At a time when racism was at its zenith and injustice was rampant, a man opened his eyes in the gutter after being presumed dead; still filthy and dirty. He reeks with the scent of the gutter and as he sits up people began to notice him. In the gutter, people had stepped on him, spit on him and ridiculed him. He had been deemed worthless, hopeless, useless and of no account. His attempt to rise from the gutter is nothing less than a miracle. As his back straightens, he stands and begins to brush himself off; he lifts his head to speak. His first words are, “PROTECT YOUR WOMEN”.
This voice crying in the wilderness of North America was Elijah Poole resurrected as The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Once he came back to life he raised others in Detroit, Chicago, Boston and New York to name a few. And among his most faithful and revered followers was Ephraim Bahar. Ephraim Bahar was rich in the spirit of doing for self. And he devoted his life’s work to supporting the mission of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Having not been educated in the ways of the white man, Ephraim was an exceptional student in the Lessons and Problem Book of his great teacher. Filled with the spirit to do for self, he started his own business. He collected discarded articles on the street which others may have called junk and he made his fortune. He made generous contributions to the Number 2 Poor (a fund established by Master Muhammad). In the evenings he could be found distributing candy to the children at the University of Islam. Always smiling and cheerful and in a giving mode, he is remembered not only for his generosity and vast command of the knowledge of the culture but for his leadership in demonstrating the right thing to do. In fact a not so common use of “Bahar” as defined in the Arabic language is a very generous man with extensive knowledge. Ephraim Bahar was a pillar of this community, a stable foundation in a time of turmoil and a rock to build this center on. He is loved and revered by those who knew him and those of today who know of him. And his spirit still lives today at the Ephraim Bahar Cultural Center.
By Ernest Abdullah