Fahim Jabar Minkah Fund

“There is a disconnect between how entertainment culture portrays the Panthers and their fight to win political, social and economic self-determination and power for the Black community.”

The quote above is from the Community Movement Builder’s website page, and it perfectly captures how the image of our liberation struggle gets appropriated by popular entertainment culture and turned into the opposite of what it originally stood for. Whether it be Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, or any other liberation leader, their images are taken by the state and used to promote a message supporting their agenda rather than what they originally stood for. In this context, the Panthers are no different. Their image is taken by popular media and in school text as everything from Black Power militants and violent racists” (Sanchez, to omitting their socialist ideology by just describing them as an anti-police brutality organization (Nadean, 2020). 

The problem is not so much that the state takes these images and uses them for their purposes. The real problem lies in the hands of those who claim to be continuing the liberation struggle. It is not enough to repeat slogans, invoke their names, or share an image or two to show your admiration or even counter the usage of their names by the capitalist. On the contrary, we must carry on their work in the communities we live in and continue to work with those leaders of the past to carry on their legacy. In other words, those who know better should do better. 

For example, how many of us know any real Panther veterans? Not just the ones who have national recognition, but even the rank-and-file members of local chapters? Most importantly, how many of us keep up with any panthers in prison as political prisoners to this day or are still active doing the work in the communities to this day? If we did know them, how many of us would take the time to reach out to and assist them in any way we could? 
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While the answer to these questions for many may be yes, only a few would actually take up the cause. However, this is exactly what the Dallas Chapter of Community Movement Builders is doing. CMB Dallas, under the leadership of Yafeuh Balogun, is leading the community effort to change the Dallas park name to honor a veteran panther Fahim Jabari Minkah. For those who do not know Minkah, he was an influential figure in the Dallas branch of the Black Panther Party (BPP) from 1973 to 1978. He was appointed by Huey P. Newton, the co-founder of the BPP, and became the leading party member in Texas. During his time in the BPP, he played a vital role in empowering the west Dallas area, specifically the George Love housing projects, by creating various programs to help the community. Amongst the varying programs was his most successful Pest Prevention initiative, which aimed to address the issue of insects and rodents in the area. 

After the dissolution of the Black Panther Party, Minkah went on to contribute to the community in many ways. In 1987, he founded African American Men Against Narcotics, which focused on combating drug sales in South Dallas and Oak Cliff through neighborhood patrols, sometimes directly confronting dealers with weapons. Minkah’s efforts were highly successful in deterring drug-related activities in these neighborhoods. During a Frontline documentary detailing Minkah’s actions called “The Dallas Drug War”, Minkah was interviewed and asked what his motivations were and he was quoted as saying,  
“I fought for the freedom of African-American people, freedom and justice for all people. I didn’t fight to look around at the same neighborhoods where I waged battle to be taken over by crooks and hoodlums” (Jordan, 2023)

In 1997, Minkah further demonstrated his commitment to the community by opening a skating rink called “Southern Skates” on Ledbetter Street. This establishment served as a gathering place for the community, providing a safe and recreational environment for residents, particularly the youth. Fahim Minkah passed away in February 2018. Yet, his legacy continues to resonate and inspire activists in Dallas and statewide. Thus, the Dallas Branch of the Community Movement Builders and CIVN (Commissary Is Very Necessary) have actively advocated renaming College Park, a 17.2-acre city park, in honor of Mr. Minkah. This park holds significance as it is located within the community Minkah once patrolled, demonstrating his dedication to reclaiming and revitalizing the area over three decades ago. 

We ask people to support the CMB Dallas Chapter financially through the Black Panther Party Mutual Aid Fund (BPPVMAF). The BPPVMAF is used to support veteran Panthers, whether those who remain behind enemy lines as political prisoners or those who are out and are still committed to liberation. In this context, we are asking for donations to help raise money for this effort to rename College Park in Minkah’s honor and have it serve as a testament to his enduring legacy.

Donations can be sent to $CMBdallas2023
Sanchez, Adam, Hagopian, Jesse (2016) What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should The Zinn Education Project
Alnajjar, Nadean, (2020) Rewriting History: Reworking the Black Panther Party’s Image The Yale Historical Review
Jordan, Raven (2023) Dallas activists push to rename College Park after Black Panther leader The Dallas Weekly

Written by Zahir Oladunni Mobolaji ToureZahir is the creator of the Mageuzi philosophy, an ethno-cultural and spiritual philosophy promoting the transformation of the self and collective self-governance of African people. For more information, follow The Mageuzi Philosophy on Instagram and Facebook

About Community Movement Builders (159 Articles)
Community Movement Builders (CMB) is a member-based collective of black people dedicated to being a force for creating sustainable self-determining communities through cooperative economic advancement and collective community organizing. Our mission is rooted in Black love and equity. Grassroots Thinking is our newsletter/community blog about our work and movement activity

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