Sunday, August 16, 2015

How the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Changed the Democratic Party by JULIAN BOND

Paul Robeson with a young Julian Bond.
I urge you to read this short piece written by Julian Bond (1940 to 2015), former chair of the NAACP, former head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the founders of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). An honorable man who dedicated his life to civil rights and had the grace, genius and perseverance to enact change.

So. In 1968 he was part of a coalition from Georgia to the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Many in this coalition were Black; not all. They couldn't get hotel rooms - not clear to me if this was strictly monetary, race-related, but anyway. They couldn't.

Bond ran into an associate of the Rev. Elijah Muhammad of the Black Muslims, a group not known for wanting to mingle with white folk. Bond met with Elijah Muhammad. He describes the meeting in this article. A day later, the Reverend gave him most of the money needed to fund the delegation.

And that changed the face, or faces, of the Democratic Party from monocolor to Black and White - a huge step forward. And, again, it was the Black Muslims, who were responsible.

Read the article, Now Let The Democrats Praise Elijah Muhammad, in the Chicago Tribune (1996). And read my prose poem, "The Great Mute Who Is Almighty," published in the literary journal, Unbroken.