Just last month the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made a historical visit to Prairie View A&M University, and to this day the buzz has only increased. Many students from various universities are inquiring about how they can bring the Minister to their school to offer words of encouragement and empowerment as he did here in Texas. Well, it’s not as difficult as some may believe it to be. H2H was blessed to get the exclusive on how it all began starting from the invitation to the very night the Minister gave one of his most powerful keynotes addresses to date. I was blessed to speak with Isis McCraw- Program Coordinator for Special Programs and Cultural Series of Prairie View, Nabeelah Muhammad – A Representative of the Nation of Islam Student Association and Jesse Muhammad- Final Call Staff Writer and Event Coordinator for the details surrounding the Minister’s visit to Prairie View A&M University. Here’s what they had to share.
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Let’s begin with a brief history of S.P.I.T. Knowledge as well as the process in choosing the line of speakers for the year? How was Minister Farrakhan’s name introduced to the students?
Isis McCraw (IM): S.P.I.T. Knowledge stands for Students Participating In Transcendent Knowledge. In preparing for our 3rd year of this lecture series, we have the students fill out evaluations to find out who they’re interested in having for the following year for speakers.
We’ve have Susan Taylor, Dr. Naim Akbar, Tim Wise, Chuck D. and we’ve had Minister Louis Farrakhan’s name come up. We take note and we begin working on it to make it happen.
The last speaker that we had for the 2011 year was Brother Jesse Muhammad. When he came, a lot of people flocked, because of the name (Muhammad). He really spent time with the students afterwards and the whole conversation came up with, “What’s the deal with getting Minister Farrakhan here”? Ever since, Brother Jesse and I began working hard to get him here and now he’s finally here.
This is how we’ve been actually able to get the feedback from the students of who to bring. It’s not necessarily a faculty/staff to bring this type of person.
EM: S.P.I.T. Knowledge comes across as a very unique and revolutionary approach to learning that most universities shy away from. What was the buzz like on campus once the word got out that Minister Farrakhan would be speaking?
IM: With S.P.I.T. Knowledge we’re trying to expose the students to elements that would not have otherwise been exposed to in class. When the buzz on campus began, everyone was so excited and I was so elated.
The generation that is here now, they knew the name of Minister Louis Farrakhan. Their parents, if anything, probably know more about him. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, because when they speak to their parents they know the name and they came out to the “Baby Dome” to see what he’s about.
The energy on campus was so high. Days prior we actually ran out of wrist bands. Students were meeting me at my car!
EM: Was there any resistance or controversy surrounding his visit?
IM: We heard that he may be controversial, and we actually welcome that to S.P.I.T. Knowledge. As you may have heard earlier, there’s a wealth of knowledge and we want controversial speakers. We want to expose students to those types of elements. The students come and they make the decision for themselves. All we can do is provide the students with the opportunity to be able to have these speakers.
EM: How was the experience for you personally, and what are your hopes regarding the impact he made on the students?
IM: What I learned about the Minister and the Nation of Islam… they are just honestly on point. They’re respectable and they’re in order. It’s just like a kingdom of Black people getting themselves together. What I am hoping that the students got out of the message, especially regarding the violence- not having respect for someone where you have to take a life –hopefully they heard the message and they will be renewed with some type of empowerment. We can do better as a people. That’s what I’m hoping.
EM: Thank you very much for your time beloved.
IM: Thank YOU and God bless!
I was honored to speak with one of the student organizers and regional representatives of the Nation of Islam Student Association, Nabeelah Muhammad. She was present during the S.P.I.T. Knowledge lecture series that sparked the idea of bringing Minister Farrakhan to Prairie View A&M University. Here’s what she shared with H2H Magazine.
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): I understand you were present when Brother Jesse spoke during the April S.P.I.T. Knowledge lecture series, which was also how Minister Farrakhan’s name came up as a potential keynote speaker. Can you share, from your experience, the details of that evening including what he spoke on?
Nabeelah Muhammad (NM): Yes ma’am. When Brother Jesse came in April, he emphasized that we don’t have to concentrate so hard just on our studies, but to make sure to focus on issues within the Black community. There are those who will try to distract us. Those of us who were present wanted to know who he heard all of those things from, hence why Minister Farrakhan came to visit Prairie View.
Brother Jesse presented books for us to study, one of which was “The Secret Relationships between Blacks and Jews”.
A lot of students have never seen the Minister before, and they couldn’t wait to see him in person, which speaks volumes. If you’re ready and willing to hear what this man has to say right now, that means the inspiration is going to walk out with you when you leave his presence.
EM: Absolutely! Thank you for sharing.
NM: Thank you for the opportunity.
Last but certainly not least, I was able to get a few words from Brother Jesse Muhammad, himself, on how the Minister’s visit to Prairie View transpired. He was directly involved with the intricate details from start to finish and gave H2H the play by play account of it all.
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): You’ve spoken at numerous schools and universities; however, what made PVU a unique speaking engagement for you?
Brother Jesse Muhammad (BJ): First, I must thank Allah for the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Without that what would I really have to talk about? I thank Minister Farrakhan for inspiring us to get out with the people and be witness bearers of the blessed message we are receiving from him. He is our example. I’m honored to be one of his students.
I count every speaking moment as a blessing and don’t take any for granted. However, this one was very special, because I was returning to the school that helped to shape me into the young man I am today. This is the school where I honed many of my organizing skills and where I was able to test that which I was learning in the ministry class at Muhammad Mosque No. 45 in Houston. It is the school where I got my first speeding ticket. (laughs)
When I received the invite from Isis McCraw of S.P.I.T. Knowledge I was overjoyed, and it was truly a blessing to be the final speaker for the Spring 2011 semester.
EM: What was the subject for your lecture?
BJ: A few weeks before I spoke at the school, Howard University students hosted Minister Farrakhan on campus and he delivered the message “Channeling Our Intelligence & Creative Energy to Save Ourselves.” Since he is our example I studied that message daily and brought the same words to PV.
Within 45 minutes I also touched on various organizing experiences I had as a student, the future of America as Minister Farrakhan has warned, finding purpose for one’s existence, several news stories I’ve written for The Final Call Newspaper, the true purpose of education, self-identity, love, and the sexual assault of women on campus. I talked about the impact that PV Mayor Frank Jackson and the late Dr. Imari Obadele had on my development. I closed out my talk by inviting them to take the “Red Pill and the Blue Pill” like the movie The Matrix–meaning I shared with them some of the contents of the books “The Secret Relationships Between Blacks & Jews” Vols. 1 & 2 by the Nation of Islam Research Department. It sparked a lot of interest.
I then fielded many questions from the audience that covered a vast amount of topics. Plus I entertained more questions from a line of students at the end of the evening. What a joyous experience.
EM: What was their response to your message?
BJ: By the Help of Allah, it was a wonderful response. I received numerous emails, tweets, Facebook messages afterwards.
EM: How did it come up to invite the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan?
BJ: At the conclusion of my talk, several male students came up to me and starting asking me questions about the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Then one of them said “Man, if you can teach like this do you think we could hear from your leader? You think Minister Farrakhan would come here and speak?” My eyes lit up, and I told them if they could get approved by the administration I would happily pass on the invite to Minister Farrakhan. They said they would follow back up with me.
EM: Briefly, describe the process as well as the significance of Minister Farrakhan accepting the invitation and actually speaking at PV.
BJ: In August I spoke with Isis McCraw about inviting Minister Farrakhan to the campus as part of S.P.I.T. Knowledge. She didn’t hesitate and got the green light from the campus administration within a day. This was major, because for the last 10-15 years Minister Farrakhan has been banned from speaking at college campuses due to forces, who has maintained controlled over college administrators and do not wish for him to reach the minds of these young people.
When we got the confirmation that Minister Farrakhan accepted the invitation we were elated beyond words! This is a man who has a non-stop schedule, so for him to take out the time to come here to Texas and bless us with his presence, that is not something to take lightly.
EM: What was the actual day and evening of the event like?
BJ: It was a historic night that those in attendance will never forget. Minister Farrakhan delivered an action-oriented message that we’re all still studying and will be extracting from for a long time.
EM: How much participation did the college students have in his visit?
BJ: This event would not have been a success without them. With Isis McCraw at the helm, students on campus put in non-stop work to spread this word, organize and execute what was necessary. The members of the Nation of Islam Student Association did a wonderful job. We had the full support and backing of the PVAMU administration and Minister Farrakhan was happy with what he saw.
EM: What was the students’ response to his words especially on the campus the next day? What were the next couple weeks like after his visit?
BJ: They are still talking about it! I sent Minister Farrakhan several pages of positive reactions to his message.
The week following the event was PVAMU Homecoming Week and the editor of The Panther Newspaper placed Minister Farrakhan on the cover of their special homecoming edition. The event was also blessed to make the cover of The Final Call newspaper that week so members of Muhammad Mosque No. 45 had a booth at homecoming to push that paper along with the DVD/CD of Minister Farrakhan’s message. Isis McCraw and some of the students have since been featured on various radio programs discussing the event. Also, Minister Farrakhan has been receiving a lot of questions via Twitter from students that he’s responding to. To sum it up again: Farrakhan is still the talk of PV!
EM: What has transpired as a result of his visit to PV?
BJ: Well, his message gave all of us, especially the students and residents, a different perspective on that city in terms of its potential. Thus, a lot of people there are mapping out ways to make what Minister Farrakhan said a reality. It was also reported that several students changed their majors to agriculture due to his message that night. The Nation of Islam Student Association is keeping the momentum going by preparing for the Spring semester and laying out activities in accordance with the guidance from the Minister.
This year, Minister Farrakhan spoke at Howard University, Jackson State University and Prairie View A&M University. He desires to do something very special for all of the HBCUs in America that is in the works. So stay tuned! Until then, I highly recommend that all college students go to Store.FinalCall.com and purchase a copy of the message he delivered at PV.
EM: Thank you very much for your time and may Allah continue to bless you in all you do of good.
BJ: All praise is due to Allah! Thank you!