Obituary of Elma Inas Muhammad
On January 25, 1936, Elma Inas Muhammad was born Elma Hubbard, in Halifax, Virginia to the late John Pearlie Hubbard and Gracie Waller Hubbard. In 1952, Elma left Halifax with her parents and siblings and moved to Washington, DC. In 1959, while out on a date at the Flamingo Club, Elma caught the eye of young man also at the club. After watching her for a while, the man had a young lady place a matchbox in Elma’s lap. Upon opening the box, Elma found a telephone number. The following day, Elma called the number and told the young lady about what happened the night before with the matchbox being placed in her lap. In response, the young lady stated, “yes, that guy is my brother Calvert, he’s at school right now, but give me your number, he said he’ll call you when he gets home from school”. Calvert did in fact call Elma when he arrived home, and that encounter would lead to marriage and a friendship that would last until her death.
In 1961, after years of dating and attending meetings with the Nation of Islam, Calvert and Elma married and converted to Islam where theybecame known as Kelvit X. Bates and Elma X. Bates. In 1962, the two decided to move to Phoenix, Arizona. To prepare, the two became cab drivers and early each morning Elma rise and begin her day to ensureshe had transported enough customers so that she could end her day before the evening rush hour began. As planned, in 1963, the couple moved to Phoenix where they would remain for three years. While inPhoenix, Elma served as a Captain at Muhammad’s Mosque Number 32, teaching the Muslim Girls Training and General Civilizationclasses to young girls and women. Additionally, she and Kelvitreceived a government contract to renovate and restore homes. Further, because of her love and concern for people, she decided to pursue a career in nursing where she studied for and passed the entrance exam. However, prior to the beginning of classes, in 1966,she and Kelvit were on the move again, this time to Buffalo, New York. After a couple of years in Buffalo, in 1968, they returned to the Washington, DC area where they would remain.
Always the entrepreneur, in 1972, Elma earned her cosmetology license. Then, in 1979, Elma was officially bestowed the name Elma Inas Muhammad. Elma would spend more than 40 years as a cosmetologist before retiring to spend time with family, volunteering in the senior activity center where she resided, going on daily walksand assisting her nephew at his restaurant.
Adored by her family, Elma came to be affectionally known as “Aunt Tia” and “Auntie Granny” to many of her nieces and nephews. Although she never had any biological children, after her sister Leodica died, she assisted her father with raising her niece, KimMorgan and had special relationships with Kim, another niece, Jackie Robinson and nephews David Jose Robinson and Edmond Jackson.
Elma is survived by her husband Kelvit H. Muhammad; Sister, Mateenah McWhirter; Sisters-in-law, Marie Hubbard and Doretha Bates, special cousin, Alma Tucker and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Elma was predeceased by her parents and siblings; Ollie Waller, Mary Louise Robinson, Robert Jackson Hubbard, Sr., Leodica Hubbard, John Pearlie Hubbard, Jr., and Martha Pinkney.
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