One Oklahoma City 12-year-old is a walking embodiment of what it means to be young, gifted and Black. Homeschooled high school senior Elijah Muhammad recently made history when he became the youngest Black college student in Oklahoma.
According to the young scholar, who is now also a freshman at Oklahoma City Community College, it was a shock to his classmates.
“A bunch of them were like, ‘how old are you?’” Elijah told KFOR Oklahoma News 4. “Once I told them my age, they all got surprised.”
He is majoring in cybersecurity and currently taking three college-level classes. “Computer hardware, intro to computer technology, and computer operating systems” are on his schedule, Muhammad said.
He’s not the only brainiac in his family. Overachieving is a family affair as Elijah’s older sister, Shania Muhammad, was the youngest person to graduate from OCCC at age 14 in May. She also graduated from Langston University simultaneously with a second associate’s degree.
“Don’t let your age be the ceiling to your potential, and I really want to push that. You cannot let that be a barrier to your life,” Shania told News 9 at the time. “It’s like I was in the seventh grade and the whole time I was on the collegiate level; I just didn’t know it.”
Elijah said his sister, who is now 15, motivates, helps and inspires him. “We have a bunch of competitiveness, but she really helps me out with a lot of my studying,” Elijah said.
It is a point of pride for their parents, who said supporting their children as they work towards their goals is a priority. “When he sees her accomplish certain things, he’s like I’m up next and I can do it,” their father, Elijah Muhammad Sr., said. “We are the cheering section for our scholars.”
They advocated for Black families to go as hard for education as they do in other industries like sports and entertainment. “If we put the same passion and intensity that we do into sports into education, you achieve the same result,” Elijah Sr. said.
That doesn’t mean the Muhammads don’t believe in extracurricular activities.
In addition to being on track to break his sister’s record as OCCC’s youngest graduate next year, Elijah is a three-time state champion wrestler. He is also the founder of the “Smart Boy” clothing line, the brother counterpart to Shania’s “Smart Girl” clothing line.
It’s an authentic label for them both.
“Applied Knowledge is the difference between a successful and non successful person,” Shania wrote in the caption of an Instagram post.
“Me going at a younger age is better for me because I want to be able to make history myself,” Elijah said.
PHOTO: Elijah Muhammad, 12, is a freshman at Oklahoma City Community College. Screenshot from KFOR Oklahoma’s News 4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0a2dAThY_E