Dr. Bamba Ra
(1944 – 2021)


As remembered by Nisa Ra

In Loving Memory of Bamba Ra
June 1, 1944 - December 3, 2021

Bamba Ra aka Shahid Muhammad was born as Morris Lenwood Ruffin, Jr. to the late Morris Lenwood Ruffin, Sr., and Evelyn McJett Ruffin in Philadelphia, June 1, 1944. Family life and wholesome family values with his close knit family and extended family in Philadelphia and Virginia were always important to Bamba and were major grounding themes throughout his life. He was the only male of the familyb's 4 children and as such enjoyed some special attention.

He was a gifted student who attended North Philadelphia schools and graduated from Simon Gratz High School Class of 1963. Following graduation he attended premier HBCUs, starting at Hampton University and then Howard University as a Political Science major where he joined SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and quickly became a leader thus beginning his training in student activism, community organizing and waking others up. At Howard, he became a close comrade of Stokeley Carmichael aka Kwame Toure, a lifelong friend and brother.

Being a child of the '60b's meant that Bamba was growing into adulthood during a time of social change, the civil rights movement and a growing Black and Pan African consciousness. From this early age he became committed to the liberation of Black people, their human and civil rights, and self- determination which led to his joining organizations such as RAM (Revolutionary Action Movement) and the Nation of Islam, where although he experienced some traumatic and controversial experiences during these dramatic times, they truly defined Bamba as a man.

Bamba also used his creativity and artistic gifts in his many entrepreneurial endeavors as a means to express Afrikan achievement and pride. In the '70's he was a frequent contributor to The Journal of Black Poetry, one of the strongest publications of Black thought and expression and inclusion in the iconic work by author James Forman, The Making of Black Revolutionaries. During this same period, along with a close friend on the West Coast, he established a line of Black greeting cards depicting positive images of Black people and their achievements. In more recent years through his travels to Haiti, Mexico, and Ethiopia, Bamba worked with local artisans to establish several manufacturing companies and was known for his creative flair in design of men's clothing. Bambab's charisma, charm, and gift of gab made him popular everywhere he traveled with both men, women, and children, whom he truly loved and enjoyed. Some of his favorite things were music, dance, and eating good food.

Making transition before him was his Father, Mother and beloved sister, Halima Mubarak. Left to cherish his memory are his daughter Muhammida El Muhajir and granddaughter Mahadevi El Muhajir Bedford, elder sister, Linda Ruffin, who was his admirable and trusted support; sister Bernadette and her husband Toney Scott; nieces Khadijah and Kemya Scott, great-nieces and grand nephew, Alexis, Zeja and ZaZu, and former wife and trusted friend, Nisa Ra. Along with these family members are his aunts, an uncle, cousins, adopted children, and countless friends in many places all around the world.

His family will hold memorial services in Philadelphia and Accra, Ghana.

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