Volume 4, Number 10 February 27, 2001
Farm, Food and Family Weekend
by Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad
In conjunction with the annual National Saviours’ Day Celebration held the fourth weekend in February, Muhammad Farms, the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association along with the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries hosted a three day agenda of programs in Southwest Georgia and Southeast Alabama ( See pictures).
On Friday a round table discussion was held in Dawson City Hall to discuss "Your Future and the Future of Dawson". The young people on the panel were asked to define their concept of success. They emphasized obtaining ones goals and financial security as major elements of success. When asked what they disliked most about Dawson, they emphasized a lack of recreational activities for the youth and a severe shortage of well paying jobs as the major problems.
We were also lucky to have in attendance Rev. Ezekiel Holley, Terrell County NAACP President, and Mayor Robert Albritten of Dawson. Both Rev. Holley and Mayor Albritten pointed out to the youth that what goes on in a city and the availability of jobs was affected by political decisions made at both the county and state level and not just at the city level. This simple fact was a major revelation to the youth and may be just as revealing to the older citizens.
One young man from Albany pointed out how Black people went in numbers to the City Council in Albany to push for a new football stadium and got the city’s approval. However, they failed to show up at the County Commissioners meeting and the project was voted down. The people just did not know the power of the County Commissioners in what was to happen in the city.
That next day Rev. Holley continued his educational message of political activism and the relation between laws and the quality of life in his introductory remarks at the "Farm, Food and Family" workshops held at the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson. He brought to the workshop of 30 leaders from 13 different cities his particular interest in the Predatory Lending bill introduced by State Senator Vincent Forte that had just cleared the State Banking Committee soon to be brought to a vote on the floor of the Georgia State Senate. He pointed out how one vote in the Senate last year was the determining vote in passing a "Hate Crimes Bill". A lot of grassroots organizing and lobbying the Senate members was necessary to win that slim margin. He emphasized strongly the need for, not only increased voter registration, but voter education, so that the common man can learn how to influence "Goliath" to do the right thing.
Dr. John Marshall, a medical doctor and Sumter County NAACP President, spoke on the need for people to stop being afraid. "We all are going to die. That’s just a fact. So are you going to live shaking in fear, or stand up and leave a legacy for your children that will make life better for them than the life that you had to bear in oppression?"
Sister Anne Muhammad, Board Chairperson of the Southwest Georgia Outreach Ministries, pointed out the need for our sisters to breast feed their babies and cook wholesome meals for their families. "Some people argue that their grandparents lived long lives from eating what some call today ‘slave food’. However, I bet if you chemically analyzed the foods then and now, you would find that we are not eating the "same" food as they were eating." Sister Anne also drew the connection between improper eating, particular junk food and a lot of excess sugars, to the alarmingly high rate of diabetes in the Black community. Dr. Marshall concurred and said that research has shown a strong link between obesity and diabetes. "It must be the food", he said.
Dwight Bailey and Paul Reeves, both from the Department of Energy, brought a whole new perspective on renewal energy development. Johnny Huddleston revealed his plans for fresh water shrimp production and marketing in Southwest Georgia.
Patrick Carradine, a young entrepreneur from Tifton, GA, exposed the group to the A.C.N. marketing plan and business opportunities. "I have testimonials of how much money can be made and can show you how you can pay off your farm, buy more equipment and subsidize your farming operation by working this plan on a part-time basis", he said.
Sister Anne Muhammad received applause on the meal that she prepared for the conference participants. She demonstrated how a well thought out and prepared meal can be both healthy and delicious. The meal included smoked salmon loaf, Egyptian rice, vegetable casserole, non-pork seasoned collard greens, cream of wheat bread and carrot cake.
Dr. Ridgely Muhammad explained to the audience that he had not learned how to eat properly and that was one of the reasons that he was on a three day fast. "You see what you all must understand is that I have to eat her cooking everyday. I only eat once a day, and when I get into that stuff that she been cooking I just ‘pig out’. I eat too fast, but y’all see what I’m up against, don’t you?"
Sunday we were blessed to have the live satellite broadcast of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address in the Terrell County Government Complex in Dawson, Ga. and at Wallace College in Eufaula, Alabama. We were quite delighted and surprised at the turn out of over 50 people in little Eufaula considering the lack of publicity that we were able to get in that area. It just shows that Allah (God) works in the dark while we sleep. Minister Farrakhan looked good, sounded strong, but admonished the religious community that a "tree is known by the fruit it bears, and a man by his works…I do not think that any amount of teaching will be enough to change the wicked ways of our people…We have played with God long enough…It is now time for the retribution."
Copyright (c) 2001 Ridgely A. Mu’min