In a fiery, early morning speech yesterday in Baltimore, former Nation of Islam spokesman Khallid Abdul Muhammad praised the ouster of NAACP Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
"I'm thankful that Ben Chavis got the boot today," Mr. Muhammad told about 150 people gathered at the Walbrook High School auditorium in West Baltimore for an evening of black militant speeches and poetry.
Dr. Chavis, he said, is "a boot-licking . . . nigger" for condemning and repudiating Mr. Muhammad for anti-Semitic remarks he made during a speech in November. When Mr. Muhammad's remarks were publicized, Dr. Chavis and other black leaders publicly condemned Mr. Muhammad after being called upon to do so by political leaders and Jewish groups.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan removed Mr. Muhammad from his position as a senior aide after the public outcry.
"I heard when they gave Ben Chavis the boot he had tears in his JTC eyes," Mr. Muhammad said. "Well, I didn't cry when you gave me the boot, Ben. I took it like a man."
He also berated black establishment leaders and other officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for continuing to use the word "colored" to refer to African-Americans.
Mr. Muhammad's remarks yesterday appeared to widen the differences between him and Minister Farrakhan, who has continued to embrace Dr. Chavis' goals and appeared with him yesterday at Dr. Chavis' summit of African-American leaders.
Mr. Muhammad's remarks were greeted with loud applause. He was the last speaker in a program that started late and went on for four hours before his appearance.
Five men dressed in trademark Nation of Islam suits and bow ties shifted protectively in unison behind Mr. Muhammad as he slowly paced the stage.
Mr. Muhammad was shot in the foot at a speech in California in May, allegedly by a former Nation of Islam member.
His speech was in Baltimore was part of the one-day AFRIKA '94 program, sponsored by Al-Nisa Productions of Maryland Inc., which is owned by Nation of Islam member Debra 2X.