"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear," explained Ahmad Muhammad, born in Wauwatosa in 1955 to Fredrick Pinkerton and Maddie Jobe. Uplifting, touching and enhancing all our senses by his very presence, brother Ahmad Muhammad inspires everyone who engages with him. Muhammad is the second oldest of his seven siblings, including his brother on his fathers side. He went to school in Milwaukee and remembers all his teachers by their names. Recruited by universities because of his talent in football, Ahmad decided to enroll in Alcorn University, a land-grant institution of higher learning in Mississippi. He left Alcorn University after his first semester in search of a higher calling. In 1981, after going to a lecture by Minister Louis Farrakhan in Philadelphia, he converted to the Nation of Islam. He has not looked back since. Today, Ahmad Muhammad is growing his own business, the Inception Consulting Group.
When Muhammad first came to Washington Park, he was homeless, but he received, and continues to receive, much love and support from the community. He knows a variety of residents in the community. He loves all of them and still has support from them. Among his friends, David Boucher and Stephanie Shipley helped him get back on his feet.
We asked Muhammad to compare Washington Park, his current home to neighboring Wauwatosa, where he started his life’s journey. He replied that one of the main differences is that residents of Washington Park have to focus more on the art of daily survival. He gave the example of valiant single mothers, who need to provide for their families even while going to school to better themselves. These hardworking individuals may not have free time to attend community meetings or organize neighborhood cleanups, even if they wanted to, because they have to strive to survive on a daily basis.
Unlike the suburbs, Washington Park has more renters and many absentee landlords. Some of these renters, like Ms. Tymika Hawthorne, take great care of their rental property. Others don’t. Muhammad believes that residents need to do something tangible in order for change to come. He urges us to act upon our good intentions and dreams. Ahmad is proud of Washington Park since, according to him, this neighborhood is "in the midst of a renaissance."
Ahmad Muhammad, interviewed by Damir McCurty and Hyrom Stokes, June 2015