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Its Up to You

Farrakhan tells students: You are chosen to build a world

Ashahed M. Muhammad | 4/6/2013, 8:30 a.m.
Louis Farrakhan speaks to a group of students from Macon County high schools and Tuskegee University on the university’s campus in Tuskegee, Ala., on March 22. Farrakhan's visit is part of his ongoing series of speeches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He spoke last April at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. – Photo by Mickey Welsh of the Montgomery Advertiser

The Final Call

(NNPA) – Though some were unhappy with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s presence, their efforts and weak protestations were drowned out by overwhelming support from student organizations, and prominent religious and political leaders here.

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford set the tone for the evening March 22, speaking to over 2,500 in the Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Center, and leaving no doubt as to whether the minister was welcome.

“I’m here to say that not only is he welcome, with the power invested in me by the people of Tuskegee, Ala., I hereby proclaim this night as ‘Minister Louis Farrakhan Night’ in the City of Tuskegee,” Ford exclaimed. “Not only do I present to him the key to the City of Tuskegee, I’m proud to say that he is honorary mayor of Tuskegee for life.”

The crowd cheered loudly as Farrakhan stepped to the rostrum and got right down to business declaring that Tuskegee University is not simply an educational institution, but an entity that could play a key role in launching unlimited progress for the Black nation.

“Tuskegee is more than just a university. Tuskegee contains the seminal fluid of the Kingdom of God,” Farrakhan said. “You are more than who you think you are, but because of who you are, you are in danger. So tonight, I want to expose the danger and by God’s grace give you the guidance to be exactly what I said you are ‒ the seminal fluid of the Kingdom of God.”

Farrakhan thanked his teacher, “the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam,” the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad for leading him to the “infinite wisdom of God.”

He surprised many in the audience by sharing how Muhammad wanted to buy Tuskegee University in the early 1960s, even at one time meeting with city and university officials. His desire was to return the institution to the principles of thrift and hard work that were hallmarks of Booker T. Washington, who founded the school in 1881.

Because of the fine research that has taken place over the years, including important groundbreaking agricultural research by George Washington Carver decades ago, many have become rich, however, Tuskegee, like many other Historically Black Colleges and Universities is struggling.

And though Tuskegee President Dr. Gilbert Rochon was pressured not to let Farrakhan speak on campus and threatened with punishment in the form of millions in withheld aid for new building initiatives, the president and the campus extended a warm welcome and accommodated the minister and all those who traveled with him.

Opposition fails to stop message

In the days leading up to the event, a lone member of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees, Andy Hornsby, expressed displeasure regarding the minister’s appearance and repeated old, discredited smears disseminated by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center through the media.

If the thought was words would scare students away, the idea was mistaken and false words once again were part of a failed, outmoded strategy indicating organizations were bereft of new ideas.