ST. LOUIS—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was in St. Louis for less than 72 hours, but in that time, he energized the people with informative messages of strength and guidance which touched all portions of the area’s Black community. When he stepped up to the rostrum at New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church July 17, Minister Farrakhan was greeted with a rousing standing applause from the capacity crowd inside the main building.
Speaking for nearly three hours, the message that night was special and the crowd was rocking.
Many are angry at what is happening to oppressed people all over the planet, however, “anger not channeled can be self-destructive,” he warned.
Now is the time for the establishment of a society based on the principles of justice, and the unjust rulers are to be cast down. This is why the times are so troubling and turbulent, he said.
The Minister said in the scriptures there are signs for those living today, for it was shown that God did not even want to “dirty his hands” fighting against Pharaoh, so instead, he used a slave from the despised and rejected people to conquer him. The Minister noted that Moses and Aaron both had authority from God, and their presence and power proved that their God was in fact, the supreme power in existence.
When the enemy sees Black people rising, they are “looking at the Alpha and the Omega! The end of their life and the beginning of the universe,” which is why Blacks are under attack.
“We have to keep our young people protected from the anger of the enemy who sees time shutting down. Time is no longer on their side,” the Minister said. “Time is on our side.”
Minister Farrakhan said God is using the forces of nature—tornadoes, hurricanes, fire, floods and hail—to punish the wicked for their treatment of Black people and he as the instrument speaking the will of God represents the synthesis of all the great teachers and leaders that have worked towards our liberation.
“I’m not your average Negro preacher,” said Min. Farrakhan. “They hate me. The White folks, the Jews—those in power. That should tell you something about me.”
The youth have lost faith in many of the spiritual and political leaders within the Black community because they have proven to be “bought and paid for” hirelings, he said. Since those with wealth and influence control them, they are ineffective and unable to make real change.
Black communities suffer economically, political, morally and spiritually because of weak leadership. Then add to the mix the police, whom Min. Farrakhan referred to as “an occupying force” in Black communities nationwide. Though some police officers may mean well, their job is primarily to make sure the “savagery” of the ghetto stays confined to areas primarily inhabited by Blacks and Latinos. The crime and violence is to be confined, never spreading to the downtown business corridors. This causes conflict, and quite often, the loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement.
Minister Farrakhan has offered a reassessment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He wasn’t a naïve dreamer as he is often portrayed. He was evolving in his thinking and had summoned the courage to challenge those in control of America’s racial, political and economic realities. His speeches and writings towards the end of his life represented a man who had become disenchanted with the integrationist strategy he so courageously championed and now, looked towards economic withdrawal and possibly even separation as a strategy to “redistribute the pain” being felt by the poor.
“Dr. King was walking deep down into the valley of death and he knew it!” said the Minister.
It is for this reason, the gathering in October will be a call for “Justice Or Else!” Min. Farrakhan said a major part of the demand on that day will be land, especially since America never made good on the promise to give freed Black slaves “40 acres and a mule.”
“They can keep the mule,” said Min. Farrakhan. “Just give us the 40 acres and a tractor.”
Although he spoke for nearly three-hours, the audience remained engaged and responsive throughout.
Not only was the main sanctuary filled, an overflow area across the street from the church was also packed. The area was so full, many sat on the floor in the aisles, so they could see the message on the large screen, while others stood just outside the main viewing area listening. For those in that area, just being able to hear his voice was enough.
It was appropriate that July 17, the day Min. Farrakhan was speaking on “Justice Or Else!” was also the date marking exactly one year since Eric Garner was killed by police officers in New York. After Mr. Garner’s death a unifying slogan spread among activists: “I Can’t Breathe.” Mr. Garner was heard saying those words several times, as officers swarmed him.
Recently, in St. Louis, the controversial shooting of Brandon Claxton, 16—who was shot in the back by a White police officer and is now paralyzed—led to protests resulting in three female activists being hospitalized after police pepper-sprayed the demonstrators. The August 2014 shooting of Kajieme Powell, 25, in St. Louis, and the October 2014 shooting of 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr., display the troubling yet consistent practices of law enforcement eager to use lethal force. Many community leaders are still troubled by the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
Black young people are so feared that White police officers, in a majority of the cases, seem to shoot first, never attempting to find a resolution to the situation that would not result in the loss of Black life, Min. Farrakhan noted.
A Message to the Youth
In a separate message to Hip Hop artists, college student organizers and community youth activists from around the region earlier at his hotel, Minister Farrakhan delivered the truth to them in a manner that they could easily understand.
“The reason they fear you is because they come from you,” he told them. “Did you know that there wouldn’t be a White person if we didn’t exist?” he asked.
“You are the original of everything! You have the strongest of bones. Those who survived the Middle Passage were the strongest of the strong,” he added.
The young people responded to Min. Farrakhan’s message applauding and laughing at times, tweeting his words of wisdom, taking copious notes, and periodically snapping pictures.
“They’re not going to teach you this in school…you need to rap about this,” Min. Farrakhan said.
The Minister described the mechanisms of control that have been used by Whites over the years.
The church, colleges and universities, drugs and materialism have been used to keep the Black community in a subservient condition. All societal systems: the legal system, the educational system, and the economic system are all unjust systems exploited by the wealthy and well-connected with the poor and powerless as their victims, the Minister said.
During his talk lasting a bit over an hour, Min. Farrakhan gave the young people lessons in anthropology, genetics and history. He also complimented them saying it is because of the strength and courage of the young people, “Ferguson became the epicenter of revolution.”
Those who have ruled previous generations of Black people using fear and intimidation have now encountered a generation of young people that are not afraid to die, the Minister said.
“We are at the end of the enemy’s rule over us. When the White man sees you, he sees his beginning and his end! You are the generation that the enemy knew was coming,” Min. Farrakhan continued. “This generation finishes it all,” he said.
Tiffany Foxx, a St. Louis rap artist and actress on the popular show “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” had heard Min. Farrakhan before, but this was the first time she was able to actually meet him. She posted pictures of her meeting with the Minister on Instagram and told The Final Call she is in full support of the call for #JusticeOrElse!
“It was definitely an emotional and beautiful experience,” said Ms. Foxx. “It was something that I definitely had to be a part of,” she said.
She particularly liked Min. Farrakhan’s words about the position of Black women and their need to eliminate conflict by respecting themselves and each other.
“I see that a lot and sometimes, I’m guilty of it, so to be here and to be encouraged to know that we are beautiful and to build up our self-confidence and to hear him tell the men to love us to help us love each other and to love ourselves. It starts with us, and I appreciate that,” she added.
Dontey Carter of Lost Voices has faced down tanks, automatic weapons and tear gas, yet he is still committed to the principles of justice. He said Min. Farrakhan inspired him not only through his words, but through his consistent actions.
“I’m ready to go right now, because I know and consciously understand what he’s saying. What he’s telling me has empowered me to want to go do more, to reach out to more young brothers that are killing each other and doing all this ignorant nonsense!” said Mr. Carter. “He tells the truth from his heart and soul.”
As the Minister states that he is willing to give his life and stands before his enemies without fear, Mr. Carter says he is ready to do the same, and there are many others like him. He said prior to the death of Michael Brown Jr., he was not really one to protest, but now, after going through what he has gone through over the past year, he is ready to go all the way and make the ultimate sacrifice, if needed.
“I understand the dynamics of what he was saying and it hit me in the heart, because I know! I’m front line! I’ve stood, shirt off and everything right there in front of the police with AR-15s in my face, tear gas around and it was nothing because I surpassed fear! I let it go! We were born to die!” Mr. Carter said. “I’m ready to die for mine! I have children, I’m not about to let them live in a world where the government and the system is controlling them. I’m going to make sure they get their land—that promised land. This land is ours! Everything is ours and I’m standing on it with the power vested in me, I’m going to go hard to my death.”
Kelsey Burrus is the president of the Black Student Union at Rockhurst University, a private institution in Kansas City. The 20-year-old business communications major said the Minister’s direct manner of delivering the truth is needed at a time when there are so many distractions all around.
“The Minister is bringing the truth to us, and the bottom line is we have to educate our people to let them know what the issues are,” said Ms. Burrus.
Being raised in the Nation of Islam, she always heard about the historic 1995 Million Man March and had somewhat of an insider’s perspective, but with the 20th anniversary approaching, she now has a chance to experience something special for herself. She’s very excited and looking forward to it, she said.
“It is definitely a way for us to come together, to unite and to see one another knowing that we are not in this alone,” said Ms. Burrus.
Minister Farrakhan’s assistant Ishmael R. Muhammad has been in many cities on the “Justice…or Else!” tour with the Minister. He is keeping up a grueling schedule as well, in fact, he had just flown in from Washington, D.C. that same evening after participating in important planning meetings for the October gathering.
“What I’ve witnessed is a man that is completely devoted to the cause of freedom, justice and equality and he is proving his love by extending himself even further to reach the hearts and minds of his people and to help us do the things that we have to do, that we must do, that we’re even being forced to do, that can improve our condition and put us in a better position as a people,” said Ishmael Muhammad. “He has no equal when it comes to his dedication, his devotion and his love for his people and that’s why Black people love him, because they know if there is one man that loves them, it is the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” he added.
Karis Pruitt is vice-president of the Black Student Union at Avila University, another private institution in Kansas City. The 19-year-old psychology major said she sees a huge class divide in the U.S., mainly because those glorified in society are athletes and entertainers, and that makes the youth want to aspire to emulate what they see. The youth need to hear the message represented by Min. Farrakhan, she said.
“We are raised to want to be successful and to make a good life for yourself,” Ms. Pruitt continued, “but you’re not taught that there are ways other than that to be successful. I feel like this is very important to share with our peers and youth coming up.”
Asia Garrison, host of the “Let’s Be Real” internet show said she was fired up about the Minister’s words on Black male and female relationships and the promoting Black love. She said Black rights and gay rights are being lumped together and she sees it as a problem.
“You cannot compare a bedroom act with the color of someone’s skin. With the gay rights movement, I feel like that is what they are doing and I am a strong believer in a man and a woman. I believe in reproduction, but he touched on it in a way that if someone in here was that way, they wouldn’t be offended,” Ms. Garrison said.
Shanelle Astaha grew up on the south side of St. Louis. Her father is African, and her mother is Native American, so when the Minister talked about the unity of the Original People, she loved it and it made her feel very welcome. Now, as a student in the University of Kansas Law School, she’s ready to do her part to create a new reality in a society with a current level of injustice she finds “disturbing.”
“We need people to go into the government to change things,” said Ms. Astaha.
Marina Muhammad, from Muhammad Mosque No. 30 in Kansas City said she loves hearing Min. Farrakhan. After working a ten-hour shift, she got dressed and got on the road to take the four hour drive to hear from Min. Farrakhan.
“I’m down with him 1,000 percent. He really motivates me. We’re the youth, we’re fiery and we’re ready to go out and do something,” said Ms. Muhammad.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]