Of all figures in Black Consciousness, few were as controversial as the former Supreme Captain of the Nation of Islam and Chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad was a towering intellect, a true warrior of Pan-Africanism, and a courageous visionary. He dared to speak truth to power in the face of his critics and adversaries, and ultimately gave his life in the service of a free and redeemed African peoples.
Those who feared the power of Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad would like us to forget him. Those who hated the truth that Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad spoke would like us to ignore his message. Those who rejected Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad would like us to avoid following in his footsteps.
It is for those very reasons that we will remember, study, and follow the example of Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
At a very early age, Khalid Abdul Muhammad (born name Harold Moore, Jr.) demonstrated exceptional intelligence and athleticism. He was a star quarterback, an Eagle Scout, the President of the Houston Methodist Youth Fellowship, and a talented debater. Upon graduating from Phyllis Wheatley High School in his hometown of Huston, Texas, Khalid was awarded a scholarship to Dillard University (Louisiana) . Even as a full-time student, Khalid would minister sermons at nearby Sloan Memorial Methodist Church. He would continue to minister and study theology until a fateful day in 1970 when he heard the voice of Minister Louis Farrakhan – then the National Representative of Elijah Muhammad.
The future Minister Khalid Muhammad became a devout Muslim, and was so moved by the message of the Honorable Muhammad that he began evangelizing to anyone and everyone nearby. His passion resulted in a surge in Nation of Islam recruiting throughout the Southern United States, and his devotion earned him the attention of Minister Louis Farrakhan, who enlisted him as his protegé and changed his name to Brother Harold X.
Rise to Power
As Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad rose through the ranks of the Nation of Islam, he also rose through the ranks of academia. He traveled to Los Angeles, where he continued his education at Pepperdine University. His academic performance there earned him an Intensive Studies fellowship at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Universities.
His education complete, Dr. Muhammad was then promoted within the Nation of Islam to the position of Western Regional Minister in charge of Mosque #27 in Los Angeles. The relationship between him and Minister Louis Farrakhan continued to grow as he proved his loyalty to both the Nation of Islam and the interests of African men and women at home and abroad.
In 1975, Elijah Muhammad passed into legend, leaving the Nation of Islam divided. Some wanted a more moderate Nation. Others wanted a nation that focused on Orthodox Islamic practice, and nothing more. Some wanted a more militant and activist organization. Such was the case with Louis Farrakhan and Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Both men joined forces, along with a small handful of others, to rebuild the Nation of Islam, establish a military force within the organization, and gain greater visibility on the world stage.
With these objectives in mind, in 1978 Minister Muhammad began travelling the world and training in revolutionary movements. While in Libya, the Minister became well acquainted with Muammar al-Gaddafi, and raised a substantial amount of money for the nation. While in South Africa, the Minister fought alongside anti-apartheid movements, and preached a need to drive out white influence from both the country of South Africa and the continent of Africa itself. He embarked on numerous fact-finding missions to Kemet (Egypt), Jerusalem, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He completed the sacred pilgrimage to the Holy City, Mecca, several times, earning him the title El Hajj Khallid Abdul Muhammad.
Minister Khalid became a popular world figure – his message was well-received by the crowds that gathered wherever he went, his friendship with Minister Louis Farrakhan cemented, and he became the National Spokesman for the Nation of Islam. In 1983 Minister Louis Farrakhan named him Khallid after the Islamic General Khallid ibn Walid, his name meaning “sword of Allah”.
The year was 1984, and Dr. Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s ascension in the Nation of Islam was complete.
For all of Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s merits, his flaws are what most of the world knew him for. Its unclear when Khalid took such a hateful and confrontational stance against Jews specifically, but he had become a confirmed anti-Semite. His speeches became increasingly more hateful and confrontational, much to the disagreement of the Leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.
These speeches all came to a head when, in Minister Muhammad delivered a speech at New Jersey’s Kean College in November 1993. The speech, called The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, was an explosive and fiery oration that attacked the morality, intentions, and involvement of Jews in affairs detrimental to African-Americans.
Muhammad referred to Jews as people whose ancestors were cannibals who “crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe” and “slept in [their] urination and [their] defecation … for 2,000 years.” He characterized contemporary Jews as “slumlords in the black community” who were busy “sucking our [blacks’] blood on a daily and consistent basis.” He said that Jews had provoked Adolf Hitler when they “went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped.” And he declared that blacks, in retribution against South African whites of the apartheid era, should “kill the women,…kill the children,…kill the babies,…kill the blind,…kill the crippled,…kill the faggot,…kill the lesbian,…kill them all.”
Rather than declining in popularity after making these statements, Khalid Abdul Muhammad became a sought after speaker on college campuses. In January 1994 he stated that blacks should slaughter all white South Africans, bury them, and then dig up their bodies and mutilate them further. A month after that, he was invited to speak at Howard University, the preeminent traditionally black university in the United States.
He called Black Conservatives “boot-licking, butt-licking, bamboozled, half-baked, half-fried, sissified, punkified, pasteurized, homogenized Niggers.” On May 21, 1997 he told a San Francisco State University audience that the “white man” is “a no-good bastard. He’s not a devil, the white man is the Devil.” In September 1997 he said, “If you say you’re white, goddammit I’m against you. If you’re a Jew, I’m against you. Whatever the hell you want to call yourself, I’m against you.”
“When white folks can’t defeat you,” he said, “they’ll always find some Negro, some boot-licking, butt-licking, bamboozled, half-baked, half-fried, sissified, punkified, pasteurized, homogenized Nigger that they can trot out in front of you.”
“Never will I say I am not an anti-Semite,” Muhammad told an audience in Baltimore in February 1998. “Whatever he (the Jew) is, goddamn it, I’m against him. I pray for my enemy all the time. I pray that God will kill my enemy and take him off the face of the planet Earth.”
Khalid Abdul Muhammad had become a Black Hitler in his anti-Semitism and racism. Now, not only was Khalid Abdul Muhammad a Supreme Leader within the Nation of Islam – he was also a wildly popular media figure among the Black Left. Unfortunately, as is often the case, this fairy tale of Black solidarity would not last long.
Expulsion, Assassination Attempt, and Death
Following Muhammad’s speech at Kean College in 1993, The United States Senate unanimously passed House Resolution 343 on delivered in February 1994 condemning his speech. Muhammad became the only private citizen in American history to be officially condemned by means of a resolution. Immediately after the United States rejected the Minister, so to did Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan removed Khalid Abdul Muhammad from his position as second in command, silenced him, and reassigned him to Chicago headquarters. Louis Farrakhan then addressed the NOI with this statement on the Kean College Speech:
“I found the speech, after listening to it in context, vile in manner, repugnant, malicious, mean-spirited and spoken in mockery of individuals and people, which is against the spirit of Islam. While I stand by the truths that he spoke, I must condemn in the strongest terms the manner in which those truths were represented.”
Khalid was unofficially removed from all positions of authority within the Nation, but he was far from silenced. Muhammad praised Colin Ferguson, a Black man who shot and killed 6 white commuters in 1993 on a New York commuter train, as a hero who possessed the courage to “just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw.” The Minister hit the airwaves and told members of the Donahue television audience in May 1994 that “there is a little bit of Hitler in all white people.” He headed back to California where he gave a rousing speech at the at the University of California at Riverside on May 29, 1994. In attendance was a former Nation of Islam member, James Bess.
According to the police report, James Edward Bess, 49, of Tacoma, Washington approached Minister Khalid as he exited the venue and fired a volley of shots from a concealed 9 millimeter pistol. Three bullets struck Khalid in the leg (Doctors would remove two bullet fragments from just below Muhammad’s left knee in a two-hour operation). Four of Mr. Muhammad’s security guards and a bystander were also shot – none fatally. Mr. Muhammad’s then 9-year-old son, Farrakhan (who now goes by the name of Farrah Gray), was standing nearby when the shooting started but was not injured.
The audience attacked James as he attempted to close in on the stage. His gun was seized, and the students in attendance savagely beat him. The Los Angeles Times reported that he “suffered from a severe beating by the audience that had come to hear Mr. Muhammad’s speech. Mr. Bess had a broken shoulder and internal injures and had lost several teeth.”
Khalid Abdul Muhammad underwent a speedy recovery, and found a new organizational home beyond the Nation of Islam as the Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). Prior to his involvement, the New Black Panthers had struggled with finding their organizational footing, but Muhammad brought the NBPP national media exposure when he led the organization in a menacing public protest - featuring some 50 men wearing fatigues and berets, and brandishing assault rifles and shotguns – in response to the racially motivated, June 1998 murder of a black man named James Byrd in Jasper, Texas.
His second in command, Malik Zulu Shabazz, gave the organization its administrative and philosophical footing, and the organization continues to stand strong today.
Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad continued to fight aggressively on behalf of Pan-African principles and spoke truth to power until his sudden death at the age of 53. Statements claim that his death was due to a brain anuerism, but others believe poisoning and foul play were the true causes.
Minister Khallid Abdul Muhammad left behind his wife, Queen Nefertari Muhammad, his three sisters; Gloria Glenn from Los Angeles, Cynthia Moore Kelly from Los Angeles, KaShelia Moore Jackson from Houston, Texas; his two brothers, Frank Moore Claybourne from Los Angeles, Darington Moore Smith from Los Angeles; father-in-law, Mr. Thomas Ambush of Cedric Maryland; and his children, David and mother Mattie Morris Van, Khalfani and mother Mahasin Rushiddin, and Farrakhan Khallid (Farrah Gray), Malik, Kiki, Amir, Ali and mother Khallidah Muhammad; four grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and all of us.
The Legacy of Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad
The New Black Panther Party has been rejected, criticized, and clowned. Negroes have called the New Black Panther Party extremist. Insane. Militant. Dangerous. Cowardly negroes have always called for peace and quiet in the face of injustice, genocide, and deadly racism.
The New Black Panther Party is the legacy of Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad. While even the original Black Panther Party has rejected the party and the Minister, while even the Nation of Islam has condemned Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad, while Black mainstream culture has laughed at Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and while even his own family members have abandoned the example set by Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad, he and his organization stand alone as shining examples of courage.
United Black America acknowledges the New Black Panther Party as the successor to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. And it is for his dedication to duty, exceptional leadership by example, and unselfish service to his people that we commemorate the birthdate of El Hajj Doctor Minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad as a Pan-African holiday.
You may call him a homophobe, a racist, an extremist, a terrorist (in fact, he appreciated being called a “Truth Terrorist”!), and an anti-Semite. But Khalid gave his life in service. Never had Khalid shed any blood. Never had Khalid failed to help his people whenever and wherever it was needed. Never did he back down. For these reasons, we remember him. We honor him. We Salute him.
He deserves no less. We deserve no less.