Whitakers, North Carolina
A packed room of 200 people gathered Nov. 12 to celebrate the life of Saladin Muhammad at a memorial tribute held at the Franklinton Center at Bricks, near Rocky Mount. Muhammad was 76 years when he died Sept. 19 after a long illness.
Muhammad was a longtime revolutionary leader of Black Workers for Justice, founded in 1983. BWFJ has been leading the way to organize low-wage Black workers in North Carolina, a “right-to-work state,” where public workers are denied the right to collective bargaining.
Muhammad is a founding member of the United Electrical Workers Local 150, a rank-and-file union that promotes social unionism as opposed to business unionism, and the Southern Workers Assembly, presently helping to organize workers throughout the U.S. South, including Amazon workers. Speakers included Ashaki Binta and Ajamu Dillahunt from BWFJ, who recounted the various local and international campaigns Muhammad contributed to; Angaza Laughinghouse, UE 150; Obenewaa White-Ra, Muhammad’s daughter; and Reverend William J. Barber II, founder of Moral Mondays.
BWFJ’s cultural group, Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble, performed two selections.
BWFJ’s Executive Committee stated: “His leadership and guidance, upon which thousands around the country and the world relied, is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed by all of us. Saladin was active in the struggles for justice and liberation for more than 50 years. Saladin Muhammad, ¡presente!”