Lamar Beyah

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 13, 2007

JACKSON – A private janaza service for Lamar Basil Beyah, 58, of Natchez, who died Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007, at University Medical Center, in Jackson, was Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Jackson, with Imam Shaheed Mohammed of the Masjid Muhammed officiating.

Mr. Beyah was born Oct. 13, 1948, in Liveoak, Fla., the son of Lula Mae Cameron and Lamar Houston. He grew up in Columbus but spent the majority of his adult life in St. Louis. It was during his teen years in Columbus that he became involved in the civil rights movement. A self-taught man, his experiences with incarceration was where he had his greatest awakenings and from which The African American Rite of Passage, Inc., TAARP, Inc., was born. Mr. Beyah founded TAARP, Inc. as a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in 1989 to help eradicate the negative mental effects of the slave experience on African American youth and others. Through TAARP, Inc., he was dedicated to providing educational opportunities to at-risk children. The many educational systems that came from TAARP, Inc. coalesced in 1999 as an approved charter public school for the City of St. Louis. Three years ago, he expanded the reach of TAARP, Inc. systems of learning to Louisiana and Mississippi.

Mr. Beyah operated the Garlic Sausage Station along with his wife, Iretha, and was fondly known as the “garlic sausage man” to many in Natchez.

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Heart failure didn’t break his spirit. He surrounded himself with like-minded individuals and continued to fight for public charter school choice to his last days. Mr. Beyah’s life may have ended but his vision, dedication and his organization lives on.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father; sisters, Joyce Baity, Yvonne Skipwith and Ann Wilson-Darby; and brother, Lennon Houston.

Survivors include devoted his wife, Iretha Beyah; children, Nicole Martin and husband, Shelby, Karriem Houston and wife, Tamike, Samimah Salaam and husband, Faruk, Lamar Ibn Basil Beyah and wife, Jakelah, Aqueelah Beyah, Kamilah Abdul Rashad and husband, Malik, Mansour Beyah and fiancé’, Kerrie, Kadijah Beyah, Samiyah Beyah, Marcus Davis and wife, Latoya, Jonah Davis and wife, Donna, John Craven III, Kennetta Cooper and Vermond Young; siblings, Melvene Dodds and husband, Maurice, Theresa Houston and Jawanza Nyahuma; and 23 grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.