From left, Bro. Cornelius X, Michigan Farm Manager under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; Historical Exhibit Team members Bro. Ali Muhammad and Sis. Dr. Stacy Muhammad, Detroit; Sis. Medina Mohammed, daughter of Sis. Burnsteen Sharrieff Muhammad, “The Reformer,” and the only Secretary to Master Fard Muhammad.

DETROIT—The Nation of Islam’s (N.O.I.) Historical Exhibit opened its doors once again for the 2024 Saviours’ Day convention weekend.

The exhibit made its first debut in Detroit in 2007 under the direction of Mother Tynnetta Muhammad (May Allah be pleased), wife of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, at the Charles H. Wright Museum.

The main focus this year was bringing back to the forefront the ideals and principles of the historic 1995 Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement, and the Muhammad University of Islam school system [M.U.I.]. “We are going back to reminders. Why do we have an independent school, the importance of it? And looking at the world today with all our children’s needs and our school systems being not a place to learn anymore,” said Sister Dr. Stacy Muhammad, one of the event coordinators based in Detroit.

Student Min. Abdul Salaam Muhammad, right, interviews Bro. Cornelius X, former farm manager of the Muslims’ Michigan Farm at the N.O.I. Historical Exhibit during the Saviours’ Day Convention, Feb. 23-25.

“It’s like you’re housing people. You’ve got bomb threats, shooting threats. We’re refocusing on the M.U.I.”


Further underscoring the importance and sacrifices associated with the establishment of the M.U.I. school system was an exhibit curated by Sister Medina Mohammed. She is the daughter of Sister Burnsteen Sharrieff Muhammad, the first and only secretary to Allah in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi, and John Muhammad, the brother of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Visitors to her display were given the background of a photograph showing four young Muslim children, Sister Medina Mohammed’s older siblings, who were removed from their home in the early 1930s by the police just for having an independent Muslim-run school.

“My mother and father were warned by the enemy that if they didn’t take them out of the Muslim school that they would come and take the children from them, which they exactly did and took the children,” she said.

“The children were taken from their beds in the early morning hours and they came and they roped the street off like crime when you see a crime somewhere and it looks like you know somebody has been shot or dead, well that’s the way they did when they came to get the children. They roped the street off as if they have committed a crime.” The children were placed in a foster home for nearly 60 days while her father, Brother John Muhammad, was placed in jail to serve for 30 days, only on the weekends.

It was this educational exhibit that had the greatest impact on Pamela Harrington. A newlywed from Maryland, this was Mrs. Harrington’s first Saviours’ Day and she expressed how she was moved by the “sacrifices the Founders made, specifically with the schools. In reference to Elijah Muhammad and his wife, in reference to the school they wanted to keep their children in and that they took those four children away from them because of that and that kind of blew my mind a little bit,” she said. 

“It’s almost unbelievable that you couldn’t make a choice to where you wanted your child to go to school or how … whether it’s at home or in a private school. Because when you think about it, that’s a private school. I hate to keep using this term, but again, it’s unbelievable. It’s hard to comprehend, it really is.”

The audience took an exciting historical walk through a special interview-style presentation conducted by Student Minister Abdul Salaam Muhammad of Mosque No. 6 in Baltimore who was also the Historical Exhibit coordinator. He is also a student imam. He interviewed Bro. Cornelius X Williams of Cassepolis, Michigan, the former farm manager of the Muslim’s Michigan Farm.

Born on a dairy farm, Bro. Cornelius X already had experience in agriculture when he happened upon the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s personal barber while selling homemade oil filters in the barbershop. A few conversations and several dinners later, he soon became instrumental in the N.O.I.’s acquisition of what started as 80 acres of land in Cassepolis, Michigan, culminating in the purchase and development of 1,000 acres in the area.

He awed the audience as he spoke on the farms having 22,000 chickens that produced eggs daily; 100 milk cows; 100 sheep; a fruit farm that included 10 acres of apple trees, six acres of strawberries, vegetables and more. The N.O.I.-owned farm developed into a $3 million operation and people came from far and wide to see it. Newspapers carried headlines reading “Muslims Buy Land in Cass County, Michigan.”

The M.U.I. exhibit was curated by Sis. Medina Mohammed, daughter of Sister Burnsteen Sharrieff Muhammad, and focused on the sacrifices associated with the establishment of the M.U.I. school system.

This spectacular show of independence, however, was seen as a threat by the local White population. They began to spread rumors that the Muslims were going to build bombs and train soldiers to kill White people, causing fear among the local Black population. However, their efforts were unsuccessful, as Bro. Cornelius X shared how eventually the Black people in the area saw the work being produced and were able to gain employment on the Muslims’ farm.

Additional displays included historical documents and timelines of N.O.I. history as far back as the early 1930s; the influence of the N.O.I. on music; musical biographies of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Historical Museum (Sajdah House), and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Table Talks.

The final presentation of the weekend was an airing of the “Untold Story of the Million Man March” produced by Washington, D.C.-based husband and wife team Bro. Anthony Muhammad and Sis. Angela Muhammad of Vanguard Television.