Deaths Elsewhere |

W.D. Mohammed, black Muslim leader

W.D. Mohammed, one of the most prominent African American Muslim leaders in the nation and the son of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, died Monday, sources said.

“Brother Imam,” as he was affectionately known, was 74. His nephew Sultan Muhammad confirmed his uncle's death to The Associated Press but did not immediately offer details.

Mohammed inherited from his father the Nation of Islam, a religious movement crafted out of black nationalism and bits and pieces of Muslim practice.

During his spiritual wanderings, he was banished several times by his father for filial impiety – once for remaining close to Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad's prized disciple who turned into a critical voice within the Nation of Islam.

In 1961, Mohammed refused to serve in the military and went to prison in accordance with his father's teaching that African Americans shouldn't defend a land of lynching and segregation.

While incarcerated, Mohammed studied the Quran and found its teachings at considerable variance with his father's. In 1976, a year after he succeeded his father, Mohammed made a public appearance carrying an American flag. He proclaimed the time had come for black Americans to celebrate America.

During his final years, Mohammed headed a charitable organization, Mosque Cares, and spoke to congregations across the nation.

“For me, (Islam) is too big a cause for our personal problems and differences to stand in the way,” he said. Chicago Tribune

Anita Page, star of silent-era movies

Anita Page, an MGM actress who appeared in films with Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford and Buster Keaton during the transition from silent movies to talkies, has died. She was 98.

Page died Saturday in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles, said actor Randal Malone, her longtime friend and companion.

Page's career, which spanned 84 years, began in 1924 when she started as an extra.

Her big break came in 1928 when she won a major role – as the doomed bad girl – in “Our Dancing Daughters,” a film that featured a wild Charleston by Crawford and propelled them both to stardom. It spawned two sequels, “Our Modern Maidens” and “Our Blushing Brides.” Page and Crawford were in all three films.

In 1928, the New York-born Page starred opposite Chaney in “While the City Sleeps.”

The following year, she was co-star of “The Broadway Melody,” the 1929 backstage tale of two sisters who love the same man. The film made history as the first talkie to win the best-picture Oscar and was arguably the first true film musical. Associated Press