Who is Jihad Mohammad?
A short biographical sketch of Jihad Muhammad is probably in order.
Raised by his Sudanese grandfather in Sikeston, Mo., Muhammad showed great artistic talent from childhood. His first formal training was in the field of mortuary science. But soon after obtaining a degree in that field, the Chief of Pathology at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, greatly impressed by the young man’s artistic talents, sponsored his study in forensic illustration.
Muhammad obtained another bachelor’s degree in fine art. For a time, he worked with Thomas Hart Benton on a restoration of the artist’s historical murals in the Missouri state capitol building. He is also a designer of coins for the U.S. Treasury.
He later earned a master’s degree in biomedical visualization and another in African Studies. In 1992 he founded the African Scientific Research Institute (ASRI).
ASRI, “Conducts world-class research tracing the historical footsteps of early African ancestors, free and enslaved living in America from 1628 to 1888.” The organization also conducts archeological field schools in forensic investigation of African and African American remains.
Muhammad and ASRI have reconstructed the faces of slaves from forensic remains and uncovered remains and artifacts from burial sites in Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana. He was the subject of a documentary film produced by Bill Curtis.
Of ASRI, Muhammad wrote, “One of our missions is to develop policy to protect these ancient African burial grounds all over the United States. The first generations of Africans are so important to the history of America, we felt that we had to try to do something to help instill pride back into the community.”