This past Sunday I posted this on my personal Facebook page, but thought it was more fit to be a blog post,
“To my NOI family and Daytonians….. how many of you are familiar with the mysterious story of Elijah Muhammad and his travel to Dayton, Ohio by train????
Do any of you know what number he gave to the Dayton, Ohio Mosque and what that # means?
I’m getting to something…..
Dayton, Ohio is not considered a major city by general standards but at one point it was called “a city of a thousand factories”. It was a microcosm of Detroit due to the many automotive supply factories. Good paying jobs were everywhere and there was also a strong defense industry (Patterson Air Force base) that produced jobs as well.
In addition to the abundance of factories, Dayton was also known as a hub of invention and inventors. One invention produced there was the cash register, which brought about the corporation- National Cash Register.
Due to Dayton’s location above the Ohio river, (aka the river Jordan) there is a strong connection and presence of abolitionist history as well as the underground railroad. Blacks, including my Grandparents on both sides, sought out this area as a refuge from racism. What they found was a city that was hyper-segregated and racism popped up in many forms, primarily in the context of jobs and economics.
Although this city is known today to be very conservative, there was once a strong presence of Black thought and organization. Few people know that The Black Panther Party member Rap Brown came to Dayton to speak and gave such a powerful lecture that the location was actually burned down! That is how the community center known as the Wesley Center found itself at it’s current location.
There was also a Nation of Islam Mosque in Dayton prior to 1975 before the departure of it’s illustrious leader, known to many as the Honorable Elijah Muhamamad. I have been told that the Mosque had a bakery and other businesses, but this has only been oral history.
Based on the booming economy and the opportunity that Blacks had to build wealth, no one would have guessed that it would later be a leader in the nation for reverse population growth and have 50,000 people living below the poverty line.
On the contrary, there was a man who predicted the demise of this city’s economy along with others. His name was Elijah Muhammad. This is the same man that made the bold claim that he met with God in person!
Elijah Muhammad advised Blacks to do something for themself and said there would be a day when all the factories would close and white people would not have enough jobs for themselves or others.
I’m building up to something here, bear with me as I lay this foundation…..
Look for my next post.