and thus, they are becoming more disagreeable to live with in peace. That’s why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, ‘We must be separated if we don’t want to continue to suffer great loss.’”
Final Call staff contributed to this report