The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

June 4, 2012

Muhammad’s Godfather views him as a trailblazer

Richard H Parker, Jr.

TARBORO — To the Editor:

In response to Bert Spain, about Councilman Muhammad; some definitions (from the dictionary): Controvert – to raise arguments against; voice opposition to.  Controversy – A dispute, a public one, between sides holding opposing views; the act or practice of engaging in. Controversial- of, producing or marked by controversy.  Trailblazer – One that blazes a trail. An innovative leader in a field, a pioneer.

Councilman Melvin Muhammad was, and still is, a trailblazer. That requires one to be a controvert who must be controversial and who must create trailblazing controversy!

About 4 1⁄2 years ago there were eight council members, all male. On June 11, there will be eight council members. None of those members were members 4 1⁄2 years ago. How many times were the old members published? Most importantly, where are they now?

Four-and-a-half years ago, the Town of Tarboro was organizing pickets to shut down a porn shop seeking permission to open for business on Main Street. Mr. Muhammad and a citizen associate quietly approached the owner and convinced him it was the wrong thing to do. The owner already had permission to open.  Only three people in government thanked him personally. Mr. Muhammad never took a bribe. Mr. Muhammad never made “deals” with other council members prior to council meetings.

Prior to Mr. Muhammad’s election, there was fear and apathy in the black community. One would be hard-pressed to find signs of either now.

So, with a half smile, I say call him controversial, Mr. Bert Spain. I will refer to Councilman Melvin R. Muhammad as a real trailblazer in every definitive of the word. I also refer to him as my Godson.

Richard H Parker, Jr.