Saturday, August 1, 2020

My Ma - Bakkah Salaam Rasheed (03 Dec 1950 - 30 Jul 2020)



My Ma was a 19 yr old kid when I was born in Nov 1970. The majority of my memories of my young mother were of a beautiful, passionately volatile, belt-wielding Baby Boomer who didn’t take any mess from ANYBODY, and certainly not from her first born sons.  Life was a delicate balance between trying to have as much fun as possible while trying half-heartedly not to trigger Ma’s last nerve as she would say (I don’t think science works like that, but whatever – I wasn't going to argue with her).

Ma identified as a Muslim, and became a devout follower of Warith Deen Mohammed after he took over the original Nation of Islam group founded by his father, the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, and converted it into an orthodox Islamic organization, but also dedicated to the liberation and empowerment of the Black American descendants of slavery. Both Ma & Dad took Imam Mohammed's teachings to heart, and decided sometime during the late 1970s to break away from the inner city and establish an independent/self-sufficient Black American Muslim community with limited success.

Ma was also fun and learned. In her later life she would spend years in school, closing in on a Doctorate. Ma genuinely enjoyed academia in general, having built her formal schooling on top of decades of a solid foundation of fleshed-out concepts of a true polymath. I always loved listening to her connect the dots of her research and even form new concepts and I’m glad I got to do so a couple more times in these final two years she had left among us. 

I’m proud I got to honor my mother during my adult life as her son  the oldest of her nine children  and I pray Allah has mercy upon her colorful soul.



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