By Allisah M. Love
Oct 12, 2010
Minister Abdul Bey Muhammad, Minister emeritus of The Nation of
Islam's Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida, celebrated his 80th
birthday on September 21, 2010.
Minister Bey was born Troy Bland Cade in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1930;
the same year that Wallace Fard Muhammad founded the Nation of Islam.
Minister Bey picked cotton on a plantation at the age of five, became
a Red Cross Life guard at the age of thirteen, and at the age of 17,
joined the United States Navy where he served as a frogman during the
Korean war; earning several military service medals. He also served
in the Merchant Marines.
After being honorably discharged from military duty, Minister Bey
co-owned a restaurant and nightclub in San Francisco for a short
period of time before moving to Flint, Michigan, where his younger
brother Sam also came to reside.
In 1952, Minister Bey and his brother came to hear the Teachings of
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and during their third meeting, they
both accepted membership into the Nation of Islam.
Within three months, Minister Bey had risen through the ranks to
serve as a Lieutenant of the Fruit of Islam (the men) in Detroit, and
his brother, Sam, had become Temple Secretary. Temples today are
known as mosques.
Minister Bey met Malcolm X in the early 1950s after Malcolm's release
from prison; and he met Minister Louis Farrakhan (then Louis X) in
1955; the year Minister Louis Farrakhan accepted Islam.
In 1956 Minister Bey joined the student ministry class and soon
became a field minister traveling to various cities teaching Islam.
Minister Bey found great reception in the southern city of Monroe,
Louisiana and his congregation grew so rapidly there, that the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad allowed the Monroe study group to become a Temple.
In March of 1960, the Monroe, Louisiana Temple was stormed by police,
who brutally beat men, woman and children; killing one Muslim brother
and attempting to lynch Minister Bey by his necktie over a rafter in
the Temple. The symbol of the bow tie that is synonymous with Nation
of Islam attire today is a custom which grew out of this incident.
Among those Muslims who fought for their lives that day were Minister
Bey's then pregnant wife, Lureatha, and his nine year old daughter.
Toward the end of the violent struggle, which required the
intervention of the United States National Guard; there were three
police casualties also among the injured.
The Muslims of the Monroe, Louisiana Temple were arrested and
required medical treatment. While many of the Muslims were charged
fined and later released; Minister Bey was charged with inciting a
riot, overthrow of the United States government, desecration of a
United States flag and murder.
In the book Message To The Blackman, on page 211, under a section
entitled "The Persecution of the Righteous," The Most Honorable
Elijah Muhammad wrote:
"If Troy X Cade [as he was called before receiving the holy name
Abdul Bey Muhammad] is guilty of teaching insurrection against the
government, then I am guilty, because I am Troy's teacher. I would
rather go to prison in place of Troy if this is the justice for the
truth Allah gave me."
Sentenced to six years in prison in the Louisiana State Penitentiary;
isolated from other inmates; forced to sleep on a concrete floor and
drink from a commode in his cell; Minister Bey awaited a Louisiana
Supreme Court Decision to overturn his conviction.
Before this decision would take place, however; prison guards, at
approximately two o'clock one morning, removed Minister Bey from his
cell, shackled him, and turned him over to police and state troopers
who drove him to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line.
Once there, Minister Bey was again brutally beaten within an inch of
his life by scores of officers who then attempted to drown him by
standing on his body in a swamp until they thought he was dead.
Only his faith in Allah kept Minister Bey alive, and the fact that he
had been a lifeguard, a frogman, and an excellent swimmer with the
ability to hold his breath under water.
After the officers left, Minister Bey crawled out of the swamp onto
the highway, where he lay across the pavement, bleeding and severely
injured, hoping that someone would stop and help him.
One of the first Black drivers ever hired to drive for the Greyhound
Bus Company was the first to come upon Minister Bey's body on the highway.
The Driver, along with fellow passengers, helped Minister Bey onto
the bus, after which they took him to a medical facility on the
Jackson State College (now known as Jackson State University) campus
in Mississippi to be treated.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, upon being notified of the incident,
sent for Minister Bey to come to his home in Chicago, where, soon
after, he stood Minister Bey before the world during the Nation of
Islam's Annual Saviour's Day Convention to show what had happened.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad then asked Minister Bey to return to
prison until the rendering of his Supreme Court Decision, and without
hesitation, Minister Bey obeyed. This was to deter any authorities of
charging Minister Bey of "escape from prison" in addition to his
other convictions which were on appeal.
Surprisingly, one of the attorneys retained to represent Minister Bey
by the Nation of Islam was a member of the Ku Klux Klan; James R.
Venable. Mr. Venable wrote a letter to then Attorney General Bobby
Kennedy on the Muslims' behalf, and in 1963 at the conclusion of the
case, Minister Bey received a favorable ruling from the Louisiana
Supreme Court, which overturned his prior convictions.
Minister Bey is a pioneer in Islam who survived a lynching and
beatings born out of religious persecution. We are able to practice
Islam freely in the United States today because of Muslims who
suffered and persevered; whose steadfast faith in Almighty God Allah,
His Messenger and Islam are an example for us to follow for the
struggles we face today.
Never pass by our elders without stopping to acknowledge their time
on this earth, the wisdom they have acquired, the value of their
counsel, and the respect and love they deserve.
Minister Bey hopes that by sharing his story, he may help Minister
Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, in his mission to resurrect Black
men and women from mental death, and spread a message of peace, love
and truth throughout the world.
The Nation of Islam salutes our Brother, Minister and Pioneer in
Islam, Abdul Bey Muhammad.
(For further information on the life of Minister Abdul Bey Muhammad,
contact Muhammad Mosque #29 in Miami, Florida at (305) 756-9136. A
video documentary called A Living Testament of Faith is available and
the publication of Minister Bey's autobiography, Given Not Taken: the
Extraordinary Life of a Lynching Survivor will be available in 2011.)