Apostle Doctor Jibreel Khazan, PhD
Given the outspoken personality of Jibreel Khazan, you wouldn't recognize at first the mild-mannered values his parents sought to instill. Born Ezell Blair, Jr., in Greensboro, NC, he was taught to mind his elders and to avoid stirring up trouble among the white community. The 1955 death of Emmett Till, who was slain for allegedly whistling at a white woman, impacted Khazan deeply. Racially motivated crimes frightened him and instilled a deep desire to bring about change within society. Inspired by a speech from Martin Luther King, Jr., and by the peaceful resistance tactics of Ghandi, Blair knew he had to act on the evils of segregation in Greensboro. But he wasn't initially enamored with the idea of the Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in. His friends persuaded him to join in an act of defiance that would land him a spot in civil rights history. Blair graduated from North Carolina A&T College (now A&T State University), where among other organizations, he was president of the student government association and the campus NAACP chapter. Shortly after college, he moved to New Bedford, Mass. In 1968, Khazan joined the New England Islamic Center and assumed his current name. He now serves developmentally disabled people in New Bedford.