J. Edgar Hoover called him the most wanted man in America. Dr. Muhammed Ahmad, formerly known as Maxwell Curtis Stanford Jr. is who Eisenhower was referring to. What it is about him that scared HOover so bad?
One, because he was a member of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). RAM, founded in 1962 was one of the first revolutionary nationalist formations of the 1960’s created in response to oppression of people of African descent living in America. Blacks were being oppressed politically, economically, socially and physically and this became the impetus for the creation of a number of groups to respond and counter these actions. During the 1960’s, many groups fighting race based oppression were either started or comprised mainly of students on college campuses throughout the United States and RAM was no exception.
The other reason Hoover pegged him as so dangerous was his organizing skills. Dr. Ahmad took RAM out of the colleges and brought it to the streets. As the first field chairman he articulated a number of objectives for the organization including giving Black people a sense of racial pride, solidarity, dignity, unity and commitment to the struggle for independence.
On Thursday, November 17, 2011, Dr. Ahmad gave a presentation sponsored by the Department of African American Studies at Georgia State and the Auburn Avenue Research Library. There he gave a history of his journey in the Black Power Movement. He was very humble in saying he was only one of many important people involved in the movement but Hoover made him seem so by labeling him the most dangerous person of that time.
We were not only privy to his experiences but we learned about his interactions with Rosa Parks, her involvement with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement and her consistent removal from buses as she asserted there should be equality in transportation. It was not a one-time situation but a concerted effort to fight for equality on her part.
He also talked about first hand interactions with Malcolm X stating how easy he was to work with and how eager he was to work. What do you need me to do was a statement he used in regards to being approached to work within the movement.
Being able to interact with an elders whose shoulders we stand upon is a wonderful experience. Hearing firsthand what our elders have been through gives us inspiration to continue their work for our liberation. As parting wisdom, Dr. Ahmad was asked is there still a need for a Black vanguard like Ram in today’s society. His response-as long as there is capitalism, there will be racism. As long as there is racism, it will be necessary for a Black revolutionary cadre to address it and the inequitable treatment of our people. His advice-use the issues and contradictions of the U.S. government to organize the people. Create a process where you can build cadre in sufficient number to build organizations that address our realities because we have the solutions and the power.