|BABA MZEE MOYO (8/11/1943 - 8/16/2007)
MR. MAX ROACH (1/10/1924 – 8/16/2007)
DR. ASA G. HILLIARD, III (8/22/1933 - 8/16/2007)
It was another eventful day in the life of the People’s
Pastor. First order of business for the day was the weekly Darfur
Organizing Meeting, starting at 11am. The important, all consuming,
item on the agenda was the collecting and allocation of money
for the shipment of supplies to the refugee camp in Gaga, Chad,
Central Africa. We succeeded in raising $16,200, the cost of the
shipment from Douala, Cameroon, to the Refugee camp. We had already
paid $5,000 for the shipment from South Kearny, New Jersey, to
The money was given to Yayha Osman, a Darfurian, who is responsible
for guaranteeing the shipment to the refugee camp. I plan to join
him when the shipment arrives in Chad. It was a great moment when
we consummated the business. In a couple of months, we had succeeded
in gathering 700 boxes, weighing 1,800 pounds, in a 40 foot container.
All total, we had raised over $21,000.
Around the same time as our Darfur meeting, our daycare centers,
(the Alonzo Daughtry Memorial Daycare Centers I & II) were
celebrating our 36th Annual Graduation. With the Darfur crises,
we addressed “the worst humanitarian crises in the world
today,” according the United Nations (UN). With the graduation,
we are caring for the seeds of the future.
It was at the Institute of the Black World’s (IBW) Pan African
Unity Brunch, organized by its President, Dr. Ron Daniels, when
I learned that Mzee Moyo had made his transition. The meeting
was held at the State Office Building in Harlem on August 17th,
Marcus Garvey’s birthday.
I met Mzee around 1978, when we were organizing the Black United
Front (BUF) in response to the killing of a 15 year old black
youth named Randolph Evans. A year-long boycott was implemented
of the downtown Brooklyn stores. The EAST, headed by Jitu Weusi,
was among the major organizations that made up the BUF. Out of
the EAST came the Uhura Sasa, an independent Afrocentric school,
and what was formerly, the African Street Carnival, and now the
International Arts Festival. Mzee was a key player in all of the
He was President of the Uhura SASA Parent Council. He was director
of EAST Caterers, co-founder of Kente Productions Consultant Firm.
He was chairperson of the Social Service Committee for Planning
Board 3. He was a member of the Dance Africa Council of Elders
and co-founder of the Kwanzaa Collectives. He served as Chief
of Operations of the International African Arts Festival for over
20 years. Under his leadership, the Festival reached the point
where it was/is the largest of Global African Culture in the USA.
Also, Mzee served as a homeless advocate for Colony South Brooklyn
Houses. For over two decades, he assisted the homeless by coordinating
Nat Turner Day Care Services for parents and organizing several
food drives annually.
The viewing and funeral were concrete expressions of the pervasive
love and appreciation the community had for Mzee. From the start
of the viewing at 4pm, to the commencement of the ceremony at
6pm, and during the ceremony , there was a constant stream of
admirers coming into the Church. The Church was packed, two deep
standing room around the walls of the sanctuary and balcony. It
was the largest funeral at our Church in recent memory.
While there were a few whites, the ceremony was all Africans.
With the family, preceded by the drummers, we marched into the
sanctuary. Adeyemi Bandele, veteran activist, and I officiated.
I opened with welcome, prayer and scripture readings from St.
John 14:1-3. “In my father’s house are many mansions…
I go to prepare a place for you…” The libation followed,
conducted by Nana Nsia, Ana McKen and Neil Clark. A close friend,
Russell Benjamin, offered the prayer of comfort. Among those offering
community expressions were, Imam Obaba Oyo, Queen Mother Ma’asht
Amm Amen, Jitu Weusi, and Sharonnie Perry. The eulogy was done
by K. Mensah Wali. Music was supplied by Steve Cromity. The sons
of Mzee, Baraka Moyo Smith and Zamani Moyo Smith, read the obituary
and a poem respectively.
The ceremony was African and celebrative. Laughter and humor interspersed
the solemnity and seriousness. There was a feeling of the unique
African communal spirit. Though we were of different religions,
political views, and ideologies, on this occasion, we were one
African people. It is another testimony of the power and influence
of Mzee, that he could bring so many different people in the African
Diaspora in a Christian church united as one African people.
The traditional repast was served in the Fellowship Hall. There
was enough food, of a wide variety, to feed the hundreds and to
“The funeral seemed to be more of a celebration,”
said one of our neighbors. “It was,” I said, “The
celebration of a life well lived.” A special commendation
needs to be paid to Mzee’s daughter, Salima, and son, Baraka,
and the rest of the family. Even though they were grieving, they
organized their father’s funeral with the highest professionalism
and sensitivity. Other members of the family he leaves to mourn
are: stepfather – Vincent Byron, sister – Deloris
Smith, sons – Ogdonna, Babu, and Yarul; daughters include
– Asha, Sala and Adenike; 7 grandchildren, a great-grand
son, and hundreds of extended family members and friends.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @
the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page
BCAT Program every 2nd and 4th Sunday @ 2p.m. For further Information
on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991
Special Appeal: By the time this newspaper hit the stands, our
shipment of 700 boxes will have arrived in Douala, Cameroon. It
will remain there 7 days for processing. From there, it will travel
over land to the Gaga refugee camp in Chad. The trip will take
approximately 10 days. We have an urgent need for finances to
defray cost for shipment and transportation. Total cost is estimated
around $22,000 to $23,000. We have received generous support,
and will publicize our donors unless instructed otherwise. We
need to hear from you as soon as possible. You can make checks
payable to the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry
Concerned About Darfur, Inc. or “NRLAA” for short.
Mail to: The House of the Lord Church at 415 Atlantic Avenue,
Brooklyn, New York 11217. (Considering our 501(c)3 status has
not yet been granted by the IRS, please check with your financial
advisors regarding the deductible status of your donation.)