This month I will share stories on Black History Month – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. History isn’t always pretty and sometimes we sanitize that which makes us uncomfortable. Here I will share all facets of Black History and try to focus on people not necessarily in the history books.
The Bad – Hulon Mitchell, Jr.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk murder!
Hulon Mitchell, Jr. was born Oct. 27, 1935 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, the eldest of 15 children born to a Pentecostal minister and a church pianist. Mitchell lived in poverty growing up. He served in the Air Force for a while and then studied psychology at Phillips University. While participating in civil rights sit-ins in Oklahoma, he became interested in black nationalism and Nation of Islam, (where he was known as Hulon Shah). Later he preached as “Father Michel” in Atlanta and “Brother Love” in Orlando before finding his true cult identity.
In the late 1970s, Mitchell called himself “Yahweh ben Yahweh” meaning “the Lord Son of the Lord” and “The Original Jew.” As Yahweh ben Yahweh, he denounced Martin Luther King, Jr, as “that dead dog preacher.”
Mitchell formed the Nation of Yahweh in Liberty City, Florida in 1979. He was a charismatic speaker and well-liked in the Miami community. He gave the impression that he was a community builder by helping clean up neighborhoods. The mayor of Miami at the time declared Oct. 7, 1990 as “Yahweh ben Yahweh Day.”
But inside of the Nation of Yahweh, things were different.
Mitchell claimed he and his disciples were the true descendants of a long-lost tribe of Israel, that God was black and blacks would be powerful through him, whites – especially Jews – were infidels and oppressors, and members must be loyal to Mitchell. To become part of his inner circle, a “white devil” had to be killed and a body part had to be brought to Mitchell as proof of the murder. Between April and October 1996, Mitchell’s “Death Angels” went to Miami to kill white people.
Members of the Nation of Yahweh had all aspects of their lives controlled. Mitchell controlled the clothing and food of the members. He even controlled their sex lives. The twice married and divorced Mitchell had sex with many of the young, female members.
In the 1990s, the law caught up with Mitchell. He and several of his followers were indicted on 18 charges of racketeering, including 14 killings, two attempted killings, extortion and arson. He was released on parole on Sept. 26, 2001 after serving nine years of an 18 year sentence. As part of his parole, he could not connect with his congregation – including restrictions on phone, computer, radio, or television.
The once charismatic cult-leader died on May 7, 2007, alone after working as a landscaper.
Schudel, Matt. (2007, May 10). Yahweh Ben Yahweh; Led Violent Cult. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902629.html
Yahweh ben Yahweh. (n.d.). In Murderpedia. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://murderpedia.org/male.Y/y/yahweh-ben-yahweh.htm
Yahweh ben Yahweh. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh_ben_Yahweh