Happy Physical Day To Allah: The Father: Founder Of The 5%ers
Every now and then someone comes along and changes the way others view themselves and the world itself, initiating them to think outside of the box.
An individual’s legacy is often determined by their great accomplishments while they are still in the physical presence, as well as the everlasting impact those achievements continue to contribute after they have returned to the essence.
Join Hip-Hop Wired as we pay tribute to another one of our unsung Black heroes and celebrate his birth this week.
Allah established The 5%ers, later known as the Nation of Gods & Earths, in the streets of Harlem during the climate of the Black Power movement, in early 1964.
While the torrent heroin epidemic was ravaging the Mecca of Black culture, decimating the family structure, Allah came forth with a conscious effort to restore the high levels of self-esteem which has continuously been stripped away from Original people since the times of physical slavery.
Throughout the 1940s, while living at 2268 7th Ave., after his family relocated from Danville, VA – where he was birthed February 22nd 1928 – Clarence Edward Smith submitted to doing odd jobs to help his mother Mary with the bills.
As a youth though, he was known as ‘Put’ to his 5 brothers and 1 sister because Mary…. “Constantly told him, ‘Put!’ because he was always touching things he wasn’t supposed to have been [at home] and was always moving around,” recalled his younger brother A-Allah.
Later on, while experiencing the streets of NY during the late ‘40s & early ‘50s, ‘Put’ became known as “Puddin,’” due to his smooth, rhythmic cadence and demeanor. After returning from a tour-of-duty in the Korean War, Puddin’ joined his wife Dora at the Nation Of Islam’s historic Temple #7, on 116th St. & Lenox Ave., in 1960, which was then under the tutelage of Minister Malcolm X.
Now known as ‘Clarence 13X’, he’d distribute Muhammad Speaks newspapers as the N.O.I. went “fishing” for the mentally-dead within Harlem. Also, as a member of the elite ‘Advanced F.O.I.,’ he’d help guard Malcolm during local lectures as well as train other F.O.I. in the martial arts.
However, after declaring that he was “Allah” and having discrepancies with what was taught only in the Temple, he and Abu Shahid decided to hit the streets in Spring 1964 and established the 5%ers… “Because he wanted to reach the children! Plus, Elijah and Malcolm were going through their thing and we loved both of them.” cemented Abu Shahid.
Free Cipher Akbar, later known as Old Man Justice had previously met Clarence 13X in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey) while selling hustlin’ hash. He exchanged some for a Muhammad Speaks newspaper. A young Ebeka had met Clarence 13X while having a dispute with another F.O.I., around this same time, “He came to my aid,” Ebeka reflected.
Although he was already teaching many youths while pitching papers, attracting them with his ‘self-styled wisdom,’ he now focused primarily on the ones who were products of single-parent households, which is why they called him “The Father.” He saved many who had fallen into the pitfalls that lie within the concrete jungle.
“He advocated for us to get a skill or trade, so we would be able to provide for ourselves and stay out of trouble,” reflected Akmin Allah.
Many of the youth that he taught went on to help reform other youths, some whom were deemed incorrigible by society’s standards, such as: drug derelicts, prostitutes and gang affiliates. The notorious ‘Blood Brothers,’ who were already raising hell up in Harlem, were some of his first recruits.
“We are the ones Malcolm spoke about in his autobiography. We were known as renegade Muslims,” confirmed Eye God, who was framed-up in the “Harlem 6” case.
“We taught gang members until the gangs died out,” added First Born Prince.
Allah also understood the value of the women and educated them accordingly. “We were taught to respect each other and we definitely had to go to school so we could apply our knowledge. Teaching our babies was very important. We taught unity and were always there for each other,” explained Omala Earth, the 2nd female 5%ers.
Allah helped to quell the “Harlem Fruit Stand Riot” which kicked off the ‘long hot summer’ of ’64, that April. He continued embracing the young and after establishing relations with Mayor Lindsey, in June 1967 Allah negotiated a building where he could teach the youth. Naming it the “Allah School In Mecca,” the school of enlightening still stands today on 2122 7th Ave. (on the corner of 126th St.).
“He was in many ways the most militant, politically, of the community people I dealt with. He had such a reputation. In these pre-Panther days, no group struck fear into whites more than the 5%ers!,” former Mayor Lindsey aide, Barry Gottehrer, once stated.
Allah’s nation was cleaning up the asphalt streets within the concrete jungle, ridding them of narcotics, prostitution, random violence and other illicit activities.
“Every time Original people want to rise, they [the government] put drugs in the community to bring the people down,” assessed one of Allah‘s First Fruit – Prince A.B. Gee. “And all the people that would be able to lead, are all doped out. The Father often said:
“You can’t serve 2 masters!’ So he didn’t want nobody around him who were into drugs, ’cause you were either doing ‘Righteousness’ or you are serving the devil!”
As riots erupted nationally after M.L. King’s assassination April 4th 1968, Allah and his NGE again restored calm and forewarned the rambunctious citizens: “If you burn down your neighborhoods how will you feed your children later on?”
Allah & Justice continued helping to steer the youth in the right direction, taking them on bus and plane rides outside of the city. Around this same time he also was preparing his nation for a future without his physical presence.
“The Father knew that he was going to get killed for teaching the children. He never wanted us to walk with him late at night. He’d chase us away if we tried walking him home, he didn’t want anything to happen to us,” recollected Akmin Allah. “He’d tell us that if we want to see him again, to continue teaching and come together.”
Allah was eventually assassinated during the early morning hours of June 13th 1969 as he stepped into the elevator at 21 West 112th St. in the Foster Houses (now Martin Luther King Towers). He was struck with 7 out of 8 bullets which where fired at him. Although there was an initial arrest made, that individual was later released and Allah’s murder remains unsolved.
“We knew all the major drug dealers and killers in the streets and nobody knew anything… that’s how we knew that the government did it!”, claimed First Born Al Jamel.
Allah’s nation has been an integral force throughout the Hip-Hop culture’s development. Two of it’s founding fathers, Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, both claim to have been 5%ers during the ‘60s. MCs representing the NGEs have usually upped the ante when it comes to mic skills, causing competitors to run back to the lab.
Rakim Allah, Big Daddy Kane, King Sun, Brand Nubian, Poor Righteous Teachers, Erykah Badu, Black Moon, Smiff-N-Wessun & Wu-Tang are just a handful of artists who have incorporated Allah’s teaching’s within their art while spreading the word and also helping to further the NGEs growth.
Allah, November 15th 1967:
“Protect the child. Show him where if he doesn’t do right, he is going to jail. Just like the Muslims, I’m not against anyone, but they are really teaching their children not to smoke, drink or do anything to inquire other people to follow their standards. Now I don’t teach the child not to smoke… I teach him to get the understanding, what?, of it!”
First Born Prince asserted,
“It’s not about who knew the Father! It’s about who learned what he taught, which is… ‘Educate yourself, then teach the children!”
To support the campaign to co-name the stretch between 126th & 127th Sts, along ACPJ Blvd., “Allah, The Father’s Way” contact firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1295 NY, NY 10027.