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Title: When the Word is Given... - A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the Black Muslim World
Author: Lomax, Louis E.
Language: English
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By Louis E. Lomax



  _When the Word is Given_ ...




  Published by The World Publishing Company
  2231 West 110th Street, Cleveland 2, Ohio

  Published simultaneously in Canada by
  Nelson, Foster & Scott Ltd.

  Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 63-21624


  Copyright © 1963 by Louis E. Lomax.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced
  in any form without written permission from the publisher, except for
  brief passages included in a review appearing in a newspaper
  or magazine. Printed in the United States of America.

  Design by Larry Kamp

  To James Leonidas Lomax, consecrated preacher, dedicated teacher, and
  devoted parent. What little love there is among men today is due to
  men like Uncle James.


    Introduction                                   11

  =PART ONE=: _The Coming of the Prophet_

    1. MAKE IT PLAIN, MR. MINISTER!                17

    2. FROM MOSES TO MALCOLM X                     35

    3. THE NATION OF ISLAM                         59


  =PART TWO=: _The Prophet’s Voice_

    1. MUHAMMAD AT ATLANTA                        109

    2. MALCOLM X AT HARVARD                       130

    3. MALCOLM X ON “UNITY”                       149

    4. MALCOLM X’S “UNIVERSITY SPEECH”            159

    5. MALCOLM X AT QUEENS COLLEGE                172

    6. MALCOLM X AT YALE                          179


    _Louis Lomax Interviews Malcolm X_            197

    Suggested Additional Reading                  213

    Index                                         215


This book comes at a time when the American race issue seems at a
climax. Disturbing though it may be, it is encouraging that such a
book as this can be written, that a group like the Black Muslims not
only lives among us but that it can be investigated and studied. This
means that at long last we are about to become honest about the race
question. Negroes are saying what they think; white people are pausing
to listen. These are the prerequisites of dialogue in a free society,
and I predict that on the whole the Black Muslims will have a healthy
influence on our social structure.

I know white people are frightened by Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad;
maybe now they will understand how I have felt all my life, for there
has never been a day when I was unafraid; we Negroes live our lives on
the edge of fear, not knowing when or how the serpent of discrimination
will strike and deprive us of something dear--a job here, a house
there, an evening out over there, or a life itself. But things are
better now than they once were; I am convinced they will soon be
better than they are now. I am optimistic because I feel Negroes are
now determined to better their lot; I believe we will win because there
is every evidence that white people are beginning to yield some of
their power, and that--power--is what the argument is really about.

I have drawn on a spate of newspaper articles for this manuscript.
I must give particular thanks to my friends Alex Haley and C. Eric
Lincoln, Professor of Social Relations, Clark College, Atlanta. Haley’s
article on the Muslims and his unpublished notes were of immense help;
Lincoln’s book, _The Black Muslims in America_, is the definitive work
on the followers of Elijah Muhammad and it was my bible as I tried
first to understand and then to portray the Black Muslims. Dr. Lincoln
and I shared research when he was preparing his fine work, and he has
most graciously given me his consent to draw freely from his material,
particularly that related to the origins and early history of the

Thanks to Ann Westbay and Frances Hannah for their work as typists.
Both of them also served as valuable critics as the manuscript took
shape; for this additional service I owe them much appreciation.

Most of all I am indebted to the Black Muslims themselves. For
more than four years, now, they have tolerated my questions and
presence, knowing that I differ with them on many issues. Without
their permission, over the years, this kind of book would have been

The summer of 1963 saw the Negro Revolt move into full view; it also
saw the Black Muslims reach an almost incredible peak of public concern
and notice. The intent of this work is to provide information and
insight as companions to that concern. For correct information is the
ultimate weapon of freedom. Even so, there are unpleasant and chilling
things in this book. The Black Muslims--for some--are an unpleasant
and chilling people, but freedom includes the right to be chilling, and
the Black Muslims have no monopoly on unpleasantness.

In reality, Western man is on trial in this book. Without the failings
of Western society, the Black Muslims could not have come into being;
without the continued failings of our society, the Black Muslims cannot
endure. Here, then, Western white man, is a bitter pill. Do with it as
you see fit.

                                                          LOUIS E. LOMAX

  _St. Albans, New York_
  _July, 1963_


_The Coming of the Prophet_


The ultimate comment upon racialism in this republic is that the
all-black Nation of Islam--a Chicago-based theocracy whose citizens are
known as the Black Muslims--is one of the few religions ever produced
by the American experience. Incensed liberals, Negro and white, will
deny my assertion that the Black Muslims are a religious body, but the
issue, both legally and theologically, has been settled: Courts in
several states have ruled that the followers of The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad are, indeed, adherents to a religious faith--as such, Black
Muslim prison inmates have the right to hold services of worship as do
other convicts. And no one who understands theologian Paul Tillich’s
argument that religion is nothing more than one’s ultimate concern can
doubt that the teachings of number-two Black Muslim leader, Malcolm X,
constitute a religion.

Malcolm X is the St. Paul of the Black Muslim movement. Not only was
he knocked to the ground by the bright light of truth while on an evil
journey, but he also rose from the dust stunned, with a new name and a
burning zeal to travel in the opposite direction and carry America’s
twenty million Negroes with him.

“This is the day of warning,” Malcolm shouts to the Negro, “the hour
during which prophecy is being fulfilled before your very eyes. The
white man is doomed! Don’t integrate _with_ him, separate _from_ him!
Come ye out from among the white devils and be ye separate.”

Nobody knows just how many Negroes have said “yes” to Malcolm X’s call.
Estimates of the Black Muslim membership vary from a quarter of a
million down to fifty thousand. Available evidence indicates that about
one hundred thousand Negroes have joined the movement at one time or
another, but few objective observers believe that the Black Muslims can
muster more than twenty or twenty-five thousand active temple people.

The Black Muslims are feverish proselytizers, however, and they get
amazing results from Negro prison inmates and the abandoned black
masses who live in a world of despair and futility. Early commentators
on the movement pointed to their work among prison inmates as further
evidence that the Black Muslims were a dissolute lot. The opposite
has proved to be true--the Muslims have been able to change the lives
of these men once they emerge from prison. While the percentage of
repeaters among ordinary Negro criminals runs very high, the Black
Muslim converts seldom, if ever, return to a life of crime.

“Many of my followers--and ministers--were once criminals,” Elijah
Muhammad boasted in Washington, D.C., “but I changed all that by giving
them knowledge of _self_. Once they discovered who the devil was and
who God was, their lives were changed.”

“All praise due to Allah,” the crowd of some five thousand shouted as
they leaped to their feet and applauded with rejoicing.

Non-Muslim Negroes used to scoff when Elijah wrote and talked about
“knowledge of self.” They are less apt to scoff now that a new wave
of race pride has engulfed the Negro and a coterie of clean-cut,
well-dressed, polite, and chillingly moral Black Muslim ex-convicts
parade through the Negro community each day.

The same general approach, teaching race pride as knowledge of “self,”
accounts for the success the Black Muslims have among low-income
Negroes. For these people are in something of a prison, too; they see
themselves as failures and need some accounting for why they are what
they are, why they are not what they are not. These needs are met when
the wayward and the downtrodden sit at the feet of Malcolm X and hear
him proclaim the divinity of the black man, hear him blame the white
man for sin and lawlessness and then go on to herald the impending
destruction of the “blue-eyed white devil.”

_Bean Pie and Beatitudes_

The life of the Black Muslim centers around his temple--sometimes
called a mosque--and the temple restaurant. They are usually located
close together, in the heart of the Negro ghetto, and are the nerve
centers of work and worship. Temple services are held two or three
times a week and are generally preceded by family and group meals
at the restaurant. Families--most of them former Methodists and
Baptists--come in groups, the men dressed in black, the women in
flowing white, and the children wearing pins or buttons to let the
world know of their commitment to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The restaurants--like the Black Muslim homes--strictly adhere to Moslem
dietary laws. Muslim sisters glory in their ability to prepare dishes
that satisfy the traditional eating habits of the American Negro
without violating these laws. The best example of imaginative Black
Muslim cooking is their famous bean pie, something of a gourmet’s
delight in the Negro community. Negroes in New York have been known to
come to Harlem from miles around just to buy a bean pie for the family
table. The restaurants also serve as business headquarters for the
movement; they are the distribution centers for Black Muslim newspapers
and other periodicals, the place where one is invited to have a talk
with a Black Muslim leader. Temple Number Seven Restaurant at 116th
Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem is where Minister Malcolm X holds
forth: he can be seen there almost any time conducting the financial
affairs of the movement and holding press conferences. Then, on a sign
from one of his assistants, Malcolm bounds out of the restaurant to
conduct temple service at Temple Number Seven, half a block away.

Throughout the nation the Muslims generally meet in rented halls--a
Masonic Temple in one town, over a pool room in another. Men and women
enter the temple together, but once in the vestibule the families are
separated. Everybody is searched thoroughly and all sharp objects,
to say nothing of weapons, are taken away. The search is carried out
by well-trained sisters and brothers who work with the efficiency of
jail guards. They assign a small paper bag to each worshiper, and such
objects as nail files, pocket-knives, scissors--any sharp objects that
might conceivably be used as weapons--are put into the bag for safe
keeping until the parishioner leaves the temple. Even the ordeal of
being searched is made palatable by a pleasant brother or sister who
explains that the visitor must be relieved of all weapons because once
the truth about the white man is explained, the visitor might run out
and start his private Armageddon before the “word” comes.

The men and women are ushered into the temple through separate doors
and are ordered to sit on opposite sides. The auditorium is generally
a drab room, one used by many groups in the course of a week. In
Birmingham, Alabama, for example, the Black Muslims use the Masonic
Hall auditorium. The Sunday I visited the services there one could see
posters, fans, and other materials left by groups who had used the same
hall earlier in the week. The chairs of the auditorium are arranged
in rows, a wide gulf between the “brothers” side and that of the
“sisters.” Dark-suited young men, members of The Fruit of Islam, patrol
the floor incessantly. They dart about, nudging children to silence,
awakening a slumbering brother or sister, and performing whatever
duties might come to hand, all the while keeping up a rapid-fire
“That’s right,” “You tell it like it is,” in response to what the
minister is saying.

The visitor finds himself inside a strange new world at a Black Muslim
service. Many religions separate men and women during their services,
but few Negroes are members of such faiths and so they are intrigued
from the outset. Their sense of being in on something exotic, thus
meaningful, is increased when one of the lesser ministers takes the
platform and says a few words in Arabic. The Negro is told that this
was his language before the white man kidnaped his father and truncated
his culture.

“_As-Salaam-Alaikum!_” the minister says--Peace be unto you.

“_Wa-Alaikum-Salaam_,” the visitor is taught to reply--“Peace also be
unto you.”

The Black Muslims have little or no liturgy. They do not sing in the
temple, for they have not yet developed hymns that enunciate their
faith. The nearest thing I have heard to a Black Muslim hymn is a
plaintive and moving song written by Minister Louis X of Boston, “The
White Man’s Heaven Is the Black Man’s Hell.” It is often sung in the
temples, but only as a solo by some gifted member of the congregation.

Many of the Black Muslims are excellent musicians; indeed, they are
sidemen for some of the best-known jazz groups in the nation. I have
been in temple meetings where a group of brothers set the stage for the
service by playing a protracted jazz riff. The music was as complex and
as far out as anything you would hear at New York’s Five Spot Café or
any other den of progressive jazz. As these accomplished jazz men play
out their frustrations, the audience sits in cold silence. Sometimes
the musicians come on a beat or a shading that strikes some common
chord, and the Muslims smile slightly and nod at one another. When the
music is done--it goes on and on until it runs down, just as it does in
the jazz clubs--the congregation applauds, and somewhere a male voice
can be heard to say, “All praise due to Allah!”

Then the stage is set for the “teaching.” In lieu of the cross, the
focus of the Black Muslims’ religious service is a huge blackboard
divided into two sections. On one side is a drawing of the American
flag with the Christian cross superimposed on it. Under this flag is
written, “Slavery, Suffering and Death.” On the other side of the
blackboard is the half-crescent symbol of Islam, and under it is
written, “Freedom, Justice and Equality.” Under both flags, running the
full length of the blackboard, is the somber warning: “Which one will
survive the War of Armageddon?”

And it is against this backdrop that the minister gets up to “teach.”
Each temple has its own minister, who is extremely well trained in what
he is to say and do. And he does it well.

The Black Muslims have but one message: The white man is by nature
evil, a snake who is incapable of doing right, a devil who is soon to
be destroyed. Therefore, the black man, who is by nature divine and
good, must separate from the white man as soon as possible, lest he
share the white man’s hour of total destruction.

This sermon, or “teaching,” is the high point of the service, what
everybody has come to hear. An air of expectancy runs through the crowd
as the moment to begin the teaching approaches. This is stock drama for
the Black Muslims whether the meeting be a national affair where Elijah
himself is to speak or a local meeting where the temple minister is to

This air of expectancy is set stirring by the second-in-command, who
keeps up a running promise that something good is about to happen.
As warm-up man for Elijah’s Washington, D.C., speech, Malcolm X
electrified a crowd of some five thousand in Uline Arena with this:

“You are here to get some good news.”

“Make it plain.”

“But you must remember that what is good news for some is bound to be
bad news for others.”

“All praise due to Allah,” the people shouted back.

“What is good news for the sheep,” Malcolm continued, “is bad news for
the wolf!”

“Make it plain, Mr. Minister. Make it plain.”

The good news, as everybody knew, was that Elijah would be there soon
with a message of freedom for the “sheep” (the black man) and a message
of destruction for the “wolf” (the white man).

The setting for local meetings is much the same. In New York Minister
Henry X gets the crowd ready for Malcolm by saying, “We are here to
receive a blessing. The truth is going to be told here this afternoon.”

“All praises due to Allah.”

“The Messenger’s Minister will be here shortly with word from the man
who saw God.”

“Make it plain.”

“The Minister is going to tell you who and what you are!”

“Say the word.”

“Then he is going to tell you who and what the devil is!”

“Make it plain.”

“Then he is going to show you why you had better hurry up and get out
from among the devil before you get destroyed with him.”

This brings the crowd to their feet, cheering. The side door to
the upstairs temple swings open and Malcolm X, a tall, rawboned,
Ichabod-Crane-looking man, strolls in flanked by an Honor Guard. As
he walks to the platform his light-skinned, granite face is stern. He
looks and acts like a military officer who may give a fatal order any
minute. His clothes, always a size or so too large, literally drape
from his body, making him look more gaunt than he actually is.

“Big Red,” as Malcolm was called when he was peddling prostitutes and
dope on the streets of Harlem, is a dashing and handsome man. Women of
all races and creeds are drawn to him. He speaks with an authority that
is all but hypnotic.

“When I say the white man is a devil,” Minister Malcolm shouts, “I
speak with the authority of history.”

“That’s right,” the people shout back.

“The record of history shows that the white men, as a people, have
never done good.”

“Say on, brother, say on.”

“He stole our fathers and mothers from their culture of silk and satins
and brought them to this land in the belly of a ship--am I right or

“You are right; God knows you are right.”

“He brought us here in chains--right?”


“He has kept us in chains ever since we have been here.”

“Preach on, Brother Minister, preach on.”

“Now this blue-eyed devil’s time has about run out!”

The people leap to their feet, rejoicing.

“Now the fiery hell he has heaped upon others is about to come down on
the white man!”

“All praise due to Allah,” the people shout.

“God--we call him Allah--is going to get this white, filthy, hog-loving
beast off our backs,” Malcolm promises.

“Say on--yes, yes, yes....”

“God is going to hitch him to the plow and make him do his own dirty

“Yes, yes. Say on!”

“God is going to take over the garment district and make those white
dogs push their own trucks.”

Men in the audience jump up and down and shout their approval: “All
praises due to Allah. Praise His holy name!”

“Now, now,” Malcolm says, “calm down, because I want you to hear me.
Now I want to tell you who God is. I want you to understand who Allah
is so you will know who is going to get this white, dope-peddling beast
off your back.”

Malcolm smiles. A ripple of laughter runs through the audience--you
see, they know who Allah is; they know who God is; they know just who
is going to get the white man off their backs. But they have come to
hear Malcolm “make it plain” again.

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that God--Allah--is not a
spook; we don’t worship any ghost for a God. We don’t believe in any
dead God.”

“That’s right.”

“Our God is a live God.”


“He is walking around here with you, among you, in you.”

“Yes,” the people shout back.

“God is black, like you; God is oppressed, like you; He looks like you;
He acts like you; He walks like you; He talks like you....”

By this time, the people are back on their feet cheering. But Malcolm
has gone as far toward describing God as he will go for a while.

“Now,” he says, “you have to listen with understanding to know what I
am talking about.”

“We with you.”

“We don’t let white devils in our meetings.”

“No, no, no!”

“But we have to worry about some of you because the white man has
messed up your mind so bad that some of you will run back and tell
everything. That’s why we can’t tell you everything; that’s why you
have to listen carefully and with understanding if you are going to
find out just who God is. But if He walks like you, and looks like you,
and talks like you, and suffers like you; and if He is with you, in
you, and all around you ... then ... well, you figure it out!”

The people, particularly the men, lift their voices in a long shout,
for they have again been told that the black man, taken collectively,
is God--Allah--that Allah will soon, now, destroy the devil, the white

Malcolm X, as he does three or four times each week, has “made
it plain.” He has told black men that they--as God--must deliver
themselves from the evils and hurts of the white man. And that, of
course, is what they came to temple to hear.

On another Sunday afternoon the message will take a different form.
Malcolm this time elects to make his famous “deaf, dumb, and blind”
speech. I, for one, believe Malcolm is at his best when he deals with
this issue.

The speech begins as Malcolm X literally heaps abuse on his audience.

“You are deaf, dumb, and blind,” he tells them. “You are lost in the
wilderness of North America, and the black man’s new day has been
delayed because of you. Now I am here to get you ready.”

“Make it plain,” the people shout back.

“Now the first thing you must do is clean yourself up.”

“Yes, that’s right, that’s right!”

“You must clean yourself up both physically and morally.”

“That’s right! That’s right!”

“You must learn that certain foods are unclean. The hog is a filthy
beast, and it is against God’s will for you to eat it.”

“That’s right.”

“You can never clean yourself up as long as you have hog in your body.”

“Make it plain; make it plain.”

“Then you must clean yourself up morally.”

“That’s right, Brother Minister, that’s right.”

“This white devil is responsible for all the dope and prostitution you
see here among us.”

“That’s right.”

“He has filled us with his immorality.”

“All praise due to Allah.”

“He has so confused us that our community is filled with addicts,
thieves, and prostitutes.”

“That’s right.”

“And you will notice,” Malcolm continues, “that these are Christians
who are dealing in dope and prostitution.

“And you and I know this is true because when we were Christians we
used dope.”


“We lied.”


“We stole.”


“We were unfaithful to our wives.”


“We did everything antisocial and immoral.”

“That’s right.”

“But now that we know who God is, now that we have found Allah--our
original true God--now that we have learned love and respect for self,
now that all this has happened, we have cleaned ourselves up.”

“All praises due to Allah.”

“We love our own black women.”


“We protect our women and children from the devil and his works.”


“And we have stopped turning the other cheek!”


“We respect authority, but we are ready to fight and die in defense of
our lives.”

“All praises due to Allah!”

Broadsides at Christianity delivered by Malcolm X and other ministers
seem to make the strongest impression on the audience. The minister
explains that the Negro was introduced to Christianity while a slave, a
bondsman to the man who taught him about Jesus. Employing any history
text, he reads at length, using “the white man’s own writings to show
that Christianity is a white man’s religion.” This strikes home,
because the average Negro has read enough to know that there is a
good deal of historical soundness in what the minister says. Then the
minister goes on to point out that the Christian church (and they quote
Adam Clayton Powell on this) “is the most segregated institution in
America.” And the Negro does not need a history book to know that this
statement has total validity.

Then the minister goes on to attack Christianity on the grounds
that its practitioners are immoral. He calls the roll of criminals
and public failures, making much of the fact that they are “all
Christians.” The minister uses clippings from the newspapers showing
white clergymen and church-goers either sanctioning segregation or
being neutral about it. During the Birmingham crisis I attended the
Black Muslim service and saw Minister James X deliver a devastating
indictment of Christianity simply by showing pictures of Birmingham
Negroes being turned away from white churches. One picture showed the
rebuffed Negroes praying on the church steps while white bullies, their
fists balled up, stood near-by.

Black Christians are also indicted for immorality; the minister points
out that “All of us were once in the church and we did everything
evil.” I have watched this argument at work and come away amazed at the
way the Black Muslims take the Christian ethic as a measuring stick;
they then arouse the guilt complex of the wayward Christians in the
audience and then go on to blame Christianity for the individual’s
moral failure. This, to be sure, is a contorted argument. But it works.
Christians sit in the temple audience and confess their Christian
failing, then they repent themselves right out of the Christian church.

After the sermon the visitors are asked to raise any questions that may
trouble them. The ministers deal with each question in detail, but the
Black Muslim ushers (The Fruit of Islam) make certain the questioner is
not an “agitator,” someone who has come into the temple just to start a
philosophical or theological argument.

“You are in here to be taught, Brother,” I heard one Black Muslim say
to a visitor, “not to argue.” And when the visitor frankly says he
does not understand what the Black Muslims are up to, or that, after
honestly trying, he is unable to agree, the minister explains that this
is not to be held against the visitor. “You are among the deaf, dumb,
and blind,” the minister explains kindly. Then he assures the visitor
that further study and estrangement from “the teaching of the devil”
will open his eyes and ears.

The climax of each temple service comes when visitors are invited to
join the movement. There is great rejoicing when converts come forth.
Eric Lincoln, who has attended more of these services than I have, says
that the larger temples average a dozen or so converts at each meeting.

Once the visitor decides to join the temple, he is given a letter he
must copy by hand:

                                                          City and State

  Mr. W. F. Muhammad
  4807 South Woodlawn Avenue
  Chicago 15, Illinois

  Dear Savior Allah, Our Deliverer:

  I have been attending the teachings of Islam by one of your
  Ministers, two or three times. I believe in it, and I bear witness
  that there is no God but Thee, and that Muhammad is Thy Servant and
  Apostle. I desire to reclaim my Own. Please give me my Original name.
  My slave name is as follows:

                                                          City and State

This letter of application is dispatched to Chicago, and if the copy
contains no errors, the visitor is sent a detailed questionnaire that
inquires into his family and employment status. This completed, the
applicant is given a thorough investigation by local members of The
Fruit. If the applicant stands muster, he is admitted to membership in
the Black Muslim movement.

Then, and only then, is the convert allowed to drop his “slave” name.
If his name is, say, John King, he becomes John X; if there are other
Johns in the local temple, his “X” will denote that he is the third,
fourth, or whatever number John to join that particular temple. Thus
it is very common to find John 2X or John 7X. Lincoln discovered
a midwestern Muslim whose name was John 17X. The “X” is the Black
Muslim’s way of saying that his own origins--before the white man--and
name are a mystery; it is also the Muslim’s shout that he is an “ex,”
and “no longer what I was when the white man had me deaf, blind, and

I have sat with Black Muslims during temple meetings and have seen the
people, particularly the young children, come alive with a new sense of
identity; they seem to have a new reason to go out and do battle with
the rats and roaches in the slums that are their homes. A feeling of
unity and love for one another grips the entire room as they silently
stand to be dismissed.

They stretch forth their hands, palms upward, and in the name of Allah,
the most powerful and all-merciful God, they vow to go in peace. But
every Black Muslim temple meeting is saturated with expectation. It
reaches its peak when the minister makes the promise that the War of
Armageddon is drawing closer and closer. No one ever really says it,
but there is an intense feeling that one day soon, at just such a
meeting, the “word”--probably from Elijah Muhammad but through Malcolm
X--will be given. Just what the word is nobody says; just what will
happen when the word is given nobody seems to know. Yet everybody--man,
woman, and child--is determined to be on hand when the “word” comes.

Such meetings as these have been going on all over the nation for
several years. Most of us heard talk about the “temple people,” as the
Black Muslims were called, but there was very little real information
about them. Nobody seemed to know just how many temple people there
were, how they were organized, what they were really about. The
consensus was that they were just another offbeat sect, one of the
scores of “Islamic” movements that have sought to convert American
Negroes during the past century. We had no idea of the power of the
Black Muslims as a religious and political organization capable of
rallying mass support. But early in 1959 we got the message.

_The Alert Is Given_

Shortly after dark on the night of April 14, 1958, police at Harlem’s
28th Precinct received what had all the appearances of a routine
call--a fight between two Negroes at the corner of 125th Street and
Seventh Avenue. The dispatch officer barked into his microphone, and
his orders squawked out in a dozen radio cars patrolling the area. The
cars, their revolving red lights glaring, sped to the scene of the
incident. Police poured out of the cars, their clubs at the ready, and
began to batter their way through the mob that had gathered.

One Johnson Hinton, a man nobody knew and who had nothing to do with
the fight, was one of the spectators who had stopped to watch the
melee. The police shoved and knocked aside several Negroes and finally
came upon Hinton. What happened then is still a matter of argument, but
one fact is agreed upon by all concerned: Hinton and the police entered
into a verbal exchange and a policeman knocked Hinton to the ground,
his head split open. A police ambulance was called and police took
the position that another Negro agitator had been subdued. But they
were in for a major surprise, and the city was on the brink of a race
riot. Hinton, it turned out, was a Black Muslim, Johnson X, a member of
Malcolm’s Temple Number Seven in Harlem.

Within minutes after Hinton hit the ground the word spread that a Black
Muslim had been assaulted by the police. An hour later some five
hundred sullen, angry Black Muslim men put a cordon around the 28th
Precinct Station house where Hinton was being held. This meant trouble,
and plenty of it. Precinct Captain McGowan realized he had the makings
of a riot on his hands and sent out an urgent call for responsible
Negroes to rush to the scene and intervene. One of the first to arrive
was James Hicks, editor of _The Amsterdam News_, a Harlem newspaper.
Hicks accurately sized up the situation and told Captain McGowan that
only one man, Minister Malcolm X, could manage the crowd and get them
to disperse.

The police captain asked, in essence, “Who he?”

Shortly afterward Captain McGowan found out just who Malcolm X was.
Flanked by several strapping, angry Muslim brothers, Malcolm walked
into the station house. As he entered the door, he gave a sign, and the
hundreds of Muslim brothers surrounding the area knew their stand was
affirmed. The call went out for still more Muslim brothers to converge
upon the area.

Once inside the station, Malcolm X sat down for hard bargaining.
First, there was the matter of Brother Johnson Hinton lying on the
floor of a jail cell with his head split open. Malcolm demanded that
Hinton be given immediate hospital treatment. This was agreed to. Then
Malcolm went on to place on record the facts of the affair. Johnson
was standing on the street, he was not involved in the fight, he at no
time disobeyed a police order, and the police struck him out of sheer
flailing frustration.

As Johnson Hinton was carried out of the station to an ambulance,
Malcolm walked out the door and paused at the top of the steps. The
dimly lit night was filled with Black Muslims and onlookers. Malcolm
made a slight gesture, and, according to both police and editor
Hicks, in exactly three minutes the streets were empty. The hundreds
of Muslims simply vanished--at least the police thought they had
vanished. In actuality they shifted their cordon to the hospital where
Hinton was being treated. And it was only after Malcolm emerged from
the hospital and gave another sign that the Black Muslims finally
dispersed to their various homes.

“No man,” Police Captain McGowan said to James Hicks, “should have that
much power over that many people. We cannot control this town if one
man can wield that kind of power.”

Johnson Hinton now walks around with a silver plate in his head. An
all-white jury awarded him seventy-five thousand dollars in damages
against the City of New York. Those knowledgeable about the case and
the Black Muslims feel that seventy-five thousand dollars is a small
fee to pay for the service Malcolm X rendered the city that night. As
the jury found, the police were absolutely wrong, and as Negroes know,
Hinton’s was only one of the Negro heads that are cracked open without
reason by the New York police each year.

But there was a difference between Johnson Hinton and all the other
Negroes who get their heads split open in Harlem: Hinton had black
brothers and sisters who cared about him; he was a member of a tightly
knit congregation of believers whose basic tenet is “fight in defense
of your life” and whose main social ethic is “be ready to exact justice
when one of your brothers is abused.” The Muslims will deny it, but
they have a “crisis system” that moves into action whenever a Muslim
is abused. It involves a telephone pyramid--one man calls ten people
and each of them calls ten--that in one hour can produce upward of a
thousand Muslims at any given point in New York.

And the night Johnson Hinton’s head was split open was the night New
York police officials went into a huddle and named the Black Muslims,
particularly Malcolm X, as people to watch.


The black Muslims have been in the national spotlight for only four
years now, although the movement itself was born more than a quarter
of a century ago. It attracted some attention in Chicago and Detroit
but did not emerge as a national concern until Minister Malcolm X,
then serving as leader of the New York Muslims and as a sort of roving
bishop for the entire movement, burst upon the scene.

As is all too often the case with white people, the Establishment took
one look at the Black Muslims and lurched from apathy to frenzy. No
one paused long enough to study just what the Muslims believe, what
makes them a religion, how they function as a religion. One of the
reasons why this has not been done is that the Establishment, both
Negro and white, was afraid that open acceptance of the Black Muslims
as a religion would legitimize them. Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier,
courts in several states have issued findings that the Muslims are,
indeed, a religion, and as such enjoy the same freedom as, say, Roman

But this is to get ahead of the story. In truth, the scheme of events,
both economic and moral, that led to the formation of the Black Muslims
first began to unravel on the west coast of Africa some five hundred
years ago. And we must begin _there_ and _then_ if we are to understand
clearly the _here_ and _now_. Prior, and basic, to a full comprehension
of the meaning of the Negro’s African experience, we must pause and
understand the role of religion in the life of a people.

_The Negro as African and Tribesman_

American Negro slaves were captured from the west coast of Africa. They
were by no means products of a monolithic culture. They represented
many tribes and sub-tribes. They spoke a myriad of languages. Indeed,
one of the incredible ironies of the “Middle Passage” was that the
African slaves chained together in the hold of a boat as it crossed the
Atlantic were unable to talk to one another because they did not have a
common language. Yet these were not uncivilized people. West Africans
had developed a complex society, as Lerone Bennett, Jr., suggests,
long before European penetration. Their political institutions,
rooted in family groupings, spiraled outward into village states and
empires. They had their armies and courts and, if this is of any
comfort to modern Americans, their own internal-revenue departments.
Speaking of Africa before the European penetration, anthropologist
Melville J. Herskovits wrote, “Of the areas inhabited by non-literate
peoples Africa exhibits the greatest incidence of complex governmental
structure.” Not even the kingdoms of Peru and Mexico could mobilize
resources and concentrate power more effectively than could some of
these African monarchies, which are more to be compared with European
states of the Middle Ages than referred to in the common conception,
“primitive state.”

Agriculture, herding, and artistry were important to the West African,
but the concept of private property was not widely accepted. The land
belonged to the community. The core of West African society was the
family. Interestingly enough, most of the African tribes constructed
their families along matrilineal lines--the family tree was traced
through the mother. On the whole, the West Africans were a mixture
of various stocks by the time of the slave invasions. Centuries
of interbreeding had produced Africans of varying shapes, colors,
and features. Although they spoke many languages, they approached
a semblance of linguistic unity in that only four of the African
languages had been reduced to writing before the coming of the white

Whatever their tongue or color the West Africans were a deeply
religious people. No greater injustice has been done to a people than
that committed by spurious American historical and anthropological
writings which suggest that African religion should be written off as
infantile animism. On the contrary, the West Africans had developed
complex answers to such major tribal inquiries as “What is man?”
“Who is God?” “What is life?” and “How final is death’s sting?”
At rock bottom, the religion of West Africa embraced a concept of
“Life Forces.” The “Life Force” of the Creator was present in all
things animate and inanimate and was viewed as a particularized but
microcosmic fragment of the Supreme Being, God, Who created the
earth. As Lerone Bennett, Jr., suggests, this African concept of God
as a vital force in everything bears a striking resemblance to Henri
Bergson’s “élan vital.” Religion formed the center of West African
life. Every event took on religious meaning. And there is no telling
what towering civilization might have blossomed and survived there had
the white man not made his intrusion.

_Africans as Moslems_

The character of this work demands that we examine the impact of Islam
on the black Africans, particularly on those of the West Coast, if we
are to understand and evaluate the current preachings of The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X.

Dr. John Hope Franklin feels that influences of the religion of
Mohammed on the African way of life have been exaggerated. It seems
certain that Mohammedanism had little influence upon black Africans
prior to the fourteenth century. As early as the seventh century
the Moslems swept from Arabia over into Egypt. Subsequently, they
moved into North Africa with great success. But when they attempted
to penetrate the land of the black African below the Sahara, they
encountered complex resistance from the kingdoms of Ghana, Melle, and
Songhay, where thriving cultures were already in operation. Some Negro
monarchs accepted Mohammedanism for economic or political reasons,
but their subjects clung to their tribal religions. The Moslems were
never able to win over the peoples of Melle, Hausa, Yoruba, and Susu
despite the fact that Negroes were accepted as their equals. And when
invited to enjoy both the economic and cultural advantages the religion
offered, the masses of West African Negroes rejected Islam in favor of
their own tribal way of life.

It is of singular significance that Christianity was already entrenched
in North Africa when Mohammedanism made its appearance there in the
seventh century. The two faiths became locked in a life-and-death
struggle for the control of North Africa. But in West Africa, the
region from which the bulk of the Negro slaves were taken, Christianity
was all but unknown until the Portuguese and Spanish set up their
missions in the sixteenth century. Almost from the onset Christianity
was beset by moral ambivalence; on the one hand the Spanish and
Portuguese missionaries espoused a doctrine of equality and brotherhood
while on the other hand Spanish and Portuguese slave traders were
seizing thousands of Africans and shipping them off to the New World
to become slaves. It was thus aboard “The Good Ship Jesus” that the
first slaves arrived in America. As John Hope Franklin comments, “If
the natives of West Africa were slow to accept Christianity, it was not
only because they were attached to their own particular form of tribal
worship, but because it was beyond the capacity of the unsophisticated
West African mind to reconcile the teaching of brotherhood and the
practice of slavery by the white interlopers.” The European Christians,
however, found no conflict between Christ and slavery and by 1860 the
twenty Negroes who landed at Jamestown in 1619 had become four million.

_The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land_

The literature of the American Negro rumbles with the controversy
over the transplantation, or lack of it, of African culture. Some
Africanisms have survived in the New World, particularly in the West
Indies and in Haiti. But the impact of the New World culture upon the
Africans--who were already culturally diffused--was decisive.

What happened to the African is exemplified by the pious captain who
held prayer service twice a day on his slave ship. After the prayer
services were over, he retired to his cabin and wrote the now-famous
hymn which begins “How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s
ear, it quells the sorrow, drowns his fears, and drives away his
tears.” Further evidence of the complete Americanization of the African
lies in the fact that descendants of the first Negro slaves--Negro
Christians born in Spain and Portugal--settled in the New World long
before the _Mayflower_ came. These Negroes were explorers, not slaves.
Some of them accompanied the French into the Mississippi Valley, and
others went with the Portuguese into South America. Thirty Negroes were
with Balboa when he discovered the Pacific Ocean, and several were with
Menéndez as he marched into Florida.

The bulk of the Negroes in America are descendants, at least partially,
of Africans who arrived in this country first as indentured servants
and who were then lowered into slavery. It was under the aegis of
slavery that the black American accepted Jehovah as his God. It is this
ignominious first meeting between Jesus and the black American that
Malcolm X probes so accurately and exploits so effectively.

_Christ and His Cotton Curtain_

When the Black Muslims call upon American Negroes to forsake
Christianity and return to Islam, they not only flirt with historical
inaccuracy, but they declare open war against the Negro church,
which has been properly described by E. Franklin Frazier as the most
important institution the American Negro has built. That the Black
Muslims have had remarkable success in leading thousands of Negroes out
of the Christian church and into the temples of Islam is clear evidence
that somewhere in the history of American Christendom faith failed
the Negro. And when it is realized that the Black Muslims are able
to attract three times as many fellow travelers as they do members,
the failure of Christianity becomes even more pronounced. How and why
that failure came about lies deep in the swamps and plantations of the
South, and we must return there and examine the record of that failure
if we are to grasp fully the meaning of Malcolm X when he says,
“Christianity is a white man’s religion.”

Every people has a sense of the past, the handed-down record of what
has gone before, the Ark of the Covenant, as the collective experience
of a people. For the American Negro this sense of the past begins in
America, not Africa, for it was in America that the American Negro was
forged into a people. Under the tutelage of white plantation masters
the first slaves discovered a common language that made it possible
for them to communicate with each other and thus make a collective
expression of their resentment of the peculiar institution known as
slavery. The white slave owner was Christian, and despite some efforts
to prohibit Negro exposure to the Bible, most slave masters or, more
particularly, their wives--saw to it that the slaves heard the gospel.
One of the moving scenes of American history is that of slave and slave
master gathered together in church on the plantation to hear the gospel
of a Christ of brotherhood. Most plantation masters saw to it that
the minister kept his sermon confined to such texts as “Servants, be
obedient to them that are your masters” (Ephesians 6:5). There was a
deeper meaning for the slave in the religious life of the plantation.
Strangely enough, it was the Old Testament with its rich history of the
Jews and their bouts with famines, pestilence, idolatry, and slavery
that attracted the imagination of the religious slave. Working in the
field by day, having his wife sold away from him down the river to
another plantation, seeing his son stripped naked to the waist and
given a hundred lashes for being “uppity,” the Negro slave found a
cruel parallel between his life and that of those who begged favor to
let them return to their homeland and who finally were delivered by
God, who visited a series of disasters upon the slave master. Here
in the Negro plantation church--called by scholars “The Invisible
Institution”--the Negro began to translate the history of the Jews
into words of deliverance and hope. It was thus that slaves began to
translate the social history of the Jews into Negro spirituals:

  _Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel?_

  _Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell Old Pharaoh let my
  people go...._

  _We are climbing Jacob’s ladder, every round goes higher and
  higher.... Soldiers of the Cross_

  _Jordan’s river is chilly and cold, none can cross but the true and

  _Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home...._

  _Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world, going home to
  live with God...._

At first it appeared that the American church would embrace integration
of the Negro and lead the attack against the institution of slavery.
In 1784, for example, the Methodist Church declared slavery “contrary
to the golden laws of God” and went on to order its members to set all
slaves free within twelve months. But Southern states led by Virginia
forced a suspension of the resolution. Five years later the Baptist
Church passed pretty much the same resolution. But it, too, recanted
under pressure from the Deep South. Even so, many churches accepted
Negroes as parishioners, though many whites feared that they could be
flirting with disaster if they adopted a truly liberal policy with
respect to Negro membership. By the same token, they were leery of all
Negro churches on the plantation. They feared that Negro ministers and
church officials would exercise considerable authority over their slave
communicants and thus the church could become a center of rebellion.
The American church was having other problems at the time, and its
concern with the Negro question was not prime. The Anglican clergy,
flouting their Toryism, were causing many American parishioners to
seek complete disassociation from the Church of England. In fact, every
religious denomination, with the exception of the Roman Catholic, was
busy establishing an American wing of its church in the hope that it
would be completely separate from its European sponsor. The Catholic
Church itself finally acquiesced and became separate under the control
of a special Prefect Apostolic. This intercontinental war between the
churches of the New World and the Old eclipsed the problem of the Negro
as far as white churchmen were concerned and set the scene for the
establishment of separate churches for Negroes.

Negro Baptist churches began to sprout while the war for independence
was still being waged. George Liele, a Negro leader, founded a Baptist
church in Savannah, Georgia, in 1779 that became the nucleus of the
Negro Baptists in that state. Virginia Negroes organized a Baptist
church in Petersburg in 1776, in Richmond in 1780, and in Williamsburg
in 1785. According to Dr. John Hope Franklin, many of the white clergy
in Virginia assisted Negroes in setting up and organizing their
separate churches.

It was in the North that the Negro church really burgeoned. Foremost
among the Northern Negro churchmen was Richard Allen, an ex-slave
who had purchased his freedom from his Delaware master in 1777, the
year he also accepted Christ as his saviour. In 1786 Allen moved to
Philadelphia and began to hold prayer meetings for Negroes. His efforts
to establish a Negro church were opposed by whites and some Negroes.
But when the officials of St. George’s Church, where Allen frequently
preached, began to segregate a large number of Negroes who came to
hear him, it became clear to Allen’s Negro detractors that the time
was right for a Negro church. The final break came when white church
officials pulled Allen, Absalom Jones, and William White from their
knees while they were praying in what had been set aside as the white
section of the church. An innately dramatic man, Allen led the Negroes
out of St. George’s Church and organized Mother Bethel, now the central
church of Negro Methodism. Allen and his followers organized what
became the African Methodist Episcopal Church and by 1820 they had four
thousand followers in Philadelphia alone. The organization spread as
far west as Pittsburgh and as far south as Charleston.

In New York City, because of discrimination and segregation Negroes
withdrew from the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church and
established what is now the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,
one of whose leading bishops is Dr. Stephen Gill Spottswood, the
current chairman of the board of the NAACP. The same trend was
developing among Negro Baptists of the North. In 1809 thirteen Negro
members of a white Baptist church in Philadelphia were dismissed to
form a church of their own. The Negro Baptists of Boston set up their
own church in the same year under the leadership of Reverend Thomas
Paul. At the same time he was shepherding the Boston congregation, Rev.
Paul also organized a Negro Baptist church in New York City. The church
was later named Abyssinian and is now pastored by the controversial
minister-politician, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Both white and Negro clergymen agree that the development of separate
churches was inconsistent with the teachings of religion, but the
Negro clergymen were adamant, feeling that a separate church would
give them an opportunity to develop leadership. More, there were
theological points that Negro churchmen found difficult to accept. One
was the notion, widely held among white Christians particularly in
the South, that the Negro was the descendant of Ham, the son of Noah,
who laughed at his father’s nakedness and thus doomed himself and his
descendants to be hewers of wood and drawers of water--that is to say,
servants--to the descendants of Noah’s other sons. This theological
justification for the concept of Negro inferiority reached its peak
during the early part of the nineteenth century, when a spurious body
of anthropological and biological scholarship offered “scientific
proof” of the Negro’s innate inferiority both as a spiritual being
and as a person. It was the “Linnaean Web” that did it: scientists
at that time completely embraced the notions of Linnaeus that the
classification of peoples in terms of skull sizes and shapes as well
as in terms of color was the first step toward knowledge. The American
scene of the early 1800s was peopled with a variety of racial stocks,
and the majority of the white Protestant group fell victims of the
all-too-easy temptation to judge the worth of an individual merely
by looking at the color of his skin or the shape of his nose. Thus,
the image of the hook-nosed Jewish peddler; the drunken, shiftless
Irishman; the stupid, soggy German; the hot-tempered Italian; and the
ragged, lazy Negro.

Only in the Negro church, then, did the Negro find a sense of dignity
and meaning. Only there was he made to feel a true and equal child of
God. The Negro church developed a peculiar theology that spoke to the
frustration of the American Negro, and it was there that the Negro
translated Christianity into the hope of Negro deliverance.

But two factors, hardly noticed at the time, were to keep the Negro
church from becoming a completely closed institution: first, the Negro
church was a part of the Negro community, which was an affront to
every sensitive Negro citizen; the Negro community was an enclave of
terror and police brutality, and the growing ambition of every Negro
was somehow to escape this troubled land and live out his days in a
less menacing atmosphere. The other factor that operated against the
Negro church was its consuming concern with the salvation of souls,
the readying of men for full and total adjustment in the world beyond
the grave. Like its white counterpart, the Negro church neglected the
social ethic, was unconcerned about where men would live, what they
would eat, and how they would clothe themselves on this side of the

Meanwhile, the nation lunged from slavery through Reconstruction
into the race riots of the early 1900s. White attitudes hardened,
segregation signs sprouted over every bathroom and drinking fountain,
in every railroad train and bus, and the white segregationist invoked
the name of God to justify his lynchings, police brutality, injustice
before the law, as well as the denial of every right the Constitution
had given to the Negro.

Negro churchmen realized the situation was getting grave. A young
theologian, Benjamin E. Mays, now President of Morehouse College, and
one of the three American official mourners at the funeral of Pope John
XXIII, wrote his doctoral thesis on the Negroes’ God. That was almost
forty years ago, and even then Dr. Mays suspected that the Negroes’
religion had better take on more militancy and that this militancy
should be rooted in some kind of God concept.

At the end of World War II American Negro soldiers--so movingly
described in John Oliver Killens’ novel _And Then We Heard the
Thunder_--came home determined to do something about their own society.
The children of these soldiers are now marching the streets of
Birmingham, Jackson, and New York City. They were spawned by the same
era that produced Malcolm X and comedian Dick Gregory, both of whom are
part and parcel of the same movement. It is not coincidental that the
freedom riders and Malcolm X came upon the scene at the same time. They
both emerged from a growing Negro consensus that old paths have led
nowhere, that they lead the wandering Negro around and around the foot
of the mountain but never lead him on toward his goal.

_The Peddler of Silks and Scripture_

Nineteen-thirty was the year after the big crash on Wall Street. For
the Negro in Detroit the crash had a double meaning. It not only
meant that he would be unemployed, that there would be no money, but
that the subtle discrimination of the North--the very thing that had
caused him to leave the South--would become bold and overt. Into the
Negro ghetto of Detroit, late in the summer of 1930, there came a
peddler, a man of unknown origin and lineage, who sold silks and satins
from door to door. He was a strange-looking man. Because of his pale
yellow coloring, some thought he was an Arab, others thought he was a
Palestinian, and others felt that he had come from India. He called
himself W. D. Fard on most occasions. Other times he was variously
known as Mr. Farrad Mohammad, Mr. F. M. Ali, Professor Ford, and Mr.
Wali Farrad. One of his Detroit followers quotes him as having said,
“My name is W. D. Fard, and I come from the Holy City of Mecca. More
about myself I will not tell you yet, for the time is not yet come. I
am your brother. You have not yet seen me in my royal robes.”

There are no documented facts as to just who Fard was or where he
came from. However, he found easy entry into the homes of lower-class
Detroit Negroes, who were eager to purchase the silks he claimed were
like those worn by black men in Africa.

Dr. Eric Lincoln has gathered information showing that Fard also used
his presence in Negro homes to spread a curious doctrine which, in
Lincoln’s words, found anxious ears “among culture-hungry Negroes.”
The evidence suggests that Fard mixed the peddling of silks with
lectures on the black man’s past. He became known as “The Prophet” and
concentrated his teachings on his experience in the Near and Far East.

Fard often warned his listeners against certain foods and drinks. “...
he would eat whatever we had on the table,” one of his followers said,
“but after the meal he began to talk. ‘Now don’t eat this food, it is
poison for you. The people in your own country do not eat it. Since
they eat the right kind of food they have the best health always. If
you would just live like the people in your home country, you would not
be sick any more.’ So we all wanted him to tell us about ourselves and
about our home country and about how we could be free from rheumatism,
aches, and pains.”

Fard was also well versed in the Bible and he used it as a textbook
while, at the same time, advising Negroes to renounce Christianity.
Realizing that the Bible was the only religious literature known to
the Negro, Fard skillfully used it to support his version of the black
man’s history and the white man’s destiny. In the beginning Fard
peddled his wares by day and held house meetings at night. But as the
Depression deepened and his attack upon the white man grew more bitter,
the crowds overflowed the small living rooms and dining rooms of the
Detroit slum area. The followers of Fard hired a hall, which they named
The Temple of Islam. And that was the birth of the phenomenon known
today as the Black Muslims. Fard seems to have been a very friendly,
relaxed man with an intuitive mastery of mass psychology. His attacks
on members of the white race and on the Bible shocked his listeners
into ecstasy and many became converts to his amazing brand of Islam.

“Up to that day I always went to the Baptist Church,” one convert
said. “After I heard the sermon from the prophet, I was turned around
completely. When I went home and heard that dinner was ready, I said,
‘I don’t want to eat, I just want to go back to the meeting.’”

It was inevitable that legends would pop up about a man like W. D.
Fard. Eric Lincoln has gathered and reported them as follows:

  One such legend is that Fard was a Jamaican Negro whose father was a
  Syrian Moslem. Another describes him as a Palestinian Arab who had
  participated in various racial agitations in India, South Africa and
  London before moving on to Detroit. Some of his followers believed
  him to be the son of wealthy parents of the tribe of Koreish--the
  tribe of Mohammed, founder of classical Islam. Others say that he was
  educated at London University in preparation for a diplomatic career
  in the service of the Kingdom of Hejaz, but that he sacrificed his
  personal future “to bring ‘freedom, justice, and equality’ to the
  ‘black men in the wilderness of North America, surrounded and robbed
  completely by the Cave Man.’” Fard announced himself to the Detroit
  police as “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” and at least some
  of his followers seem to have considered him divine. At the other
  extreme, a Chicago newspaper investigating the Black Muslim Movement
  refers to Fard as “a Turkish-born Nazi agent [who] worked for Hitler
  in World War II.”

As for Fard himself, he said that he had been sent to alert the black
people of America to the unlimited possibilities of the universal black
man in a world now usurped, but temporarily so, by white “blue-eyed
devils.” This teaching was a sweet shock to illiterate Negroes whose
lives had been spent in fear of the white man. They were irresistibly
attracted to a black man who would stand tall, call the white man a
snake, a devil--a blue-eyed devil, at that--and predict that his reign
over the world would soon come to an ignominious end. And when Fard
taught that the white man was full of tricks, always to be suspected,
never to be trusted, the Southern Negroes who had come to Detroit in
search of freedom only to find futility could not resist the temptation
to shout “Amen.” As Eric Lincoln says, “The North was no promised
land: It was the South all over again with the worst features of racial
prejudice thinly camouflaged by sweet talk about equality.”

The black Detroiters who heard Fard were starving, living in
overcrowded slums. They were the victims of police brutality, the
continuing symbol of the power of the white establishment. They
were bitter toward the white workers who took over “Negro jobs” as
work became more scarce. Even the white welfare workers in Detroit,
according to Eric Lincoln, deliberately abused Negroes by making them
wait long hours in line before passing out pitiful supplies of flour
and lard. All this fear resulted in deep resentment and despair. The
words of Fard began to make more sense than ever.

Once Fard had secured a temple, the frequency of his meetings was
stepped up and the movement became more formalized. Prospective members
were put through rigid examinations and were called upon to make
commitments and pledges. The sermons at Fard’s meetings were always
based on the same subject: the untrustworthiness of the white man and
the need for the Negro to understand and return to his glorious history
in Africa and Asia.

Eric Lincoln says that Fard, with no literature or material to
espouse his cause, used the writings of Joseph F. “Judge” Rutherford,
then leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses; Van Loon’s _Story of Mankind_;
Breasted’s _The Conquest of Civilization_; the Quran; the Bible; and
certain literature of Freemasonry, to bring his people to “knowledge of
self.” The followers of Fard were encouraged to buy radios so that they
could hear the expressions of Rutherford and Frank Norris, the Baptist
fundamentalist preacher.

Once temple meetings began, however, Fard told his members that the
words of any white man could not be trusted, for the white man was
incapable of telling the truth. He insisted that the white man’s
writings were filled with a symbolism that must be interpreted.
Fard went on to establish himself as the interpreter and brought the
throng to its feet cheering when he said that the stupid white man was
actually a tool in the hands of Allah, that the white man was a dumb
idiot who unknowingly told the “truth” and thus predicted his own doom.
Fard himself gave the movement its two basic theological pieces: _The
Sacred Ritual of the Nation of Islam_, still the key document for the
Black Muslims, and _Teachings for the Lost Found Nation of Islam in a
Mathematical Way_, a religious cryptogram distributed among Muslims but
which only Fard could interpret.

Within four years after he had set up the first temple, Fard, who
turned out to be an extremely able executive, not only had a burgeoning
membership of followers, but had founded a University of Islam, a
combination of elementary and high-school education devoted to higher
mathematics, astronomy, and the “ending of the spook civilization.” To
augment all this, Fard established “The Muslim Girls Training Class”
to drill Muslim women in the art of being good housewives and mothers.
And to put down any trouble with unbelievers and police, he organized
“The Fruit of Islam,” a quasi-military organization in which men were
divided into squads headed by captains and taught the tactics of judo
and the use of firearms. Completing the temple structure, a minister
was appointed by Fard to run the entire organization.

_The Man from Sandersville_

One of Fard’s Detroit converts was Elijah Poole, a Negro from
Sandersville, Georgia, and the son of a Baptist minister. Poole was
born on October 7, 1897, one of the thirteen children of Wali and
Marie Poole, both of whom had been slaves. After completing the fourth
grade--he was then sixteen years old--Poole left home. In 1923 he and
his wife, Clara Evans, along with their two children moved to Detroit.
Of all the disenchanted Detroit Negroes, Elijah Poole was probably the
bitterest. The lure of Detroit had proved a nightmare; he worked in
factories at several different jobs until the Depression hit in 1929.
In 1930 Poole attended one of the house meetings and heard Fard; in
Poole’s words, Fard took him “out of the gutters in the streets of
Detroit and taught me knowledge of Islam.”

Almost from the onset Fard and Poole seemed to become fast friends.
Early members of the sect have stated that Elijah Poole became
something of an errand boy for Fard and also helped him publish a
newspaper. The key fact in the relationship between Elijah Poole and
Fard was _time_. Poole came into the movement at the moment police in
Detroit were breathing down Fard’s neck. Indeed it was fear of trouble
from the police--and nonbelievers--that caused Fard to organize The
Fruit of Islam. The same concern caused Fard to organize his temple in
such a manner that he would seldom risk public exposure. Once Fard had
fashioned his tightly knit organization he appointed a Chief Minister
of Islam to preside over the entire movement.

Elijah Poole was tapped by Fard as the first Chief Minister of Islam
and given the coveted “original name” _Muhammad_. Earlier in 1932,
three years after he joined the movement, Elijah Muhammad went to
Chicago and established what has since become known as Temple Number
Two, which is now the headquarters of the Black Muslim movement.
Trouble in Detroit, however, seems to have cut short Muhammad’s sojourn
in Chicago. The history of this period is clouded by controversy, but
the following is the best sequence of events observers have been able
to piece together:

Shortly after (perhaps before) Elijah Muhammad left Detroit for Chicago
one of the Muslim brothers got into trouble with the Detroit police
because of his alleged part in the sacrificial killing of a fellow
Muslim. It is a matter of record that the Muslims did teach sacrificial
killing at that time and that Fard was arrested in connection with the
charge. Muhammad has written of the incident in these words:

  He was persecuted, sent to jail in 1932, and ordered out of Detroit,
  Michigan, May 26, 1933. He came to Chicago in the same year, was
  arrested almost immediately, and placed behind prison bars. He
  submitted himself with all humility to his persecutors. Each time he
  was arrested he sent for me that I may see and learn the price of
  truth for us (the so-called Negroes).

Muhammad gave Fard refuge in Chicago. Shortly thereafter Elijah
was named Fard’s first Minister of Islam and returned to Detroit,
where he took over the movement despite opposition from several
of Fard’s followers. Shaken by his encounter with police, Fard
withdrew from public view, leaving Elijah Muhammad to stand as the
public presence for the movement. During 1933 Fard was seen less and
less; then, in 1934, he simply vanished. To this writing, state and
federal authorities have been unable to solve the riddle of Fard’s
disappearance. As Eric Lincoln says, “All reports about the whereabouts
of Fard wind up at a dead end.” The report that he was seen aboard
a ship bound for Europe was never substantiated. The report that he
met foul play at the hands of Detroit police or some of his dissident
friends was never confirmed. And the dark hint that Elijah Muhammad
himself was in some way connected with Fard’s disappearance has not
been supported by any evidence.

Although rumors persist to this day that Muhammad induced Fard to
offer himself up as a human sacrifice, there is no evidence to support
them. Yet as Eric Lincoln comments, “It is interesting to note that
Fard is honored by [Black] Muslims everywhere as the ‘Saviour’ and is
celebrated as such every year on his birthday, February 26.”

Once Fard fell from view, Muhammad became leader of the movement.
He was able to bring many dissidents back into the temple, but soon
broke with the Detroit faction and returned to Chicago to set up his
headquarters. Muhammad had learned church administration from his
clergyman father and was able to organize several new temples of Islam.
Fard was apotheosized and referred to as the Prophet of Allah; Muhammad
proclaimed himself the Messenger of the Prophet of Allah. To this day,
the wellspring of Muhammad’s power flows from the fact that he was with
Fard in life and possibly in death. On one occasion he said, “I have it
from the mouth of God that the enemy had better try to protect my life
and see that I continue to live. Because if anything happens to me, I
will be the last one that they murder. And if any of my followers are
harmed, ten of the enemy’s best ones will be killed.”

Fard and Muhammad shared an affinity for getting into trouble with
the law. In 1934 Muhammad refused to transfer his children from the
University of Islam to another, accredited school, and he was convicted
of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and placed on six months’
probation. Eight years later the Messenger was arrested by federal
authorities, convicted of refusing to register for the draft, and
sentenced to four years in the federal prison at Milan, Michigan.
The indictment, however, alleged that Muhammad taught Negroes that
their interests were in a Japanese victory in World War II, since
Negroes were ethnic brothers of the Japanese. Muhammad’s pro-Japanese
sentiments were probably influenced by Japanese efforts, principally
through a skilled operative named Major Takahashi who was in Chicago
around 1938, to proselytize among the Muslims and other Negro groups.
Rank-and-file Muslims, however, showed little interest in Takahashi’s
propaganda, just as they had shown little interest in Communist
overtures in 1932.

Like other men with a messianic complex, Muhammad seemed to grow both
in stature and spirit behind bars. First of all, he was clearly able
to direct the movement even while he was in prison, and once he was
released, he began uttering statements that made Fard and, indeed, the
early Elijah Muhammad sound conservative. In bold staccato phrases,
punctuated by clearing of the throat so endemic to Southern Negro
preachers, Muhammad shouted to the throng that the white man is a
snake, a devil by nature, evil, incapable of doing right. Despite the
fact that he was still garbed in his “release suit,” Muhammad told the
Chicago crowd that it made no sense for Negroes in this country to have
fought against the Japanese, who were victimized by the same blue-eyed
devil who had victimized the American Negro. But Muhammad did not stop
there; he said that the American Negro had had no stake in World War
II. “Rather,” Muhammad said, “the American Negro should be saving his
energy and ammunition for ‘The Battle of Armageddon,’ which will be
waged in the wilderness of North America. This battle--and this is one
of the central teachings of the Nation of Islam--will be for freedom,
justice, and equality. It will be waged to success or under death.”
Muhammad always titillates his followers by telling them that he cannot
at this moment let them know just when the battle will take place and
who the protagonists will be. But one has only to sit in the audience
and hear his followers applaud and laugh to know that they fully
believe that the time of the bloodletting is nigh and that the struggle
will be between black and white.

Despite his boldness, the movement stagnated under Muhammad’s
leadership. In the mid-forties “The Big X” came on the scene. And with
the arrival of Malcolm Little--christened into Islam Malcolm X and
elevated by Elijah Muhammad to be Malcolm Shabazz, but known to the
pimps, prostitutes, and dope addicts as “Big Red”--the Black Muslim
movement really began to move.

_Big Red_

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, and like Elijah
Muhammad he was the son of a Baptist minister. The family soon moved
from Omaha to Lansing, Michigan. Malcolm’s father was a follower of
the Black Nationalist, Marcus Garvey, who felt that all Negroes should
return to Africa and escape the oppression of the white man. The Ku
Klux Klan burned down the family home when Malcolm was only six years
old. “The firemen came,” Malcolm says, “and just sat there without
making any effort to put one drop of water on the fire. The same fire
that burned my father’s home still burns in my soul.”

Following Garvey’s teaching that the Negroes should go into business,
Mr. Little then set out to build his own store. Soon after this,
according to Malcolm, “my father was found with his head bashed and his
body mangled under a streetcar.” Malcolm Shabazz to this day remains
convinced that his father was lynched by white people who resented
even the prospect of a Negro gaining some economic independence. With
his father’s death, Malcolm’s family was forced to separate. In moving
terms, clenching his fists, and at times breaking into tears, Malcolm
has described to me how his mother boiled dandelion greens from day
to day trying to keep her eleven children from starving to death. “We
stayed dizzy and sick because we stayed hungry.” At night Malcolm and
his brothers would go out and steal what food they could to fill their
stomachs. The Littles were a clannish bunch. They struggled to stay
together, but the pangs of hunger were too great, and they were ripped
apart. Malcolm was sent to an institution for boys.

This turned out to be the second molding factor in the life of
Malcolm X. He was one of the few Negroes--if not the only one--in the
institution and he developed a warm love for the white matron who
defended him when other kids were “kicking him around.” In the only
complimentary statement I have heard him make about a white person,
Malcolm says of the matron, “She was good to me. I followed her around
like a little puppy. I was a kind of mascot.” She arranged for him to
attend a near-by school where, although he was the only Negro pupil,
his keen mind put him at the head of the class, which only gained him
the resentment of both the teacher and the pupils.

“When I was in the eighth grade,” Malcolm says, “they asked me what I
wanted to become. I told them I wanted to study law. But they told me
that law was not a suitable profession for a Negro. They suggested that
I think of a trade such as carpentry.”

That ripped it! Malcolm soon left school and came east to New York,
and in a matter of weeks penetrated the underworld where he became
a trusted lieutenant. Malcolm’s early days in the underworld are
described in unpublished notes by writer Alex Haley in the following

  Admitted to the underworld’s fringes, sixteen-year-old Malcolm
  absorbed all he heard and saw. He swiftly built up a reputation for
  honesty by turning over every dollar due his boss (“I have always
  been intensely loyal”). By the age of 18, Malcolm was versatile “Big
  Red.” He hired from four to six men variously plying dope, numbers,
  bootleg whiskey and diverse forms of hustling. Malcolm personally
  squired well-heeled white thrill-seekers to Harlem sin dens, and
  Negroes to white sin downtown. “My best customers were preachers and
  social leaders, police and all kinds of big shots in the business of
  controlling other people’s lives.”

His income often reached as high as two thousand dollars a month. And I
have heard Malcolm talk of paying off the cops from a thousand-dollar
bankroll which he pulled from the pocket of his two-hundred-dollar
suit. But not even “Big Red” had enough money to pay all of the
policemen and eventually Malcolm X went to prison for burglary.

It was in 1947, in the maximum security prison at Concord,
Massachusetts, that Malcolm was converted to the teachings of The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad by one of his fellow prisoners who was a
member of the Detroit temple. From that moment Malcolm has neither
smoked, cursed, drunk, nor run after women. He is the most puritanical
man I have ever met. I have interviewed him scores of times but he will
not meet me for an interview at any place where liquor is sold. He does
not object to my smoking, but in polite terms he makes it understood
that he would rather I didn’t smoke around him. I have entertained him
in my home along with other guests, and he has sat relaxed on the floor
as we drink. He has never taken anything but coffee, although he knows
full well that none of us would ever betray him.

Indeed, it is around the widely known and deeply admired morality of
Malcolm X that one of the few pieces of humor about the Muslim movement
came into being.

The story is that Malcolm was attempting to convert a Negro Baptist to
the teaching of Islam.

“What are the rules of your organization?” the Negro asked.

“Well,” Malcolm said, “my brother, you have to stop drinking, stop
swearing, stop gambling, stop using dope, and stop cheating on your

“Hell,” the convert replied, “I think I had better remain a Christian.”


Any objective evaluation of the Black Muslims as a religious body must
begin with a fresh look at religion itself, its origin and meaning. The
current, widespread antipathy toward the Black Muslims makes such a
basic review of the roots of religion all the more necessary. Above all
we must shut out the voices of those who insist that the Black Muslims
are not a religion because they--the critics--don’t like what the
Muslims preach and do. After all, the Mormon Church holds, among other
things, that the Negro is inferior because he is the descendant of Ham,
the accursed son of Noah. As a result Negroes are allowed to join the
Mormon Church, but are barred from high church office. But none of us
will take the position that the Mormons are not a religion.

To understand the Black Muslims--and the Mormons, for that matter--we
must retrace that contorted and tribal path man and God have walked
together en route to the here and now.

_Religion as a Group Experience_

The world has always been a mystery to man. It excites his imagination,
challenges his courage, and piques his intellect. But the individual
never meets the world alone. He is of his group; the group is part of
the world he inherited on the day he discovered himself and the other
members of his group--like the thunder and the lightning and the sun
and the trees and the rivers and the canyons and the hurricanes and the
manna trees that are part of that which confounds him. Collectively
confounded, then, the group members react as one. They create a god
almost always in their own image and attribute to him all of the
omnipotence and omnipresence required to account for a plot of matter
spinning dizzily through space into nowhere. And if he is in their
image, then he is their father and they are his children. He watches
over them and protects them from the pestilences that come by day and
the evils that crawl by night. They are his chosen people and he walks
with the warriors of the tribe as they go forth to battle temporal
evil, which is to say, anything and anybody that differs from their

In return, the tribesmen insist that god make demands upon them. And
god grants their request: He commands them to bow down and worship
him, and to put no other god before him. He commands them to love one
another even as they love him and he loves them. His commandments on
social ethics always parallel the social history of the tribe involved.
If one day some members of the tribe feel sick from having eaten the
meat from a given animal, then god decrees that such meat is unclean
and that it is sinful to eat of it. If the social history of the
people discloses that the affinity between the man and his woman is
so intense that the intrusion of any other man or woman upon that
relationship brings on community disorder, then god decrees that a man
shall have one wife and a woman one husband, and then commands that the
neighbors covet not the man’s wife or the woman’s husband. And when the
tribe matures to the point of having old men, elders, steeped in the
history of the tradition of the people, god orders that the aged be
respected and all be venerated as his leaders on earth.

Thus it is that the god of a tribe becomes “their” god. History is
replete with battle scars left when the gods of an opposing people
fought it out on the plains and in the valleys. When tribe meets
tribe in war, at least one of the tribes is bound to lose. But even
in defeat the god of the tribe becomes more powerful than ever before
as the tribe is convinced that, though it has lost a battle, it will
eventually win the war. Thus, in the words of one of the great tribal
leaders, “Our god is able to deliver. But if not, we will not bow down
and serve your god.”

Although tribal life revolves around the god concept, few tribal states
have actually become theocracies. Religious leaders have taken their
place beside temporal leaders, and they function in concord, under the
umbrella of their god to make the state a practical institution.

With the dawn of modern history, gods began to fuse and merge as people
began to widen the circle of their experience and accept the reality
of tribal pluralism, and civilizations that have survived to matter in
the context of the current world are those that fly the banner of the
world’s four or five major religions.

Modern man knows little of all this because he inherited already
thought-out religions. Thus he has no idea how primitive and crude his
gods once were. And it is precisely because of modern man’s religious
sophistication that the Black Muslims rasp: At stage center, and
before an audience that is weary of racism and religious bigotry, the
all-black Nation of Islam gleefully re-enacts the shoddy scenes of our
cultural beginnings.

“We are in the image of God,” Malcolm says.

“Make it plain, Brother Minister. Make it plain.”

“That means that God--we call him Allah--must be black like me!”

“All praise due to Allah.”

“God was here in the beginning.”

“Yes sir, that’s right.”

“So we were here from the beginning”--and Malcolm X smiles.

The people come roaring to their feet with shouts of thanks and

“And that which was here from the beginning must be the daddy of
everything else. Am I right or wrong?”

“You right. That’s right.”

“This blue-eyed devil talking about he is superior. It’s about time he
found out that we are his pappy!”

“Make it plain, Brother. Make it plain.”

“Now listen to this,” Malcolm told a rally of three thousand on a
Harlem street corner, “and you will know why black is superior.”

“Come on. Come, let’s hear it!”

“Black is _the_ prime color. It is the strong color.”


“You can get any other color you want by mixing colors, but you cannot
find colors that you can mix and produce black. Only black can produce

“Make it plain.”

“And if black is prime, that means it is God, that means it is good.”

“That’s right!”

“Therefore the less black you are the less good you are.”

“All praise due to Allah.” And now the people sense the great truth
that is about to come, and they begin to break with laughter.

“Therefore when you are white, you are as nonblack as you can be.”

“Make it plain, Malcolm. Make it plain.”

“Therefore when you are white you are absolutely nongood; am I right or

“You right!”

“In other words,” Malcolm shouts, “the white man is therefore
absolutely evil, a snake and a devil, and his time of destruction draws

With this the crowd breaks with joy. The applause lasts for several
minutes; white policemen standing guard at the meeting nudge white
onlookers, telling them to “move on.”

This argument, that God is black and the white man a devil, presents
the Black Muslims with the identical philosophical dilemma that has
plagued most religions: How could a good (black) God create a bad
(white) thing?

The doctrine concerning Yakub is the Black Muslims’ attempt to answer
that riddle. In biological terms of reference, accepting the Muslim
notion that the black man is the original man, they must explain how
the black race produced white people. Elijah Muhammad states the
argument in these terms: The Caucasian race was created out of the weak
of the black race; they are the handiwork of Yakub, a black scientist
who rebelled against Allah. Dr. Eric Lincoln is correct when he says
that the doctrine of Yakub is the central myth of the Black Muslim
movement. But it is also the tenet the Black Muslims seem to know least

Writing in the _Pittsburgh Courier_, Elijah Muhammad detailed in these
words the mechanics by which the black scientist Yakub made the white

  Who are the white race? I have repeatedly answered that question
  in this [column] for nearly the past three years. “Why are they
  white-skinned?” Answer: Allah (God) said this is due to being grafted
  from the Original Black Nation, as the Black Man has two germs (two
  people) in him. One is black and the other brown. The brown germ is
  weaker than the black germ. The brown germ can be grafted into its
  last stage, and the last stage is white. A scientist by the name
  of Yakub discovered this knowledge ... 6,645 years ago, and was
  successful in doing this job of grafting after 600 years of following
  a strict and rigid birth control law.

According to Elijah Muhammad the experiment was a success, but it also
resulted in the “blue-eyed devils” who now people the world and have
low physical and moral stamina. Muhammad then goes on to show the
physical superiority of the black man by underlining the victories
of Negro ballplayers and prize fighters. He then points up what he
calls the low morality of the white man by citing the gas chambers
of Germany, the atomic bomb of Hiroshima, and all the abuses white
Southerners (and Northerners) have heaped upon the Negro.

Summing up the results of Yakub’s experiment, Elijah Muhammad issues
this finding:

  The human beast--the serpent, the dragon, the devil, and Satan--all
  mean one and the same: the people or race known as the white or
  Caucasian race, sometimes called the European race.

  Since by nature they were created liars and murderers, they are the
  enemies of truth and righteousness, and the enemies of those who seek
  the truth....

But their certification of the white man as a devil, one incapable
of doing good, rests on more than metaphysical grounds. It involves
history. To make their historical point the Black Muslims part company
with the established world historians. They begin their argument by
establishing--with some accuracy--that the black man in Africa had a
developed civilization at the time that, in Malcolm’s words, “the white
savages of Europe were living in caves and crawling around on their
all-fours.” It was the intrusion of the white man into Africa that
spoiled things and brought slavery to the New World.

The decline of the black man in Africa is only temporary. The white
devil was given about six thousand years to flaunt his evil and then
he was to be destroyed as the black man returned to power. The white
man’s time ran out just as World War I was raging; the Black Muslims
overcame the fact that this was an excellent time for the prophecy to
come true--after all, white people were out to destroy each other--with
the argument that sets the American stage for the followers of The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The only reason the destruction of the white man didn’t come off on
schedule, according to the Muslims, is that so many black men are all
mixed up with the white, that it is impossible to destroy the evil men
without destroying some “originals,” that is to say, Negroes. This,
then, is what Muhammad and Malcolm are talking about when they speak to
“the lost-found black man in the wilderness of North America.” They are
really saying that the restoration of black men to world power is being
delayed because of the American Negro; the white man has been given a
new dispensation, actually, not because he deserves it but to give the
Negro time to separate from those scheduled for destruction.

Herein lies the reasoning behind Muhammad’s talk about a separate
state; this is why the Black Muslims with their tremendous power over
people are unable to participate in any of the current civil-rights
actions; they can’t help fight for better jobs, better schools, or
better housing. They are committed to getting out from among the white
man as soon as possible, lest they share his doom of the fire, which
is sure not only to come next time, but to come soon.

To plug up the logical and emotional leaks in such an argument as this,
the Black Muslims must propagate a continuously expanding “line.”
They must maintain the “Islamic” tinge but at the same time keep
their teaching within American terms of reference that Negroes can
understand; they must take Negroes who have a struggle with English and
teach them Arabic; they must convince the most Western of men that they
are Arabs.

This cultural island-hopping can backfire, sometimes with amusing
results. I attended a Black Muslim bazaar with writer Alex Haley.
Elijah Muhammad was scheduled to appear but sent his son, Akbar,
instead. Akbar, a slender, dark-brown twenty-five-year-old, came before
the crowd of some two thousand garbed in a flowing white sheet. In
Middle Eastern Arabic circles Akbar would have been considered in his
Sunday best, but to Harlem Negroes Akbar’s dress smacked of the Ku
Klux Klan, hardly an image one wishes to raise in a man he hopes to
convert. Yet this is the cross-cultural problem the Black Muslims must
continually deal with.

I have seen Malcolm X do this with tremendous effectiveness. I once
debated with him on TV in Los Angeles. He took the stand of a Muslim,
saying that the Moslem faith was the black man’s original culture.
Malcolm must make this basic thrust or all else he says rests on
historical sand. As we were leaving the studio, we were greeted by
several white students, Moslems from Persia, who complained to Malcolm
that they had attempted to visit Muhammad’s temples and were refused
entry because they were white blue-eyed devils. Malcolm glossed the
matter over, and they all parted wishing Allah’s blessing each upon
the other. In reality, Malcolm is not interested in any white people,
Moslem or not. These Persians could no more get in a Black Muslim
temple than Governor Faubus could. “Let’s look at it this way,” Malcolm
told the Persians. “If a lion is in a cage, his roar will be different
from the roar of the lion who is in the forest. That,” he concluded,
“is why you couldn’t get in our temple. But both the lion in the forest
and the lion in the cage are lions. That is what matters. Lions love
lions; they hate leopards.”

Translated, Malcolm was saying that the American Negro, as a Moslem,
must make different noises from the free Moslems of, say, Persia,
because the American Negro is in a cage. The cage, of course, is white
civilization; that is why the roar of the American Negro Moslem is so
provincial; that is why Persians would do well to worship Allah in
their own way in their own temples, while the Black Muslims and Allah
have their rendezvous in a dinky auditorium over a pool hall in Los
Angeles’ Negro ghetto.

It is in such meetings that Malcolm adds the historical ingredient to
his theology. It takes two forms:

First, the Black Muslims excite Negroes to shouts by proving that
the Negro is somebody, a man with a past and a history. I know from
personal experience that Malcolm X is one of the best-versed people in
America on African history. I have sat with him in private and general
gatherings where he has recited startling facts about the nature of
early African civilizations. When challenged, Malcolm is always able
to produce a text--and a legitimate one at that--to support what he
says. Malcolm’s teachings come as a surprise not because they are new,
previously unknown facts about Africa, but because the entire system of
education in the Western World, particularly in America, has carefully
distorted the true history of Africa to support the notion of white,
male supremacy. And so it is from Malcolm X, not from his sixth-grade
history teacher--who is probably white--that the Negro child in the
North learns the truth about Africa and what once really happened

The second historical aspect of the Muslim doctrine involves an
intensive study of the role of the American Negro in American history.
Here again Malcolm and his followers walk into a void left by the
American education system. The black child in Harlem learns about the
Revolutionary War but he does not learn that the man who set it off
by leading the Americans in the Boston Massacre was a Negro, Crispus
Attucks. The black child sees the clock work but he does not know that
Benjamin Bannaker, a Negro, invented the pendulum. The black child
visits the blood bank but he does not know that a Negro, Dr. Charles
Drew, discovered how to preserve blood and thus made the bank possible.
Nobody tells the Negro child these things in school. On the contrary,
the child is taught that American civilization flowed, for the most
part, from white brains. And when Malcolm, to use his words, “pulls
the cover off the white devil and tells black men the truth about
the work of their ancestors,” the Negro child shrieks with pride and
joy--probably for the first time in his life.

Malcolm X brings his message of importance and dignity to a class of
Negroes who have had little, if any, reason to feel proud of themselves
as a race or as individuals. Their encounters with white people
are always unpleasant situations in which Negroes find themselves
embarrassed or emasculated. Think it out for yourself: What contact
does the Negro in Harlem have with the white man?

The white man is the _man_ they must meet every morning when they go
to work in the garment district; the _man_ they must meet when the
rent is due; the _man_ they face when they go to the pawnshop; the
_man_ who comes and sells things on credit; the _man_ who buys the
installment paper and comes to collect the payments; the _man_ who
gets work when they cannot; the _man_ whom they see on TV loosing
dogs on Negro children; the _man_ they face as a schoolteacher who
does not understand them and who is often contemptuous of them--the
man, the man, the man, the white man, the goddam white man! And when
Malcolm X says the white man is a devil, they roar “amen” because every
experience they have with a white man is a devilish one.

Chilling though it may be, the Black Muslims have erected their
teaching on a group experience common to all American Negroes. Few of
us concur in their conviction and sentencing of the white race. But
none of us can question the accuracy of the indictment on which that
conviction rests.

_Elijah Goes to Mecca_

The _hajj_, the long, dusty pilgrimage to Mecca that every Moslem
looks forward to, is the final criterion of whether one is or is not a
Moslem. Only certified followers of Islam are allowed to enter Mecca
during the holy period of the pilgrimage.

“Elijah Muhammad is not a Moslem,” said Imam Talib Ahmad Dawud in
1960. “He is just plain Elijah Poole of Sandersville, Georgia.” Dawud,
an American Negro and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood USA, was then
locked in a bitter struggle with the Black Muslims over the question
of their religious authenticity. But the Imam’s remarks couldn’t have
been more ill-timed. Even as Dawud was denouncing the Black Muslims,
Elijah was packing his bags for a trip “back home where I can visit and
pray with my own people.” Several days after he departed from New York,
Elijah placed his credentials before the eagle-eyed _hajj_ committee,
the final judge of who may march to Mecca and pray. Elijah Muhammad was
admitted without delay, and Black Muslims--the word was cabled back and
came over the wire services--held meetings of praise and thanks all
over the nation.

That was that. Muhammad was admitted to the _hajj_, he made the holy
walk to Mecca. Who, then, is to dispute his religious credentials?

Muhammad’s journey to Mecca brought an end to all the arguments about
his true affiliation with traditional Islam. When Mike Wallace and I
were preparing a TV documentary on the Black Muslims, the orthodox
Moslems denounced the movement. “They teach race hate,” one Islamic
spokesman told us, “and that means they couldn’t be Moslems.” The
Federation of Islamic Associations of Chicago is the official Moslem
organization in the United States and Canada. They have denounced
Elijah; they have praised him for conducting the largest Arabic school
in America and for accepting the Koran as law, but federation officials
are “suspicious” of him. These Moslems, however, are largely of
European descent, although their ranks are peppered with a few Negro
converts. Their rejection of Elijah rests on his argument concerning
racism, and they flinch when Muhammad calls himself “The Messenger of

Rejection from such a group is grist for the Black Muslims’ mill.
Malcolm X holds them up to high ridicule and scorn, saying they have
been corrupted by Christianity and that they look very much like “the
blue-eyed devil who enslaved us and took away our culture.” In his
“University Speech” (see Part Two of this book) Malcolm rains fire upon
these “European Moslems” who have “passed us by in an attempt to make
our slave masters Moslems.”

There are several clear differences between Black Muslims and orthodox
Moslems. Whether these differences read Elijah and his followers out
of the Islamic brotherhood is a matter to be determined by Islamic
officials. These are some of the differences between the two groups:

--The Black Muslims will not allow white persons in their temples;
orthodox Moslems accept worshipers of all races.

--The Black Muslims maintain a separate movement; there seems to be
little or no organizational link with the orthodox Moslems. The Black
Muslims do not visit the orthodox Moslem temples, and the orthodox
Moslems do not come to hear Malcolm X.

--Nowhere in the Koran or in any orthodox Moslem literature is there
support for the Black Muslim’s teaching about the evil scientist Yakub.
Nor is there any support in the teachings of orthodox Moslems to
support Elijah’s account--see his “Atlanta Speech” in Part Two--that
this world was once the moon and was blown up by an evil scientist who
wanted to destroy true followers of Allah.

--Orthodox Moslems universally condemn the Black Muslim teaching that
the white man is a devil by nature.

--Orthodox Moslems universally object to the Black Muslim preachment
concerning a separate state.

But once Muhammad walked into Mecca these differences ceased to matter.
To be sure, orthodox Moslems want no part of Elijah and, if pushed,
will denounce him. But the _hajj_ committee has rendered what must be
accepted as the final verdict.

Behind this trip to Mecca lies a typical Black Muslim story. Malcolm
X had visited the Near and the Far East the year before. His mission
was to make certain key contacts for Muhammad. I followed Malcolm by
some several months into Cairo, Egypt, and talked with Moslem officials
who had received him with open arms. Malcolm was in Cairo during the
holy season, at the very time when thousands of chanting Arabs were
wending their way toward Mecca. Malcolm himself was cleared to make
the _hajj_; he could have gone to Mecca in 1959 and that would have
settled the controversy once and for all. Malcolm elected not to go,
not to upstage his teacher and leader. Instead he returned home with
the word that all was well in Mecca, that Elijah and his family would
be received there with open arms.

The following year, while Malcolm remained at home, Elijah went to

Malcolm’s ambassadorial work in Cairo--and that is precisely what it
was--stunned many of his American detractors. Others of us who had
been close observers of the movement were not surprised. We knew that
Malcolm has always maintained excellent relations with top Arabs at
the United Nations. Few, if any, of these meetings were ever public.
But they did occur and there is every indication that they are still
going on. The road to Mecca was cleared long before Malcolm and Elijah
left these shores; powerful pro-Nasser Arabs are quietly in Malcolm’s
corner, and many Black Muslim bazaars open with the reading of cabled
greetings from “Our Beloved Brother Gamal Abdel Nasser.”

The emphasis of orthodox Islam is universal love and brotherhood among
men of all races. The central teaching of the Black Muslims is that all
white men are devils and will soon be destroyed. It seems superfluous
to point out the wide disparity between these two views. But both
Muslim and Moslem worship Allah. And that--at least so the _hajj_
committee said--is all that matters.

The answer to this ambiguity, I suspect, lies in the gangling structure
of the Moslem hierarchy. Unlike, say, the Catholic Church, the Moslem
faith is not a tightly knit, fully administered organization. I have
talked with Moslems about all this, and while they would rather that
Elijah did not say much of what he says, they are still smarting over
the Christian Crusades and readying for the moment of truth with the
Jews. The Black Muslims carefully describe themselves as “anti-Zionist”
rather than as against the Jews. But herein, I suspect, is the
resolution of the entire matter of Elijah’s relationship to orthodox

A high Islamic official in Cairo explained it to me in these words: “Of
course your Black Muslims are improperly informed. But they are turning
men to Allah, away from Christianity, toward Mecca. This is what we
want; this is what we must have. We need new blood in western Islam. If
Muhammad can give that new blood we welcome him. As for his teachings,”
the official continued, “we will see to it that the correct view is
given to the black man in America. Now the thing is to get them facing
toward Mecca.”

_Is This a True Religion?_

Although Elijah has made his holy pilgrimage to Mecca, the debate over
the religious validity of the Black Muslims still rages, with the
movement’s critics holding to their charge that Elijah Muhammad teaches
hate whereas true religion teaches love. A case can be made that these
critics are doubly in error, first in their assumption that their own
faith teaches universal love, and secondly in their conclusion--aided
by news accounts--that the Black Muslims actually preach hatred of

Every religion is a closed network of believers; it has its dogma, its
ritual, its gods. The followers of that faith are taught to love one
another and are urged to proselytize sinners (outsiders) wherever they
can be found. Most religions draw creedal, not racial, lines. Persons
of any race may embrace the tenets of the faith and become members.
However, this is not always the case and racial overtones have crept
into major world faiths.

The late, and loved, Pope John flirted with immortality by coming to
grips with the issue of racism in religion. Not only did he infuse the
Church with the fresh air of universalism, but he halted a service
because a priest violated--forgot, actually--His Holiness’ order that
a reference to the Jews as a “perfidious people” be stricken from the
Catholic prayer service. The pending second session of the ecumenical
council may see the introduction of a proposal that would call on the
Church to speak out against anti-Semitism. The proposal was not brought
up in the first session because the Church fathers feared what the
Arabs might say!

The Jews and the Protestants face essentially the same problems as the
Roman Catholics. St. Paul rose to glory because he translated being
a Jew from a biological to a spiritual proposition. Many Jews have
not accepted that translation and they snicker when Sammy Davis, Jr.,
walks into their temple. Racism is such a fact of American Protestant
church life that most major denominations are divided along racial
lines. Then there is the question of religion and geography. The
world’s major faiths were spawned in certain areas and took root among
people of a common ethnic stock. Thus the followers of Buddha are apt
to be Orientals; but for slavery and colonization all of the followers
of Christ would be European. But for the same kind of cultural
intermingling, Allah’s followers would be the peoples of Asia Minor
and North Africa, and the black peoples below the Sahara would still
be practicing the varied tribal and family faiths mentioned earlier in
this essay.

But time and trouble make saints of everybody ... and universalism
occurs only when feuding faiths clash on the plains of practical
reality. Thus American Protestants now have a commission that is given
over entirely to eliminating all anti-Semitism from the gospel of
Christ. The Episcopal Bishop of California, James Pike, has gone so
far as to suggest that we take down the cross as a symbol of our faith
lest this encourage the teaching that the Jews killed Our Lord. This
teaching--that the Jews killed Christ--is no longer fashionable as it
was when I was baptized. Now one is told that the Romans killed Christ.
And since the once-heathen Romans are now Christians--even though they
are Catholics--I suppose this makes things better.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let’s turn to the other side of the coin.

During a recent lecture before the Jewish Graduate Club at Columbia
University I talked about the need for all orthodox religions to relax
their dogmas and accept other peoples as equals. One fiercely intent
man leaped to his feet and shouted to me, “You want to rob us of our
culture because you people don’t have one of your own!” This was sheer
nonsense and the host rabbi rose to say so. But I pressed the issue:
Could I join their temple? The younger Jews shouted “Yes--we would love
to have you.” The older fellows were not quite so sure.

“Are you as Jews chosen of God, thus the only ones who are really
blessed?” I asked one of the fundamentalists.

“Yes,” he shot back.

“Are you chosen in a way that I can never be?” I continued.

“Yes.” He faltered. “You are not a Jew; you cannot be among the elect.”

By this time the younger Jews were on their feet screaming
denunciations of him. But the issue of ethnic exclusiveness that splits
today’s Jewish community had been laid bare.

Dogma and ritual are further evidences of the tribalism endemic to
religion. I was born and raised a Baptist; long before I could read and
write I knew that any person who had not been immersed in water was
doomed to Hell. There was nothing to argue about, no need for polemics
and reasoning; there would be no Methodists in Heaven!

The point of truth is this: Ethnic and dogmatic bigotry are imbedded
in every religious faith plying its wares in the world market; we
religious liberals are students of apologetics, sophisticated believers
who prefer to forget our crude and tribalistic roots in favor of an
enlightened social ethic. Alas, along came Elijah and made us see
ourselves as we once were; along came Malcolm X and made us understand
what we are now, and why.

The argument that the Black Muslims are not a valid religion because
of the exclusivity of their fellowship, then, is clearly spurious.
Every religion is a sort of sanctified country club, a coming together
of peers in the name of their god. The second argument against the
religiosity of the Black Muslims is equally spurious: Like all faiths,
the Black Muslims never say hate the other fellow; they say love your
own kind. Religious bigotry is Western civilization’s major moral blind
spot, and Malcolm X has taken up squatters’ rights just there.

Thus it is that secularism must save the church--the layman must lead
the clergyman to the mourner’s bench and make him confess brotherhood
in the name of a democratic and pluralistic society. The nature of our
social moment demands that we free God from racialism and dogmatics.
Racialism, the malignant one of the two cancers, must be dealt with
first since it is the prime moral issue of our time. And it must be
dealt with by all peoples of all faiths working in concert. Should our
social order change, should we somehow come to grips with the evils
that have spawned the Black Muslims, the movement would be forced to
refine itself or perish.

Malcolm X is the best authority for this. I have often pressed him on
his categorical denunciation of the white man as a devil, and his reply
is always the same: “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that the
white man is a devil. We hold to that teaching because history proves
the white man is a devil. If he is not a devil,” Malcolm X concludes,
“then let him prove it. Let him give justice, freedom, and equality to
our people.”

I have deliberately kept my analysis of the Black Muslims in personal
terms of reference because this is precisely how most Negroes feel
about the matter--after all, the attraction of the movement for Negroes
is one of the major points of this essay.

“Of course I disagree with Malcolm,” the wife of a Negro newsman told
me. “But I disagree with a lot of other religions, too. If he teaches
hate, so do they; what’s the difference? I wonder why the white people
are after him.” She smiled. “Could it be because he is colored?”

The Black Muslims have their God, their gospel, their ritual trappings,
their approval from official heads of the Islamic faith. As a religion,
then, there is little left to do but disagree with them and then leave
them alone.

This, of course, pains liberals, Negro and white, who want to hear a
ringing denunciation of the Black Muslims. Negro leaders are always
quick to denounce Elijah, but the Negro masses are strangely silent.
There is a reason for this silence, something both the Negro leadership
and the white power structure would do well to examine: Deep down in
their hearts, as James Baldwin so accurately states, the black masses
don’t believe in white people any more. They don’t believe in Malcolm
either, except when he articulates their disbelief in white people.
In the end--and this is the thing white people will be a long time in
grasping--the Negro masses neither join nor denounce the Black Muslims.
They just sit at home in the ghetto amid the heat, the roaches, the
rats, the vice, the disgrace, and rue the fact that come daylight they
must meet the man--the white man--and work at a job that leads only to
a dead end.

This brings me to the core of the matter, to the final measure of every
religion: it is a thing called _compassion_, a concern and caring
about the other fellow. It is rooted in the glaring awareness that we
all have fallen short of the high mark set for us, and thus we need the
honest sympathy and understanding of all men everywhere.

For though you may have your God, your holy book, your ritual, and
your symbols; though you may give of your wages to build the temple;
and though you may have been to Mecca, or Jerusalem, if you have not
compassion you are but meanness couched in Scripture, you are but an
ancient stink, a reason for men to hold their noses as they crawl on
toward a land of human understanding and brotherhood.

_The Nation_

Once the convert becomes a Black Muslim he is baptized as a citizen in
the Nation of Islam. They have a flag, a symbol, and a cause. From this
day forward his life centers around activity at the Muslim restaurant
and temple.

Who are these Black Muslims? Where do they live, and what do they do
for a living?

These questions baffle all observers because any Negro you encounter
could be a Black Muslim. Usually the men wear identifying pins, and the
Muslim women can generally be spotted by their dress, particularly the
long, flowing headpiece. But these identifying signs are not always
present. I have encountered Black Muslims working in printing plants,
in barbershops, as messenger boys, as night-club entertainers, and
as cab drivers. I will never forget taking a stroll in Central Park
where I came across a Muslim sister working as a nursemaid to three
white children! Since most nurses and maids are Negroes, the rise
of the Black Muslims has sent a quiet but very real chill through
the employment agencies in several major cities. After all, there is
no telling what these Muslim women will do when the “word” comes,
when the Battle of Armageddon is declared. And there is no way for
employment agencies to determine if Negro applicants are Black Muslims
before sending them out as servants in white homes. Nor is there any
way for heads of households to know just who their butlers and cooks
are. To borrow from James Baldwin, nobody knows their name. It could be

The Black Muslims flatly refuse to discuss their organizational
finances with anyone. However, observers of the movement are
convinced that the tithes collected at temples and the income from
temple restaurants form the basis of the Muslim economy. The local
restaurant--and most of them are called “Shabazz” restaurants after
Malcolm X whose “restored” Arab name is Shabazz--is under the
supervision of the local minister. He seems to have fairly complete
control, but all matters are subject to review by Malcolm X as Elijah’s
roving ambassador. The local ministers are allowed a certain portion of
what they raise, but only top insiders know just how Mr. Muhammad makes
this determination. The major leaders of the movement all seem to have
taken a vow of poverty and live on expenses furnished by the movement
itself. I know this is true of Malcolm X and I suspect it to be true of

But it must be remembered that the Black Muslims are both thrifty and
industrious; they are encouraged to open their own businesses and
many of the top leaders are themselves businessmen. Elijah Muhammad,
Jr., runs one of the largest bakeries in Chicago; Raymond Sharrieff
is said to have ownership in a clothing store there. All evidence
indicates that local Muslim leaders finance themselves through various
enterprises and that the bulk of the funds raised in the temple itself
flow on to the movement headquarters in Chicago.

Whoever and wherever these Black Muslims are they lead an exacting,
regimented life. In their homes they practice strict dietary
laws--precisely those of the kosher Jews--and avoid contact with
white people as much as possible. The private role of both the man
and the woman in the family is clearly defined, and the children are
indoctrinated with the faith while they are still young. Muslim men
are watched by The Fruit and must engage in some kind of gainful
employment. They are encouraged to go into small business whenever
possible; they are assured of patronage from their fellow Muslims.
A number of Negro businessmen have been attracted to the Nation of
Islam because it provides them with a ready source of customers. Other
Muslim brothers can be seen on the streets every day selling Muslim
newspapers. They are allowed to keep a goodly portion of what they
earn and are thus independent. The temple restaurants employ scores of
Muslim men and women, thus decreasing the ranks of their unemployed.
Other Muslims are door-to-door salesmen and find easy entry in the
Negro community, where the white door-to-door salesmen have become

But the average Black Muslim works for some white man somewhere in some
capacity. He is urged to learn a trade and thus ready himself for the
day when he will be called upon to be one of the heads of industry and
commerce in the Muslims’ own, separate state.

The Black Muslim men are lectured constantly about family
responsibility and are subject to trial before their peers if they
violate the rules of the order. Punishment can vary from a small fine
to temporary or permanent banishment from the temple. No Muslim will
associate with an offender for the duration of his exile. It is said
that Malcolm X’s brother was once banished and that Malcolm refused
even to write the man until the period of punishment had been served.

Black Muslim women are schooled in the art and need for homemaking,
and are taught to take a back seat in the presence of their husbands.
Muslim women almost never talk to strangers--non-Muslims, that is--and
maintain a general silence that is unnerving. They also eschew make-up
and fancy dress. When I first encountered the Muslims some five years
ago, this ban on feminine adornment was rigidly enforced. But there
seems to have been a strong revolt among temple women and the ban has
been relaxed to the point where employing make-up is now optional. Yet
I have seen few Muslim women exercise this option. The wife of a major
Muslim official, say Joseph X of New York, certainly wouldn’t exercise

The Black Muslims are a male-oriented organization. A man reaches real
stature in the movement when he becomes a member of The Fruit of Islam,
the functional and disciplinary arm of the movement. The Fruit hold
separate temple services, where they are taught, among other things,
every possible method of self-defense. Every local temple has a Captain
of The Fruit--in New York it is Joseph X--and the entire network is
headed by the son-in-law of Elijah Muhammad, Raymond Sharrieff. The
Fruit enforce brotherhood among the men of the temple and form the
honor guard whenever Malcolm X or Elijah Muhammad makes a public
appearance. The Fruit work under the local minister, but there is a
line of authority that runs down to the local captains directly from
Sharrieff’s Chicago headquarters. The Muslim Girls Training Class
(MGT), for young women, is headed by Sister Lottie X, also of Chicago.

The division of authority seems to be along these lines: The local
Fruit and MGT work under the local minister on local matters. But
unless the matter in question is one of clearly defined doctrine the
local minister gets clearance from Chicago before issuing his orders.
On national matters, those affecting the movement as a whole, The
Fruit and the MGT take orders directly from headquarters. These orders
are issued to members of the temple who obey without question.

One of the functions of The Fruit and the MGT is fund-raising. None
of the rumors about Muslims receiving help from outside--Communist or
segregationist--sources has proved true. The fact of the matter is that
the Black Muslims are hard-working, frugal people; they never buy on
installment, and they give a tenth--at least--of their earnings to the
temple. This income is augmented by bazaars, plays, rallies, and the
sale of their own newspapers and magazines. Then there is the matter
of the various lawsuits the Muslims have carried on with astonishing
success. The Black Muslims have collected upward of a quarter of a
million dollars I know about in the past four years or so, mostly as a
result of police brutality against their members. These suits are filed
in the name of the individual Muslim but they are carried on by the
temple, and I suspect the temple shares in the results.

Further regimentation of life within the Nation is achieved by
demanding that members send their children to Black Muslim schools
wherever possible. In two cities, Chicago and Detroit, the Muslims have
“universities” where they train the children from kindergarten through
high school. It will be recalled that Elijah Muhammad first got into
trouble with the law when he decided to send his children to the Muslim
school rather than the public schools. Now authorities in both cities
have approved the Muslim schools as accredited centers of learning.

These schools are well disciplined and skillfully run. Early in 1962
there was considerable concern in Chicago over just what the Black
Muslims were teaching in their schools. A biracial committee visited
the University of Islam there and came away stunned. Said committee
member Judge Edyth Sampson, a former U.S. delegate to the United
Nations, “These people are doing a magnificent job with their young
students. I am deeply impressed by what I saw.”

What Mrs. Sampson and her fellow committee members saw was essentially
this: Black Muslim boys and girls stand muster for cleanliness and
decorum each morning. The classes are separated, boys in one section,
girls in the other, and the students’ day is divided between religious
and secular education. They are taught both English and Arabic; they
are drilled in the history of the black man in Africa and America. Then
they are taught the history of the Black Muslim movement from Fard down
to Minister Malcolm X.

In 1963 Sister Christine X, one of the directors of the school,
authored a new first reader which is now being employed. The exercises
in the book are something American educators would do well to study:

  My name is Nora X. My father’s name is James X, and my mother is
  Frances X. We are Muslims. We have our own flag. Our flag is over
  there on the wall. The symbols on our flag are a star and a crescent.

Then the students are told to use the following words in sentences:
Allah, black, Muhammad, God, Temple, nation, flag, Armageddon, Elijah.

Other exercises in the book call for the student to write short essays
on Mr. Muhammad and other notables within the movement. Then as the
students progress through school they are taught to link subject
matter to the history of the black man. For example, when the students
are being taught mathematics they are repeatedly reminded that much
of modern math is based on work done by the Egyptians; they are not
allowed to forget that English is not their native tongue, that their
language is Arabic, that the white man robbed them of their tongue
when he kidnaped their foreparents from Africa.

The thing that arrests me most about these schools is that they are
now turning out the first generation of youth completely schooled
in the Black Muslim doctrine. Unlike Malcolm X, John Ali, and other
prominent Muslims of today who had to be “de-brainwashed” before they
saw the light, the movement now has several score teen-agers who have
been grounded in their faith just as a devout Catholic child is reared
in his. As of now the movement suffers greatly from a lack of trained
leaders. Only a handful of capable men and women are available to the
organization and the nature of their doctrine is such that trained
Negroes are hardly apt to join. But a few more years will see the
emergence of well-trained Black Muslims who, I am certain, will give
the organization more administrative order than it now has.

Meanwhile the Black Muslims are bombarding Negroes all over the
nation with their message to the “lost-found, so-called Negro in the
wilderness of North America.” For a number of years Mr. Muhammad
had a weekly column in some of the nation’s best Negro newspapers.
Now the Muslims publish their own weekly, _Mr. Muhammad Speaks_,
a thirty-six-page tabloid that has the largest circulation of any
Negro newspaper being published. The Muslims also conduct a weekly
radio program on stations in some forty cities throughout the nation.
All this is augmented by the appearances of Malcolm X on radio and
TV programs each week. All in all, the Black Muslims have covered
the nation; their basic teachings are known and debated by Negroes

On the whole, then, the state of the Nation of Islam is good; its
population is growing, its economy is well into the black, and its
foreign relations--though strained--are better than they have ever been


_The Separate State_

On the day every television network carried scenes of Birmingham police
dogs attacking Negro children, Malcolm X submitted to an interview.
Asked what he thought of the events at Birmingham, Malcolm said:
“Martin Luther King is a chump, not a champ. Any man who puts his women
and children on the front lines is a chump, not a champ.”

This was Malcolm’s most inglorious hour. It will take him months of
hard work to regain the ground he lost among non-Muslim Negroes with
that single statement. Even the Negro moderates, those who disapprove
of the direct-action technique, were silenced by the dogs, fire hoses,
and club-swinging policemen. Since Birmingham I have been on a lecture
tour that carried me to eight major cities in as many states; I found
that Negroes were melted into one by the fire of that battle; I saw
a unity I have never seen in rank-and-file Negroes before; I felt a
mutual love that is all but unknown among Negroes; I sensed a dislike
for white people that borders on the disgraceful. Martin King--and we
know his strengths as well as his weaknesses--triggered Birmingham.
This nation’s Negroes were with him. If he was a “chump,” so were we

Malcolm’s statement had the effect of making every Negro who wept
when he saw dogs attacking Negro children feel like a moral idiot;
Malcolm’s analysis--if proper--means that every Negro woman who shouted
resentment when she saw her black sisters knocked to the ground is
spiritually illiterate and intellectually stupid. Malcolm--in a
contorted way, to be sure--allowed himself to become one with Bull
Conner. Malcolm X, the brilliant student of mass psychology, blundered

The Black Muslims had a multiple choice at Birmingham: They could have
joined us in the demonstrations; they could have kept quiet; they could
have denounced us. I was there and watched the Black Muslim position
take shape. Minister James X of the Birmingham temple wanted Malcolm
to come and make a major speech during the turmoil; Minister Jeremiah
X, minister to the Atlanta temple and roving southern bishop for the
movement, was of much the same mind. Knowing the Black Muslim line of
authority as I do, I am certain that James and Jeremiah reflected not
only Malcolm’s desire to come but Elijah Muhammad’s decision to let
the Big X fly to Birmingham if the proper stage were set. The matter
was debated by Negro non-Muslims who could have set just such a stage.
Some felt it would be a good thing to have Malcolm speak in Birmingham,
since the Klan held a rally there at the peak of the crisis. Others
felt the Black Muslims should stay out of the picture. There was a
standoff on the question, and silence prevailed. Non-Muslim Negroes
knew Malcolm X could not speak in favor of integration. And they
prayed--both to Jehovah and Allah--that Big Red would take advantage
of that excellent opportunity to keep quiet.

Malcolm elected to speak against us. We were all pained by his
outburst, but now--after several weeks of reflection--it is clear that
Malcolm did precisely what he had to do. For the Negro revolt had
caught up with the Black Muslims.

The Black Muslims came to power during a moral interregnum, at a time
when it seemed certain that this nation would refuse to obey its own
desegregation laws. But the sudden new militancy of the Negro has
forced an unscheduled confrontation between the Muslims and this
republic: America must prove that it is not a nation of white devils
or perish. The Black Muslims, on the other hand, must face the reality
of change in the American way of life. The Negro has always privately
talked loud and bitterly about the American white man. The Black
Muslims brought that talk into the open, on television and radio, and
made it plain for all to see and hear. This was good for both the Negro
and the white man: it shocked and frightened white people to hear what
we have been thinking and saying about them for five hundred years; the
Black Muslims were a catharsis for us, purging our innards of the bile
brought on by slavery and segregation. Released from consuming anger we
dropped the façade of puritan legalism and went racing into the streets
screaming that defiance which is endemic to the tribe of restless
natives we American Negroes most certainly are. Thus the inspired Negro
students who took our fight into the streets, who shouted “now or
never,” have challenged the Black Muslims by interposing the theology
of desegregation. In _The Negro Revolt_ I described that theology in
these words:

  The sit-ins raged throughout the spring of 1960 and convinced
  even more people that direct mass action was the shorter, more
  effective route to their goal of desegregation. But, from an
  internal viewpoint, more significant than the stale coffee and soggy
  hamburgers was the brand of Negro that was emerging. They were
  no longer afraid; their boldness, at times, was nothing short of
  alarming. And although few people knew it, a new religion, peculiar
  to the Negro, was being born.

  This faith, given incipient articulation by Martin Luther King,
  was the culmination of a hundred years of folk suffering. Like all
  faiths, it is peculiar to the people who fashioned it; it was a
  hodgepodge, as every faith is, of every ethical principle absorbed
  by my people from other cultures. And so the best of Confucius,
  Moses, Jesus, Gandhi, and Thoreau was extracted, then mixed with the
  peculiar experience of the Negro in America. The result was a faith
  that justified the bus boycott and inspired Negro college students to
  make a moral crusade out of their right to sit down in a restaurant
  owned by a white man and eat a hamburger.

  As Pastor Kelly Miller Smith walked to the lectern to begin his
  Sunday sermon, on that first Sunday of March, 1960, in Nashville,
  Tennessee, he knew his parishioners wanted and needed more than
  just another spiritual message. The congregation--most of them
  middle-class Americans, many of them university students and faculty
  members--sat before him waiting, tense; for Nashville, like some
  thirty-odd other Southern college towns, was taut with racial tension
  in the wake of widespread student demonstrations against lunch
  counter discrimination in department stores.

  Among the worshipers in Pastor Smith’s First Baptist Church were some
  of the eighty-five students from Fisk and from Tennessee Agricultural
  and Industrial University who had been arrested and charged with
  conspiracy to obstruct trade and commerce because they staged
  protests in several of Nashville’s segregated eating places. Just two
  days before, Nashville police had invaded Mr. Smith’s church--which
  also served as headquarters for the demonstrators--and arrested one
  of their number, James Lawson, Jr., a Negro senior theological
  student at predominantly white Vanderbilt University, on the same

  “Father, forgive them,” Mr. Smith began, “for they know not what they
  do.” And for the next half-hour, the crucifixion of Christ carried
  this meaning as he spoke:

  “The students sat at the lunch counters alone to eat, and when
  refused service, to wait and pray. And as they sat there on that
  Southern Mount of Olives, the Roman soldiers, garbed in the uniforms
  of Nashville policemen and wielding night sticks, came and led the
  praying children away. As they walked down the streets, through a red
  light, and toward Golgotha, the segregationist mob shouted jeers,
  pushed and shoved them, and spat in their faces, but the suffering
  students never said a mumbling word. Once the martyr mounts the
  Cross, wears the crown of thorns, and feels the pierce of the sword
  in his side there is no turning back.

  “And there is no turning back for those who follow in the martyr’s
  steps,” the minister continued. “All we can do is to hold fast to
  what we believe, suffer what we must suffer if we would forgive them,
  for they know not what they do.”

  This new gospel of the American Negro is rooted in the theology of
  desegregation; its missionaries are several thousand Negro students
  who--like Paul, Silas, and Peter of the early Christian era--are
  braving great dangers and employing new techniques to spread the
  faith. It is not an easy faith, for it names the conservative Negro
  leadership class as sinners along with the segregationists. Yet this
  new gospel is being preached by clergymen and laymen alike wherever
  Negroes gather.

Here, then--in the American Negro’s mind and for his loyalty--is being
waged one of the several battles gods have fought during the history
of man. This particular encounter is between a home-grown Allah who
is one with black men the world over, but who has a special yen for
the American Negro, and a transmuted Jesus who was born in Judea,
crucified on Golgotha’s heights, rose from the dead to ascend into
heaven, but submitted to reincarnation as a student sit-in. And so it
is that Allah and Jesus fight it out for the spiritual allegiance of
the American Negro at a lunch counter in Woolworth’s.

This is indeed a long way from the mountains near Olympia and the
flats of Greece where the gods once romped and fought for glory. But
gods follow man; wherever man is, wherever the great issues of man
are being determined, there also one will find the gods. Man and the
issue are now centered around the rise and current crisis of Western
civilization. The British historian-theologian Arnold Toynbee suggests
that the black Westerner may well determine the fate of Atlantic
civilization. The gods apparently agree, and they have come to our
shores to ply their wares. But Western man, particularly the Negro, is
demanding more of his gods than man once did.

Once upon a time all god had to do was promise man life after death,
an eternal remission for the sins man committed on earth while trying
to sing a hymn in a strange land. But the gods can no longer get away
with such shoddy realism; men want to eat good food, sleep without
being awakened by nibbling rats, work at jobs commensurate with their
abilities, live where their earning power allows them, and use all
facilities paid for out of public funds.

“We don’t want to eat a hot dog in this store,” Jeremiah X said to me
as we watched scores of Birmingham youngsters stage sit-ins; “we want
the store and the ground on which it sits.”

This is the dilemma the Black Muslims now face: They must eschew
everything tinged by “integration,” yet they must seek acceptance
among the black masses who are risking their all--particularly in the
South--for the sake of fuller involvement in the American mainstream.
The Muslims’ reply, of course, is the separate state, a place where
all American black men will live, have their own government, readopt
Arabic, reaccept Allah, and ready themselves for the hour when the
“word” will be given and Armageddon will proceed.

The tragedy of this is that Black Muslim leaders, including Elijah
Muhammad, have said they know such a state will never come into
being. This admission by them relieves me of the need to discuss the
impracticality of the proposal. Rather, I am engaged by the fact that
the Black Muslims continue to urge Negroes to back the demands for such
a state rather than act to better their plight in the nation as it now

Their promise of a separate state, like the chariot that was scheduled
to swing low and take us home a century ago, is but another of the
mirages that has kept the American Negro from digging water in the land
that is his and under his feet. Black Muslims are forbidden to vote;
thus they cannot help us overcome such men as Eastland and Talmadge.
They are against all forms of integration; thus they cannot help us in
the fight for better jobs, schools, and housing.

The Negro masses are beginning to indict the Black Muslims for
impotence; they talk but cannot act; they criticize but cannot correct.
Thus the Black Muslims are running the risk of becoming just another
sect, an offbeat faith that expiates destiny by the shouting of voices,
the stomping of feet, and the banging of tambourines. Their early
promise of becoming a meaningful new faith has been made pallid by
their lack of an activated social gospel. To put it bluntly, the Black
Muslims are flirting with the same doom that overtook Christianity.

As the interview in Part Two shows, I have questioned Malcolm X in
depth about this. He is adamant, his voice has the ring of finality.
In substance, his position is this:

  The Negro Revolt will fail because integration will not work; it
  will not work because the white man is wicked by nature and will not
  give Negroes full participation in American life. It is not that the
  white man refuses to integrate, but that his wicked nature makes it
  impossible for him to give justice, equality, and freedom to other
  peoples. Even the victories that have been won are tricks, token
  integration offered to a few Negroes to quiet the Negro masses. When
  Negroes realize they have been tricked, that the white man has no
  intentions of integrating, trouble will break out. And this is when
  the Black Muslims will inherit the earth, particularly America. This
  nation could avoid all this by granting Negroes states of their own.
  But they are too wicked to do even that. So let Armageddon rip.

Even so, I pressed Malcolm:

  LOMAX: Minister Malcolm, will the Black Muslims join picket lines and
  demonstrations for better jobs, housing, and schools?

  MALCOLM X: Only The Honorable Elijah Muhammad can answer that.

_The Friends and Followers of Malcolm X_

It pains Malcolm X that most people consider him _the_ spokesman for
the Black Muslims. Malcolm prefaces all his public statements with
the phrase, “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that ...”;
he attributes his every thought and action to the teachings of Mr.
Muhammad. “The Messenger is the Prophet of Allah,” Malcolm once
explained to me, “and I am but Elijah’s servant.”

Following a Los Angeles TV debate between Malcolm X, two other Negroes,
and me, my aunt invited some fifty people to meet the members of the
panel at her home. Malcolm X appeared and of course became the center
of attraction. The guests were upper-middle-class Negroes--doctors,
lawyers, teachers, professionals all. Some ten white persons were also
present. One woman asked Malcolm why he prefaced his remarks by saying,
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that....”

“Because,” Malcolm said cuttingly, “Mr. Muhammad is everything and
I am nothing. When you hear Charlie McCarthy speak, you listen and
marvel at what he says. What you forget is that Charlie is nothing but
a dummy--he is a hunk of wood sitting on Edgar Bergen’s lap. If Bergen
quits talking, McCarthy is struck dumb; if Bergen turns loose, McCarthy
will fall to the floor, a plank of sawdust fit for nothing but the
fire. This is the way it is with the Messenger and me. It is my mouth
working, but the voice is his.”

Malcolm X may well be Elijah Muhammad’s Charlie McCarthy, but it was
Charlie McCarthy who made Edgar Bergen rich and famous. By the same
token, observers are convinced that whereas Elijah Muhammad is the
maximum leader of the movement, Malcolm X is the man who will have
to save the Black Muslims from becoming just another sect or cult.
Malcolm’s role rests on more than his indisputable ability and public
presence; it is augmented by the absence of other talented men in
the movement. I have met and talked with every major figure in the
Black Muslim hierarchy, and there is not one among them who can do
the job that must be done if the organization is to make a continuing
impression on non-Muslim Negroes. This is not to say that there are
no able administrators within the movement; on the contrary, I, for
one, am convinced that Malcolm is not a good administrator, that men
like John X are better suited than he for this role. But John X cannot
capture the mind and imagination of TV viewers as Malcolm X has done.
Both of Muhammad’s sons are extremely able, but they cannot cause the
nation’s press to beat a path to Muhammad’s door, as Malcolm has done.

Malcolm X now holds down three jobs: he is minister of Temple Number
Seven, New York; minister of Temple Number Four, Washington, D.C.; and
traveling bishop-trouble shooter for the entire movement. Malcolm roams
the nation holding press conferences and being the _official presence_
wherever Muslims get into trouble with the police; he moves between
temples, making sure that internal problems are handled correctly; he
moves from town to town organizing new temples and addressing mass
rallies; he has spoken at most major universities outside the South and
fills the air waves with his beguiling jargon.

Then Malcolm commutes several times a month to Phoenix, Arizona, where
the asthma-stricken Elijah Muhammad now lives, for further guidance and
policy conferences. Hardly a day passes that Malcolm does not speak
with the Messenger from wherever he is by telephone. I know from many
personal experiences that even so trivial a request as one for Malcolm
to sit for an interview is cleared with The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
I also know that Muhammad sometimes says “no” and that Malcolm obeys.
Many commentators make much over what they call the “New York-Chicago”
cleavage within the Black Muslim movement. I am inclined to doubt
the reality of that cleavage, but I am also convinced that there are
stresses and strains within the movement, the same kinds of stresses
and strains that afflict any organization that involves human beings.

Elijah Muhammad officially lives in Chicago but actually spends almost
all of his time in Arizona. This is for reasons of health alone and
talk to the contrary is untrue. From Phoenix the Messenger runs
everything. Chicago is the nerve center of the movement, and Elijah
activates it by telephone calls and couriers. It is now clear that
Elijah has delegated to Chicago the responsibility for turning out the
movement’s publications and over-all policy statements. It is equally
clear that the finances and other administrative chores of the movement
are carried out in Chicago. Malcolm at one time carried some of these
responsibilities, particularly the publishing of the Muslim newspaper,
and many observers thought they saw an intraorganizational fight when
these responsibilities were taken from him and given to Chicago. They
are wrong; what they saw was a freeing of Malcolm X, a decision by
Muhammad that Malcolm was needed as ambassador-at-large for the Black
Muslims, that he should not be tied down to the responsibility of
editing and publishing a weekly newspaper. This decision by Muhammad
was made possible because John X, a former FBI agent and perhaps the
best administrative brain in the movement, was shifted from New York to

Raymond Sharrieff is without doubt the strong man of the movement. He
is tall, big, and quiet, as a strong man should be. But his strength,
too, flows down from that enigmatic man, Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad has
been able to harness Malcolm X, John X, and Sharrieff to the same plow
and make them pull in tandem. But once Muhammad dies--at least, so most
observers feel--this triumvirate will fly apart and wreck the movement.
I doubt it. The Black Muslims know the world is waiting for just this
to happen, and I am positive they have already made certain that it
will not happen.

_The New Policy_

Succession is not the major question facing the Black Muslims; the
young, thinking men in the hierarchy know what the big issue is, know
that they must issue a new policy statement if they are to capture
the minds of the Negroes who are carrying out the current revolution.
Calling the white man a devil and exhorting all Negroes to prepare for
life in a separate state simply is not enough to win over the children
who marched at Birmingham and all over this republic. No, if the Black
Muslims are to get a hearing, they must have more than this to say.

This new policy statement is the prime concern of the Black Muslim
movement. Several factors are involved:

First, the consensus among the Black Muslim hierarchy is that
the current Negro demonstrations will end in bitter defeat and
disappointment. These men, including Elijah Muhammad, are unalterably
convinced that white America will not honor the promise of integration.
Then, at least so the thinking goes, the Negro people will set off
trouble; they will denounce and abandon Martin Luther King, Roy
Wilkins, and James Farmer; they will turn for leadership to someone
who foresaw the defeat clearly. In the meantime, however, good but
misguided Negroes will take to the streets and demonstrate because they
still have faith in integration, they still believe in the ability of
white people to do the right thing.

I predict the Black Muslims will erect a policy of _active
wait-and-see_; they will not join picket lines and participate
in demonstrations, but they will take a more active part in
general community life. This, I think, is the meaning behind the
recent announcement that the Black Muslims are considering active
participation in politics. The suggestion was made during the
movement’s annual convention in Chicago early in the spring of 1963.
It is still not clear just what the Muslims have in mind, but I see
them first moving to register their people and then supporting Negro
candidates who share some of the Muslims’ concerns.

[Illustration: Malcolm X addressing a Harlem rally protesting crime.
Many civic and elected officials share the platform with him, look on
as Malcolm X says, “Dope, prostitution, and numbers could not flourish
here in Harlem without the knowledge of the police!”

(_Photo by Robert L. Haggins_)]

[Illustration: Malcolm X raising money during a Washington, D.C., rally
at which Elijah Muhammad spoke. Black Muslims give a portion of their
wages to the temple each week, and these donations are the movement’s
major source of income. However, Muslims do raise additional funds at
rallies and bazaars. (_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: A Muslim meeting at Urlene Arena, Washington, D.C.
Malcolm X confers with Wallace Muhammad. (_Richard Saunders from

[Illustration: Muslim women at Urlene Arena meeting.

(_Richard Saunders from Pictorial_)]

[Illustration: Malcolm X speaking at Harvard Law School. All over the
nation he has told such audiences of the Black Muslims’ teaching.

(_Photo by Robert L. Haggins_)]

[Illustration: Black Muslims demonstrating in front of courthouse
during trial of one of their brothers. (_Photo by Robert L. Haggins_)]

[Illustration: Members of The Fruit of Islam stand inspection.

(_Richard Saunders from Pictorial_)]

[Illustration: Malcolm X “makes it plain” at Temple Number Seven in

(_Richard Saunders from Pictorial_)]

[Illustration: Elijah Muhammad, who makes all major decisions, confers
with his chief aids: (_top left_) Raymond Sharrieff, chief of The Fruit
of Islam; (_top right_) Malcolm X; (_bottom left_) National Secretary
John X; (_bottom right_) Elijah Muhammad, Jr., gives orders to The
Fruit of Islam by walkie-talkie, while Malcolm X listens.

(_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: Malcolm X makes phone call from Muslim store in Chicago.

(_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: Minister Henry X takes Muslim youths on tour of the
Museum of Natural History. “This was our culture before the white man
kidnaped us,” he tells them. (_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: Four Muslim sisters have dinner at a temple restaurant.

(_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: Muslim women making their own costumes--long flowing
dresses and headpieces. (_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

[Illustration: Muslim youngsters being taught Arabic at the University
of Islam in Chicago, the largest Arabic school in the nation. The
University is accredited and trains youth from kindergarten through
high school. Picture above blackboard is of Elijah Muhammad. The star
and crescent is the symbol of the Nation of Islam.

(_Photo by Eve Arnold, Magnum_)]

These candidates will not be Black Muslims; they will be “race” men who
are willing to “speak out,” an act that is so dear to the hearts of
Muslims. These Negro candidates will not back such Muslim programs as
the quest for an all-black state, but neither will they denounce the
Black Muslims. Some Black Muslims may run for office, however. Malcolm
X has often flirted with the idea of seeking a Congressional seat, and
there are those, including me, who feel he would win if he selected the
right area.

This would mean that the Black Muslims would work with political
candidates who must also work with other groups, some of whom would
support direct action. This would indirectly ally the Muslims with
direct action and would improve their image, provided they accompanied
such action with the cessation of attacks on men like Martin Luther
King and Roy Wilkins. As I see it, this is the best possible position
for the Black Muslims: it would ally them with the Negro push for
better housing, jobs, and schools while at the same time allowing them
to abstain from direct action; it would also free them to say that a
separate state is still _the best_ answer. Most of all, such a move
would lift the Black Muslims to the level of respectability they have
so long wanted. Other Negro spokesmen would have to practice summitry
with the Muslims, and they would become an accepted rather than feared
force in the Negro community.

A second factor involved in the Black Muslim search for a new policy
turns on Akbar Muhammad, the youngest son of Elijah, who has just
returned to America after two years of study at Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar
University. Al-Azhar is the cultural center of orthodox Islam, and its
professors are the brains of that faith. It is beyond question that
Elijah’s position has been enhanced by Akbar’s period of study there;
it is just as certain that the Black Muslim movement will be affected
by Akbar’s return.

At this writing Akbar has been home less than a month. He is in the
company of Malcolm X and will make a nation-wide tour of Muhammad’s
temples, where he will lecture on traditional Islam and the influence
of Africa in current world affairs.

Already his influence is being felt.

“Akbar Comes to Harlem” was the billing for a major Black Muslim rally
held shortly after his return. The New York press, Negro and white, was
filled with ads and special announcements inviting people to come out
and hear Akbar Muhammad, the youngest son of Elijah Muhammad, report
on his sojourn and studies in Africa and Egypt. Much was made of the
fact that Akbar had been a student at Al-Azhar University. Even more
was made of the fact that he had attended the recent summit meeting of
African heads of state as a correspondent for the Muslim newspaper,
_Mr. Muhammad Speaks_.

Observers of the movement were certain that his speech would be heavily
pro-African, that he would argue for a closer relationship between the
Black Muslim movement and traditional Islam, and that he once again
would remind American Negroes of their African heritage. But Akbar
Muhammad’s two-hour talk before some four thousand Negroes on that
Saturday afternoon in Harlem proved to be a complete surprise; further,
it laid bare the only real schism there is within the Black Muslim

After a highly charged introduction by Malcolm X the distinguished
speaker rose. Twenty-five-year-old Akbar Muhammad is much like his
father, medium brown, diminutive, slightly built. He stood at the
lectern stroking his goatee during the three-minute ovation from the
crowd. Then he spoke: “_As-Salaam-Alaikum_.” His Arabic was exquisite.
His inflection alone was enough to let the black masses know they were
hearing something different from the southern-accented “Peace be with
you” they hear from the ordinary Black Muslims. All up and down the
block Muslims leaped into the air with ecstasy, praising Allah for the
“back home” diction one of their leaders had acquired.

Akbar had been speaking a scant five minutes when the crowd became
strangely silent. Elijah’s son was clearly giving a new teaching, a
gospel that contradicted much of what Malcolm X and others had been
saying for the past few years.

“We must have unity among Negroes,” Akbar said.

  It is time for all of us--CORE, the NAACP, Dr. Martin Luther King,
  the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Black
  Muslims--to sit down together behind closed doors and unite. Negro
  leaders must now stop calling each other names. We must stop calling
  Dr. King names, and he must stop talking about us before the enemy.
  We may not be able to walk all the way to freedom together, but we
  can walk half the way together, so let’s unite and walk together as
  far as we can.

The audience began to warm to his strange message. The notion of unity
among Negro leaders--including the Muslims--was not new. Malcolm X
had launched the same theme three years ago but found no takers among
established Negro leaders. Recently, however, the breach had widened;
Malcolm called Martin Luther King “a chump, not a champ”; King took to
a New York pulpit and denounced “those among us who would have us live
in a separate state.” The night of that sermon King was pelted with
eggs as he entered the church. Malcolm X denied that the Black Muslims
were responsible for the incident but he also refused to say he was
sorry that it had happened. All this was less than two weeks before the
speech by Akbar.

I watched the setting as Akbar continued to speak. The stage obviously
had been readied for him. This was no ordinary rally: Elijah Muhammad,
Jr., had flown in from Chicago to be present, along with John X Ali,
National Secretary for the movement. Ministers Jeremiah (Baltimore),
Louis X (Boston), and Thomas J. (Hartford) were there. Minister Woodrow
(Atlantic City) was on hand with his camera crew, and Joseph X, captain
of the New York Fruit, turned his men out in full dress. This was
clearly a major move, and the Muslims had worked hard to underscore its

But what did it all mean?

“Now if we can unify,” Akbar continued, “we can get help. I have just
come from Africa,” he said with a sly smile, “and I bring you a message
from our African brothers. Now you newsmen get this correct. I am only
bringing a message to the people, a message sent by their brothers
in Africa. This is the message: Spokesmen from African states--I’ll
even go so far as to tell you that they are on the west coast of
Africa--told me to tell you that if you unite, they are ready to help
us win our freedom. They are ready to help us with arms, men, and

The crowds at such street rallies in Harlem are always infiltrated with
black nationalists, and the mere thought of Africans sending arms, men,
and know-how to aid the American Negro was enough to set off rejoicing.

To the dismay of newsmen, who hoped he would go into the who, what,
when, where, and how of all this, Akbar let the matter drop. Instead he
turned to a discussion of the white man.

“I don’t hate any man because of the color of his skin,” Akbar said. “I
look at a man’s heart, I watch his actions, and I make my conclusions
on the basis of what he does rather than how he looks.”

There are two ways of interpreting what Akbar said: He could have been
saying that action, not skin color, was the determining factor in any
moral judgment; or he could have been spouting the Muslim line that
the white man can prove he is not evil by nature by acting correctly.
Either way, what Akbar was saying is a long way from the strong line
preached by both Malcolm X and Elijah. And when this is coupled with
Akbar’s public denunciation of those Negro leaders who call other Negro
leaders names, his speech takes on an even stranger character.

Akbar closed his talk with a call for unity among black men all over
the world. “What we must have,” he said, “is unity among American
Negroes; once we get that, Africans are willing to help us with men,
guns, and know-how. Then we can proceed to unity of black men all over
the world.”

As Akbar finished, the crowd applauded with vigor; they were all
aware that they had witnessed a peculiar thing. First, Akbar had not
mentioned the separate state a single time during his speech. This is
indeed strange coming from the son of the Messenger, the man whose
basic tenet is a call for “several states” where Negroes can form
their own government. Second, Akbar did not once use the phrase, “The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad.” He made only one reference to his father,
and that came when he said, “The Teacher tells us that we should
prepare ourselves for black unity.” Most of all, Akbar’s talk had none
of the strident denunciations of white men that one expects to hear at
a Black Muslim rally.

It was Malcolm X who pointed up the strangeness of the doctrine we had

“I am guilty!” Malcolm told the crowd after Akbar finished. “I am
guilty of calling other Negro leaders names. As you know, no one has
done more of that recently than I have. But today we have heard a new
teaching, and we are all going to abide by it.... Now brothers with
the white buckets will pass among you. And you integrate those white
buckets with some green dollar bills. Meanwhile I am going to talk
to you.... If you help Mr. Muhammad, you are helping the man who has
helped you. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the man who has told you
the truth about yourself; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the man who
has told you the truth about the white man.... The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad is the man who has made it possible for Brother Akbar to go
to school back home in Egypt; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the man
who tells you to stand up; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the man
who tells you to look up; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the man who
tells you to clean yourself up, provide for your wife and children,
protect your family. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad will make you stop
drinking; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad will make you stop stealing;
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad will make you be true to your family; The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad will get that monkey [dope addiction] off
your back; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad will get this white, blue-eyed
gorilla off your back!”

“Make it plain, Brother Minister, make it plain.”

Black men and their women all up and down the streets shouted and
jumped for joy. This was what they had come to hear in the first place.
Big Red had made their cups run over. Now they were ready to go home.

The Harlem rally was Akbar’s hour. Malcolm X had given the Messenger’s
son, the bright kid away at school in Egypt, a major New York hearing
with the press in full attendance. And Akbar had acted like an Arab;
he had talked traditional Islam and preached black unity. It was
abundantly clear that Akbar is much more committed to Africa than he
is to a separate black state here in America. He reflects the Arabs’
involvement with black unity throughout the world. And here lies the
schism, for it is clear that Malcolm X is closer to Elijah Muhammad,
in terms of just what the American Negro should do, than is Elijah’s
own son. This schism, however, is not as wide or as serious as the
Muslims’ detractors would have it. Elijah’s big point is that the Negro
should have a separate state; the Arabs simply shrug this off. But the
imminent fall of white civilization is something upon which they all
agree and for which they are all preparing.

One can expect, then, that the Black Muslims will become more “Islamic”
and more “political” in the days just ahead. The new emphasis on
traditional Islam will be primarily a matter of ritual and temple
organization; the new “political” attitude will be an attempt at a
social ethic that would place the Muslims in favor with the black
masses without committing them to “integration” causes.

But this is a holding operation, something the Black Muslims, like
God, suffer to be so. They are going to effect an accommodation with
the Negro Revolt, but they are certain that the American white power
structure will defraud us all. Then the Nation of Islam can say, “We
told you so,” and sound the bugle for Armageddon.

How sound would such a new policy be?

From an organizational point of view I think it would make sense. Not
only is it the most liberal position they can possibly accommodate, but
it shows that some--perhaps quite a few people--inside the movement are
thinking creatively. As a non-Muslim, I have much the same reservations
about the new policy as I had about the old. I don’t share their total
pessimism on how the Negro Revolt will end. I can foresee a situation
in which the white power structure fails to yield and Negroes start
trouble; that not only can happen, but it probably will happen in
isolated pockets before the race issue is settled. I doubt that the
trouble will be nation-wide, but even widespread rioting would not
necessarily mean the triumph of the Black Muslims.

To state it bluntly, Negroes, as we have done in the past, can have a
race riot without becoming Black Muslims!

Let there be no denying that such a tragedy will play into the hands
of the Black Muslims; there are, indeed, grave risks involved, and the
best way to avoid them is to see to it that the tragedy doesn’t occur.

_Peace Be Unto You_

The Black Muslim movement is undeniably a sect, if for no other reason
than that it is dominated and run by charismatic leadership. The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the mystical and powerful presence of the
movement, the meaning around which everything else occurs and orbits.
Elijah Muhammad has never claimed immortality; thus even the Black
Muslims know he will eventually die. Critics of the movement predict
that there will be a frenetic, perhaps bloody, scramble for leadership
at Muhammad’s death. My prediction is that the Black Muslim hierarchy
will gather in conclave and that they will come out with a new leader.
That leader will not be Malcolm X. Rather, I suggest that Malcolm,
John, and Sharrieff will be retained in the posts they now occupy and a
younger man--almost certainly one of Muhammad’s sons--will be the new

There are three reasons why I feel this will prove true:

1. The mystique of the movement is that Muhammad met and knew
Allah--Fard. Thus it follows that the flesh and blood of Muhammad has
inherited the magic of that encounter. Muhammad will be raised to
sainthood, and the Muslim gospel will continue to be prefaced with the
phrase, “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us....” Thus the new
Messenger should be a physical reminder of Elijah.

2. John and Sharrieff are sensible, practical men. They know the
impact Malcolm has made on the American scene, and they will keep him
precisely where he is, for this is the only way they can stay where
they are.

3. Finally, I am persuaded of the morality of these Black Muslim
leaders. Think of their doctrine what one may, I am convinced that they
would no more fight publicly over the question of leadership than would
the cardinals of the Roman Church. Indeed, I feel the conclave will
move just as the Catholic Church has often moved, that the question
of a new leader will be overshadowed by a debate over policy. I see
Malcolm, then, not as the maximum leader, but as prime minister and
behind-the-scenes policy maker.

This is no cause for rejoicing. Akbar Muhammad, who I suspect will be
the new Messenger, is steeped in traditional Islam. He will bring to
the maximum-leadership post the zeal and determination one associates
with the early Mohammedans. Followers of Allah have always been strong
on internal brotherhood and notoriously short of patience and mercy
toward outsiders. Those of us who have studied the movement have had
to stand muster before Raymond Sharrieff, and to a man we are agreed
that we would not enjoy tangling with him and The Fruit. Once Elijah
is dead, I suspect the prospect of tangling with him will be even less

“I’ll be honest with you,” Malcolm X said to me. “Everybody is talking
about differences between the Messenger and me. It is absolutely
impossible for us to differ. What he says is law; that is what is done.
But I’ll tell you this,” he added. “Mr. Muhammad was with Allah, and
he has been granted divine patience; he is willing to wait on God to
deal with the devil. Well, the rest of us have not seen Allah; we don’t
have this divine patience, and we are not so willing to wait on God.
The younger Black Muslims want to see some action!”

For the first and, to my knowledge, only time Malcolm deviated from
the Messenger’s position when he said that. Malcolm X means it, he is
not alone: Akbar means it, John X means it, Sharrieff means it, and
Wallace, another son of Elijah’s, means it. These men are waiting for
integration to fail. This republic would do well to take them seriously.

The Black Muslims will endure but they will not prevail. Rather, they
will linger for years to come and be a constant reminder of what this
republic did to thousands who sought its promise. They will integrate
this nation’s body politic and make us continually aware of what can
happen if white men don’t learn to love before black men learn to hate.
And maybe one day before I die we can all join together--black and
white and Malcolm X--and say, “_As-Salaam-Alaikum_.” That is to say,
peace be unto you.


_The Prophet’s Voice_



“_Come and see and hear the most fearless black man in America today;
the man who is going to defy the Ku Klux Klan!_”

_This is the way the Black Muslims billboarded Elijah Muhammad’s
now-famous “Atlanta Speech” of 1961. For when it was announced that
Muhammad was to speak in Atlanta, the Klan issued a statement that
they, too, would hold a rally and a march on the same day, at the same
time. The Black Muslims’ propaganda machinery went into action, and the
Atlanta Speech was advertised as a major confrontation between Elijah
and the Klan. Something a little different from that is what actually

_Malcolm X flew into Atlanta several days before the scheduled meeting
and began talks with police and other city officials. Malcolm was
assured that the police would enforce law and order, that the Black
Muslims could proceed with their meeting without fear of trouble from
the Klan or anyone else._

_Even so, the Black Muslims took advantage of every opportunity to
dramatize their presence and activities. Long before the meeting began
members of The Fruit of Islam took up posts on rooftops overlooking
the route Muhammad would travel to Magnolia Hall. Even more Fruit
cordoned the hall itself. With a seating capacity of only five hundred,
the auditorium was jammed hours before the meeting began; another two
thousand people lined up along the dirt road leading to the auditorium
and heard the speech over loud-speakers. They would have fared just
as well had they stayed home since the entire five-hour speech was
broadcast over a local Negro-oriented radio station._

_The expectation mounted as word came that Muhammad had landed at
the airport; several minutes later it was announced that Muhammad
was taking a few moments of ease at the home of the local minister;
then word came that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was en route to the

_The Fruit of Islam formed themselves into a double column that
stretched from the platform inside the auditorium, out the front door,
down the steps, and across the sidewalk to the curb where Elijah would

_As the crowd cheered, a long black limousine pulled up to the
auditorium and Elijah Muhammad--a five-foot-five, unimpressive little
man--along with a retinue of some six members of his family swept into
the building down the corridor formed by The Fruit. The applause inside
the temple was loud and sustained; nervously adjusting his bow tie,
Elijah Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, took several bows before the
people resumed their seats._

_After a long and impassioned introduction by Malcolm X, Elijah
Muhammad rose to speak. Most of that long, rambling lecture follows.
It is a full statement of Black Muslim doctrine replete with attacks
on Negro leaders--Negro preachers in particular. Herein we will find
a detailed account of how the evil black scientist Yakub created the
white world; we learn why the white race has endured for so long; but
most of all Elijah used the Atlanta Speech to make an impassioned
plea to Negroes to become “fearless.” [Observers feel that Muhammad’s
repetitious urging that Negroes cease to fear white people is one of
his strongest attractions for the Negro masses.]_

_Of particular interest, at least to me, is the Paulinean stance Elijah
Muhammad assumes in this speech. He begins by offering greetings of
peace and the good life; then he goes on to thank his local minister,
Jeremiah X, for having arranged this meeting. This done, Muhammad links
the Black Muslims with the “725 million more brothers and sisters in
the World of Islam,” and issues a special note of thanks to those of
his followers who have come from as far away as California._

_Finally, I wish to underscore the closing of this speech: “I am God’s
last Messenger to you. You must accept Allah as God.” This is the only
time I have encountered the doctrine of Elijah as the last Messenger.
But it bolsters my suggestion that when he dies, Muhammad will still
be “The Messenger” and that the new leader of the movement will be
a younger man, a titular head, while strong men like Malcolm X and
Raymond Sharrieff carry the load._

AS-SALAAM-ALAIKUM: In the name of Allah, the most Merciful God, to whom
all holy praises are due, the Lord of all the worlds; the most Merciful
Finder (of) and Lifegiver to the Lost-found, mentally dead so-called
Negroes here in the Wilderness of North America.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters:

I am more than honored by your presence here this afternoon and your
sincere welcome to me and to my followers here in this great city of

I thank Allah for Minister Jeremiah, my faithful minister here whose
tireless efforts in Atlanta and throughout the South have made this
great gathering here today possible. The work that Minister Jeremiah
has been doing here in the South has pleased Allah, and it has pleased
me too.

Year after year I receive letters from many converts here in Atlanta,
and I know that the Word of Allah is spreading rapidly among our people
here in the South because of the ever increasing volume of your letters
to me.

And, my beloved people, I want you to know that those of you here in
Atlanta and in other parts of the South who accept Islam, which is the
true religion of Almighty God, are not alone. Not only do you have a
fast-growing number of brothers and sisters in all of the Northern
cities, but you have 725 million more brothers and sisters in the World
of Islam.

I am also thankful to my followers who have traveled here to Atlanta
to be with me today from my various temples throughout America, and
especially the caravan of young Muslims who motored over 2,000 miles
all the way from Los Angeles, California, to be here on this grand

My followers are with me wherever I go, and it is wonderful to have
such sincere people who will follow you all around the country like
this because it shows unity, and it also shows there is no religion
that can produce unity like the unity produced by Islam. Yes, today
the Muslims are in all the major cities of America, and if you look
around in the smaller cities you will find us there also. Just walk
around saying, “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” and pretty soon someone will reply,

Beloved brothers and sisters, again I must thank Allah for permitting
me to be in your presence here in Atlanta this afternoon. I am thankful
also to the Atlanta Police Department for the courtesies they have
shown us here in this city, and I want everyone to know we are a people
who are grateful to anyone who is nice to us, and peaceful toward us.
We are a people of peace. We are seeking to spread brotherly love
among the so-called Negroes for it is they who have been deprived of
brotherly love. We (Muslims) have come through the same trials and
tribulations as they have, and now we want them to see and share the
brotherhood that Islam has given us.

Islam is not a new religion. Islam is not a religion that has been
organized by the white man. Islam is the religion of God Himself, and
Islam is the religion of all the prophets of God, from Adam to Muhammad
(the last). Islam was the religion of Moses, Noah, Abraham, and
Jesus. Islam will be the last of the three great religions (Buddhism,
Christianity, and Islam) that now dominate the earth.

Islam must be the last of these three great religions because God
Himself is the Author of Islam, and Islam is to bring peace and
contentment after this war and trouble-making world which you now know
has been destroyed ... and you can see that this trouble-making world
is already on its way out.

Islam has not made great progress for the past 6,000 years because this
is the religion that God Himself would spread in the “last days.” If
Islam had been forced upon all the people of the earth during the past
6,000 years there would not have been any “World of Christianity,”
there would not have been any “World of Buddhism” ... and there would
never have been anything like the “Caucasian World.” Islam would have
prevented their progress. God Himself has held Islam “in check” to give
these other “worlds” free reign during the past 6,000 years.

But, Islam was the religion of the black people who lived before Adam
was made, as far back as 66 trillion years ago when the earth and the
moon were together and formed one and the same planet ... and which at
that time was called “moon” instead of earth.

According to the word of Allah to me, one of our wise black scientists
was upset over the dialect the people were speaking, and he wanted to
change the language and make all of the people speak the same dialect.
He became angry because he could not get the others to go along with
him, and when he saw that he could not accomplish what he wanted, he
drilled a huge shaft into this planet for about four or five thousand
miles deep, and filling that hole with high explosives he set it off,
with the intention of destroying all civilization. He thought he would
get rid of us.

That part of the planet which we call “moon” today was blasted 12,000
miles from its original pocket that it had been rotating in at the time
of the explosion, and this part that we call “earth” today dropped
36,000 miles from that pocket and found another pocket and started
rotating again ... (it all happened in the twinkling of an eye) ... and
that part (moon) that was blasted away dropped all of its water upon
this part (earth), and this is why three-fourths of the earth’s surface
today is covered by water, and also why there is no life on the moon.

We are the people who devised that great destruction of our planet.
That part (moon) that you see up there in the sky shining at night was
once joined with this part (earth) that we now five on. Before the
explosion the entire planet was then called “moon.” (Not really by
the word “moon” that we use today, but by a word in Arabic that means
practically the same thing.) We will have another great destruction,
and we will provide that one too. We ourselves (the black nation) are a
people who can never be destroyed. There never was a time when we (the
black nation) didn’t exist. We don’t have any birth record of the black
nation. We have no beginning and we have no ending. So don’t talk
about getting rid of the Black Man, because you cannot do it.

Again I say, we are happy to be in Atlanta today, the capital of
Georgia ... my birth state. I was born in this state, and grew up in
this state. I was a grown man, married and the father of children even
before I left this state. So don’t try and make me acquainted with
Georgia. I am already acquainted with Georgia.

This great city of Atlanta with its five colleges, institutions of
learning, is one of America’s most important cities, and is even the
gateway to the South. We thank the city for permitting us to enter it,
and the courtesy of the police department, and the mayor of this great
city, and the governor of the state. We are happy to be called one of
your own state-borned sons.

My beloved people, I am one of your brothers; I am not a foreigner, but
I have a Divine Message from the Lord of the Worlds that sounds foreign
to you because you have not heard it before.

I want you to know that we so-called Negroes are the people who have
been on this planet for trillions of years. I say so-called Negro
because you are not a Negro. You are members of the Asiatic Nation,
from the Tribe of Shabazz. There is no such thing as a race of Negroes.
This is a false name given you during slavery by your slave master,
who, after robbing you completely of your knowledge of your homeland,
your parents, and your culture, called you “Negro” or Nigger because
that word means something that is “NEUTER” or “NEUTRAL.” Therefore you
are now a little group of people on this earth who stand out because
you have become neutralized by ignorance of yourself and your own kind,
and of your enemy. You are “neutral” ... not united with yourselves,
among yourselves, nor are you united with your own people of your own

Since ignorance of self and hatred of self makes you reluctant to
unite with your own kind, and despite your love and worship of your
slave master he will not let you unite with him ... thus you are in
the middle, standing alone, neutralized by your own lack of knowledge,
unacceptable to either friend or foe ... NEGROES!!!

This is why you are called NEGRO. The slave master gave you this name
because he understood the meaning of it, although Webster has cunningly
kept you away from the true meaning of it by saying it refers to black
people ... and especially the black African who has no education or

My dear brothers and sisters, and distinguished educators of Atlanta,
you have often wondered why you had to call yourselves by this name
“Negro.” It has been due to the fact that you didn’t know its origin
and you didn’t know your origin. You have been asleep. You don’t know
whom you are from, where you are from, where you are going, how you
should stand, how you should sit ... you know nothing at all but what
your slave master chooses to tell you, and since he tells you only that
which will benefit himself and his own kind, you have been made into a
NEUTRAL person ... a shiftless, helpless NEGRO.

If the white man says to you, “Johnny, go back home, I have no work for
you today,” you go back home and sit down and wait for the white man
to send for you (when he sees fit) to come back and work on his job.
You don’t try to create a job for yourself. You are shiftless because
the lack of “proper” education and self-knowledge has left you lifeless
(mentally, economically, and otherwise).

I am not making fun of you. I am trying to lead you to the point where
you can see the basic cause of your condition. I am one of you. I came
through the same trials and tribulation and the same hell that you
did. What I say about you I am also saying it about myself. I am your
brother; I am here, if necessary, to give my life to save yours. I am
not running from death. I am running to save your life. So take me for
a friend and not an enemy.

You must learn to make jobs for yourselves so that the next time “boss”
tells you he does not have any work for you, you can tell him that you
are going to do some work for yourself.

Three hundred years under the persecution of your slave master has made
you into a blind, deaf, and dumb ... and an absolutely “dead” people.
He has taught you to eat the rotten and worse type of foods, even the
flesh of that poisonous animal, the swine (pork) ... filling your
stomach with this poison meat (pork) has deteriorated you physically,
mentally as well as morally. The Arab word for the pig is “Khainsuer.”
(“khain” means “I see,” and “suer” means “very foul.”) This word
thus means “I see something that is very foul, filthy, diseased” ...
something that is not fit to be eaten by intelligent, civilized people.

Your slave master reared you on this poisonous meat, which has dulled
your brains, and you ceased to think about your past history, and then
you were deprived easily of the knowledge of your own God and your own
religion. Thus it became easy for the slave master to deprive you also
of the knowledge of your own kind, and the knowledge of his kind. Now
you don’t know the way back to your own kind, and his kind won’t accept
you ... so they call you Nigger or Negro, which means deaf, dumb, and
blind ... neutral, dead, lifeless.

We, the Nation of Islam, who believe in freedom, justice and equality
stand not only before you today, but before the entire world as we
declare this truth about the American so-called Negroes. The nations
of earth are faced today with a worse problem than has ever presented
itself in the history of mankind, and the primary ingredient of
this great “world problem” involves the condition and position of
the so-called Negro here in America ... 20 million ex-slaves who
have become a nation within a nation and who are now crying out for
something that they can call their own. This is creating a problem
not only for America, but for the entire world, and that problem is:
how to give you a knowledge and understanding of yourself, teach you
the knowledge of your own God and your own religion, and to teach you
the knowledge of your own nation so that you can make a stand for
yourselves as other nations are making for themselves.

This problem is so delicate and complicated that only God Himself can
solve it. I am not a man who has grabbed a suitcase with a bible in
it upon my own impulses. No! I stand before you as a man who has been
chosen for you by God Himself. I did not choose myself. This must be
made clear! The Divine Revelation which I have received and which I am
preaching to you and to the entire world came to me from the Mouth of

I did not see Him in a vision and receive my mission in a vision as
others before me received theirs. I was in the Presence of God for over
three years, and I received what I am teaching you directly from His

Let the infidels curse and swear at me. Let the infidels go on the
warpath of propaganda against Elijah, but I warn you: “You better
listen today to him who has received his instructions directly from the
Mouth of Almighty God.” I did not receive this gospel from a paper, nor
a book, nor from a vision, nor from an angel, but directly from the
Mouth of Almighty God Himself.

My beloved people: I know your problems and your burdens; I know your
problems and your burdens; I know what you go through; you don’t have
to tell me ... for I have the ABSOLUTE CURE for all your problems and
ailments. All you have to do is listen to what I say, and then jump up
on your feet and follow me.

I don’t want you to be too proud, as others were in former times;
they were too proud to follow the words of the prophets. I don’t want
you to be like that. I want you to place more value on your life than
they did. Think something of your future, and your children, and your
people. Accept Allah and His religion and follow me and I will lead you
to Him and to a heaven right here on this earth. Come and follow me,
and you will not have to wait until after you die to see God, nor will
you have to wait until after you die to enjoy a heaven somewhere up in
the sky.

Beloved brothers and sisters: after receiving this Divine Revelation
that I am teaching you from the Mouth of God, I have not stopped one
day for the last twenty-nine years. I have been standing, preaching
to you throughout these past twenty-nine years, while I was free and
even while I was in bondage. I spent three and one-half years in
the federal penitentiary and also over a year in the city jail for
teaching this truth. I was also deprived of a father’s love for his
family for seven long years while I was running from hypocrites and
other enemies of this word and revelation of God, and which will give
life to you and put you on the same level with all other civilized and
independent nations of this earth ... and this is the greatest desire
of Almighty God Allah and Elijah Muhammad. This afternoon I want to
teach the so-called American Negroes the true knowledge of themselves
that will lift them from the bottom and place them back at the top of

I know how you feel. I know how you think. You think as Ezekiel says of
you. Ezekiel says, “This whole House of Israel, they say their hope was
lost and they were cut off from their fathers.” You are a people who
are all hopeless because you think there is no hope for you. You think
that because you have been cut off from your own people for so long
there is no chance of you ever uniting or of ever becoming anything
but what you now are. I say you are wrong. The God of your Fathers,
whose proper name is Allah, will strengthen you and cause you to stand
upon your own feet as an independent people in the eyes of other people
on this earth.

This Truth that I am teaching will raise you up from the grave, not out
of the earthly grave, but out of the “grave of ignorance.” You just
need the knowledge of yourself, your own God and your own religion. God
has missioned me to give you this Truth: freedom, justice, and equality.

These are the things I must teach you about: freedom first, because
you have never been free here in America. You know nothing about
the pleasures or happiness of a free person. You know nothing about
justice. You know nothing about equality, or being equal with other
civilized nations of earth.

I know you and your thoughts about me and what I teach. Inwardly,
some of you are with me 100 per cent, but outwardly you are not. Why?
Because you have the greatest enemy over you a man can have, and that
is “FEAR.” Fear is your greatest enemy. You were filled with fear of
your slave master when you were little babies, over 400 years ago when
our fathers were brought in chains to the Western Hemisphere on a slave
ship that was named “The Good Ship Jesus.” The captain of that ship was
an English Christian named John Hawkins.

The American white people had come to this country from Europe and had
already begun to subdue the Indians. We were brought here to a people
who could not speak our language nor could we speak theirs. Thus the
language of our forefathers was soon destroyed, and you know nothing
about it today. The language of the slave master was forced upon our
foreparents, and they were brought up also wearing the names of the
slave masters. Today, you are still speaking their language and
wearing their names.

During 300 long years of slavery you were deprived of the privilege
of even going to church, and there were no such things as schools for
you in those days. Besides depriving you of education the slave master
did not teach you about God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost that he is now
teaching you about today. You were never allowed to sit with them in
their churches until just a few years ago.

Beloved brothers and sisters, think over this: for over 400 years you
had no knowledge of yourselves, no knowledge of your own religion, and
no knowledge of the biblical prophecies and predictions pertaining to
the “lost people” who would be on this planet until the last days,
and whom God Himself would have to search for and then save them from
the clutches of their enemies. You have never been given a knowledge
of that because your slave master knew those prophecies were speaking
about you (the American so-called Negroes).

For less than 100 years now a little bit of the Christian religion has
been taught to you in a diluted form, but never the full text of it.
You have never learned the prophetic fate of Christianity, nor do you
know anything about the Caucasian people who have translated the bible
into their language. Yet, you are a people who think you know all about
the bible, and all about Christianity, and you are even foolish enough
to believe that nothing is right but Christianity.

Your slave master tampered with the words of the bible; he “translated”
it; he “revised” it; he fixed the reading of it to make you a worse
slave than your foreparents were. The slave master is the “god” who
“sent” some of your fellow slaves to preach to you. Their favorite text
was, “Servant, obey your master.” But he didn’t really have to preach
that because the lashes of the whip upon the backs of your parents for
300 years had beaten them into obedient submission.

But, my beloved brothers and sisters, the Christian religion you now
are believing in so strongly came down to you from your slave masters.
They kept that religion and its secrets guarded from your parents’ ears
for 300 years. What was then so sacred in Christianity? What was so
sacred in the bible which they kept locked away from the slaves? What
was so sacred about these things that the slave master did not want his
slaves to read or even hear preached? If it was so good, why didn’t he
want his slave to hear this good then? Why didn’t he want his slave to
believe in God then?

First of all, the slave master did not want the slaves to know the
truth about God nor about His true religion, fearing that the slave
would then begin looking for his God to deliver him from his white

I know some of you are afraid to listen to this truth but I am going to
preach it to you until you are free of that fear. A man told me a few
years ago that I would be wasting my time to come to Georgia. He said
that the Negroes in Georgia were more afraid of white people than you
will find anywhere else on this earth. I told him that I myself was
born in Georgia and did not see why they should be afraid of the white
man. I told him that I was a grown man, married and with two children
when I left Georgia. I also told him that they need not fear the white
man; the only thing they need to fear is the fear within themselves.

I say to you that your fear of the white man is THE GREAT EVIL. Fear
is of such nature that it will make you deprive yourself of your
own salvation. Fear is the enemy that will make you stoop and bring
yourself to disgrace before the world. Fear is the real enemy that you
and I should throw into the garbage can.

My beloved brothers and sisters, how could you accept of God, Jesus and
the Holy Ghost. How do you know? I am not asking you to answer these
questions, because God has missioned me to answer them for you. You
don’t know the answers. All you know is what you have heard your slave
master say.

You say Christianity is the right religion and that you believe in God
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. You believe that this
Jesus is God’s son, and that He gave His son to save you. You say that
the Holy Ghost “overpowered” a virgin girl named Mary, yet you don’t
call the child the son of the Holy Ghost, you call the child “the son
of God.” You charge God with being the father of this virgin girl’s

My beloved brothers and sisters, how could you accept a religion that
teaches you to believe the God of Righteousness was responsible for
making a virgin girl in Palestine pregnant with a child 2,000 years
ago, called this child his “son,” and let this “son” die for the sins
of the wicked world?

When a man is not married to a woman and he commits such a sinful act
it is called adultery. God is not married to a woman, and if He commits
such a sinful act that produces a child out of wedlock, which actually
opens the gateway of adultery to the entire world, then it is a shame
to ask me to believe in that god.

We in Islam do not ascribe “sonship” to Almighty God, because He has
no son. All of us are His “spiritual” children, but He has no physical
son. To say that God has produced a physical son out of wedlock
(without being married to the mother of that son), and then placed this
son before our eyes and said, “This is my beloved son; all who believe
in him and follow him shall be saved,” actually opens the gateway for
all kinds of adultery and other indecent acts.

God had already told His prophet Moses that the people should be stoned
to death for adultery. Now if God had come 2,000 years after giving the
law against adultery to Moses, and after “courting” or “overpowering”
Mary, and she was a virgin girl who had never been touched by any man,
and yet she became pregnant with His child, and that child is the flesh
and blood “son” of God ... then the Christians are charging God Himself
with having committed adultery with Mary.

This just could not have been done if God was a spirit. If He was a
spirit He could not father a flesh and blood son. He would have to
have a son like Himself. If He was a spirit, then His son would have
to be a spirit too. And, if He did beget a son by Mary, then all other
women would be justified in producing sons that same way, by committing
adultery and then blaming it on the “spirit.”

The Western World is always defending Christianity and they mock me and
other Islamic teachers. They do not want Islam preached to you, but the
reason you are hearing it today is because it is time. This preaching
of Islam to you today cannot be stopped; it is like the rising of the
sun ... right on time.

Here in America there are also three and one-half million indirect
believers in Islam, in the secret order called Shriners, or Higher
Masons. When you take the thirty-third degree in masonry you are no
longer called a Mason; you are then called a Moslem Son, and in that
order (or degree) you are taught the prayers of the Moslems and you
come under the teachings of Islam. In that High Degree you are taught
to turn your face Eastward, toward the Holy City of Mecca in Arabia.
All of this is part of the Moslem religion, Islam.

Today, Islam must be taught to the so-called American Negroes. You must
learn about this religion, because there can be no judgment of the
devil and his wicked world until after you (the lost people of God)
have heard the truth about God and the truth about the devil as I am
teaching you today. It is only after you have heard the teachings of
Islam that you can make a wise choice between God and the devil.

We are not trying to force you to accept Islam, but we are trying to
make you realize that we know what is in store for the world; we know
what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, we are not in fear of losing our
lives, but we will lay down our lives this very minute for the truth.
We are not running from death; we are running only to save lives ...

You must have freedom, justice, and equality. You cannot be free as
long as you are calling yourselves by your slave master’s name; you
cannot be free as long as you do not know who you are; you cannot be
free as long as you do not know your own people; you cannot be free as
long as you don’t know how to even ask for freedom.

Beloved brothers and sisters, God has given me the key that will open
the door of freedom, justice, and equality that has been locked against
you. You must be taught a knowledge of your own God. My mission is to
make you acquainted with Him, to prepare you to meet Him face to face.

God is not a mystery today; He is not something invisible. He is not a
spirit. He is not something other than flesh and blood; He is in the
flesh and in the blood. God is a human being! God would have no joy or
pleasure in humans (us) if He Himself were something other than a human
being. God would have no joy or pleasure in the material universe if He
Himself were other than material.

The devil is also a flesh and blood human being. The devil is not an
invisible spirit. The bible and the Holy Quran both plainly state that
God is going to destroy the devil in a Lake of Fire in “the last days.”
If the devil was an invisible spirit he could not be destroyed. You
can destroy a man but you cannot destroy a spirit. So I repeat to you,
my beloved brothers and sisters, God and the devil both are flesh and
blood human beings.

There is no such thing as seeing God or the devil after you die. There
is no such thing as a heaven up in the sky or a hell down in the
ground. All of that is fantasy, false stories made up by your slave
master to further enslave you. God is a man! The devil is a man! Heaven
and hell are two conditions, and both are experienced in this life
right here on this earth. You have already suffered the worse kind of
hell in the hands of the only real devil!

It is the devil who did not want you to know this truth that God has
missioned me to teach my people. He is afraid that when you learn his
real identity you will then separate yourselves from him and thereby
escape the fiery destruction God has prepared for him. He wants to keep
you from your salvation in the hereafter. He knows that without this
truth that I am teaching you, you could never avoid the fire that God
has ordained for him and enter into the Hereafter. And by HEREAFTER,
we mean the Kingdom of Righteousness that God will establish “here” on
this earth “after” the devil has been destroyed in the Divine Lake of

Beloved brothers and sisters, it has been predicted by all the prophets
that God is coming. Well, if God is coming (and He must be coming
because the whole world claims to be “_looking_” for Him), then He
must be something visible. If He is an invisible spirit then the world
wouldn’t be “_looking_” for Him to come. The world couldn’t say, “We
will _see_ Him” ... because we don’t “_look_” for a spirit, we _feel_
for a spirit.

If God is a spirit and He says He made Adam in His own image and
likeness, then I say to you Adam would have been a spirit. But God did
not make a spirit; He made a man like Himself. Man looks like God and
God looks like man because God is a man.

Man acts like God; he acts with power. Man does not just sit down and
wait for the wheat to grow itself, harvest itself, make itself into
flour, bake itself, and then bring itself to him to eat, does he? No!!!

Man plants the wheat, man cultivates it, man threshes it, man grinds it
into flour, man bakes the bread, and then man eats it. If man sits all
day in the house waiting for a spirit to produce that bread he would
starve to death. No spirit in heaven or in hell will bring you bread
... and no spirit in heaven or in hell will bring you freedom, justice,
or equality.

I say to you, my beloved brothers and sisters, your slave master and
his imps (the Negro preachers) have blinded you by such ignorant
teachings and today you are still foolishly sending your praises and
your prayers to an invisible God who is supposed to be somewhere out in
space, and who cannot be found by you until after you die. And, this
same ignorant doctrine has you believing there is an invisible devil
down in the earth somewhere beneath your feet ... while in reality the
devil is right here on top of the earth, walking around on two feet
like you are, and you are looking at him every day.

God is a man, a flesh and blood being, but He is a Divine Being. Why
do we call God a Divine Being? Because He is a being like we are but
His wisdom, power, and other capabilities and attributes are Supreme
... making Him the Highest Power, the Supreme in Power, or Supreme
Power. He is a being like ourselves, but He has the Divine Capacity of
exercising His Power or to project through His Power the powers of the
Universe ... and therefore we call Him the Supreme Being and the God
of the Universe. He has the Divine Power to will whatever He wishes
and to bring it into existence with His Divine Will. But He is not an
invisible spirit somewhere up in the sky. His home is right here on
this earth.

I would defy any spirit outside the spirit that is in a man to do
anything for me or to me. I would defy any devil that is outside of a
man to do anything for me or to me. But I do recognize the devil in
these that can do us harm and have done us harm. No spirit independent
of man can do us harm or good.

Beloved brothers and sisters, let us bring our minds out of the sky;
let us stop being spooky; let us learn to face reality; let us look
around here on this earth as other intelligent and civilized people
are doing. Here in Atlanta is the seat of education for the so-called
Negroes in this country. Yet most Negroes here are still locked into
the most crowded and undesirable areas. Therefore, I would like to
know what are our educated people doing with this education to elevate
the living standards of your own people, and to eliminate the misery
and poverty yet suffered by the so-called Negro masses who do not have

You who are college graduates, and you who are educators and
instructors here in Atlanta, Georgia: I would like for you to tell me
what you are doing with this education you have received from the white
man toward making your own people more independent? What are you doing
for your people with your education? Should not you take that education
to unite your people and bring them up out of the “mud of ignorance,”
and make them an independent people? But with all your education you
yourself are still dependent upon your slave master for a job, and for
your food, clothing and shelter. With your education, you have enough
land and farmers to do something about the condition of the so-called
American Negro.

But you must first agree that the most important ingredient has been
omitted from your education, and that is the knowledge of God, the
devil, of yourself, and of your enemy. Accept Allah and His true
religion (Islam), and come and follow me. I am God’s Messenger to you.
I have the keys to your salvation. Come and follow me and I will show
you how to use your education, your skills and talents, for the good of
your own people and yourself.

In the unity and harmony and Brotherhood created by the religion of
Islam, it is easy for us to pool our knowledge and finance to set up
farms and grow food to feed our people; we can set up factories to
manufacture our own necessities, and other businesses with which we can
establish trade and commerce and become independent as other civilized
people are. Then, in this way you will be using your education to bring
your people out of the slums and the breadlines. They will cease to be
the “last hired and the first fired,” when you use your education to
make jobs for them.

I thank you, my beloved brothers and sisters, for being here this
afternoon, and listening so attentively to this truth. I am God’s last
Messenger to you. You must accept Allah as God. You must know that
Islam is your religion. Come and follow me; let me teach you, and I
will put 20 million so-called American Negroes overnight on the road
to success ... on the road toward complete independence in a home of
your own, where you will never any more have to beg anyone for freedom,
justice, or equality.

Thank you, my beloved brothers and sisters. May Allah forever bless
you, as I leave you with the greetings of the peaceful and the
righteous: As-Salaam-Alaikum ... which means, “Peace be unto you.”


_This 1960 speech, delivered by Malcolm X before a jam-packed Harvard
Law School Forum, comes from what I have called the Black Muslims’
“rasping” period. These were their early days on the national scene,
and it would be interesting to find out if Malcolm would make just such
a speech now._

_Malcolm is clearly on the defensive in the first half of his long
talk; he is responding to criticism rather than spreading his own
gospel. It is only after he has answered charges that the Black
Muslims are not orthodox Muslims; only after he has denied that the
Black Muslims teach hate; and after he has put the Negro middle class
in their place for their criticism of him--only after all this does
Malcolm get down to what he really went to Harvard to say._

_In essence it is this: The American Negro must have a separate state.
This is the only way white men can atone for their sins and escape
destruction; this is the only way Negroes can return to their own._

_The Harvard Speech is the best statement--and defense--of the proposed
all-Negro state that the Black Muslims have issued. It shows why I
suggest that the Black Muslims are completely “Americanized” in their
aims and approaches. Indeed, the reader will get a good chuckle when
Malcolm delivers a blistering attack on non-American Moslems, some one
hundred thousand of them he says, who have migrated to this country but
have been unable to gather converts. Then Malcolm reminds them that
Elijah has been able to garner thousands. So then, Malcolm continues,
does this not mean that The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is indeed the

       *       *       *       *       *


We thank you for inviting us here to the Harvard Law School Forum this
evening to present our views on this timely topic: THE AMERICAN NEGRO;
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS. But to understand our views, the views of the
Black Muslims, you must first realize that we are a religious group,
and you must also know something about our religion, the religion of

The Creator of the Universe, whom many of you call God or Jehovah, is
known to the Muslims by the name ALLAH. Since the Muslims believe there
is but ONE GOD, and that all the prophets came from this ONE GOD, we
believe also that all prophets taught the same religion, and that they
themselves called that religion ISLAM, an Arabic word that means the
complete submission and obedience to the will of ALLAH.

One who practices this Divine Obedience is called a MUSLIM (commonly
known, spelled, and referred to here in the West as Moslem).

There are over 725 million Muslims on this earth, predominantly in
Africa and Asia, the non-white world ... and we here in America who are
under the Divine Leadership of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, are an
integral part of the vast World of Islam that stretches from the China
Seas to the sunny shores of West Africa.

A unique situation faces the 20 million ex-slaves here in America
because of our unique condition, thus our acceptance of Islam, and
into Islam, affects us uniquely ... differently than all other Muslim
“converts” anywhere else on this earth.

Mr. Elijah Muhammad is our Divine Leader and Teacher here in America.
Mr. Muhammad believes in and obeys God 100 per cent, and is teaching
and working among our people to fulfill God’s Divine Purpose today.

I am here at this Harvard Law School Forum this evening to represent
Mr. Elijah Muhammad, the spiritual head of the fastest-growing group of
Black Muslims in the Western Hemisphere.

We who follow Mr. Muhammad know that he has been divinely taught and
sent to us by God Himself. We believe that the miserable plight of
the 20 million black people in America is the fulfillment of divine
prophecy. We believe that the serious race problem that our presence
here poses for America is also the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We
also believe that the presence today in America of The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad, his teachings among the 20 million so-called Negroes, and his
naked warning to America concerning her treatment of these 20 million
ex-slaves is all the fulfillment of divine prophecy.

Therefore, when Mr. Muhammad declares that the only solution to
America’s serious race problem is complete SEPARATION of the two races,
he is fulfilling that which was predicted by all of the biblical
prophets to take place in this day.

But, because Mr. Muhammad takes this uncompromising stand, those of you
who don’t understand biblical prophecy wrongly label him as a racist, a
hate teacher, or of being anti-white, and of teaching black supremacy.

But, this evening, we are all here at the Harvard Law School Forum
together: both races, face to face. During the next few moments we can
question and examine for ourselves the wisdom or the folly of what Mr.
Muhammad is teaching.

Many of you who classify yourselves as “white” express surprise and
shock at this truth that Mr. Muhammad is teaching among your 20 million
ex-slaves here in America, but you should be neither surprised nor

As students, scholars, professors and scientists you should be well
aware that we are living in a world and at a time when great changes
are taking place. New ideas are replacing the old ones. Old governments
are collapsing, and new nations are being born. The entire “old system”
which has held the Old World together has lost its effectiveness, and
now that Old World is going out. A new system or New World must replace
the Old World.

Just as the old ideas must be removed to make way for the new, God has
declared to Mr. Muhammad that the evil features of this wicked Old
World must be exposed, faced up to, and removed in order to make way
for the New World that God Himself is getting ready to establish.

The Divine Mission of Mr. Muhammad here in America today is to prepare
us for this New World of Righteousness, by delivering to us a message
that will give us a better understanding of this Old World’s many
defects ... and then we will all agree that God must remove this wicked
Old World.

We see by reports in the daily press that even many of you who are
scholars and scientists think that this message of Islam that is being
taught here in America among your 20 million ex-slaves is “new,” or
that it is something Mr. Muhammad himself has made up.

Mr. Muhammad’s religious message is not “new.” All of the scientists
and prophets of old predicted that a man such as he, with a doctrine
or message such as this that Mr. Muhammad is spreading among your 20
million ex-slaves, would make his appearance among us at a time such as
we are living in today.

It is also written in your own scriptures that this prophetic figure
would not be raised up from the midst of the educated class, but that
God would make His choice of a man from among the lowly, uneducated,
downtrodden and oppressed masses ... among the lowest element of
America’s 20 million ex-slaves.

Just as it was in the days when God raised up Moses from among the
lowly Hebrew slaves, and missioned him to separate his oppressed people
from a slave master named Pharaoh, and Moses found himself opposed by
the scholars and scientists of that day, who are symbolically described
in the bible as “Pharaoh’s Magicians.”...

And just as Jesus, himself a lowly carpenter, was also missioned by
God in that day to find his people (the “lost sheep”) and separate
them from their Gentile enemies, and restore them back among their
own people ... Jesus also found himself opposed by the scholars and
scientists of his day, who are symbolically described in the bible as
“scribes, priests, and pharisees.”

Just as the learned class of those days disagreed and opposed both
Moses and Jesus primarily because of their humble origin and status,
today Mr. Elijah Muhammad is likewise being opposed by the learned,
educated intellectuals from among his own kind primarily because of his
humble origin and status in their eyesight, and efforts are made by
these modern-day “magicians, scribes, and Pharisees” to ridicule Mr.
Muhammad by magnifying the humble origin of his many followers.

Moses was raised up among his enslaved people at a time when God was
planning to remove the power of the slave master and bring about a
great change by placing the slaves in a land of their own where they
could give birth to a “New Civilization,” completely independent
of their former slave master. Pharaoh opposed God’s plan and God’s
servant, so Pharaoh and his people were destroyed.

Jesus was sent among his people again at a time when God was planning
to bring about a great change. The new dispensation preached by Jesus
2,000 years ago ushered in a new type of civilization, the Christian
civilization, better known as the Christian world.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon
him) came 600 years after Jesus with another dispensation that did not
destroy or remove the Christian civilization, but it did put a dent in
it, a wound that has lasted even until today.

Now today, God has sent Mr. Elijah Muhammad among the downtrodden and
oppressed so-called American Negroes to warn us that God is again about
to bring about another great change ... only this time, it will be a
FINAL CHANGE! This is the day and the time for a COMPLETE CHANGE.

Mr. Muhammad is teaching that the religion of Islam is the only
solution to the problems confronting our people here in America, but he
also warns us that it is even more important for us to know the base or
foundation of that which we must build upon tomorrow.

Therefore, the way in which Mr. Muhammad teaches us the religion of
Islam, and the particular kind of Islam he teaches us, may appear to be
different from that which is taught in the Old World of Islam, but the
basic principles and practices are the same.

You must remember: the condition of America’s 20 million ex-slaves is
uniquely pitiful. But, just as the old religious leaders in the days
of Moses and Jesus refused to accept Moses and Jesus as religious
reformers, today many of the religious leaders in the Old Muslim
World may also refute the teachings of Mr. Elijah Muhammad ... not
realizing the unique condition of these 20 million ex-slaves, and by
not understanding that Mr. Elijah Muhammad’s teachings are divinely
prescribed to rectify the miserable condition of our oppressed people
here ... but as God made Pharaoh’s Magicians bow before Moses, and the
Scribes and Pharisees bow before Jesus ... it is God’s plan today to
make all opposition (both at home and abroad) bow before this truth
that is now being taught by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

We are 4,000 years from the time of that great change which took place
in Moses’ day ... we are 2,000 years from the time of that great change
that took place in Jesus’ day ... and if you will but look around you
on this earth today it will be as clear as the five fingers on your
hand that we are again living at the time of a great change right now.

God has come to close out the entire Old World ... the Old World
in which for the past 6,000 years practically the entire earth has
been deceived, conquered, colonized, ruled, enslaved, oppressed and
exploited by the CAUCASIAN RACE.

When Pharaoh’s civilization had reached its peak, and his time to
rule over the slaves was up, God appeared unto Moses and revealed to
him that He had something different for his people. Likewise, God has
told Mr. Muhammad that He has something different for his People (the
so-called Negroes) here in America today, something that up until now
has never before been revealed ... Mr. Muhammad teaches us that this
Old World has seen nothing yet ... the REAL THING is yet to come.

The Black Muslims who follow Mr. Muhammad are not only making our exit
out of the door of the Old World, but the door to the New World is yet
to be opened ... and what is inside that door is yet to be revealed.

This present teaching of Mr. Muhammad among your 20 million ex-slaves
is only to prepare us to walk out of this wicked Old World in as
intelligent, pleasant, and peaceful a way as is possible.

This present teaching among the so-called American Negroes is designed
only to show proof to us why we should give up this wicked Old House.
The roof is leaking; the walls are collapsing, and we find it is no
longer able to support the tremendous weight caused by our continued
presence in it.

And since the knowledge of the deterioration and eventual collapse of
this Old Building has come to Mr. Muhammad from Almighty God Himself,
whose proper name is ALLAH, the Lord of all the Worlds, the Master of
the Judgment Day ... The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is pointing these
dangerous present conditions and future events out to you who have
enslaved us, as well as to us.

With the proper support and guidance our people can get out of this
sagging Old Building before it collapses.

But this support and guidance that we need actually consists of being
taught: a thorough knowledge of the origin, history and nature of
the Caucasian race, as well as a thorough knowledge of our own black
nation. We must have a knowledge of the true origin and history and
the white man’s Christian religion, as well as an understanding of the
Islamic religion that prevails primarily among our brothers and sisters
in Africa and Asia.

You will probably ask us: Why then, if this Old House is going to
collapse or go up in smoke, are the Black Muslims asking for some
states to be set aside for us right here in this country ... it’s like
asking for a chance to retain rooms in a house that you claim is doomed
for total destruction?

God is giving America every opportunity to repent and atone for the
crime she committed when she enslaved our people, just as God gave
Pharaoh a chance to repent before He finally destroyed him because he
was too proud to free his slaves and give them complete justice.

We are asking you for territory here only because of the great
opposition we receive from this government in our efforts to awaken our
people, unite them, separate them from their oppressors, and return
them to our own land and people.

You should never make the drastic mistake of thinking that Mr. Muhammad
has no place to take his followers in the World of Islam. No sir! He
is not shut out there like many of you wish to believe. All who accept
Islam and follow him have been offered a home in the Muslim World.

Our people have been oppressed and exploited here in America for 400
years, and now with Mr. Muhammad we can leave this wicked land of
bondage, but our former slave master is yet opposing his efforts and is
unjustly persecuting his followers who have left the Christian church
and accepted the religion of Islam.

This is further proof that our Caucasian slave master does not want
us or trust us to leave him and live elsewhere on this earth, and yet
if we stay here among them he continues to keep us at the very lowest
level of his society.

Pick up any daily paper or magazine and examine the anti-Muslim
propaganda and the false charges leveled against our beloved religious
leader by some of America’s leading reporters. This only points up the
fact that the Caucasian race is never willing to let any black man who
is not their puppet or parrot speak for our people or lead our people
out of their enslaving clutches without giving him great opposition.

The Caucasian slave master has opposed all such leaders in the past,
and even today he sanctions and supports only those Negro spokesmen who
parrot his doctrines, his ideas ... or those who accept his so-called
“advice” on how our people should carry on our struggle against his 400
years of tyranny.

The Christian world has failed to give the black man justice. This
Christian government has failed to give 20 million ex-slaves justice
for our 310 years of free slave labor. Despite this, we have been
better Christians even than those who taught us Christianity. We have
been America’s most faithful servants during peace time, and her
bravest soldiers during war time. And still, white Christians have been
unable to recognize us and accept us as fellow human beings. Today we
can see that the Christian religion of the Caucasian race has failed
us. Thus the black masses are turning away from the church back to the
religion of Islam.

The government sends its agents among our people to tell lies: they
have a well-organized all-out effort to harass them, in an effort to
frighten those of our people in this country who wish to accept the
religion of Islam, and unite under the spiritual guidance and divine
leadership of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Therefore, Mr. Muhammad has declared to you, and to your government,
that if you don’t want your 20 million ex-slaves to leave you and
return to our own land and people ... and since your actions have
proved that the Caucasian race will not accept these 20 million
ex-slaves here among them as complete equals ... then let us separate
ourselves from you right here, into a separate territory that we can
call our own, and on which we can do something for ourselves and for
our own kind.

Since we cannot live among the Caucasians in peace, and there is not
enough time left for us (this new Negro) to wait for the Caucasian race
to be “re-educated” and freed of their racial prejudices, and their
inbred beliefs and practices of white supremacy ... I repeat: Let our
people be separated from you, and give us some territory here that we
can call our own, and live in peace among ourselves.

According to recent news dispatches appearing in daily papers
throughout this nation: In prisons all over the country the wardens are
unjustly persecuting the inmates who want to change from the Christian
religion and accept the religion of Islam and follow the spiritual
guidance of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

These prison wardens even admit that when the inmates change from
Christianity to Islam they become model prisoners, but despite this
they are being persecuted and prevented from reading the Holy Quran,
the same Holy Book that is read daily by hundreds of millions of our
darker brothers and sisters in Africa and Asia.

When the true facts about this religious persecution are made known
among the 725 million Muslims in the World of Islam, that strategic
area that stretches from the China Seas to the shores of West Africa,
how do you think the American Caucasians will then look in the eyes of
those non-white people there?

The very fact that there is a concerted effort against Islam by wardens
across the country is proof that the American government is trying to
stamp out the religion of Islam here in a frantic effort to keep it
from spreading among her 20 million ex-slaves whom she continues to
confine to the lowly role of second-class citizenship.

Further proof of this is the fact that these 20 million so-called
Negroes have never even been taught about the religion of Islam during
the entire 400 years since the Caucasian first brought our people here
away from our African Muslim culture in chains ... and despite the fact
that Islam is, and always has been, the prevailing religion among our
people in Africa.

Now the American Caucasian, in a last act of desperation, is accusing
Mr. Muhammad of not being a true Muslim, and of not teaching true
Islam. If the American Caucasian knows so much about true Islam, and
has suddenly become such an authority on it, why hasn’t he taught it to
his 20 million ex-slaves before now?

Also, the American Caucasian today loves to print glaring headlines
saying that the orthodox Muslims don’t recognize or accept Mr. Muhammad
and his Black Muslims as true Muslims.

“Divide and rule” has long been the Caucasian strategy to continue
their colonization of dark people. The American Caucasian actually
has colonized 20 million black people here in this country simply
by dividing us from our African brothers and sisters for 400 years,
converting us to his Christian religion, and then by teaching us to
call ourselves “Negroes” ... and telling us we were no longer African
... (I guess he says this because our exposure to this “superior” white
culture makes us “different” ... so-called “civilized.”)

As hundreds of thousands of the ex-slaves here in America today refuse
to attend the church of the Caucasians who enslaved us, shunning all
further use of the word “Negro,” and because we are accepting ALLAH as
our God, Islam as our religion, and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad as
our religious leader and teacher ... now the Americans who enslaved us
are reverting back to the old trick of their fellow colonialists ...
“divide and rule” ... by trying to separate us from the Muslim World,
thinking that they can in this way alienate us from our people in
Africa and Asia who also serve and follow Almighty God, ALLAH.

There are probably 100,000 of what you (whites) call orthodox Muslims
in America, who were born in the Muslim World, and who willingly
migrated here. But, despite the fact that Islam is a propagating
religion, all of these foreign Muslims combined have not been
successful in converting 1,000 Americans to Islam.

On the other hand, they see that Mr. Muhammad, all by himself, has
hundreds of thousands of his fellow ex-slaves turning Eastward toward
Mecca five times daily giving praises to the Great God ALLAH.

No true Muslim, in his right mind, would denounce or deny this meek
and humble little black man, who was himself born in Georgia, the very
worst part of this country, as a leader, a defender of the faith, a
propagator of the faith, who has rekindled the light of Islam here in
the West.

His Caucasian opposers have never gotten even one responsible Muslim
official to criticize or denounce Mr. Muhammad. They succeed only in
getting some jealous or envious little peddler or merchant who migrated
here and wants to be recognized as some sort of leader himself, and who
will therefore accept the Caucasian’s thirty pieces of silver to attack
this man of God.

How would Mr. Muhammad ever make a trip into the forbidden areas
of Arabia, and visit the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina ... being
welcomed and honored by its most respected religious leaders ... the
great Imams themselves ... if he himself was not recognized as a great
religious man, and a man of God, doing miraculous works by spreading
ALLAH’s name here in the West among the 20 million ex-slaves of America?

How could Mr. Muhammad visit the capitals of the Muslim World, and be
received by its respected leaders, if he too was not recognized and
respected as a Muslim leader by them?

He visited Al-Azhar, the oldest Mosque and Muslim University in the
world, and had tea with the Chief Imam, the Grand Sheikh Shaltuat, who
kissed him on his forehead in true Muslim fashion ... yet the American
Caucasians, hoping to block his success among our people, continue to
oppose him and say he is not a true Muslim.

Again you will say: Why then don’t he and his followers leave this
house of bondage right now, and go and live in the Muslim World? All
of the Black Muslims can live in the Muslim World tomorrow, but The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad wants justice for the entire 20 million
so-called Negroes.

You and your Christian government make the problem even more
complicated. You don’t want your 20 million ex-slaves to leave you, yet
you won’t share equal justice with them right here.

Since you don’t want them to leave this country with us, and you won’t
give them equal justice among your kind ... then we will agree only if
you let us separate ourselves from you right here.

Just give us a portion of this country that we can call our own. Put us
in it. Then give us everything we need to start our own civilization
here ... that is, support us for 20 to 25 years, until we are able to
go for ourselves. This is God’s plan. This is God’s solution. This is
justice, and compensation for our 310 years of free slave labor.

Otherwise America will reap the full fury of God’s wrath, for her
crimes against our people here are many. As your bible says: “He that
leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he that kills with the
sword shall be killed by the sword.” This is the law of justice and
this is in your own Christian scriptures.

The black masses are shaking off the drugs, or narcotic effect of the
token integration promises. A cup of tea in a white restaurant is not
sufficient compensation for 310 years of free slave labor. The black
masses as represented by the Black Muslims will never be satisfied
until we have some land that we can call our own.

Again I repeat: we are not asking for territory here because Mr.
Muhammad has no place else to take us. But, to benefit the entire 20
million so-called Negroes, 20 million ex-slaves, who, despite the
fact that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued 100 years ago....
These oppressed people are still begging their former slave master for
recognition as human beings ... therefore, Mr. Muhammad is asking this
government to stop toying with our people, stop fooling them year in
and year out with false promises of token integration.

Token integration will not solve our problem. This is a false solution.
A “token” solution. It is a hypocritical approach to the problem, a
tricky scheme devised by you, and propagated by your Negro puppets whom
you yourself have appointed as our “leaders” and “spokesmen.”

Integration is not good for either side. It will destroy your race, and
your government knows it will also destroy ours ... and the problem
will still remain unsolved.

God has declared that these 20 million ex-slaves must have a home of
their own. After 400 years here among the Caucasians, we are absolutely
convinced that we can never live together in peace, unless we are
willing to remain subservient to our former masters ... therefore,
immediate and complete separation is the only solution.

NAACP Attorney Thurgood Marshall has admitted publicly that six years
since the Supreme Court decision on DESEGREGATION of the schools,
only 6 per cent desegregation has taken place. This is an example of

A kidnaper, a robber, an enslaver, a lyncher is just another common
criminal in the sight of God, and the above-mentioned criminal acts
have been committed on a mass scale for 400 years by your race against
America’s 20 million so-called Negroes.

It is true that today America professes to be sorry for her crimes
against our people, and she says she wants to repent, and in her
desire to atone or make amends she offers her 20 million ex-slaves
flowery promises of “token” integration.

Many of these downtrodden victims want to forgive America; they want to
forget the crimes you have committed against them, and some are even
willing to accept the formula of “token integration” that you yourself
have devised as the solution to correct the problems created by your
criminal acts against them.

In a court of justice the criminal can confess his crimes and throw
himself on the mercy of the court if he has truly repented, but
neither the criminal nor his victims have any say-so in suggesting the
sentence that is to be passed upon the guilty ... or the price that the
confessed criminal must pay. This is left in the hands of the Judge. We
are living in the Day of Judgment right now. God is the Judge that our
American slave master must now answer to.

God is striking this great country with tornadoes, storms, floods,
rain, hail, snow ... and terrific earthquakes are yet to come. Your
people are being afflicted with increasing epidemics of illness and
disease, divine plagues that God is striking you with because of your
criminal acts against the 20 million ex-slaves ... and today instead of
repenting and truly compensating our people for their 310 years of free
slave labor that built up this great country for you, you buy out the
Negro leaders with 30 pieces of silver and get them to sell our people
on accepting your “token integration.”

When one uses a “token” on the bus or streetcar that “token” is a
substitute for the real money. Token means “a substitute,” that which
takes the place of the real thing.

Token integration takes the place of the real thing. Two black students
at Georgia University is TOKEN integration. Four black children in New
Orleans white schools is TOKEN integration. A handful of black students
in the white schools in Little Rock is TOKEN integration. None of
this is REAL integration; it is only a pacifier designed to keep these
awakening black babies from crying too loud.

The white man’s violent rebellion, and relentless struggle against
TOKEN integration is sufficient to prove what would happen if the Negro
leaders demanded REAL INTEGRATION.

Also, according to the above-mentioned rate of speed since the
desegregation decisions of the Supreme Court, it will take us another
thousand years to get the white man in the South sufficiently
“re-educated” to accept our people in their midst as equals ... and if
the rest of the truth is told, it will also take the white man here
in the North, West and East just as long as his brother in the South
... if the frightened Uncle Tom leadership ever stops accepting his
master’s “tokens” and begins to demand the real thing.

To many of you here at the Harvard Law School Forum this evening,
this sounds ridiculous; to some it even sounds insane. But these 20
million black people here in America now number a nation in their own
right. Do you believe a nation within another nation can be successful?
Especially when they both have equal education?

Once the slave has his master’s education, the slave wants to be like
his master, wants to share his master’s property, and even wants to
exercise the same privileges as his master even while he is yet in his
master’s house.

This is the CORE of America’s troubles today; and there will be no
peace for America as long as 20 million so-called Negroes are here
BEGGING for the rights which America knows she will never grant us.

Even this limited education America has granted her ex-slaves has
already produced great unrest ... and Almighty God says the only way
for America to ever have any future peace or prosperity is for her 20
million ex-slaves to be SEPARATED from her ... and it is for this
reason that Mr. Muhammad teaches us that we must have some land of our

If we receive equal education, how long do you expect us to remain your
passive servants, or second-class citizens? There is no such thing as
a second-class citizen. We are FULL CITIZENS or we are not citizens at

When you teach a man the science of government he wants an equal part
(or position) in that government ... or else he wants a government
himself. He begins to demand equality with his master.

No man with equal education will serve you. The only way you can
continue to rule us is with a superior knowledge, or by continuing to
withhold equal education from our people.

America has not given us equal education, but she has given us enough
to make us want more ... and to make us demand equality of opportunity
... and this is causing unrest ... plus international embarrassment ...
thus the only solution is immediate SEPARATION.

As your colleges and universities turn out an ever increasing number
of so-called Negro graduates with education equal to yours, they will
automatically increase their demands for equality in EVERYTHING else.
This equal education will increase their spirit of equality and make
them feel that they should have EVERYTHING that you have, and their
increasing demands will become a perpetual headache for you ... and
continue to cause you international embarrassment.

In fact, the same Negro students you are turning out today will soon be
demanding the same things you now hear being demanded by Mr. Muhammad
and the Black Muslims.

In my conclusion: I must remind you that since your own Christian bible
states that God is coming in the “last days,” or at the “end of the
Old World,” and that God’s coming would bring about a GREAT SEPARATION
... and since we see all sorts of signs throughout the earth that
indicate that THE TIME OF GOD’S COMING is upon us ... why don’t you
repent while there is yet time?

Do justice by your faithful ex-slaves. Give us some land of our own
right here, some SEPARATE STATES, so we can separate ourselves from you
... then everyone will be satisfied, and perhaps we will all be able
to then live happily ever after, as your own Christian bible says ...
“every one under his own vine and fig tree.”

Otherwise: all of you who are sitting here, your government, and your
entire race will be destroyed and removed from this earth by Almighty
God, ALLAH. I thank you.



_Malcolm X delivered this speech at a so-called “unity” rally on the
streets of Harlem early in the spring of 1960. As the text indicates,
politics was in the air, and the Black Muslims were calling for “unity”
among Negro leaders._

_The stage was set for the rally when the Black Muslims telegraphed
some fifteen outstanding Negro leaders, asking them to participate in
the affair. None of them came, but this did not stop Malcolm X from
unburdening himself. Here again we see Malcolm X on the defensive, but
in a somewhat different way. In the first half of the speech Malcolm is
pulling in his horns; he is saying “unity,” “freedom,” “peace.” He is
suggesting a summit meeting of Negro leaders. “Let’s have our arguments
behind closed doors,” Malcolm shouts, “but let’s come out unified.”_

_At that juncture, however, nobody was willing to practice summitry
with the Black Muslims._

_Malcolm used this speech to point up the Black Muslim concern for
morality; he attacks the dope, crime, and prostitution of Harlem as
well as those--black and white--who thrive upon these evils._

_As expected, Malcolm concludes with the call for a separate state;
he restates his Harvard offer: the white race can be spared from
destruction if they give the Negro a separate state._

_The rally lasted five hours; thirteen black nationalist groups were
represented, and some four thousand people blocked off 125th Street and
Seventh Avenue at the peak of the rally._


When we say “our” we do not mean Muslim nor Christian, Catholic nor
Protestant, Baptist nor Methodist, Democrat nor Republican, Mason nor
Elk. By “our” Harlem Freedom, we mean the black people of Harlem, the
black people of America, and the black people all over this earth.

The largest concentration of black people on earth is right here in
Harlem, so we are gathered here today in Harlem Square to a Freedom
Rally, of black people, by black people, and for the benefit of black

We are not here at this Rally because we have already gained freedom.
No! We are gathered here rallying for the freedom which we have long
been promised, but have as yet not received. This Rally is for that
perfect freedom which up until now this government has not granted us.
There would be no need to protest to the government if we were already

Freedom is essential to life itself. Freedom is essential to the
development of the human being. If we don’t have freedom we can never
expect justice and equality. Only after we have freedom do justice and
equality become a reality.

Today we are gathered at this Rally to hear from our leaders who have
been acting as our spokesmen, and representing us to the white man
downtown. We want to know how our leaders really think, how they talk,
how they feel ... and most important of all, we want them to know how
we feel.

Many of these leaders have suddenly become “experts on Harlem” and as
such are often regarded by the white man as the “voice of Harlem.” If
this must be the case, then we want the voice of these leaders to ring
sometimes in Harlem too.

Leaders have differences, and these differences ofttimes cause serious
division among the masses. But the HOUR is too short today for black
people to afford the luxury of “differences.”

Again I repeat, we are not gathered here today because we are Muslims
or Christians, Protestants or Catholics, Baptists or Methodists,
Democrats or Republicans, Masons or Elks ... but because as a
collective mass of black people we have been colonized, enslaved,
lynched, exploited, deceived, abused, etc.

As a collective mass of black people we have been deprived, not only of
civil rights, but even our human rights, the right to human dignity ...
the right to be a human being!

This Freedom Rally is to be a united effort by all our leaders. We have
set aside all petty differences, and in the Spirit of Bandung we have
come together on this same platform, wherein each one can voice his
personal feelings and his personal solution to this grave crisis we

The Western World today faces a great catastrophe. It stands on the
brink of disaster. Mr. Muhammad says the only way our people can avoid
the fiery destruction that God Himself will soon unleash upon this
wicked world is for our people to come together among themselves in
unity and practice true brotherhood. Mr. Muhammad says God is with us
to unite our people into one brotherhood, and to aid those that are
oppressed, and to uplift those who are downtrodden.

The Western World, filled with evil and wickedness, is groping and
stumbling blindly through spiritual darkness toward its inevitable
doom. Mr. Muhammad says we must qualify ourselves so that God’s
spiritual light will guide us past the pitfalls of destruction.

The Western World is filled with drunkenness, dope addiction, lying,
stealing, gambling, adultery, fornication, prostitution and hosts of
other evils. These evils must be removed if the world is to have peace.
These evils are the primary cause of troubles all over the earth. These
evils promote greed and lust, increase wickedness and unrest, and
destroy all hopes for peace.

You want peace. I want peace. Everyone craves for a world of peace.
Mr. Muhammad says anyone who will submit to the God of Peace will have
peace. Even the white man himself can prolong his time today if he will
submit to the God of Peace, and give freedom, justice, and equality to
the “people of God” ... the so-called Negroes here in America.

The city of Nineveh in the bible to whom Jonah was sent to warn is a
good prophetic example of today. They were actually spared because they
repented when the warning came to them from God. God will spare our
slave master today too if he will repent.

The whole dark world wants peace. When I was in Africa last year I
was deeply impressed by the desire of our African Brothers for peace,
but even they agree that there can be no peace without freedom from
colonialism, foreign domination, oppression and exploitation.

The God of Peace and Righteousness is about to set up His kingdom of
peace and righteousness here on this earth. Knowing that God is about
to establish His righteous government, Mr. Muhammad is trying to clean
up our morals and qualify us to enter into this new righteous nation of

The American so-called Negroes must recognize each other as brothers
and sisters ... stop carrying guns and knives to harm each other, stop
drinking whiskey, taking dope, reefers, and even cigarettes. No more
gambling! Save your money. Stop fornication, adultery and prostitution.
Elevate the black woman; respect her and protect her. Let us rid
ourselves of immoral habits and God will be with us to protect and
guide us.

Then, we must form a platform that will be good for all of our own
people, as well as for others. As black people we must unite. We must
recognize and give intelligent active support to our political leaders
who fight for us unselfishly, sincerely, and fearlessly.

But, to prove their sincerity and their right for the support of
the black masses, these leaders must first display fearlessness,
intelligence, and unity among themselves. They must stop their public
bickering with each other. They must stop attacking each other in front
of the white man, and for the benefit of the white man.

If the black leaders must have differences of opinion, learn to go into
the closet with each other, but when you come from behind closed doors,
show a united front in the face of the one who is a common enemy to all
of us.

Mr. Muhammad has invited all of the leaders here today for that
purpose. He wants our people united, but unity will never exist among
the black masses as long as our leaders are not united.

We want to get behind leaders who will fight for us ... leaders who are
not afraid to demand freedom, justice, and equality. We do not want
leaders who are hand picked for us by the white man. We don’t want any
more Uncle Toms. We don’t want any more leaders who are puppets or
parrots for the white man.

We want brave leaders as our spokesmen, who are not afraid to state our
case, who can intelligently demand what we need, what we want, and what
is rightfully ours. We don’t want leaders who are beggars, who feel
they must compromise with the enemy. And we don’t want leaders who are
selfish or greedy ... who will sell us out for a few pieces of silver.

A big election is coming up this year. What kind of leaders do we want
in office? Which ones will the black masses get behind? Mr. Muhammad
has thousands of followers, and millions of sympathizers. He will place
his weight behind any fearless black leaders who will stand up and help
the so-called American Negroes get complete and immediate freedom.

If these black leaders are afraid that to be identified with us they
will irk the white man, or lose the white man’s favor or his support,
then they can no longer expect the support of the black masses.

They call us racial extremists. They call Jomo Kenyatta also a racial
extremist and Tom Mboya a moderate. It is only the white man’s fear of
men like Kenyatta that makes him listen to men like Mboya. If it were
not for the extremists, the white man would ignore the moderates. To be
called a “moderate” in this awakening dark world today, that is crying
for freedom, is to receive the “kiss of death” as spokesmen or leaders
of the masses ... for the masses are ready to burst the shackles of
slavery whether the “moderates” will stand up or not.

We have many black leaders who are unafraid, especially when they
know the black masses stand behind them. Many of them are qualified
to represent us not only in this United States government, but could
also represent us in this government if we are given 100 per cent
citizenship and the opportunity for FIRST-CLASS participation ... or
else we can get behind these same leaders in setting up an independent
government of our own.

We, the black masses, don’t want these leaders who seek our support
coming to us representing a certain political party. They must come to
us today as black leaders representing the welfare of black people.

We won’t follow any leader today who comes on the basis of political
party. Both parties (Democrat and Republican) are controlled by the
same people who have abused our rights, and who have deceived us with
false promises every time an election rolls around.

Mr. Muhammad grieves over the disunity that exists even among the
intellectuals and professional so-called Negroes. It is these
“educated” so-called Negroes who should be leading us out of this maze
of misery and want. They possess the academic know-how, great amounts
of technical skills ... but they can’t use it for the benefit of their
own kind simply because they themselves are also disunited. If these
intellectuals and professional so-called Negroes would unite, not only
Harlem would benefit, but it will benefit our people all over the world.

Mr. Muhammad says disunity is our number one stumbling block, and
this disunity exists only because we lack knowledge of SELF (our own
kind). So-called Negro “intellectuals” seem to think integration is the
answer. But, is it? “Integrate” means to become as one unit. How can
these “intellectuals” expect the white man to accept us into his social
unit, political unit, or economic unit when we are not yet in unity (as
a unit) among our own kind?

We, the Muslims, are for “Brotherhood,” but not for integration! What
is the difference? Brotherhood is based on love, which automatically
produces voluntary acts of “sincere benevolence.” But integration
produces hypocrisy. It forces the white man to pose as a “liberal,” to
be pretensive and false. Thus, “benevolent” acts which are “forced by
integration laws” are producing white hypocrites, and reducing chances
of creating a “mutual-working-agreement” between the two races.

Your thirst for integration makes the white man think you want only to
marry his daughter. We (Muslims) who follow Mr. Muhammad don’t think
God ever intended for black men to marry white women. Mr. Muhammad and
his followers are violently opposed to intermarriage.

This is conveniently and purposely misinterpreted by our enemies to
mean that we are anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-American (simply
because we refuse to chase after the white man’s women!). Let the white
man keep his women, and let us keep ours.

Some Negroes who love race-mixing, and want white women, are angry at
Mr. Muhammad because he teaches against race-mixing ... so they slip
around and make the white man think we are anti-white. (I’m surprised
that the white man is dumb enough to believe these Uncle Toms, who
stoop so low, like JUDAS, to be stool pigeons against their own kind.)

We have oceans of dark people on this earth: in Africa, Asia, and even
here in America. Our women are the most beautiful, like a bouquet of
flowers. Why should we chase white women?

In this “changing” world today, what would we do married to a white
woman? Her people don’t want you in their neighborhood around them,
and our fast awakening people don’t want you to bring her back into
our neighborhood any more to live around us. Thus, you both become a
“misfit” ... unwelcomed and unwanted in either society ... where can
you go?

Because we Muslims look at this as it is and face reality does not mean
we are anti-white. We don’t want his white mother, his white sister,
nor his white daughter. We want only an equal chance on this earth,
but to have an equal chance we must have the same thing the white man
himself needed before he could get this nation started ... WE MUST HAVE

Why do we want some land of our own? Because land is essential to
freedom. How else can 20 million black people who now constitute a
nation in our own right, a NATION WITHIN A NATION, expect to survive
forever in a land where we are the last ones hired and the first ones
fired ... simply because we have no land of our own?

For over 400 years we have been very faithful to our American slave
masters. Now God is warning them through Mr. Muhammad that they should
be nice enough to give us some land so we can separate ourselves from
them and get started for ourselves.

This is no more than what the white man should do. It is in complete
accord with the Christian religion. Their bible says that when a slave
is set free, his slave master should give him something to help him get
started on his own ... never send him away empty-handed.

If the Hebrews in the bible numbered only 600,000 in the land of their
bondage, and God was concerned with giving them freedom in a land of
their own, a land “flowing with milk and honey” ... then what about 20
million so-called Negroes here in America, who have the “freedom” only
to look for a job?

Can you not see that our former “leaders” have been fighting for the
wrong thing ... the wrong kind of freedom? Mr. Muhammad says we must
have some land where we can work hard for ourselves, make ourselves
equal, and live in dignity. Then and only then we won’t have to beg the
white man for the crumbs that fall occasionally from his table. No one
respects or appreciates a beggar.

Since we say Lincoln freed us, let us avail ourselves of that freedom
by uniting together and doing something for our own kind. But, we must
have some of this earth. We have been in America over 400 years. We
have been so-called “free” 100 years, and yet he still calls us “the
white man’s burden.”

We Muslims don’t want to be a burden on America any longer. God has
given Mr. Muhammad a divine message, program, and solution. WE MUST
HAVE SOME LAND! The white man should be glad to give his loyal “slaves”
some land so we can get out of his way and go for ourselves.

We will then set up our own farms, factories, business, and schools ...
and show him how much we appreciate the education he has given us, by
using it to become self-sustaining ... economically and otherwise.

We want some land where we can create unity, harmony and brotherhood
... and live together in peace. Since America now sees that this false
show of integration and intermarriage will not work, she should make
immediate steps to set aside a few of these states for us, and put us
there to ourselves.

If America will repent and do this, God will overlook some of our
wicked deeds (as in the days of Nineveh) ... but if America refuses to
give Mr. Muhammad what God instructed him to ask for ... then, like the
biblical houses of Egypt and Babylon (slave empires of the bible), God
will erase the American government and the entire race that it favors
and represents, from this planet ... and God will then give the whole
earth back to the original owners, the black man!



_The following is Malcolm X’s “university speech,” a long lecture he
used in the hope of converting students--particularly Negroes--on
various university campuses during 1961-1962. It is of some interest
that this speech was given at Atlanta University, the great citadel of
Negro learning in the Deep South, and Dr. Lonnie Cross, chairman of
the department of mathematics, not only joined the movement but became
assistant to Jeremiah X, minister of the Atlanta Temple._

_This lecture contains a unique passage. It will be recalled that in
his Harvard speech Malcolm chastised Moslems from the East who had
migrated to America but failed to gather converts. In this speech he
goes further; in a stinging passage Malcolm flatly accuses Moslems from
the East of attempting to turn “our slave masters” (the American white
man) into good Moslems. He accuses orthodox Moslems of “passing us by”
and attempting to proselytize the foes of the Negro rather than the
Negro himself._

_This is without doubt the strongest position any Muslim has ever
taken against the orthodox Moslem movement and further underscores
my contention that the Black Muslims are not really concerned about
orthodox Islam. They need the façade of world-wide Islam, of course,
but the Black Muslim movement is a home-grown operation with home-grown
aims and ideas. Nowhere is that more clearly stated than in this
“university speech.”_

Islam, the natural religion of black mankind, is sweeping through and
resurrecting black America like a “flaming fire,” under the Divine
Guidance of Messenger Elijah Muhammad.

Fools try to ignore facts, but wise men must face facts to remain wise.
Fools refuse to change from their silly ways and beliefs, but the
mental powers of the wise man encourage mental flexibility and enable
him to keep an OPEN MIND. This gives him the ability to re-adjust
himself whenever it becomes necessary for a CHANGE.

As fast as added “light” increases the wise man’s ability to
understand, he changes his “course” or his “pace” according to the
newly revealed facts before him.

Fools, however, just blunder on, blindly, heedless of the ever-changing
conditions on the road over which they must travel ... thus, the BLIND
DRIVERS and their “cars” usually end up in the DITCH.

In the past, the “religious roads” leading through black America
presented smooth sailing for the “Old Touring Cars” (Churches) of
Christianity. They met few obstacles and had little opposition or
competition. The “drivers” (preachers) had it easy. Their “course” was
never challenged. They ruled supreme on the religious roads of black

However, today time is making a great CHANGE. The religious roads of
black America have suddenly become blocked by a ROCKY BARRIER, and all
the black and white preachers combined are incapable of removing it.
The firm, down-to-earth, thought-provoking teachings of the religion of
Islam are now obstructing this path over which it was once easy sailing
for these preachers of white man’s Christianity.

Islam poses both a challenge and a threat because Islam is the
“resurrecting power.” Thousands of so-called Negroes are beginning for
the first time to think for themselves, since turning away from the
segregated Christian church, and are rejoining the ranks of their black
brothers and sisters of the East. Their age-old faith is the religion
of Islam, the religion of our foreparents, the true religion of black

The Spiritual Leader and Teacher of the many thousands of “New
Believers” here in black America is Messenger Elijah Muhammad.

Before we heard the teachings of Messenger Muhammad, we (American
so-called Negroes) were in the grave of ignorance. We had been taught
by our Christian slave master, as well as by our own ignorant religious
leaders, that God had cursed us black and sentenced us to a lifetime of
servitude to the Christian white race.

The same slave master’s Christian religion promised us that we
(Negroes) would sprout wings after death and fly up into the sky where
God would have a place especially prepared for us.

Since we poor “cursed” slaves were not to get anything on earth while
we were alive, we soon learned to expect it only after death, “up in
the sky.” Thus, this earth, and all its vast riches which we ourselves
originally owned, was left to the deceitful maneuverings of the white
race, for them to build a heaven for themselves and their own kind “in
THIS life.”

Such religious teachings were purposely designed to make us (so-called
Negroes) feel inferior to the white Christian slave master. Soon he was
successful in making us fear him, obey him, and worship him ... instead
of the true Supreme Being, the God of our own foreparents, Almighty

Messenger Muhammad has taught us how we eventually became like the
beggar Lazarus of the bible (Luke 16:20): Our condition became very
sore. We sat here amid the rubbish of the Western World, at the feet of
the rich, white Christians ... begging for the crumbs (civil rights and
token integration) to fall from their table. But from this very same
slave master whom our foreparents had made rich, by giving freely of
their slave labor for nearly 400 years (Gen. 15:13), we received only
the hardest and dirtiest jobs at the lowest wages; the poorest houses
in the ghettos at the highest rent; the poorest food and clothing at
the highest prices. Our schools were like shacks, and were staffed by
teachers who knew and could teach only that which the slave master
dictated to them.

Messenger Muhammad has taught us how we (so-called Negroes) were
kidnaped from the East by the white Christian slave master, brought
to America in chains, and robbed of our own God, His religion, our
language, culture, names, flag, and even our own nationality. After
robbing us of all that we originally could proudly call our own, then
the slave master taught us to call ourselves “Negroes.” He told us that
we were to be called “Negroes” because he found us along the banks of
the Niger River.

Messenger Muhammad asks us today: “Since when does one’s nationality
originate from a river?” This same slave master taught us that “negro”
means “black” in Spanish. Messenger Muhammad again asks us why, then,
do not the dark, Spanish-speaking people in Spain, South and Central
America accept it (Negro) as their nationality too? Messenger Muhammad
says that we too should get our NATIONality from the NATION that our
foreparents originated (as do all other recognized peoples).

The bible speaks of how we were purposely cut off from our own kind
after being robbed of our identity by the cruel Christian slave master
(Ezekiel 37:11; Psalms 137:1-9, 83:4). The slave master then took our
names, language, and religion from us so we would have to accept his,
obey him, and worship him (Dan. 1:6-7).

Messenger Muhammad has given us many scriptures to prove his teachings
to us are true and in accord with the prophecies of the bible. He says
it is we (so-called Negroes) in America who were robbed and made deaf,
dumb, and blind to the knowledge of our own God and of our own selves;
so that today we are like DRY BONES IN THE VALLEY (spiritually dead,
and in a mental grave of ignorance).

We are now able to speak only the slave master’s tongue, and are still
being called the same “slave names” given to our fathers during slavery
by the slave master ... names such as Jones, Smith, Powell, King,
Bunche, Diggs, Dawson, etc. These are all SLAVE NAMES, names of the
very same slave master who has shown characteristics of his beast-like
nature in his treatment of us. The original names of our foreparents
were cut off from them, kept secret from us by the “beast” (Rev. 15:2),
and therefore today we do not know what our real names should be. We
have really been robbed!

All other people have their own religion, which teaches them of a God
with whom they themselves can associate. A God who at least looks like
one of their own kind. But, we (so-called Negroes), after 400 years of
masterful brainwashing by the slave master, picture our “god” with the
same blond hair, pale skin, and cold blue eyes of our murderous slave

His Christian religion teaches us that black is a curse; thus, we
who accepted the slave master’s religion found ourselves loving and
respecting everything and everyone except black, and could picture God
as being anything else but BLACK. In fact, many so-called Negroes would
rather believe that God is INVISIBLE, a “colorless spirit,” than to
admit even the possibility of his being black. Yet Daniel saw Him with
kinky hair (like lamb’s wool) in the seventh chapter of Daniel, ninth
verse. How grossly deceived we have been!

Messenger Muhammad says that the teachers and religious leaders of
our own kind here in America were as blind to the REAL TRUTH as we;
therefore, they themselves were not even qualified to lead us beyond
that which the slave master had falsely taught them. HOW CAN THE BLIND
LEAD THE BLIND? Thus, we remained in the DITCH (the GRAVE of spiritual
ignorance, mental bondage) which was dug for us to fall into by our
white Christian slave master.

Not only did our own preachers and educators here fail to give us the
truth, our darker brothers who were born in the East came here from the
East and neglected to convert us back to the original religion (ISLAM)
of our foreparents. Many of our brothers from the East even failed to
recognize us as their long-lost brothers (“lost sheep”) who had been
kidnaped from the Nation of Islam 400 years ago, and made to dwell here
in this strange land, among these wicked people who are not of our own
kind (Gen. 15:13), nor of our own choice.

Our brothers from the East passed us by, and instead, tried to lecture
on Islam to our slave master, thinking, so foolishly, that they would
be able to turn the slave master into a righteous Muslim ... knowing
all the time that the same slave master was the very one who had
kidnaped, robbed, enslaved, and lynched (murdered) their long-lost
brothers. Yes, our brothers from the East came here and seemed to be
apologists for Islam, instead of rightly spreading it, or defending it
from the sly insults of the unbelieving slave master.

Messenger Muhammad teaches us that Almighty God, ALLAH, is all-powerful
and independent. ALLAH needs no one to apologize for Him. Islam, His
True Religion, is not a religion of compromise. Islam is truth itself,
and this truth has long been kept a secret from us.

For 400 years, we (so-called Negroes) were deprived of Islam (life)
by our white slave master, who in turn indoctrinated (brainwashed)
us with his false religion of Christianity ... and like the biblical
Lazarus, we soon became so dead mentally and spiritually, that our
attitude (disposition) became offensive (stank) in the nostrils of
the intelligent and civilized world. Our kind in the East failed
to recognize us as their long-lost brothers (the lost sheep). Our
people in the East forgot us completely, and we, too, soon forgot our
blood-ties with them.

But Almighty God ALLAH forgets not. As He promised in the Old Testament
(Mal. 4:5) that He would send ELIJAH to the “lost sheep” (the so-called
Negroes of America) in the “last days” (of the white man’s world), to
teach us the truth that would free us from our white slave master, and
turn our hearts and minds back toward our own kind (our fathers in the
East). And, in the last days of this wicked world, the hearts of our
people in the East would be turned once again toward us (Isaiah 43:5).

We who have been raised by ELIJAH from the “grave” that was dug for
us by the slave master, bear witness that this same ELIJAH, who was
predicted to come, has been raised from our midst today and is even now
with us here in America in the person of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
He is the “first begotten” from this grave of ignorance, from the midst
of we (so-called Negroes) who have long been a mentally dead people. He
is the “First Fruit” raised from us who slept, and he has been raised
from this grave by Almighty God, ALLAH Himself.

Examine his works among us, for his works are sufficient testimony to
his identity. Only a fool, or an envious person, would fail to see the
greatness of this man after examining his work. We who have been raised
from the grave by him bear witness of his work.

In a short time, Messenger Muhammad is accomplishing what our educators
and religious leaders here failed to do for 100 years, and what our
brothers from the East neglected to do. Messenger Muhammad has brought
our minds out of the sky (where the ignorant preachers had sent it),
and has made us better able to face the reality of living. He has
restored life (truth) to our long-lost dead people. Who else other than
Almighty God, ALLAH, could have given Messenger Muhammad the power to
do what all others have failed to do?

“And Allah sent down WATER from above, and therewith gives life to the
dead earth after its death. Surely there is a SIGN in this for a people
who listen.” (Quran 16:65.)

Praise be to ALLAH! Who would have believed it? An ex-slave, a man
like Moses (Deut. 18:18), to whom ALLAH has given sufficient power to
stand up and speak the truth so boldly here in the land of our bondage,
facing not only the wrath of the wicked slave master (modern Pharaoh),
but also the wrath of his own kind, who are ignorant of the truth. They
are too blind to see what is good for them. There are those also who
are jealous and envious of his Wisdom and his Divine Mission.

Messenger Muhammad’s teachings have really inspired us with a thirst
today for truth. We who follow him are filled with an enthusiastic
desire to wear the Crown of Life, the jewels of which are: Wisdom,
Knowledge, Understanding ... Freedom, Justice, Equality ... Food,
Clothing, Shelter ... and Love, Peace, and Happiness. He teaches us
that these must be enjoyed while we are living.

These are the very essentials of life, and they adorn the Crown of Life
which we shall all wear in ALLAH’s Paradise, the Kingdom of God, which
shall soon be set up on this earth, for us to enjoy while we are living.

Almighty God, ALLAH, has a religion of life, not of death, that teaches
us to live, the importance of living, and how to live. ALLAH is the God
of the living, and not the God of the dead.

All praise is due to ALLAH! We who once followed foolishly and blindly
after the slave master’s plurality of gods (TRINITY) and sought to have
our heaven (the necessities of life) up in the sky after we die, are no
longer fooled today by the slave master’s lies. Today, we know there is
but ONE GOD. There is no God but ALLAH! And, we bear witness that The
Honorable Elijah Muhammad is His last and greatest Messenger to us here
in North America.

Yes, we who were once dead (mentally, morally, socially, politically,
and economically), lying at the rich white man’s feet here in the grave
of ignorance, are being raised today from this “death.” We are being
made upright ... PERPENDICULAR ... by the WORD of this Noble Messenger
of Almighty God, ALLAH. He has the Message of Life for 20,000,000
so-called Negroes here in America.

“The people (Negroes) that walked in darkness (ignorance) have seen a
great light (Islam): they that dwell in the land (of bondage) in the
shadow of death (the Cross) upon them has the light shined” (Isaiah

Examine our previous condition, then judge Messenger Muhammad according
to his work among us. We who are striving to carry his teachings into
practice today are well on the road to mental, moral and financial

Thanks to His Message we are well aware today of the importance of
Freedom, Justice, Equality ... Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding ...
Food, Clothing, Shelter ... Love, Peace and Happiness, in sufficient
quantity and quality, while we are living. This great teacher has
filled us with a desire to rest not, until we have our own righteous
nation, united together under ALLAH, the One God, wherein brotherhood
is a practiced reality instead of a future dream or a “far-away
promise” as it is in the Christian religion of our slave master.

Even you must bear witness that Messenger Muhammad is without question
the most fearless and uncompromising representative of Almighty God,
ALLAH, and His Religion of Islam. Messenger Muhammad doesn’t offer any
apology to this wicked race, nor to the fearful and unbelieving “Uncle
Toms” among our own kind. He has a Message from God. It is a warning of
condemnation of the wicked, and despite all opposition he goes right
ahead, boldly delivering his message.

He says (as Noah, Lot, and Moses did before him) that you can take it
or leave it. So many of you will say that you believe in Almighty God,
ALLAH; but, yet you hesitate to teach the naked truth, for fear of
hurting the tender feelings of this wicked white race. Since you are
filled with fear of the beast (Rev. 21:8), instead of standing in the
way, holding up progress, hardening your hearts with envy, jealousy,
and unbelief ... step out of his way so he can prove to the world that
there is no God but ALLAH, and that this Great God ALLAH has come to
redeem His long-lost people ... the so-called Negroes of America (Rev.

According to the bible, destruction of the slave master by Almighty God
can no longer be avoided nor delayed. And, oh how well the slave master
(modern Pharaoh) knows this. Yes, this government, which was founded
upon the slavery and suffering of God’s “chosen people,” is quite upset
today because of the teachings of Messenger Muhammad (the modern
Moses), the same as the biblical Pharaoh was.

Government agents have visited and questioned me so persistently and
thoroughly that I spent many a sleepless night wondering what it is
about the presence of this little meek and humble man that has them so
terribly concerned and upset.

Yes, they visited and questioned many of his followers, but the more
they visit and question us the more clearly we are able to see and know
that this is indeed a Divine Man, God-sent to us poor slaves (Exodus
3:6-10), with truth that forever frees us from fear of this wicked,
modern Pharaoh.

This little black man has not been to college; his formal education
in the slave master’s school system is very limited, and he is not
eloquent in his speech (Ex. 4:10), whereas these government agents who
question us are highly trained and well schooled in all the modern
sciences of life. They are well learned, yet the teachings of this
little “unlearned” man has them hurt, confused, and upset. The average
unlearned man cannot upset a learned person ... unless he has been
given something by the MOST LEARNED ONE, the All-Knowing One, Almighty
God, ALLAH Himself.

All praise is due to ALLAH! How well He has enabled us to see that this
little meek and humble man is he of whom the bible says: “How knoweth
this man letters (such great wisdom) having never learned (being
unlearned) ...” (John 7:15). No man in history has ever fit such a
prophetic picture more perfectly than this little “unlearned” man who
is teaching us today with such great authority.

Yes, he may be “unlearned” according to the educational standards of
the slave master, but he has been well schooled by Almighty God, ALLAH
Himself ... for he tells us constantly that his doctrine (message) is
not his own but was authored by the One God, ALLAH, who sent him (John

All praise is due ALLAH! A man born in Georgia, mentally blind, deaf,
and dumb, as ignorant as all the rest of us. Yet we see him today
upsetting the slave master’s health, just as biblical Moses did in
ancient times to the slave master of that day (Ex. 5:2), simply by
declaring God’s plan to give these poor slaves (America’s so-called
Negroes) a land of our own, wherein we won’t have to beg any slave
master any more for “civil rights,” for we shall then have in our own
land a righteous government, wherein FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and EQUALITY and
all the other essentials of life will be natural products, flowing for
us and to us ... like “milk and honey.”

In the Holy Quran it says: “He it is who raised from among the
ILLITERATES a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them the
book and the wisdom ... although they were before in manifest error.”

Also, “Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the ILLITERATE ONE,
whom they find in the Torah and the Gospel. He enjoins them good, and
forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them good things and prohibits
for them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the
shackles which were on them. So those who believe in Him and help Him,
these are the successful.” (7:157.)

I, myself, being one who was lost and dead, buried here in the rubbish
of the West, in the thickest darkness of sin and ignorance, hoodwinked
completely by the false teaching of the slave master, am able to stand
upright today, PERPENDICULAR, on the square with my God, ALLAH, and my
own kind (in the East) ... able for the first time in 400 years to SEE
and HEAR.

I bear witness that Almighty God, ALLAH, is the Finder of the lost
sheep (American Negroes) and the Life-Giver to the dead. He, ALLAH,
is the only Saviour for the 20,000,000 so-called Negroes, who were
kidnaped by the white race and enslaved here in America.

Also, I bear witness that Messenger Elijah Muhammad has been taught
(raised) by this Great God of the Universe, the Architect of the
Universe, the Supreme Being Himself, ALLAH. And I bear witness that
Messenger Elijah Muhammad is in turn raising us from the dead today,
teaching us TRUTH, and raising us from the dead level of ignorance.


Mr. Muhammad Speaks _is the official newspaper of the Black Muslim
movement. It is a highly charged, well-edited propaganda sheet of some
thirty-six pages. One recent edition carried the full text of a speech
Malcolm X delivered at Queens College in New York. More interesting
than the speech--at least I feel so--is the way the editors of the
paper led into the text. Here is a clear example of how Black Muslims
are informed about what their leaders are doing. The paper had a
circulation of over fifty thousand a year ago, and I suspect it has
all but doubled that now. The picture painted here is that of their
second-in-command, Malcolm X, issuing words of wisdom in the places of
higher learning. Of particular interest is the description of students
skipping class to question Malcolm._

_I was not at Queens College, but I have been with Malcolm--most of
the time to debate with him--at other universities. And I know this
scene to be valid. Whether people believe Malcolm X is one thing, but
there can be no doubt that they come in droves--particularly white
people--to hear him. And they always linger to ask questions._

  New York Minister Malcolm X continued his series of successful
  presentations of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in
  Boston, St. Louis and New York, during the past few weeks.

  On Tuesday, May 24th, Malcolm X spoke at the Boston Theological
  Seminary in Boston, Mass. The prior week Malcolm X was heard by
  several hundred St. Louis Negroes who jammed Carpenter’s Hall, where
  Malcolm X said, “America must give Negroes full freedom or face
  disaster.” Malcolm went on to say that complete and total separation
  resulting in the Negro having a few states of his own is the only
  solution to the so-called Negro problem.

  Upwards of two hundred students [gathered] in room one hundred of
  the Remsen Building at New York’s Queens College last month to hear
  Minister Malcolm X, head of Muhammad Temple of Islam Number Seven,
  defend the doctrine of Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah

  The students gathered at the invitation of the Queens College Chapter
  of the NAACP and heard Minister Malcolm say, “the American black man
  faces a unique situation because of his unique position in America.
  This is why so many American black men are turning to Islam and
  also why Islam must be presented to them in a form peculiar to the
  circumstances they face. This causes many people to say we are not
  teaching the orthodox form of Islam.” Minister Malcolm continued,
  “This is not true. We are teaching the true Islamic faith but we are
  making it applicable to the peculiar conditions faced by the American
  black man.”

  Asked to comment on Mr. Muhammad’s twelve point program for the
  salvation of the American Negro, Minister Malcolm said, “our central
  teaching as far as the social action of the American black man is
  concerned is that he should be separated from his slave masters. As
  the Bible says, ‘let every man be under his own vine and fig tree.’
  Mr. Muhammad teaches that the American black man, like the children
  of Israel, are strangers, not in a land of their own.”

  “Much of the unrest now current would be eliminated,” Minister
  Malcolm said, “if the request of Mr. Muhammad were granted. Once
  the slave is educated he wants to be equal with his master, to
  share his master’s property. If the slave is as well educated as
  the master then the slave will no longer be content to serve. That
  is the core of the racial unrest in America today. That is why we
  must be separated and allowed to become a people self-sufficient and

  The appearance of Minister Malcolm was scheduled to last for
  fifty-five minutes but the interest was such that scores of students
  remained out of classes to continue discussions with Minister Malcolm
  for an hour past the stated deadline.

  The following is a complete transcript of Minister Malcolm’s Queens
  College speech:

We thank you for inviting us here today to present our views on this
topic: “The Negro’s Position in the Recent American Society.” But, to
understand our views you must first know something about our religion,

The Creator of the Universe, whom many of you call God or Jehovah,
is known to the Muslims by the name ALLAH. Since the Muslims believe
all prophets came from that ONE GOD and therefore all taught one and
the same religion, rightly called ISLAM, which means the complete
submission and obedience to ALLAH.

One who practices this Divine Obedience is called a Muslim (commonly
known, spelled, and referred to here in the West as Moslem).

There are over 600 million Muslims on this earth, predominantly in
Africa and Asia, and we here in America under the Divine Guidance of
Mr. Elijah Muhammad are an integral part of the vast World of Islam
that stretches from the China Seas to the sunny shores of West Africa.

A unique situation faces the black man here in America because of his
unique condition, thus his acceptance of Islam and into Islam affects
him uniquely ... differently than all other converts to Islam.

Mr. Elijah Muhammad is our Divine Leader and Teacher here in America.
He believes in and obeys God 100 per cent and is teaching and working
among us to fulfill God’s Divine Purpose.

What is this purpose? God’s purpose today (just as it was in biblical
days) is the complete SEPARATION of the so-called Negroes from their
slave master ... as the bible says concerning today: “Let every man be
under his own vine and fig tree.”

The best biblical example of this is the enslavement of the Hebrews in
the land of Egypt under Pharaoh ... a free man and some slaves who were
“strangers in a land not their own,” and how Jehovah chose Moses to
SEPARATE them from their slave master.

Since the slave master today declares his “former” slaves are free, Mr.
Muhammad says that for the betterment of our future and that of our
former slave master God has declared we also must be SEPARATED.

To many of you here in this college auditorium, this sounds ridiculous;
to some it even sounds insane. But 20 million black people here in
America now number a nation in their own right. Do you believe a nation
WITHIN another nation can be successful? Especially when they both have
equal education?

Once the slave has his master’s education, the slave wants to be like
his master, wants to share his master’s property, and wants to exercise
the same privileges as his master.

This is the CORE of America’s troubles today; and there will be no
peace for America as long as 20 million so-called Negroes are here
BEGGING for the equal rights which America knows she will never grant

Even the limited education America has granted her ex-slaves has
already produced great unrest ... and Almighty God says the only way
for America to ever have peace is for us to be SEPARATED from her ...
and therefore Mr. Muhammad teaches us that we must have some land of
our own.

If we receive equal education, how long do you expect us to remain your
passive servants, or second-class citizens? There is no such thing as
second-class citizens. We are FULL CITIZENS or we are not citizens at

When you teach a man the science of government he wants an equal part
(or position) in that government ... or else he wants to be a master in
that government himself. He demands equality with his master.

No man with equal education will serve you. The only way you can
continue to rule us is with a superior knowledge, or by continuing to
hold equal education from our people.

America has not given us equal education, but she has given us enough
to make us want more ... and to make us demand equality of opportunity
... which is causing great unrest.

Thus, the only SOLUTION is complete SEPARATION!

You believe in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, that a great DAY
OF SEPARATION is coming, and that the knowledge of truth will cause
this SEPARATION. We are living at that time today!

You are not common people here in this college audience. You are
students, scholars, professors; you have education enough to weigh
current events as well as history against the truth of what Mr.
Muhammad is teaching.

For over 300 years our parents served yours. During slavery our parents
didn’t ask your parents for civil rights. Our parents did not have
enough education to do so.

They were taught by their educated white masters that they were
born inferiors ... born to serve the whites ... “superior” whites
who restricted them without citizenship even after the so-called
emancipation proclamation.

Today Mr. Muhammad sees nothing but the DESTRUCTION of both races if
they stay together. INTEGRATION will cause DISINTEGRATION of both.

A child stays within the mother until the time of birth. When the time
of birth arrives, the child must be SEPARATED, or it will DESTROY its
mother and itself. The mother can’t carry that child after its time.

The child wants to be free; it cries for a world of its own. If the
mother will not give it up NATURALLY, the doctors must forcibly take it
from her ... which sometimes causes her death.

If she can set it free naturally and easily, so much the better ... if
not, it must be TAKEN.

Twenty million so-called Negroes in America today number a nation
WITHIN a nation and are crying for FREEDOM. We must be freed. We must
be born. We must be SEPARATED ... or cause the DESTRUCTION of both!

SEPARATION is the only solution today. Is this insane? Is this so

During slavery our parents would have been put to death for advocating
integration with the white man ... and now that God has declared this
is the DAY OF SEPARATION, the white man wants (or at least is TALKING
about) integration with his ex-slave.

America can solve her present problems and avoid a worse crisis by
setting up some SEPARATE STATES for us right here in America.

Remember the Hebrews in biblical Egypt ... after their 400 years of
bondage to Pharaoh were up, God had to fulfill his promise to them that
he had made through Abraham ... but their biblical slave master would
not let them go.

Thus it cost the slave master his own freedom, his country, and his
life for opposing God’s Plan to SEPARATE His people from their slave
master and set them in a land of their own.

God would not have DESTROYED the slave master if he would have listened
... but just as America is today, the biblical slave master (Pharaoh)
was also too rich, too strong, and too proud to listen to Moses ...
whom they contemptuously looked upon only as an inarticulate ex-slave.

Mr. Muhammad is opposed today, both by his own people and by whites,
simply because he advocates complete FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and EQUALITY for
America’s 20 million so-called Negroes.

America is a free nation. Why should America oppose Mr. Muhammad for
teaching FREEDOM for her 20 million so-called Negroes?

He is not asking for an “integrated society” which would only lead
to the dreaded INTERMARRIAGE with America’s white sons and daughters
... he is demanding complete SEPARATION where we will have complete
FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and EQUALITY in a land of our own.

And, if God is with Mr. Muhammad today to SEPARATE us and put us in
a land wherein we can form our own nation equal with other civilized
nations ... would you want God to DESTROY your country like he did
biblical Egypt ... for opposing HIS DIVINE PLAN?


_Speaking, as always, in behalf of “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad,”
Malcolm X journeyed to Yale University in 1962 to debate with Herbert
Wright, then National Youth Secretary of the NAACP._

_The first third of this Yale Speech is Malcolm’s attempt to put the
Black Muslims’ doctrine in world perspective. One may dispute, as
Herbert Wright did, the lessons Malcolm draws from current history,
but this lecture shows once again how the Black Muslims are struggling
to give their doctrine the advantages of learning and information.
Malcolm’s point is that the world situation demands that the American
Negro have a separate state and that even such threats as the Communist
take-over in Cuba will not subside until that all-Negro state is
brought into being._

_This talk has a particularly scorching indictment of middle-class
Negroes. Several people who were present at the debate have told me
that Herbert Wright became difficult at times, for Malcolm, and that
Malcolm responded with an unusual amount of bile. This was one of a
series of debates between Wright and Malcolm X, and the NAACP finally
ordered a halt to the encounters._

_Remembering that the Black Muslims have a prohibition against voting,
the reader will be particularly interested in Malcolm’s arguments as
to why the majority of American Negroes do not vote. He sees this
apathy at the polls as a rebellion against “integration-minded” Negro
leadership. And this may be a commentary on why the Muslims have
themselves decided to enter politics._

In behalf of my beloved leader and teacher, The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad, and the many young Muslims who follow him, we wish to thank
you for this opportunity to explain our position today in what we
feel to be the only solution to the serious race problems confronting
America and the entire troubled Western World.

In this crucial hour in which we live today, it is essential that our
minds constantly be kept open to reality. We have both races here in
this Yale Law School Auditorium tonight. Let us not be emotional. Let
us be governed and guided only by facts.

I represent Mr. Elijah Muhammad, the spiritual head of the
fastest-growing group of Black Muslims in the Western Hemisphere. We
who follow him know that he has been divinely taught and sent to us by
God Himself. We believe that the miserable plight of the 20 million
black people in America is the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We
believe that the serious race problem that our presence here poses for
America is also the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We also believe
the presence today in America of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his
teachings among the so-called Negroes, and his naked warning to
America concerning her treatment of these so-called Negroes is all the
fulfillment of divine prophecy.

Thus, when Mr. Muhammad declares that the only solution to America’s
race problem is complete separation of the two races, he is fulfilling
that which was predicted by all of the biblical prophets to take place
in this day. But, because Mr. Muhammad takes this uncompromising stand,
those who don’t understand biblical prophecy wrongly label him as a
racist and as a hate teacher, or as being anti-white, or as teaching
Black Supremacy. So tonight, while we are all here together, face to
face, we can question and examine for ourselves the wisdom or the folly
of what Mr. Muhammad is teaching.

Studying world conditions in the light of facts, facing reality as
grown men and women ... seeing things not as we would like them to be,
but as they really are ... only then can we determine the rightness,
the validity, the divine origin of Mr. Muhammad and the solution which
he offers as the only hope for America’s 20 million so-called Negroes,
and also as the only hope for this troubled Western World.

If Mr. Muhammad’s solution is from God, is it in time to save 20
million so-called Negroes? Is it in time to save America? Is it in time
to save the Western World? Let us look closely and see.

The Western World finds itself today constantly engulfed in crisis
after crisis. The ingredients for disaster lurk constantly on all sides
... both at home and abroad. The Western World’s leading diplomats are
whispering in the halls of the UN that catastrophe can come any moment,
any hour, any second.

Whether this grave crisis be studied at the international level, the
national level, or the local level, we will discover the primary
ingredient always encountered, in one form or another, is the race
issue ... the race question ... the race problem. Whether it is the
Congo, Algeria, South Africa, China, Cuba, or Panama.

Let us take the advice Paul gave in the bible; let us toss our emotions
aside and reason together. Let us look closely at this chaotic
world-picture before us, and in the light of the facts let us then
determine if Mr. Muhammad’s divine solution fits the picture before us.

But many of you may be asking yourselves: “Why should we listen to this
little so-called Negro ... this little Georgia-born ex-slave? What can
he do? What can he tell us?”

Well, my friends, the Western World’s most learned diplomats have
failed to solve this grave race problem. Her learned politicians have
failed. Her learned theologians have failed. Her learned legal experts
have failed. Her sociologists have failed. Her civil leaders have
failed. Her fraternal leaders have even failed.

Since the Western World’s most skillful scientists and scholars have
failed to solve this race problem, it is time for us to sit down
tonight and reason together, and I’m certain we will be forced to agree
that it takes God Himself to solve this grave racial dilemma. When we
face these facts, we see the necessity for DIVINE intervention ... we
see the necessity for a DIVINE SOLUTION.

If God is going to intervene, will He come Himself, or will He send
someone with His solution? Will we be able to accept this divine
solution when it comes? How will we know if the Messenger who brings us
the solution is really a man from God? What yardstick will we use to
measure him?

Will this man of God be someone from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Howard,
or Tuskegee? Will this man of God be a black man or a white man?

Will he be a theologian or preacher from one of the prevailing
religions of the Western World? Will he be a politician from one of the
major political parties? What type of man do you think God would choose
to deliver His solution to this troubled Western World? How are we to
determine whether or not Mr. Muhammad is a man from God? And, how are
we to determine if it is time for God Himself to intervene?

Let us not be emotional; let us reason together. Look around us at the
condition of the world. Never before has man had in his hands the power
to destroy human life on such a vast scale. Never before has there
been such propaganda, mass lies, mass suspicion, mass confusion, mass
dissatisfaction, mass unrest, mass hatreds ... and the ingredients for
such mass bloodshed.

Never before has America made so many crucial blunders, one after
another, and suffered such great loss of prestige in the eyes of the
world, despite the advice of her expert advisors.

The U-2 spy plane incident caused the President of the strongest
country on earth to be tricked, trapped and exposed before the whole
world as a liar ... despite the advice of expert advisors.

At the Paris Summit Conference, the same President was cursed,
ridiculed, and humiliated again before the eyes of the entire world ...
despite the advice of his expert advisors.

In Korea, students, mere children, toppled the government of Syngman
Rhee, the best friend America had in the Far East, despite the advice
of her expert advisors.

In Turkey, children toppled the government of Menderes, America’s best
friend in the Middle East ... despite the advice of expert advisors.

In Tokyo, students, mere children again, defied the President to come
to Japan, and blocked him from entering after he had traveled thousands
of miles from home and had arrived at their back door ... a most
humiliating insult ... despite the advice of his expert advisors.

And Cuba, a little midget island-government in the Caribbean, is
challenging Giant America, accusing her of economic aggression,
confiscating all of her investments, and getting unexpected support
from Mexico and other strategically located Latin American countries
... and all of this, despite the advice of her expert advisors.

My friends, if the expert politicians, the expert theologians, the
expert diplomats and other scientists, professors and scholars have
failed to devise a solution to these grave world problems, surely
you will agree that it is now time for God to send us someone with a
solution from Himself.

Is Mr. Muhammad from God? Is he on time? Does his divine solution fit
the events of today?

Look at the racial volcano that has erupted in the Congo, with the
ingredients present for an even greater racial explosion building up
into what could easily touch off the dreaded 3rd World War ... and once
again the diplomats in the UN are whispering that Western Civilization
is tottering on the brink of disaster.

Why are the Africans in the Congo rising against the white Belgian
oppressors? Why are the Africans in Kenya rising against their white
British oppressors? Why are the Africans in Angola rising against their
white Portuguese oppressors? Why are the Africans in Algeria rising
against their white French oppressors? In short: Why is the black man
today all over Africa rising up against his white European overlords?

In the Congo, Central Africa, the black man is saying, “We must have
our own land.” In Kenya, East Africa, the black man is saying, “We must
have our own land.” In Angola, West Africa, the black man is saying,
“We must have our own land.” In Algeria, North Africa, the black man is
saying, “We must have our own land.” Even deep into South Africa, all
over the entire African continent, the only solution in the minds of
the awakening black man is: “We must have our own land.”

The cry of the black man in Africa for the return of his own land is so
widespread, so unrelenting, so uncompromising ... it stands to reason
that only God Himself is inspiring him and driving him onward in this
spirit of freedom. If God has made the black man in Africa realize he
cannot rest until he has some land of his own ... surely that same God
will look westward toward America and see 20 million black people here,
SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS, who are also in dire need of some land that we
can call our own.

If Mr. Muhammad says “some land of our own” is God’s solution to this
grave race problem, why land? Why is land so important to everyone

The white man in Great Britain could once boast that his control
extended over so much of the black man’s land that the sun never set on
the British Empire. Today, when the sun rises, we can hardly find the
British Empire.

How important is land? Well, look what happened to the British Empire
when she lost the lands she had colonized in Asia: lands like India,
China, Burma, Malaya, etc. ... her inability to continue robbing Asia
of the natural resources produced by the land almost wrecked the
British economy, decreased her military strength and her political
prestige so low she could no longer use “force” to hold her African

As her grip on the black man’s land loosened, Britain dwindled. Loss of
land meant loss of Empire ... loss of wealth, power, and of prestige.

As the black men in Africa and Asia regain control over their lands,
the French, Belgians, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and all other
European Empires also begin to crumble and topple downward....

As we face these facts, we are forced to agree that the economy of
white Europe, the military power of white Europe, and the political
prestige of white Europe was based upon the lands in Africa and Asia
which they had taken from the BLACK MAN.

The combined powers of white Europe have not been able to stem this
black tide in Africa that is sweeping aside the shackles of colonial
slavery. The Africans have become militant and are marching toward
freedom. Africa is the only continent where a new nation is being born
every day ... and these new nations are taking their seats in the
family of other independent nations symbolized by the United Nations.

And, this fast-growing black block formed by these newly born African
nations, united with our Darker Brothers in Asia, can already easily
out-vote the white colonial powers in the UN who had formerly enslaved
them. These newly born independent black nations can also take a firm
stand in behalf of other black people all over the world who are still
enslaved, persecuted, exploited ... or deprived of their basic rights.

As the rise of these newly independent black nations collapses the
economic, military, and political strength of America’s allies in white
Europe, what effect does this have upon white America?

Does white America face the same black web in which the colonial powers
of white Europe find themselves entangled? And, if so, how will this
affect America’s attitude toward the black people of Africa? How will
this affect America’s attitude toward the 20 million black people who
are yet suffering the bondage of so-called second-class citizenship
right here in America ... 20 million so-called Negroes who have
also been deprived of freedom, justice, and equality ... 20 million
so-called Negroes who not only have been deprived of their civil
rights, but who have even been deprived of their HUMAN RIGHTS ... the
right to hold their heads up, and to live in dignity like other human

Let us not be emotional, but let us face these facts. Let us reason
together. This has become a serious problem for America, and for the
entire world.

Will the Divine Solution that God has given Mr. Elijah Muhammad help
white America avert the racial dilemma in which the awakening dark
nations of Africa and Asia have already placed America’s allies in
white Europe?

Before we can intelligently decide to accept or reject Mr. Muhammad’s
solution, let us take a closer look at America itself:

America is the richest and most powerful nation on this earth. Her
President is almost like a “god,” for he has in his hands almost every
other country on this earth. Therefore, every four years, when a new
President, or “god,” is about to be selected, the eyes of even the
foreign nations are turned toward the American elections ... for they
too are wondering who, what type of man, will be the next “god.”

Yet, at the two great political conventions in which the two candidates
are selected, despite America’s need to impress, and favorably
influence the foreign nations, foreign policy is never the great
controversial issue ... the controversial issue is always over domestic
policy ... the CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE ... in which the so-called American
Negro is the primary figure ... the STAR on the world stage ... for it
is he who holds the balance of power in all elections ... it is he who
can easily determine “who” will be the next “god.”

Therefore, this great political drama not only stars the Negro, but all
the political schemes are designed primarily to woo him, to please him,
to tempt him, ensnare him, to get his allegiance and capitalize upon
his political support.

The Negro’s position is most strategic, but his mental condition is too
pathetic for him to take intelligent advantage of this vital position
“fate” has placed him in. The American Negro is suffering from a
mental sickness. His mind has been “tampered” with by his slave master.

The Western World is sick. America is sick ... but the Negro in America
is the sickest of them all. The sickening condition of the Negro in
America is infecting Uncle Sam’s entire body and endangering the
security and future of the whole Western World.

Mr. Muhammad says that only after the American Negro’s condition is
“corrected” will Uncle Sam’s health improve ... for only then will
Uncle Sam look “healthy” in the inquiring eyes of the fast-awakening
dark world.

Since we see the vital necessity of correcting the miserable condition
of the American Negro, and we must also agree that all other efforts to
solve this problem have failed, will Mr. Muhammad’s “prescription” cure
the ailments of these 20 million second-class citizens?

Many of you will say: “No! Muhammad is a Black Supremist. He is an
extremist. He stresses race too much. He is a racist.”

My friends: If you were to see a man attired in white, with a sharp
instrument in his hands, bending over someone who is prostrate on a
table, your lack of understanding might compel you to shout, “murderer!”

But when you know the place is a hospital, the sleeping man is
a patient, the man attired in white is a surgeon, and the sharp
instrument must be used to perform some surgery that is necessary to
save the patient’s life ... you can then accept the fact that although
the operation is very painful, it must be performed.

Uncle Sam is sick, because he has a black “lump” growing in his white
body that doesn’t belong there, and this black “growth” is getting
larger every day, and increasing Uncle Sam’s internal pains. God
Himself has ordained that this surgery must be performed, for if the
20 million rapidly increasing so-called Negroes are not separated
from the white parts of the body, it will soon cause the death and
destruction of Uncle Sam.

God has given Mr. Muhammad some sharp truth. It is like a two-edged
sword. It cuts into you. It causes you great pain, but if you can take
it, it will cure you and save you from what otherwise would be CERTAIN

In your mental anguish many of you will emotionally insist that Mr.
Muhammad is not teaching the real religion of Islam. You will still
insist that he is teaching a racial, economic, and political philosophy.

My friends, Islam is the religion taught by all of the prophets: Noah,
Lot, Abraham, Moses, and even Jesus. Islam is the true name of the
religion God gave to the prophets in the past to cure their people of
whatever moral or spiritual ailments that were afflicting them in that

Since we have examined the ailments of the crumbling Western World, and
the ills that are infecting America ... let us look more closely at the
miserable condition of the American Negro:

Here are 20 million people who have lost their original identity; they
cannot even speak their own mother tongue. How can 20 million people
lose their language? What happened to it? What was it? Why don’t they
at least know what it was?

Why don’t the educated Negroes know something about their own history,
their own culture, the last names of their forefathers, their own
nationality, their own country, their own flag, their own religion, and
their own God?

My friends, surely you will agree that no other people in history,
biblical or otherwise, have been so completely stripped and robbed by
their slave master of all knowledge concerning their own kind ... and
because of this, no other people in history, biblical or otherwise,
have ever presented such a problem to their former slave masters or to
the world ... as the problem created by the presence of the 20 million
so-called Negroes here in America today.

The New York _Tribune_, in an editorial (Feb. 5, 1960), pointed out
that out of 11 million qualified Negro voters, only 2,700,000 actually
took time to vote. This means that, roughly speaking, only 3 million of
the 11 million Negroes who are qualified to vote take an active part
... and the remaining 8 million remain voluntarily inactive, and yet it
it is this small minority of Negro voters who help determine who will
be the next President.

If who will be the next President can be influenced by 3 million
Negro voters, it is easy to see why the presidential candidates of
both political parties put on such a false show with the civil rights
bill, and with promises of integration. They must woo or impress the 3
million voting Negroes who are the actual “integration seekers.”

If so much fuss is made over these 3 million “integration seekers,”
what would the presidential candidates have to do to appease the 8
million non-voting Negroes if they ever decided to become politically
active in this election year?

Who are the 8 million non-voting Negroes, what do they want, and why
don’t they vote?

The 3 million voters are the so-called middle- (or high-) class
Negroes, referred to by Howard University Sociology Professor E.
Franklin Frazier, as the “BLACK BOURGEOISIE,” who have been educated
to think as patriotic individualists, with no racial pride ... who
believe in, and look forward to, the future “integrated-intermarried”
society promised them by the Negro politicians ... and therefore,
this “integration-minded” 3 million remain an active part of the
white-controlled political parties. But it must never be overlooked,
that these 3 million integration seekers are only a small minority of
the 11 million qualified voters.

The 8 million non-voting Negroes are the majority, the downtrodden
black masses. They have refused to vote, or to take part in politics,
because they reject the Uncle Tom approach of the “clergy-politician”
leadership that has been hand-picked for the American Negroes by the
white man himself.

The clergy-politician leadership does not speak for the Negro majority;
they don’t speak for the black masses. They speak for the “BLACK
BOURGEOISIE,” the “brainwashed” (white-minded) middle-class minority
... who, because they are ashamed of black, and don’t want to be
identified with black or as being black, are seeking to lose this
“identity” by mingling, mixing, intermarrying, and integration with the
white man.

The race problem cannot be solved by listening to this white-minded
(brainwashed) minority. The white man must try to learn what does
the majority want. The next President would be wise to try and learn
what the black masses want. And, the only way to find this out is by
listening to the man who speaks for the black masses of America.

I declare to you and to the entire world, that the man here in America
who speaks for the majority, the downtrodden, dissatisfied black masses
... is this same man whom so many thousands of our people are flocking
toward to see and hear ... this same Mr. Muhammad who is labeled by you
as a Black Supremist, and as a Racist!

If the 3 million middle-class Negroes are casting their ballots for
integration and intermarriage ... what do the non-voting black masses
who are in the minority want? Find out what the black masses want, and
then perhaps America’s grave race problem can be solved.

The black masses are tired of following these hand-picked Negro
“leaders” who sound like professional beggars, as they cry year after
year for white America to accept us as first-class citizens.

Since this clergy-politician “leadership,” which was carefully
hand-picked for us by the white man, has failed to solve the problem
for the downtrodden black masses ... God Himself has stepped into the
picture, and has made Messenger Elijah Muhammad a wise, fearless,
and uncompromising spokesman for the 20 million black people here in
America, who, behind the Divine Leadership of this man of God, will now
never be satisfied until we have a home in a land that we can proudly
call our own.

We have accepted your invitation to come here to Yale University
Law School this evening to let you know first hand why 20 million
so-called Negroes cannot integrate with white America ... why white
America, after 100 years of religious hypocrisy and political trickery
will never accept us as first-class citizens here ... and why we must
therefore seek some separate territory of our own.

In your blind emotion, again many of you will cry out that this is
wrong, that this is not religion, that this is not Islam ... that this
is just another economic-political philosophy.

I must remind you to keep an open mind. Let your own Christian bible be
the judge:

You credit Moses with being a religious man, a man of God, doing God’s
work. Yet, what did Moses actually do? What did Moses teach? Moses
freed his people from their slave master. Moses told the oppressor of
his people: “Let my people go.” Moses separated his people from their
masters, and then led them into a separate territory of their own.

You admit Moses was a man of God, yet you will have to agree Moses did
not teach integration. Moses taught separation. Moses didn’t take time
to dwell on religious practices. He just let his people know that he
represented the God of their forefathers, whose desire it was for them
to be separated from their slave master and placed in a land that they
could call their own. Mr. Muhammad’s message and mission today is the
same as that of the biblical Moses. Mr. Muhammad is a modern Moses in
this modern-day house of bondage.

Many of you will cry out that you don’t go by what Moses said or did,
but rather by what Jesus said. You claim that Jesus taught love and
that Mr. Muhammad teaches hate.

But, my friends, have you really read the bible? Are you familiar with
Luke 14:26 where Jesus taught: “If any man come to me, and hate not his
father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,
yes, and even his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

In other words, Jesus taught that you must hate everyone in your
family, even your own self ... and Muhammad teaches us to love our
brothers and sisters ... yet you say Muhammad teaches hate and that
Jesus taught love.

Many of you will say that Jesus was no respecter of persons, that he
came to all the world. You say Muhammad bars white people, therefore he
can’t be from God.

My friends, Jesus told his followers to go not the way of the Gentiles,
go only to the “lost sheep.” He definitely advised his followers to
discriminate and make a distinction between the Gentiles and the “lost

But you still cry out that Jesus is coming back at the end of the world
to make us all the same, make us one people ... integrate us.

No, my friends, Jesus himself did not even advocate integration. He
referred to the end of this world as that great “HARVEST TIME.” He
likened the people of today as “wheat and tares,” who would be allowed
to “grow together,” or integrated, until God comes at the end of this
world and separates the people Himself ... then He would cause one to
be burned in a Lake of Fire, and those whom He chooses for Himself He
would save.

Jesus also spoke of the people of today as being like “sheep and
goats,” whom God would separate at the end of the world ... some for
salvation and some for destruction.

Jesus did not advocate integration; he advocated SEPARATION!

Noah’s solution was not integration; in his day it was also a message
of separation. Lot’s solution was separation. And, remember, my
friends, Jesus warned that “as it was in the days of Noah and Lot,
so shall it be these last days” ... not integration, but complete
separation of the two races ... or DESTRUCTION!

Surely you can now see that Mr. Muhammad’s message, or solution, is the
same as that of Noah, Lot, Moses, and Jesus. How can you still doubt if
Mr. Muhammad is from God? What you really should be concerned about is
has Mr. Muhammad come in time to save you; and what must you do now to
save yourselves.

When Mr. Muhammad says that we must have some of these states, before
you flinch and hold up your hands in “mock shock,” let us look and see
if 20 million so-called Negroes deserve such a solution.

If I were to collect the combined wages of everyone in this Yale
University Law School auditorium tonight for just one week, I would
have plenty of money. If I could work all of you for nothing for just
one year I would be extremely rich. Well, what about the millions of
black people who worked here in America as your slaves for over 300
years without one payday? What happened to their wages? Who collected
the profits, or amassed the fortunes received from their free labor?
Facing these unpleasant facts, surely you can easily see now how
America became so rich so fast.

How will 20 million so-called Negroes today receive a “just
compensation”? We have hundreds of years’ “back pay” that is long
overdue, and must be paid sooner or later ... or is there to be no such
things as JUSTICE for your faithful ex-slaves?

The American government has appropriated billions of dollars to pay the
Indians for lands taken from their foreparents by your foreparents.

Again I say, my friends, let us reason together: surely you will agree
that God is more just than your government ... yet your government has
felt morally and legally obligated to pay billions of dollars to the
Indians for the crime committed against them.

What about the 20 million so-called Negroes! If the Indians must be
paid for land taken from them, what about the free labor and lives of
our foreparents that were taken from us for over 300 years?

If the white politicians have agreed that the Indians should be paid
for their lands ... what price or payment will the GOD OF JUSTICE
demand for 20 million black people who were robbed of our labor, lives,
identity, culture, history ... and even our human dignity?

What will God’s price be? What will God’s solution be? Can America pay
God’s price? And, if not, what will be the alternative?

The handwriting is on the wall for America. As America faces crisis
after crisis ... as America sees dangerous troubles mounting on all
sides ... and as America stares with stubborn blindness, refusing
to read the handwriting on the wall ... since her “experts” have
shown they are unable to read its meaning, will America now accept
an ambassador from God, a Divine Messenger, a Warner, to read the
handwriting for her and tell her what solution she must accept...?

Or, will America blindly reject God’s Messenger, and in so doing bring
on her own Divine Destruction? I trust you will weigh well these


LOMAX: Minister Malcolm, we are all by now familiar with your basic
philosophy; we have heard you speak, seen you on television, and read
your remarks in magazines and newspapers. By now, I think, everybody
knows your position that the white man is a devil, a man incapable of
doing right; you hold that the black man is of God’s divine nature,
that he fell from power because of weakness; you hold further that the
white man’s rule over the earth was scheduled to end in 1914, but that
his end has been delayed because of the need to get the American Negro
into the fold of black brotherhood.

MALCOLM X: Yes, sir, that is what The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches
us. The white devil’s time is up; it has been up for almost fifty years
now. It has taken us that long to get the deaf, dumb, and blind black
men in the wilderness of North America to wake up and understand who
they are. You see, sir, when a man understands who he is, who God is,
who the devil is ... then he can pick himself up out of the gutter;
he can clean himself up and stand up like a man should before his
God. This is why we teach that in order for a man to really understand
himself he must be part of a nation; he must have some land of his own,
a God of his own, a language of his own. Most of all he must have love
and devotion for his own kind.

LOMAX: Wouldn’t you say the Negro has a nation--America?

MALCOLM X: Sir, how can a Negro say America is _his_ nation? He was
brought here in chains; he was put in slavery and worked like a mule
for three hundred years; he was separated from his land, his culture,
his God, his language!

The Negro was taught to speak the white man’s tongue, worship the white
God, and accept the white man as his superior.

This is a white man’s country, and the Negro is nothing but an ex-slave
who is now trying to get himself integrated into the slave master’s

And the slave master doesn’t want you! You fought and bled and died in
every war the white man waged, and he still won’t give you justice.
You nursed his baby and cleaned behind his wife, and he still won’t
give you freedom; you turned the other cheek while he lynched you
and raped your women, but he still won’t give you equality. Now, you
integration-minded Negroes are trying to force yourselves on your
former slave master, trying to make him accept you in his drawing room;
you want to hang out with his women rather than with women of your own

LOMAX: Are you suggesting that all of us who fight for integration are
after a white woman?

MALCOLM X: I wouldn’t say _all_ of you, but let the evidence speak
for itself. Check up on these integration leaders, and you will find
that most of them are either married to or hooked up with some white
woman. Take that meeting between James Baldwin and Robert Kennedy;
practically everybody there was interracially married. Harry Belafonte
is married to a white woman; Lorraine Hansberry is married to a white
man; Lena Horne is married to a white man.

Now how can any Negro, man or woman, who sleeps with a white person
speak for me? No black person married to a white person can speak for


MALCOLM X: Why? Because only a man who is ashamed of what he is will
marry out of his race. There has to be something wrong when a man or a
woman leaves his own people and marries somebody of another kind. Men
who are proud of being black marry black women; women who are proud of
being black marry black men.

This is particularly true when you realize that these Negroes who go
for integration and intermarriage are linking up with the very people
who lynched their fathers, raped their mothers, and put their kid
sisters in the kitchen to scrub floors. Why would any black man in
his right mind want to marry a lyncher, a murderer, a rapist, a dope
peddler, a gambler, a hog eater.... Why would any black man want to
marry a _devil_ ... for that’s just what the white man is.

LOMAX: I have heard you say that a thousand times, but it always jolts
me. Why do you call the white man a devil?

MALCOLM X: Because that’s what he is. What do you want me to call him,
a saint? Anybody who rapes, and plunders, and enslaves, and steals, and
drops hell bombs on people ... anybody who does these things is nothing
but a devil.

Look, Lomax, history rewards all research. And history fails to record
one single instance in which the white man--as a people--did good. They
have always been devils; they always will be devils, and they are about
to be destroyed. The final proof that they are devils lies in the fact
that they are about to destroy themselves. Only a devil--and a stupid
devil at that--would destroy himself!

Now why would I want to integrate with somebody marked for destruction?

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us to get away from the devil as
soon and as fast as we can. This is why we are demanding a separate
state. Tell the slave master we will no longer beg for crumbs from his
table; let him give us some land of our own so we can go for ourselves.
If he doesn’t give us some land, there is going to be hell to pay. As
I said at Howard University and Queens College, once the white man let
the Negro get an education, the Negro began to want what the white
man has. But he let Negroes get education and now they are demanding
integration; they want to have exactly what he has. And the white man
is not going to give it to them!

LOMAX: But we have made some gains....

MALCOLM X: What gains? All you have gotten is tokenism--one or two
Negroes in a job or at a lunch counter so the rest of you will
be quiet. It took the United States Army to get one Negro in the
University of Mississippi; it took troops to get a few Negroes in white
schools at Little Rock and another dozen places in the South. It has
been nine years since the Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated
schools, yet less than ten per cent of the Negro students in the South
are in integrated schools. That isn’t integration, that’s tokenism! In
spite of all the dogs, and fire hoses, and club-swinging policemen,
I have yet to read of anybody eating an integrated hamburger in

You Negroes are not willing to admit it yet, but integration will not
work. Why, it is against the white man’s nature to integrate you into
his house. Even if he wanted to, he could no more do it than a Model T
can sprout wings and fly. It isn’t in him.

Now The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says it would be the easiest thing in
the world for the white man to destroy the Black Muslims. We contend
that the white man is a devil. If he is not a devil, let him prove it!

He can’t do it, Lomax; it isn’t in him; it is against his nature.

He’ll keep on granting tokenism; a few big Negroes will get big jobs,
but the black masses will catch hell as long as they stay in the white
man’s house.

The only possible way out for the white man is to give us some land
of our own; let us get out, get away from his wicked reign and go for

But the white man will not do that, either. He is going to keep you
integration-minded Negroes cooped up here in this country, and when you
discover that the white man is a trickster, a devil, that he has no
intentions of integrating, then you Negroes will run wild. That will be
the time....

LOMAX: The time for what?

MALCOLM X: Only The Honorable Elijah Muhammad can answer that!

LOMAX: This is strong gospel, Minister Malcolm; many people, Negro
and white, say what you preach amounts to hate, that your theology is
actually anti-Semitic. What is your comment to that?

MALCOLM X: The white people who are guilty of white supremacy are
trying to hide their own guilt by accusing The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad of teaching black supremacy when he tries to uplift the
mentality, the social, mental, and economic condition of the black
people in this country. Jews who have been guilty of exploiting the
black people in this country, economically, civically, and otherwise,
hide behind--hide their guilt by accusing The Honorable Elijah Muhammad
of being anti-Semitic, simply because he teaches our people to go into
business for ourselves and try and take over the economic leadership
in our own community.

And since the white people collectively have practiced the worst form
of hatred against Negroes in this country and they know that they are
guilty of it, now when The Honorable Elijah Muhammad comes along and
begins to list the historic deed--the historic attitude, the historic
behavior of the white man in this country toward the black people in
this country, again, the white people are so guilty, and they can’t
stop doing these things to make Mr. Muhammad appear wrong, so they
hide their wrong by saying “he is teaching hatred.” History is not
hatred. Actually we are Muslims because we believe in the religion of
Islam. We believe in one God. We believe in Muhammad as the Apostle
of God. We practice the principles of the religion of Islam, which
mean prayer, charity, fasting, brotherhood, and The Honorable Elijah
Muhammad teaches us that since the Western society is deteriorating, it
has become overrun with immorality, that God is going to judge it and
destroy it, and the only way the black people who are in this society
can be saved is not to integrate into this corrupt society but separate
ourselves from it, reform ourselves, lift up our moral standards and
try and be godly--try to integrate with God--instead of trying to
integrate with the white man, or try and imitate God instead of trying
to imitate the white man.

LOMAX: It is suggested also that your movement preaches violence.

MALCOLM X: No, sir. The black people of this country have been victims
of violence at the hands of the white men for four hundred years, and
following the ignorant Negro preachers, we have thought that it was
godlike to turn the other cheek to the brute that was brutalizing us.
Today The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is showing black people in this
country that, just as the white man and every other person on this
earth has God-given rights, natural rights, civil rights, any kind
of rights that you can think of, when it comes to defending himself,
black people--we should have the right to defend ourselves also. And,
because The Honorable Elijah Muhammad makes black people brave enough,
men enough to defend ourselves no matter what the odds are, the white
man runs around here with a doctrine that Mr. Muhammad is advocating
violence when he is actually telling Negroes to defend themselves
against violent people.

LOMAX: Reverend Martin Luther King teaches a doctrine of nonviolence.
What is your attitude toward this philosophy?

MALCOLM X: The white man supports Reverend Martin Luther King,
subsidizes Reverend Martin Luther King, so that Reverend Martin Luther
King can continue to teach the Negroes to be defenseless--that’s what
you mean by nonviolent--be defenseless in the face of one of the most
cruel beasts that has ever taken people into captivity--that’s this
American white man, and they have proved it throughout the country by
the police dogs and the police clubs. A hundred years ago they used to
put on a white sheet and use a bloodhound against Negroes. Today they
have taken off the white sheet and put on police uniforms and traded
in the bloodhounds for police dogs, and they’re still doing the same
thing. Just as Uncle Tom, back during slavery, used to keep the Negroes
from resisting the bloodhound or resisting the Ku Klux Klan by teaching
them to love their enemies or pray for those who use them despitefully,
today Martin Luther King is just a twentieth-century or modern Uncle
Tom or religious Uncle Tom, who is doing the same thing today to keep
Negroes defenseless in the face of attack that Uncle Tom did on the
plantation to keep _those_ Negroes defenseless in the face of the
attack of the Klan in that day.

Now, the goal of Dr. Martin Luther King is to give Negroes a chance
to sit in a segregated restaurant beside the same white man who has
brutalized them for four hundred years. The goal of Martin Luther King
is to get Negroes to forgive the people, the people who have brutalized
them for four hundred years, by lulling them to sleep and making them
forget what those whites have done to them, but the masses of black
people today don’t go for what Martin Luther King is putting down.

LOMAX: Minister Malcolm, you often speak of unity among our people.
Unity for what?

MALCOLM X: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that God now is
about to establish a kingdom on this earth based upon brotherhood and
peace, and the white man is against brotherhood and the white man is
against peace. His history on this earth has proved that. Nowhere
in history has he been brotherly toward anyone. The only time he is
brotherly toward you is when he can use you, when he can exploit you,
when he will oppress you, when you will submit to him, and since his
own history makes him unqualified to be an inhabitant or a citizen in
the kingdom of brotherhood, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us
that God is about to eliminate that particular race from this earth.
Since they are due for elimination, we don’t want to be with them. We
are not trying to integrate with that which we know has come to the end
of its rope. We are trying to separate from it and get with something
that is more lasting, and we think that God is more lasting than the
white man.

LOMAX: Then your movement does not share the integration goals of the
NAACP, CORE, Martin Luther King’s movement, and the Student Nonviolent

MALCOLM X: You don’t integrate with a sinking ship. You don’t do
anything to further your stay aboard a ship that you see is going
to go down to the bottom of the ocean. Moses tried to separate his
people from Pharaoh, and when he tried, the magicians tried to fool
the people into staying with Pharaoh, and we look upon these other
organizations that are trying to get Negroes to integrate with this
doomed white man as nothing but modern-day magicians, and The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad is a modern-day Moses trying to separate us from the
modern-day Pharaoh. Until the white man in America sits down and talks
with The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he won’t even know what the race
problem--what makes the race problem what it is. Just like Pharaoh
couldn’t get a solution to his problem until he talked to Moses, or
Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar couldn’t get a solution to his problem
until he talked to Daniel, the white man in America today will never
understand the race problem or come anywhere near getting a solution
to the race problem until he talks to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Mr. Muhammad will give him God’s analysis, not some kind of political
analysis or psychologist’s analysis, or some kind of clergyman’s
analysis, but God’s analysis. That’s the analysis that Moses gave
Pharaoh; that’s the analysis that Daniel gave Belshazzar. Today we have
a modern Belshazzar and a modern Pharaoh sitting in Washington, D. C.

LOMAX: I am struck by the fact that each of the biblical figures you
mentioned--Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar--came to a rather
sorry end. Are you willing to complete the analogy and say the American
white establishment will come to a bitter end, perhaps be destroyed?

MALCOLM X: I have spoken on this many times, and I am sure you know
what The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches on this. But since we are on
record I will--as they sometimes say in Harlem--make it plain.

Now, sir, God is going to punish this wicked devil for his misdeeds
toward black people. Just as plagues were visited on Pharaoh so will
pestilences and disasters be visited on the white man. Why, it has
already started: God has begun to send them heat when they expect cold;
he sends them cold when they expect heat. Their crops are dying, their
children are being born with all kinds of deformities, the rivers and
the lakes are coming out of the belly of the earth to wash them away.

Not only that, but God has started slapping their planes down from the
sky. Last year [1962] God brought down one of their planes loaded with
crackers whose fathers had lynched your and my brothers and sisters.
They were from your state, Lomax, down there in Georgia where both
you and Mr. Muhammad come from. Now, long before that plane crash I
predicted [in Los Angeles] that God was going to strike back at the
devil for the way white cops brutalized our brothers in Los Angeles.
When the plane fell, I said this was God’s way of letting his wrath be
known. Now for that I was called names--some of these Uncle Tom Negroes
rushed into print to condemn me for what I said. But what was wrong
with what I said? Everybody has a God and believes that his God will
deliver him and protect him from his enemies! Why can’t the black man
have a God? What’s so wrong when a black man says his God will protect
him from his white foe? If Jehovah can slay Philistines for the Jews,
why can’t Allah slay crackers for the so-called Negro.

I said much the same thing when that submarine--the _Thresher_--went
down to the bottom of the sea. I realize that there were some originals
[Negroes] on board, but that simply underlines my point that the
so-called Negro should not integrate with white people. He should stay
as far as possible from them at all times.

LOMAX: Just a moment, if I may, Minister Malcolm. Now, you talk about
separation from the white man.

MALCOLM X: Yes, sir.

LOMAX: You even take it so far as to suggest that we shouldn’t even
get on airplanes and ships with white people. Am I correct in that?

MALCOLM X: Yes, sir, on the whole. Yes.

LOMAX: But Minister Malcolm, few people, Negro or white, travel as
much as you and I do. You spend much of your life getting on and off
aircraft. Don’t you fear that you just might be aboard when God sees
fit to slap down a jet and kill a few score white people?

MALCOLM X: Sir, my faith in God is such that I am not afraid. I know
that I will not die until my time comes. But if I am aboard one of
these vessels, I will be happy to give my life to see some of these
white devils die. Like Samson, I am ready to pull down the white man’s
temple, knowing full well that I will be destroyed by the falling

LOMAX: But Minister Malcolm, you make no accommodation for the changes
that have come about as a result of the Negro Revolt. What do you think
will be the results of the current demonstrations against segregation?

MALCOLM X: Lomax, as you know, these Negro leaders have been telling
the white man everything is all right, everything is under control,
and they have been telling the white man that Mr. Muhammad is wrong,
don’t listen to him. But everything that Mr. Muhammad has been saying
is going to come to pass, is now coming to pass. Now the Negro leaders
are standing up saying that we are about to have a racial explosion.
You’re going to have a racial explosion, and a racial explosion is more
dangerous than an atomic explosion. It’s going to explode because black
people are dissatisfied; they’re dissatisfied not only with the white
man, but they’re dissatisfied with these Negroes who have been sitting
around here posing as leaders and spokesmen for black people and
actually making the problem worse instead of making the problem better.

LOMAX: Do you deny that Negroes are now getting the protection of the
Federal Government; after all, both the President and the Attorney
General have come to our aid.

MALCOLM X: You never will get protection from the Federal Government.
Just like King is asking Kennedy to go to Alabama to stand in a
doorway--to put his body in a doorway. That’s like asking the fox to
protect you from the wolf! The masses of black people can see this, and
it is only the Negro leadership, the bourgeois, hand-picked, handful
of Negroes who think that they’re going to get some kind of respect,
recognition, or protection from the Government. The Government is
responsible for what is happening to black people in this country.
The President has power. You notice he didn’t send any troops into
Birmingham to protect the Negroes when the dogs were biting the
Negroes. The only time he sent troops into Birmingham was when the
Negroes erupted, and then the President sent the troops in there, not
to protect the Negroes, but to protect them white people down there
from those erupting Negroes.

LOMAX: Are not Negroes American citizens?

MALCOLM X: If they were citizens, you wouldn’t have a race problem. If
the Emancipation Proclamation was authentic, you wouldn’t have a race
problem. If the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution
were authentic, you wouldn’t have a race problem. If the Supreme Court
desegregation decision was authentic, you wouldn’t have a race problem.
All of this is hypocrisy that has been practiced by the so-called white
so-called liberal for the past four hundred years that compounds the
problem, makes it more complicated, instead of eliminating the problem.

LOMAX: What, then, do you see as the final result of all these

MALCOLM X: Any time you put too many sparks around a powder keg, the
thing is going to explode, and if the thing that explodes is still
inside the house, then the house will be destroyed. So The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad is telling the white man, “Get this powder keg out of
your house--let the black people in this country separate from you,
while there’s still time.” If the black man is allowed to separate and
go into some land of his own where he can solve his own problems, there
won’t be any explosion, and the Negroes who want to stay with the white
man, let them stay with the white man--but those who want to leave, let
them go with The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

LOMAX: Now that you have mentioned the Messenger, I would like to ask
you about this article in the [New York] _Amsterdam News_....

MALCOLM X: It’s a lie. Any article that says there is a “minor”
difference between Mr. Muhammad and me is a lie. There is no such thing
as a “minor” difference with the Messenger. Any difference with him is
_major_. It is a lie, a lie, a lie somebody paid [the author] to write.
I was up there in his office yesterday and I was ready to waste [harm,
or kill] him for that. He planted a false seed, and it could start
trouble. He [the author] knows my telephone number. If he ran on talk
of a difference between me and the Messenger, he could have called me.
No, he went ahead and printed this lie.

He was not there, but I told the editor of the paper that I was out to
find him; I told them to call the police then, because as soon as I
found the man who wrote this I was going to do him in.

How could there be any difference between the Messenger and me? I am
his slave, his servant, his son. He is the leader, the only spokesman
for the Black Muslims.

But I will tell you this: The Messenger has seen God. He was with Allah
and was given divine patience with the devil. He is willing to wait for
Allah to deal with this devil. Well, sir, the rest of us Black Muslims
have not seen God, we don’t have this gift of divine patience with the
devil. The younger Black Muslims want to see some action.

LOMAX: What kind of action?

MALCOLM X: Some things are better done than said.

LOMAX: According to your own newspaper, one of the things you Muslims
may _do_ in the near future is vote.

MALCOLM X: Yes. After long and prayerful consideration, The Honorable
Elijah Muhammad allowed us to announce the possibility of Muslims
voting. The announcement came at our annual Saviour’s Day convention in

LOMAX: What does it mean?

MALCOLM X: Mr. Muhammad is the only one who can explain that fully.
However, I can say that we may register and be ready to vote. Then we
will seek out candidates who represent our interests and support them.
They need not be Muslims; what we want are race men who will speak out
for our people.

LOMAX: There are rumors that you may run against Adam Clayton Powell.

MALCOLM X: Why must I run against a Negro? We have had enough of
Negroes running against and fighting each other. The better bet is that
we would put a Muslim candidate in the field against a devil, somebody
who is against all we stand for.

LOMAX: What are the chances of the Black Muslims joining us in picket
lines for better jobs?...

MALCOLM X: As I told you, only Mr. Muhammad can answer that. But let
me tell you something: Better jobs and housing are only temporary
solutions. They are aspects of tokenism and don’t go to the heart of
the problem.

This is why integration will not work. It assumes that the two races,
black and white, are equal and can be made to live as one. This is not

The white man is by nature a devil and must be destroyed. The black
man will inherit the earth; he will resume control, taking back the
position he held centimes ago when the white devil was crawling around
the caves of Europe on his all fours. Before the white devil came into
our lives we had a civilization, we had a culture, we were living in
silks and satins. Then he put us in chains and placed us aboard the
“Good Ship Jesus,” and we have lived in hell ever since.

Now the white man’s time is over. Tokenism will not help him, and it
will doom us. Complete separation will save us--and who knows, it might
make God decide to give the white devil a few more years.


  Baldwin, James. _The Fire Next Time._ New York: Dial Press, 1963.

  Bennett, Lerone, Jr. _Before the Mayflower._ Chicago: Johnson
  Publishing Co., 1962.

  Beynon, Erdmann D. “The Voodoo Cult Among Negro Migrants in Detroit,”
  _The American Journal of Sociology_, XLIII, No. 6 (May 1938).

  Franklin, John Hope. _From Slavery to Freedom._ New York: Alfred A.
  Knopf, 1956.

  Frazier, E. Franklin. _Black Bourgeoisie._ Chicago: The Free Press of
  Glencoe, 1957.

  Handlin, Oscar. _Race and Nationality in American Life._ Boston:
  Little, Brown, 1957.

  Herskovits, Melville J. _Myth of the Negro Past._ New York: Harper &
  Brothers, 1941.

  Lincoln, C. Eric. _The Black Muslims in America._ Boston: Beacon
  Press, 1962.

  Leibrecht, Walter and others. _Religion and Culture: Essays in Honor
  of Paul Tillich._ New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959.

  Lomax, Louis E. _The Reluctant African._ New York: Harper & Brothers,

  ----, _The Negro Revolt_. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962.

  Myrdal, Gunnar. _An American Dilemma._ New York: Harper & Brothers,


  Abyssinian Baptist Church (New York), 44

    Akbar brings promise of help from, 100, 101
    culture of
      matrilineal society, 37
      political institutions, 36-37
      religion, 37-39
    knowledge of history of, 67-68
    languages of, 36, 37
    Malcolm X in, 71-72, 152
    nationalism in, 184-86

  African Methodist Episcopal Church, 44

  African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 44

  Airplane crash (1962), 206

  Al-Azhar University
    Akbar Muhammad at, 97, 98
    Elijah Muhammad at, 142

  Alcohol, Malcolm X and, 58

  Ali, John X, 84, 100, 104
    administrative ability of, 93, 95

    as black, 25-26, 62-63, 163-64
    divine plagues of, 145
    Elijah Muhammad as Messenger of, 54, 70, 132, 133, 135, 166, 169-71
      as last Messenger, 111, 129
      promised in Old Testament, 165
      _See also_ Muhammad, Elijah
    Fard as Prophet of, 54
      _See also_ Fard, W. D.
    has no “son,” 123-24
    Islam as religion of, 113
    a live God, 25, 125-28
    Paradise of, 167
    rebellion of Yakub against, 63-65, 71

  Allen, Richard, 43-44

  _And Then We Heard the Thunder_ (novel), 46

    Black Muslims and, 72-73, 201
    Christianity and, 73-75

  Arabic language
    in Black Muslim services, 21
    taught in University of Islam, 83
    used by Akbar Muhammad, 98-99

  Armageddon, Battle of, 22, 31, 79, 201
    Muhammad’s teachings about, 55

  “_As-Salaam-Alaikum_,” 21

  Atlanta, Ga., 86

  “Atlanta Speech” of Elijah Muhammad, 71, 109-29

  Atlanta University, Malcolm X’s speech at, 70, 159-71

  Attucks, Crispus, 68

  Baldwin, James, 77, 79, 199

  Bannaker, Benjamin, 68

  Baptist Church
    attacks slavery, 42
    Negro churches founded, 43, 44

  Bean pie, 20

  Belafonte, Harry, 199

  Bennett, Lerone, Jr., 36, 37

  Bergson, Henri, 37

    Fard’s use of, 48, 50
    quoted by Elijah Muhammad, 119
    quoted by Malcolm X, 143, 163-70, 193
    as theological basis of Negro’s “inferiority,” 44-45, 59, 121
    _See also_ Christianity

  “Big Red,” _see_ Malcolm X

  Birmingham, Ala., 29, 208
    Black Muslim policy toward 1963 demonstrations, 85-87, 90
    temple in, 21

  Black, God as, 25-26, 62-63, 163-64

  Black Bourgeoisie, 190-91

  Black men
    must become fearless, 111, 120, 122
    by nature good, 22
    as original men, 62-65, 113-15
    as so-called Negroes, 115-16, 162-63
    _See also_ Negroes

  Black Muslim movement
    “Americanized,” 131
    business activities of, 79-80
      restaurants, 19-20, 79, 80
    converts to, 30-31
    “crisis system” of, 34
    dietary laws of, 80
      filthiness of pork, 27, 117
      restaurants, 19-20
      in teachings of Fard, 48
    do not preach violence, 203-4
    dress of, 19, 78
      Akbar’s sheet, 66
    education by, _see_ Muslim Girls Training Class; Universities
        of Islam
    finances of, 79
      fund-raising, 82
    Fruit of Islam, _see_ Fruit of Islam, The
    future of, 95-106
      successor to Muhammad, 104-6
    history of, 35, 47-58
      Chicago headquarters set up, 58
      Fard disappears, 53-54
      founded by Fard, 48-51
      Japanese proselytization, 54
      Malcolm X joins movement, 55-58
      Muhammad and Fard, 52-54
    Jews and, 72-73, 201
    lawsuits of, 82
    ministers of
      Chief Minister of Islam, 52
      Fruit of Islam and, 81-82
      supervise restaurants, 79
    morality of, 58, 80-81, 153
    Negro unity and
      Akbar Muhammad’s speech, 99-103
      belief that Negro Revolt will fail, 92, 96, 207-9
      Birmingham policy, 85-87, 90
      Malcolm X’s “unity speech,” 149-58
      value of Black Muslims to Negro Revolt, 87
    number of members, 18
    opposing factions in
      Akbar and Malcolm X, 102-3
      Muhammad vs. Detroit faction, 53, 54
      “New York-Chicago” cleavage, 94-95
    orthodox Moslems and, _see_ Moslems
    politics and
      in Malcolm X’s “unity speech,” 154-55
      possible future policy, 96-97
      voting by Black Muslims, 91, 180, 210
    punishments in, 80
    racial teachings of, 201-2
      opposition to race-mixing, 156, 178, 191, 198-99
      orthodox Muslim objections, 70-71
      separation does not mean being anti-white, 132, 181, 188-89
    radio programs of, 84
    as a religion, 17, 59-78
      _The Sacred Ritual of the Nation of Islam_, 51
      theology, 62-65, 71
      why it is a religion, 76-78
      _See also_ Allah; Black men; Muhammad, Elijah--teaching of;
          White men
    sacrificial killing in, 52-53
    services of, _see_ “Teachings” in temples
    temples of, _see_ Temples of Islam
    women in, 81
      separated in temples, 20-21
      _See also_ Girls in Black Muslim movement

  _Black Muslims in America, The_, 12

  Black supremacy not taught by Black Muslims, 132, 181

  Blackboard in temples, 22

  Blood, Drew discovers how to preserve, 68

  Boston, Mass.
    Malcolm X’s speeches in, 130-48, 173
    Negro Baptist church in, 44

  Boston Massacre, 68

  Breasted’s _The Conquest of Civilization_, 50

  Business activities of Black Muslim movement, 79-80
    temple restaurants, 19-20, 79, 80

  Cairo, Egypt
    Malcolm X in, 71-72
    _See also_ Al-Azhar University

  Catholic Church, 43
    anti-Semitism and, 73-74

  Caucasian race, 136
    _See also_ White men

  Chicago, Ill.
    as headquarters of Black Muslims, 54, 94-95
    Japanese activities in, 54
    temple in, 52
    University of Islam in, 54, 82-84

    anti-Semitism and, 73-75
    denunciations of, 27-29, 121-24, 139, 160-64
    Catholic Church, 43, 73-74
    “most segregated institution in America,” 28
    Negro churches, 40-47
      founded, 43-44
      on plantations, 41-42
      theology of Negro church, 45-46
      theology of desegregation, 87-90
    slavery and
      in West Africa, 38-39
      _See also_ Slavery
    theological justification of Negro “inferiority,” 44-45, 59, 121

  Christine X, Sister, 83

  Columbia University Jewish Graduate Club, 75

  Communists, Black Muslims and, 55

  Compassion in religion, 77-78

  Concord, Mass., 58

  Converts to Black Muslims, 30-31

  CORE, 99

  Crime, Black Muslims and, 18-19

  “Crisis system” of Black Muslims, 34

  Cross, Dr. Lonnie, 159

  Cuba, 183-84

  Davis, Sammy, Jr., 74

  Dawud, Imam Talib Ahmad, 69

  “Deaf, dumb, and blind,” 31, 117
    Malcolm X’s speech, 26-28

    Black Muslim opposition to, 90-92
      “Brotherhood” vs. “integration,” 155-56
      “integration with God,” 202
      “token integration,” 144-46, 200-1, 210-11
      _See also_ Separation of black man
    of schools, 144-46, 200, 208
    theology of, 87-90

  Detroit, Mich.
    faction vs. Muhammad in, 53, 54
    Fard in, 47-53
    segregation in 1930s in, 47, 50
    University of Islam in, 51, 82

  Dietary laws of Black Muslims, 80
    filthiness of pork, 27, 117
    restaurants and, 19-20
    in teachings of Fard, 48

  “Divide and rule,” 141

  Door-to-door salesmen, 80

  Drew, Dr. Charles, 68

  Education by Black Muslims, _see_ Muslim Girls Training Class;
      Universities of Islam

  Elijah Muhammad, _see_ Muhammad, Elijah

  Emancipation Proclamation, 208

  Evans, Clara (Mrs. Elijah Poole), 52

  Evil scientist
    experiments of Yakub, 63-65
      not supported by orthodox literature, 71
    moon blown up by, 71, 114

  Fard, W. D., 47-54
    arrested, 53
    birthday of, 54
    disappears, 53
    founds Black Muslims, 48-51
    legends about, 49
    literature of, 50-51
    Muhammad and, 52-54
    as Prophet of Allah, 54

  Farmer, James, 96

  Fear shown by so-called Negroes, 111, 120, 122

  Federation of Islamic Associations, 70

  Finances of Black Muslims, 79
    fund-raising, 82

  Franklin, John Hope, 38, 39, 43

  Frazier, E. Franklin, 40
    “Black Bourgeoisie” of, 190-91

  “Freedom, Justice, and Equality” (slogan), 22, 117, 166

  Freedom movement, _see_ Negro Revolt

  Freemasonry, 50, 124

  Fruit of Islam, The, 81-82
    at “Atlanta Speech,” 110
    authority over, 80-81, 105
    as honor guard, 24, 81
    investigates converts, 30
    organized by Fard, 51, 52
    separate temple services of, 81
    in temple services, 21, 29
    watches members, 80

  Garvey, Marcus, 56

  Ghana, kingdom of, 38

  Girls in Black Muslim movement
    The Muslim Girls Training Class, 51, 81-82
    in University of Islam, 83

    Mays’ doctoral thesis on, 46
    in primitive religion, 60-61
    West African concept of, 37
    _See also_ Allah

  “Good Ship Jesus, The,” 39, 120

  Haley, Alex, 12, 57, 66

  Ham, Negroes as descendants of, 44-45, 59

  Hansberry, Lorraine, 199

  Harlem, _see_ New York City

  Harvard University, Malcolm X’s speech at, 130-48

  Hausa people, 38

  Hawkins, John, 120

  Henry X, Minister, 23

  Herskovits, Melville J., 36

  Hicks, James, at Hinton incident, 33, 34

  Hinton, Johnson, 32-34

  History of Negroes
    knowledge of, 67-68
    taught at University of Islam, 83-84
    _See also_ Negroes

  “Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” not used in Akbar’s speech, 101

  Horne, Lena, 199

  Integration, _see_ Desegregation

  Intermarriage, 156, 178, 191, 198-99

  “Invisible Institution,” 41

    Nation of, _see_ Black Muslim movement
    in teaching of Muhammad, 113

  James X, Minister, 29
    in Birmingham crisis, 86

  Jamestown, Va., landing of slaves at, 39

  Japanese attempts to proselytize Black Muslims, 54

  Jazz in temples, 22

  Jehovah’s Witnesses, 50

  Jeremiah X, Minister, 100, 111, 112, 159
    and Birmingham crisis, 86, 90

  Jesus, 134-35
    advocated separation, 193-94
    Allah has no “son,” 123-24

    Black Muslims and, 72-73, 201
    ethnic exclusiveness of, 74-75
    John XXIII and, 73-74

  John X Ali, 84, 100, 104
    administrative ability of, 93, 95

  John 17X, 31

  John XXIII, Pope, and Jews, 73-74

  Johnson X, 32-34

  Jones, Absalom, 43

  Joseph X, Captain, 81, 100

  Kennedy, Robert, 199

  Kenyatta, Jomo, 154

  Killens, John Oliver, _And Then We Heard the Thunder_, 46

  King, Martin Luther, 88, 96, 97
    Akbar calls for peace with, 99
    Malcolm X on, 85-86, 99, 203-4, 208

  Koran, _see_ Quran

  Ku Klux Klan, 66, 86
    “Atlanta Speech” and, 109
    burn down Malcolm X’s home, 56

    of African Negroes, 36, 37
    _See also_ Arabic language

  Lansing, Mich., Malcolm X, in, 56

  Lawson, James, Jr., 88-89

  Lawsuits of Black Muslims, 82

  Liele, George, 43

  Lincoln, C. Eric, 30, 63
    _The Black Muslims in America,_ 12
    on Fard, 47-50

  “Linnaean Web,” 45

  Little, Malcolm, _see_ Malcolm X

  Los Angeles, Calif., temple in, 67

  Lottie X, Sister, 81

  Louis X, Minister, 100
    “The White Man’s Heaven Is the Black Man’s Hell,” 21

  McGowan, Police Capt., 33, 34

  “Make it plain,” 23-24, 27

  Make-up among Muslim women, 81

  Malcolm X, Minister
    at Akbar’s New York speech, 98, 101-2
    brother of, 80
    converted to Black Muslims, 58
    described, 24
    early life of
      childhood, 56-57
      in underworld, 57-58
    Elijah Muhammad and, 31, 55-56, 58, 79, 92-95, 109
      Malcolm describes Muhammad, 169-70
      Malcolm in Middle East, 71-72
      Malcolm warms up crowd, 23, 110
      Malcolm’s only deviation from Muhammad, 105-6, 209-10
    in Hinton incident, 33-34
    historical knowledge of, 67-69
    Lomax’ interview of, 197-211
    Negro unity and
      Birmingham policy, 85-87
      calls for Negro unity, 149-58
      Negro Revolt will fail, 91-92, 207-9
      vilifies Negro leaders, 85-86, 99, 101, 203-4
    as New York minister, 20, 94
    orthodox Moslems and, 70, 135-36, 141-43, 159-60, 164-65
      Black Muslims as part of world community, 131-32
      Persian Moslems, 66-67
    as possible Congressional candidate, 97, 210
    probably not Muhammad’s successor, 104-6
    on radio and TV, 84
    “restored” name of, 79
    as St. Paul of Black Muslims, 17
    speeches of, 173
      Atlanta University, 70, 159-71
      Harvard University, 130-48
      Queens College, 172-78
      at “unity rally,” 149-58
      Yale University, 179-95
    in temple services, 24-28, 62-63
    as Washington minister, 94
    on white man as devil, 19, 24-25, 62-63, 68-69, 76-77, 199-200

  Marshall, Thurgood, 144

  Masons, 50, 124

  Mays, Dr. Benjamin E., 46

  Mboya, Tom, 154

    Masons and, 124
    Muhammad’s pilgrimage to, 69-73

  Melle, kingdom of, 38

  Messenger of the Prophet of Allah, 54, 70, 132, 133, 135, 166, 169-71
    as last Messenger, 111, 129
    promised in Old Testament, 165
    _See also_ Muhammad, Elijah

  Methodist Church
    attacks slavery (1784), 42
    Negro Methodism founded, 43-44

  Milan, Mich., Muhammad in prison in, 54-55

  Mohammedanism, _see_ Moslems

  Moon blown up by evil scientist, 71, 114

  Mormon Church, Negroes in, 59

  Moses, 134-35
    Muhammad as modern-day, 205

    in Africa, 38
    Black Muslims and, 66
      Akbar Muhammad’s speech, 100-3
      doctrinal differences, 70-71
      Malcolm X’s attacks on, 70, 135-36, 141-43, 159-60, 164-65
      Muhammad’s pilgrimage, 69-73, 142-43
      orthodox Muslims in U.S., 69-70
      as part of world community, 111, 112, 131-32, 140
      Persians refused entry into temple, 66-67
      recognized by _hajj_ committee, 69-73

  Mosques, _see_ Temples of Islam

  Mother Bethel, 44

  _Mr. Muhammad Speaks_, 80, 84
    circulation of, 172
    reports speeches of Malcolm X, 172-74
    responsibility for, 95

  Muhammad (the Prophet), 135

  Muhammad, Akbar, 94
    in Arabic dress, 66
    increased influence of, 97-98
    New York speech of, 98-103
    as possible successor to Elijah Muhammad, 104-6

  Muhammad, Elijah
    arrests of
      draft registration, 54-55
      University children, 54
    “Atlanta Speech” of, 71, 109-29
    becomes Chief Minister, 52
    Birmingham crisis and, 86
    Fard and, 52-54
    goes to Chicago, 52-54
    Malcolm X and, _see_ Malcolm X
    manner of preaching of, 55
    as Messenger of Allah, 54, 70, 132, 133, 135, 166, 169-71
      as last Messenger, 111, 129
      promised in Old Testament, 165
    in Phoenix, 94-95
    pilgrimage to Mecca of, 69-73, 142-43
    probable successor to, 104-6
    teaching of, 110-29
      Allah, 113, 123-25
      black men should become fearless, 111, 120, 122
      Christianity, 121-24
      former criminals, 18
      history of black man, 113-18
      Japanese in World War II, 54, 55
      knowledge of self, 18, 50, 116-17
      separate state, 91
      white man, 55, 125-28
      why Islam has not made progress, 113
      Yakub, 63-65

  Muhammad, Elijah, Jr., 94, 99
    as businessman, 79

  Muhammad, Wallace, 106

  Music in temples, 21-22

  Muslim Brotherhood USA, 69

  Muslim Girls Training Class, The, 81-82
    established by Fard, 51

  Muslims, _see_ Black Muslim movement; Moslems

  NAACP, 44, 99, 144, 173
    sponsors debates with Malcolm X, 179-80

  Nashville, Tenn., sit-ins in, 88-89

  Nation of Islam, _see_ Black Muslim movement

    Malcolm X’s discussion of, 162-63
    Muhammad’s discussion of, 115-16

  Negro Revolt
    Akbar Muhammad’s speech and, 99-103
    belief that it will fail, 92, 96, 207-9
    1963 Birmingham crisis, 85-87, 90
    Malcolm X’s speech for, 149-58
    value of Black Muslims to, 87

    in Africa
      languages, 36, 37
      matrilineal society, 37
      political institutions, 36-37
      religion, 37-39
    Americanization of, 39-40
    “do not desire integration,” 190-91
    history of, 67-68
      taught in University of Islam, 83-84
    “inferiority” of, 44-45, 59
    intermarriage of, 156, 178, 191, 198-99
    Japanese proselytization of, 55
    political apathy of, 180, 187-88, 190-91
    religion of, 40-47
      “clergy-politician leadership,” 191
      Negro churches founded, 43-44
      on plantations, 41-42
      theology of desegregation, 87-90
      theology of Negro church, 45-46
    slavery of
      Christianity and, 38-42
      Malcolm X’s discussion of, 137-39, 161-63, 208
      Muhammad’s discussion of, 115-22

  New York City
    Akbar Muhammad’s speech in, 98-103
    Black Muslim rallies in, 62-63, 98-103
    Malcolm X at Queens College, 172-78
    Malcolm X in underworld of, 57-58
    Negro churches organized in, 44
    Temple Number Seven
      Hinton incident, 32-34
      restaurant, 20

    Malcolm X on, 203-4
    _See also_ King, Martin Luther

  Norris, Frank, 50

  Number of Black Muslims, 18

  Omaha, Nebr., 56

  Paradise of Allah, 167

  Paul, Rev. Thomas, 44

  Pendulum of clock invented by Negro, 68

  Petersburg, Va., Negro Baptist church organized in, 43

  Philadelphia, Pa., Negro churches organized in, 43-44

  Phoenix, Ariz., Elijah Muhammad in, 94-95

  Pike, Bishop James, 74

  _Pittsburgh Courier_, 63

    arrest Fard, 53
    in Hinton incident, 32-34
    lawsuits against, 82
    mentioned in “Atlanta Speech,” 109, 112-13, 115
    _See also_ Muhammad, Elijah--arrests of

    Black Muslims and
      in Malcolm X’s “unity speech,” 154-55
      possible future policy, 96-97
      voting by Black Muslims, 91, 180, 210
    “clergy-politician leadership,” 191-92
    political apathy of Negro, 180, 187-88, 190-91

  Poole, Elijah, _see_ Muhammad, Elijah

  Pork, _see_ Dietary laws of Black Muslims

  Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr., 28, 44, 210

    Black Muslim proselytizing in, 18
    Black Muslim services in, 17, 140
    Elijah Muhammad in, 54-55
    Malcolm X in, 58

  Prophet of Allah, 54
    _See also_ Fard, W. D.

  Protestants, _see_ Christianity

  Punishment of Black Muslims, 80

  Queens College, Malcolm X at, 172-78

  Quran, 125, 166, 170
    does not support Black Muslim teachings, 71
    Fard’s use of, 50

    of Black Muslims, 201-2
      opposition to race-mixing, 156, 178, 191, 198-99
      orthodox Muslim objections, 70-71
      separation does not mean being anti-white, 132, 181, 188-89
      _See also_ Black men; White men
    Christianity and
      anti-Semitism, 73-75
      in early American church, 42-44
      theological justification for Negro “inferiority,” 44-45, 59

  Radio programs of Black Muslims, 84

  Rallies on street corners, 62-63

    of African Negroes, 37-49
    of American Negroes, 40-47
      “clergy-politician leadership,” 191
      Negro churches founded, 43-44
      on plantations, 41-42
      theology of desegregation, 87-90
      theology of Negro church, 45-46
    Black Muslim movement as, 17, 59-78
      _The Sacred Ritual of the Nation of Islam_, 51
      theology, 62-65, 71
      why it is a religion, 76-78
      _See also_ Allah; Black men; Muhammad, Elijah--teaching of;
          White men
    as closed network of believers, 73-76
    compassion in, 77-78
    as group experience, 60-61
    _See also_ Christianity

  Restaurants, temple, 19-20, 79, 80

  Revolutionary War, 68

  Richmond, Va., Negro Baptist church organized in, 43

  Rutherford, Joseph F. “Judge,” 50

  _Sacred Ritual of the Nation of Islam, The_, 51

  Sacrificial killing, 52-53

  St. Louis, Mo., Malcolm X in, 173

  Sampson, Judge Edyth, 83

  Savannah, Ga., Negro Baptist church organized in, 43

  Saviour, 54
    _See also_ Fard, W. D.

    experiments of Yakub, 63-65
      not supported by orthodox literature, 71
    moon blown up by, 71, 114
    as “Pharaoh’s Magicians,” 134

  Searching of visitors to temples, 20

    in Detroit of 1930s, 47, 50
    of Negro church, 43-46
    _See also_ Desegregation

  “Self,” knowledge of, 18-19, 50, 116-17, 120, 155

  Separation of black man, 22-23
    advocated by Jesus, 193-94
    does not mean being anti-white, 132, 181, 188-89
    not mentioned in Akbar’s speech, 101
    Old House will collapse, 137
    a separate state, 90-92, 97, 137-48, 157-58, 175-78
    usually objected to by orthodox, 71

  Shabazz, Malcolm, _see_ Malcolm X

  Shabazz, Tribe of, 115

  Sharrieff, Raymond, 79, 95
    after Muhammad’s death, 104-6
    as head of The Fruit, 81

  “Sheep,” 23

  Shriners, 124

  Silks and satins, 24, 211
    sold by Fard, 47

  “Slave” names, 30-31, 120-21, 163

    Christianity and, 38-42
    Malcolm X’s discussion of, 137-39, 161-63, 208
    Muhammad’s discussion of, 115-22

  Smith, Pastor Kelly Miller, 88-89

  Smoking, Malcolm X and, 58

  Songhay, kingdom of, 38

  Spottswood, Dr. Stephen Gill, 44

  Supreme Court outlawing of segregation, 144-46, 200, 208

  Susu people, 38

  Takahashi, Major, 54

  _Teachings of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in a Mathematical
      Way_, 51

  “Teachings” in temples, 22-28
    converts at, 30
    “deaf, dumb, and blind” speech, 26-28
    emotional effect of, 31
    Fruit of Islam during, 21, 29
    separate services for The Fruit, 81
    warm-up for, 23-24, 110

  Temple Number Two (Chicago), organized, 52

  Temple Number Seven (New York)
    Hinton incident at, 32-34
    Malcolm X as minister of, 20, 94
    restaurant of, 20

  Temples of Islam, 19-33
    first (Fard’s), 48, 50-51
    generally rented halls, 20
    music in, 21-22
    Persian Moslems refused entry to, 66-67
    restaurants of, 19-20, 79
    searching of visitors to, 20
    seating arrangements in, 20-21
    services in, _see_ “Teachings” in temples

  “That’s right,” 21

  Theology, _see_ Christianity; Religion

  Thomas J., Minister, 100

  Tillich, Paul, 17

  _Thresher_ (submarine), 206

  Toynbee, Arnold, 90

  Universities of Islam, 82-84
    founded by Fard, 51
    local authorities and, 54, 82

  “University Speech” of Malcolm X, 70, 159-71

  Van Loon’s _Story of Mankind_, 50

  Violence not preached by Black Muslims, 203-4

  Wallace, Mike, 70

  Washington, D.C.
    Malcolm X as minister in, 94
    Muhammad’s speech in, 23

  White, William, 43

  “White Man’s Heaven Is the Black Man’s Hell, The,” 21

  White men
    Akbar Muhammad on, 100-1
    created by Yakub, 63-64, 71
    as devils
      Elijah Muhammad on, 55, 125-26
      Malcolm X on, 19, 24-25, 62-63, 68-69, 76-77, 199-200
      teaching condemned by orthodox, 71
    Fard’s teachings on, 49, 50-51
    by nature evil, 22, 63, 64
    responsible for crime, 27, 152
    to be destroyed, 55, 65-66, 126, 148, 204-6
    _See also_ Separation of black man

  Wilkins, Roy, 96, 97

  Williamsburg, Va., Negro Baptist church in, 43

  “Wolves,” 23

  Women in Black Muslim movement, 81
    separated from men in temple, 20-21
    _See also_ Girls in Black Muslim movement

  Woodrow, Minister, 100

  “Word,” the, 31, 79, 201
    _See also_ Armageddon, Battle of

  Wright, Herbert, debates with Malcolm X, 179-80

  “X,” as name, 30-31

  Yakub, experiments of, 63-65
    not supported by orthodox literature, 71

  Yale University, Malcolm X at, 179-95

  Yoruba people, 38

  “You tell it like it is,” 21


Louis E. Lomax, one of the nation’s best-known social critics and
lecturers, was born in Valdosta, Georgia, on August 16, 1922.
Educated at Paine College, Augusta, Ga., American University, and
Yale University, Mr. Lomax has served on the faculty of Georgia
State College, in Savannah, as assistant professor of philosophy.
His career as a professional writer began with the _Afro-American_
and subsequently he became a staff feature writer for the Chicago
_American_. His magazine articles have appeared frequently in
_Harper’s, Life_, _Pageant_, _The Nation_, and _The New Leader_. In
1959, when Mr. Lomax joined Mike Wallace’s news staff in New York, he
became the first Negro newsman to appear on television. His first book,
_The Reluctant African_, was given the _Saturday Review_ Anisfield-Wolf
award of 1960 for the book dealing “most creditably with social and
group relations.” His second book, _The Negro Revolt_, was both
definitive and prophetic: Lomax predicted that Negroes would take their
cause from the courtroom into the streets and market place, and his
reportorial analysis of the forces now at work in the race struggle has
placed him among America’s foremost authorities on social issues. One
of the most sought-after lecturers in the nation today, Mr. Lomax lives
with his wife in St. Albans, New York.


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Emboldened text is surrounded by equals signs: =bold=.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Archaic or alternate spelling has been retained from the original.

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