Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle
Nation of Islam welcome in Detroit
Detroit is the one city on planet Earth that should open its arms wide and say “Welcome Nation of Islam.” Upwards of 40,000 members and fellow travelers of a liberating army will land on the shores of the Detroit River with a message of self-reliance, love of self and people as the NOI holds Saviours’ Day 2014 in Detroit this week.
Detroit, America’s Blackest and poorest plantation is rife with Third World infant mortality levels while over 60 percent of the children in Detroit live in poverty beset with schools more concerned with exercising control and authority than education.
Detroit, where every other resident is deemed functionally illiterate by literacy experts afraid to venture into neighborhoods with no books. Detroit, where the world headquarters of General Motors that received billions upon billions in corporate welfare while the city’s Black unemployment exceeds 50 percent in the Detroit beyond Gilbertville and Penske’s Detroit.
Yes, Detroit is an entirely appropriate locale for an NOI message that I am sure will challenge us and America. For there is much we can do for self to address our situation. The minister will speak to that.
And you who are so damn concerned with what Minister Louis Farrakhan might say should be as concerned about what has been done to the dominant population of the real Detroit by vile racist democracy-destroying union-busters who you kiss up to and buck dance for as the crumbs dribble from the corporate welfare tables of plenty.
As I participated in a recent Michigan Citizen interview with a NOI national minister, Ishamel Muhammad, I had flashbacks of over 50 years of interacting with the NOI from a teen, military veteran, college and law student; political consultant and as a federal prisoner incarcerated attending a prison NOI study group.
Oh, it’s been a journey.
In the 60s, I went to the IMA auditorium in Flint, Mich. to hear the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the man known as Malcolm X but the Flint police prevented that event from taking place.
Fast forward to Michigan State University where in 1970, as a student activist attending MSU on the GI Bill, I picked up a young Muhammad Ali from the Lansing airport during a time when he was banned from boxing and we students around the nation demanded our colleges pay Ali for us to hear him speak on why he refused to serve in the military. That was how we helped show our support for our hero who was prohibited from earning in the ring.
In 1983-84, working as national lead advance man on the first Jesse Jackson presidential campaign it was the Fruit of Islam (FOI) that provided security for Jesse in some cities until the secret service came on board and I recall heated conversations with civil rights pioneers who objected to the NOI presence. Idiots. If we did not protect our own who would?
But the height of America in denial occurred when working with Congressman John Conyers. I set up a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Nation of Islam representatives including Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad to discuss logistics of the Million Man March. The meeting took place in Reno’s office.
You would have enjoyed the feds straight tie FOI bow-tie stare-down as the NOI pulled into the parking lot. I had personally spoken with the AG and informed Reno that NOI representatives would participate in the meeting for good reasons as NOI would generate the million plus that the feds did not believe possible.
When Reno observed the NOI she did an abrupt ballet pirouette spin around and said, “My meeting is with the congressman and Mr. Riddle,” dismissing NOI. Our meeting did not go well with the congressman admonishing me for reminding Reno that she knew damn well that NOI would be sitting in on the meeting because she and I had spoken on the phone directly. Anyway a million plus showed up for the most peaceful gathering ever on the Mall and the feds no longer do official crowd counts after lying to a world that could plainly see for itself.
Welcome to Detroit, Nation of Islam.
We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.
Sam Riddle is political director for Michigan National Action Network. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/samriddle or Twitter.com at twitter.com/samriddle.