Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a black militant known for his harsh rhetoric about Jews and whites, died this morning, according to a spokesman for the New Black Panther Party.
"Minister and Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad had made his transition to the ancestors," Malik Zulu Shabazz said at a news conference outside Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, where Muhammad was taken earlier this week.
He declined to reveal how the 53-year-old Muhammad died, saying only that it was of "very serious and natural causes." The leader had shown no prior signs of illness, Shabazz said.
He was surrounded by Muhammad's family and eight party members wearing black uniforms, combat boots and berets. They chanted "Long live Khalid Muhammad!" and "Black Power!"
‘Hearts Are Aching’
"Our hearts are aching. We are sad but at the same time we are happy because we know that his place is secure," Shabazz said.
Hospital officials were not immediately available for comment. Muhammad attended Dillard University in New Orleans, in the late 1960s. It was there that he became interested in the black liberation movement after hearing Louis Farrakhan speak. Muhammad was named one of Farrakhan's top lieutenants in the Nation of Islam in 1981. He served at Nation of Islam mosques in New York and Atlanta throughout the decade, and in 1991 became Farrakhan's personal assistant.
It was Farrakhan who gave him the name Khalid — meaning warrior — but he was born Harold Moore Jr. in 1948.
Racial, Religious Controversies
In his own public speaking engagements, Muhammad quickly became known for his virulent attacks on Jews, homosexuals and whites. He was ousted by Farrakhan after a 1993 speech during which he referred to Jews as "bloodsuckers" and urged mob murder of white South Africans.
In April 1994, before a cheering audience of about 2,000, Muhammad denounced Jews as "honkies."
"I am going to be like a pit bull. That is the way I am going to be against the Jews. I am going to bite the tail of the honkies," Muhammad said.
He remained unrepentant about his rhetoric.
"I was born to give the white man hell, and I will give him hell from the cradle to the grave," he told an Atlanta crowd in 1995.
Members of the New Black Panther Party, who call themselves anti-capitalist, believe in socialism and nationalism among blacks. The organization has chapters in Dallas, Atlanta, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Philadelphia.
Muhammad led the "Million Youth March" in New York City in 1998. The rally, attended by about 6,000 people, ended in a clash between police and marchers. Dozens were injured.
He organized a second and third "Million Youth March," but the most recent one drew a crowds of about 100, police said. Muhammad blamed the "devil white media" and city officials for the low turnout.