Black Gods of the Inner City

by Prince-A-Cuba
Fall 1992 / Gnosis Magazine
pp. 56-63.

Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam is a figure as current as today’s headlines, but the movement of which he is a nominal spokesman has a continuous history of over sixty years in this country. The Nation of Islam (NOI), as it is officially known, came to the attention of the general public in the 1960s as the “Black Muslims.” (1) It is well-known for its doctrine that the White Man is a devil. but what is probably less well known is another part of its teaching – that the Black man is god.

Outsiders have done little in-depth research to trace the NOI’s doctrinal predecessors. The NOI itself has denied its connections with previous movements, specifically the Moorish Science Temple of Noble Drew Ali. Ali, who was born as Timothy Drew in North Carolina in 1886, taught, among other things, that Blacks are descended from the ancient Canaanites. Legend has it that he was the reincarnation of Muhammad, the Prophet of orthodox Islam. Eventually relocating to Chicago, Ali built an organization that numbered perhaps 30,000 adherents at its peak. (2)

On March 15, 1929, Ali was arrested after factional violence resulted in the death of a rival, Sheik Claude Greene. Arrested and held in the county jail, Ali was eventually released on bail, but died July 20, 1929, under mysterious circumstances. (3)

Master Fard Muhammad

The story of the NOI itself starts with a man variously known as Wali Farrad, W.D. Fard, Wallace Fard Muhammad, and Farrad Muhammad, but who is best known as Master Fard Muhammad. (4) According to his sucessor, Elijah Muhammad,

He came alone. He began teaching us the knowledge of ourselves, of God and the devil, of the measurements of the earth, of other planets, and the civilizations of some of the planets other than the earth. He measured and weighed the earth and the water; [he gave] the history of the moon; the history of the two nations that dominated the earth. He gave the exact birth of the white race; the name of their God who made them and how; and the end of their time, the judgement, how it will begin and end. (5)

According to the same source, Fard had said, “My name is Mahdi; I am God.” And according to another source, Fard, when asked who he was by the Detroit police, responded: “I am the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.” (6)

Master Fard Muhammad is officially noted by the NOI as having arrived in Detroit on July 4, 1930, and departed on June 30, 1934. (There is an older tradition of an earlier arrival twenty years previous as well as attendance at the University of Southern California.) (7) In the interim, Fard established temples in several cities and created a hierarchical organization composed of a men’s military training unit called the Fruit of Islam (FOI), a ministers’ corps, and a women’s auxiliary called the Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class (MGT-GCC). (8) This infrastructure was built upon Fard’s ideological foundation known as the “Secret Ritual,” which, arranged in a question-and-answer format, became better known as the “Lost-Found Muslim Lessons” or simply as “the lessons.”

Within these lessons were the basic elements of an ancient mystery school. It involved secrecy from outsiders; an esoteric ritual containing keys for recognition between fellow members; a cohesive world view; and a tradition that could be explained only to initiates. Central to these teachings were the knowledge of self and the Black man’s godhood. (9) According to these teachings, the Black man was by nature divine, and in fact was the original man, ancestor of the human race (antedating Louis and Mary Leakey’s discoveries of early human remains in Africa by nearly thirty years.)

White people, on the other hand, were produced out of Black people by a scientist named Yacub approximately six thousand years ago. (10) Discovering a recessive gene in the Black man, Yacub used a system of eugenics on a group of sixty thousand people on an island and, after six hundred years, was able to create a biological mutation: the White man. Of course Yacub did not live to see his creation, but he left behind an infrastructure to propogate his system, as well as the ideological basis for White supremacy. Bleached of the essence of humanity, Whites were “without soul.” Nonetheless the race was destined to rule for an allotted period extending to 1914 A.D, though, as Fard’s messenger Elijah Muhammad put it, “a few years of grace have been given to complete the resurrection of the Black man, and especially the so-called Negroes whom Allah has chosen for this change (of a new nation and world). They (so-called Negroes) have been made so completely mentally dead … that extra time is allowed.” (11) It was also taught that the supreme god amongst this mighty nation of Black gods commanded the name of Allah. (12) This title was claimed by Master Fard Muhammad himself.

Fard’s deification of man can hardly be considered an aberration in light of historical precedents. The ancient pharaohs of Egypt, the Aztec emperors, and the Peruvian Incas who traced their ancestry to the Sun God are well-known examples. More recently, there are claims of divinity for emperors Hirohito and Haile Selassie, the Dalai Lama, and Kushok Bakula. (13) And even these should hardly turn any heads in the light of the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth as God incarnate. The Hindu avatar tradition would also be right at home in such company.

The teaching of the divinity of the Black man specifically (a doctrine known as “incarnation”) is said to go back to ancient Egyptian mystery schools; in fact Khem (and its variants Cham, Ham), an ancient name of Egypt, means “land of the Blacks.” Nor did the doctrine of incarnation start with Master Fard Muhammad and the NOI; according to Fard’s messenger and succesor, Elijah Muhammad, the knowledge of man as god had been long known but “was kept a secret from the public.” (14)

“The Lost-Found People of Islam”

Prior to Fard’s appearance in 1930, Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temples of America were in decline. After the loss of its founder in 1929, the movement had fallen into three separate schisms. Sheik John Givens El claimed that Noble Drew Ali had become reincarnated into him, Givens El, on August 7, 1929. in Chicago. This was publicly announced in Chicago’s Pythian Hall on August 19 of that year. (15)

But, according to scholar Ravanna Bey, W.D. Fard, known at the time as Abdul Wali Farrad Muhammad, and two other Moorish Scientists, Mealy El and Charles Kirkman Bey, contested the authority of Givens El. The latter two went on to establish their own independent Moorish Science Temples, while Fard converted a Detroit Moorish Science Temple and renamed it the Temple of the Lost-Found People of Islam (a story that has been hotly contested by NOI leadership). (16) A wartime memo claimed W.D. Fard was one Sheik Davis El from Kansas. (17) According to yet another source, Fard had declared himself the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali. (18) With so many stories in circulation, confusion has been the norm.

On November 21, 1932, Robert Karriem, a member of Fard’s Detroit temple, was arrested for the murder of J.J. Smith, another temple member. The police arrested thirty seven members in what they characterized as a case of “human sacrifice” with religious overtones. They labeled the incident as the “Voodoo Murder,” and the media followed suit. (19) The organization was referred to as the “Voodoo Cult,” and Fard as “Chief of the Voodoos” by the detractors. Karriem, also known as Robert Harris, was found insane and ordered to be confined to the State Insane Asylum at Ionia, Michigan, on December 6, 1932.

Meanwhile Detroit was being turned upside down in pursuit of Fard, who was proving to be elusive. After seven months, the police finally arrested him at Detroit’s Hotel Fraymore on May 25, 1933. Held overnight for “investigation,” he was photographed and fingerprinted. On the following day he was ordered out of the city. Traveling to Chicago, he was again arrested. According to Elijah Muhammad, Fard “came to Chicago in the same year [1933] and was arrested almost immediately on his arrival and placed behind prison bars.” (20) According to FBI sources, Fard was thought to have been arrested in Chicago on September 26, 1933, without disposition, photo, or fingerprints taken, for “disorderly conduct,” a police euphemism for the harassment of undesirables. This is the last official record of Fard. Unsubstantiated rumors lay his disappearance at the door of the Chicago police department; but according to NOI tradition, Fard continued to visit Detroit surreptitiously into 1934.

Fard The Man

Who was Fard? Official NOI teachings state that he was born in Mecca, Arabia, February 26, 1877. The offspring of a Black father and a White mother, he was “able to go among both black and white without being discovered or recognized.” (21) His mission was to teach freedom, justice, and equality to the members of the “lost tribe of Shabazz in the wilderness of North America.” He had recieved the finest education in preparation for his mission; “he could speak 16 languages and write 10 of them. He could recite the histories of the world as far back as 150,000 years and knew the beginning and end of all things.”(22)

However, different sources contribute their conflicting versions of the man.

Fard was also described as a “Palestinian Arab who had participated in various racial agitations in India, South Africa, and London before moving on to Detroit.” He was also thought to be the son of an African Jamaican mother and a Syrian Muslim father. (23) Another report claimed that he was born of a Maori mother and a British sailor father in New Zealand. (24) Still another states that he was a Turkish-born agent for Hitler. (25) A recent account somewhat incoherently describes Fard as a “Jewish Nazi Communist,” and says he was an agent of the CIA in 1930 (seventeen years before that agency came into existence). (26) One more recent writer has constructed the tenuous hypothesis that Fard came to Sufi mysticism by way of Theosophy. (27) There is even an account (complete with transcript) of a supposed encounter between Fard and Albert Einstien at a Detroit radio station in 1932.

While the oral histories of Moorish Science adherents claim Fard as one of their own gone astrary, NOI initiates say that Fard, arriving in the “wilderness of North America” as early as 1910, taught Noble Drew Ali, Father Divine, Daddy Grace and Sufi Abdul-Hamid (28) the concept of Black godhood, though all of these later went on their own way. There is also a tradition that in Egypt Fard taught Duse Muhammad Ali, the mentor of Marcus Garvey (founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association), as well as Garvey himself, whom he met in London.

Fard was described as having an “oriental cast of countenance,” (29) a description which a 1933 police photo seems to bear out. Police sources describe him as five feet six inches in height and weighing 133 pounds. His eye color is given as “maroon,” his hair as black, and his complexion is described as “dark” or “swarthy.” One entry described him as looking like a “dark complected Mexican.” Only two photographs remain from Fard’s three and a half years in Detroit: the police photo and a “glamourized” (i.e. touched-up) portrait of a sort popular in the late 1920s, taken at a forty-five-degree angle by a professional photographer. The latter became the official portrait of Fard, and was later reproduced in a painted portrait at the Muhammad family mansion in Chicago.

The Departure of Fard

Other accounts circulated after Fard’s disappearance. According to Elijah Muhammad, Fard was “ordered out of the country” and caught a flight to Mecca. (30) It was also reported that he sailed to Austrailia and New Zealand, and that he was last seen “aboard a ship bound for Europe.” (31) A suspect source claimed that Fard was interviewed in Germany but denied ever being in the United States. (32) A recent report in an orthodox Muslim newspaper claimed that Fard is alive and living in California and is now himself an orthodox Muslim. (33)

In addition, there were rumors to the effect that Fard “met with foul play at the hands of either the Detroit police or some of his dissident followers,” or that he was the victim of “human sacrifice” himself, thereby accounting for both his disappearance and his title of “Saviour.” (34) Another unsubstantiated story said that, afflicted with an incurable illness, he died and was buried under another name, and “no man knows of his grave to this day.”

Rumors aside, there has been no reliable report of his death. The FBI, which initiated an investigation of Fard in 1942 that was to last more than thirty years, could not substantiate or verify his name at birth, birth date, place of birth, port of entry, exit, or present whereabouts, despite exhaustive inquiries. There are even indications that bodies were exhumed in the search for Fard.

The Messenger of Allah

It was Elijah Muhammad who was almost single-handedly responsible for the deification of Fard as “Allah.” (35) Elijah Muhammad was born Paul Robert Poole in 1897 on a tenant farm in Sandersville, Georgia, the seventh of twelve children; he was given the name Elijah by his grandfather. Later on, Fard would give him the name Muhammad. (36) Elijah married the former Clara Evans and migrated to Detroit in 1923. Working at a variety of jobs until the Depression hit in 1929, he went on relief until 1931. It was in that year that he first met Fard, but says that “it was not until 1933 that he [Fard] began revealing his true self to us.” (37)

After Fard’s disappearance, the struggle for succesion commenced. Elijah’s own brother fell in the bloody internecine warfare that developed. (38) Rivals in the Detroit temple made necessary Elijah’s hegira to Chicago, which was destined to become the headquarters and power base; but from 1935 to 1942, he was on the run. In 1942 he was arrested in Washington, D.C., by the FBI on charges of sedition. At roughly the same time, more than eighty members of the Chicago temple were taken in under the same charge by FBI agents working with local police. One of the arrested temple members said the officers “tore the place apart trying to find weapons hidden, since they believed we were connected with the Japanese.” (39)

The sedition charge was based on the temple’s anti-draft stance and was applied for blatantly political reasons. The arrest of Elijah and his followers, and their subsequent incarceration until the end of the war, greatly enhanced their status as martyrs for the cause.

Like other leaders jailed for their activities, Elijah brought forth innovations for his movement when he was released. Prior to his imprisonment, the movement was based entirely on its theological teachings and traditions. In 1946 it numbered in the hundreds, just possibly the thousands. But that was to change.

Upon his release, Elijah stated, “We have to show the people something – we cannot progress by talk.” And so, as his son Wallace later explained, Elijah “changed from preaching his mysterious doctrine to doing something practical. He said, ‘We have to have businesses.’ So he began to promote the opening of businesses. He said, ‘You have to produce jobs for yourself’.” (40)

Quietly growing through the 1940s and ’50s, the NOI came to enjoy phenomenal growth in the 1960s owing to media exposure and the charismatic gifts of its national spokesman, Malcolm X. As Elijah’s chief minister, Malcolm was known in Black inner cities for his dynamic presence and speaking ability. He gained national exposure through Mike Wallace’s 1959 television documentary, “The Hate that Hate Produced.” The program shocked Middle America, while at the same time grim-faced FOI members met with admiration from inner-city audiences.

Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the NOI had arrived on prime time. Recruitment skyrocketed.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm X had been introduced to Elijah Muhammad through family members while in prison in Massachusetts. In the early 1950s he converted and took his “X.” (41) Upon his release he joined the organization in Detroit and subsequently rose to a position of leadership, eventually moving to New York City, where he was assigned Temple #7. But in 1965 factional rivalry and FBI activities reaped their harvest: Malcolm X was assassinated.

After his death Malcolm X became the martyr of the Black nationalist movement. But for the next ten years, the various factions were just treading water, and no one made any waves until the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975.

Allah Comes To Harlem

In the meantime, however, the doctrine of Black incarnation had not died, and while W.D. Fard was still invoked in prayer in the temples of the NOI, another cycle in the series of resurrections and reincarnations came about. The former FOI Clarence 13X became the founder of the “Five Percenters” in New York City around 1964.

Born Clarence Edward Smith in Danville, Virginia, in 1928, while still in his teens he came with his family to New York City. Married and the father of several children, he served with the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Honorably discharged in 1954, he remained a reservist until 1960, at which time he joined the NOI. He remained in the NOI until he was expelled by Malcolm X under orders from the Chicago headquarters in 1963.

The leading rumor of the cause of Clarence’s expulsion was his admitted love for playing craps. Dice playing, it was claimed, was a way of demonstrating the probabilities inherent in the nature of the universe. By contrast to Einstien’s famous dictum, “God doesn’t play dice,” the former Clarence 13X Smith, who took on the attribute (or name) Allah, did claim, “I am going to shoot dice until I die.” (42) And he did.

“Allah,” as he became known, took Fard’s “Lost-Found Muslim Lessons” out of the temple and put them into the hands of the youth in the streets. Fard’s initiation ritual related a mathematical formula for the human society, which was broken down into percentages. The Five Percent were those who taught righteousness, freedom, justice, and equality to all the human family. They taught that the god of righteousness was not a spirit or a spook, but the Black man of Asia. (Asia was viewed as the primary continent, all the others as subcontinents; continental drift was a facet of this teaching.)

The Eighty-Five Percent, the masses, believed in a “Mystery God” and worshipped “that which did not exist.” they believed in a spirit deity rather than a material man as god. They functioned on a “mentally dead” (i.e. unconscious) level and were easy to lead in the wrong direction but hard to lead in the right.

The Ten Percent were the bloodsuckers of the poor who taught the Eighty-Five Percent that a Mystery God existed. They kept the masses asleep with myths and lies, catering to their superstitious nature and living in luxury from the earnings of the poor.

The Five Percent were destined to be poor righteous teachers and to struggle successfully against the Ten Percent. Their job was to lead the Eighty-Five Percent to freedom, justice, and equality. At first a loose confederation of the lumpen proletariat, Allah’s followers numbered in the hundreds, but that soon changed.

The Rise of the Five Percent

Allah attracted the attention of both the police and the politicians – a lethal combination. Mayor Lindsay’s administration in New York City saw in him a means of keeping the Harlem streets cool through the long, hot summers of the riot-strewn Sixties. So Allah was put on the city payroll. Meanwhile the New York City Police Department’s Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), who kept their eyes on radicals and dissidents, put him at the top of their list of “Black Militants.” (43)

For his part Allah wanted something for his youngsters. In the short time he was associated with the mayor’s office, he was able to open an academy with city funds. He expanded his recruitment of youth with picnic outings and airplane rides. The youth in turn sensed his love for them, and it is no wonder that in the contempary Five Percent he is referred to as “The Father.”

Allah was assassinated Friday the 13th of June, 1969 by “three male negroes.” His Death was reported on the front of the New York Times. (44) His murder remains unsolved. It has been rumored within the FOI circles that his death was the result of his “taking the lessons out of the temple.” There is evidence, however, that BOSS instigated the assassination to create a war between the NOI and the Five Percent. (45) With Allah’s martyrdom, legends again began to proliferate, and “The Father, Allah” joined the pantheon of the Black gods of the inner city along with Nobel Drew Ali and W.D. Fard.

But Allah’s story doesn’t end there. Like Jesus, he taught “You are gods,” (John 10:34), testifying to the inherent divinity of man; nonetheless his followers elevated him above themselves. His biographies became tinged with myth, and a supernatural element was added to his teaching; the “Father” has been magnified in his absence, and he has become a cult personality. His photos adorn walls where previous generations had kept a picture of a blond-haired, blue eyed Jesus.

A New Era

With the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, a new power struggle ensued in the house that Fard built. Wallace Delaney Muhammad, son of Elijah, was born in Detroit in 1933. He recieved his elementary and high-school education at the NOI’s University of Islam in Chicago, and spent four more years studying Islam and Arabic at orthodox Muslim schools. He was long regarded as the logical successor to his father. Born and groomed for the part, he was introduced by Malcolm X as “the seventh son of our dear beloved leader and Teacher who is following in the footsteps of his father.” (46)

But not everything was to run so smoothly or so simply. Wallace D. Muhammad had in fact been expelled by his father for his refusal to recognize the divinity of Master Fard Muhammad. In addition, Minister Louis Farrakhan, the national spokesman for the organization, was waiting in the wings. Farrakhan, while probably more popular among hard-core militants, failed to muster the votes required from the family dominated inner circle in Chicago. So, despite Wallace’s departures from NOI orthodoxy, nepotism prevailed.

Wallace was careful, however. He did not challenge the sanctity of his namesake’s coattails, to which he owed his own legitimacy. A year after his accension to power, Wallace claimed in speeches to believers that he was in communication with the founder, saying, “Master Fard Muhammad is not dead, brothers and sisters, he is physically alive and I talk with him whenever I get ready. I don’t talk to him in any spooky way, I go to the telephone and dial his number.” (47)

Within a few years, though, Wallace was moving in the direction of orthodox Islam. Taking the organization through a number of name changes, he changed his own name to Warith (meaning “heir” in Arabic). Ultimately he sold off the businesses that had been accumulated over the previous thirty years and joined the fold of orthodox Islam.

The Farrakhan Facet

For a while after Elijah Muhammad’s death, Louis Farrakhan toed the line. Approximately three years later, however, the old-line NOI traditionalists regrouped. With a certain amount of encouragement from them, Farrakhan left the employ of Warith.

Known in an earlier period as Minister Louis X of Boston’s Temple No. 11, Farrakhan had joined the NOI in the mid-1950s a former calypso singer, he became a speaker of some note. He recieved the name Farrakhan from Elijah Muhammad, but neither he nor anyone else seems to know just what it means.

Groomed in the shadow of Malcolm X, and sometimes hosting him in his visits to Boston, Farrakhan was later to fiercely denounce him in the pages of Muhammad Speaks, the paper that, ironically, Malcolm himself had started in New York in 1960:

Only those who wish to be led to hell, or to their doom, will follow Malcolm. The die is set and Malcolm shall not escape, especially after such foolish talk about his benefactor in trying to rob him of the divine glory which Allah has bestowed upon him. Such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death. (48)

Farrakhan later admitted his deviation from the NOI path in following Wallace. Others had refused to recognize the legitimacy of Wallace’s succesion and had left earlier. In time the NOI traditionalists regrouped around Farrakhan. One, the former Bernard Cushmeer (now Jabril Muhammad), joined up claimed that Elijah was not really dead. He wrote a book to prove it. Farrakhan, after some hesitation, concurred; in September 1985 he claimed to have had a vision in which he was taken up to the Mothership and saw Elijah. (49)

But there was one certainty in the air: that a era had passed and a new cycle had been initiated in the history of the unique form of Islam practiced in the wilderness of North America, complete with its own prophets, gods, saviors, and messengers.

Another Cycle

After centuries of slavery, lynchings, discriminations, miseducation, police brutality, and poverty, it was not difficult for semiliterate Black migrants in the Depression era to believe that the White man was a devil. What was difficult, after generations of being taught in schools, textbooks, and the media that Black people were inferior and had no history of achievement before enslavement, was for them to see the divine nature in themselves. It was not for Black people to rehabilitate their view of Whites, but to raise their own self-esteem. The doctrine of Black godhood responds to this need, and the Black gods of the inner city are symptomatic of this effort.

In recent years the Five Percent has grown in numbers, despite the departure of Allah. The doctrine of Black godhood is enjoying a renewal among inner-city youth of the 1990s. They are attracted by its esoteric tradition, its Black identity, and the symbolism of the Five Percent’s Universal Flag. Its influence in the rap music field is evidenced by the artists who identify themselves with it in their lyrics: Big Daddy Kane (King Asiatic God Allah), Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun, Rakim, Brand Nubian, Movement Ex, and Lakim Shabazz (who has done a video in Egypt with pyramids in the background). (50) What can you possibly think when you watch MTV and hear an attractive young Black woman, “cultured-down” (dressed in long skirts with here hair covered), announce: “Peace, this is the goddess Isis”? There’s definitely a connection among godhood, Blackness, and Egypt.

However you may view the above, the next time you hear a twenty-year-old youngster like Lakim Shabazz on MTV rapping about “knowledge, wisdom, and understanding,” or saying “The original man is the Asiatic Black man,” or ” I’m God, my number is seven,” you will recognize that he is reciting portions of a once-secret ritual that is known to be more that sixty years old and that traces itself back to ancient Egypt. With that knowledge, you can be assured that the Black gods and goddesses of the inner cities are alive and well.

[ Prince-A-Cuba, born in Havana in 1962, can be reached as W. Don Fajardo c/o T.U.T., P.O. Box 3243, East Orange, NJ 07017. His forthcoming book is entitled Our Mecca is Harlem: Clarence 13X (Allah) and the Five Percent. ]

Footnotes

1. The term was coined in 1956 by C. Eric Lincoln. Cf. his Black Muslims in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961, 1973),p. xii.

2. Lincoln, pp. 53, 57.

3. E.U. Essien-Udom, Black Nationalism: A Search for Identity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962, 1971), p. 35.

4. E.D. Beynon, “The Voodoo Cult among Negro Migrants in Detroit,” in American Journal of Sociology 43 (May 1938), Republished as Master Fard Muhammad: Detroit History, Prince-A-Cuba. ed. (Newport News, Va.: UB & USCS, 1990). Page references are to the latter.

5. Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (Newport News,: UB & USCS, 1965), pp. 16-17.

6. Beynon, p. 6.

7. Ibid., p.5; cf. Pittsburgh Courier, July 20, 1957; and interview with Elijah Muhammad by R.Simmons of the California Eagle, July 28, 1963.

8. Temples were founded in Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C. The Detroit temple had a membership of 8000, according to NOI officials, and 5000, according to the Detroit police. Cf. Beymon, p. 7.

9. The expressions “knowledge of self” and “know thyself” are found throughout the NOI teachings. Cf. George G.M. James, Stolen Lagacy (Newport News, Va.: UB &USCS, 1954), pp. 3, 88, 92 and Anonymous, Egyptian Mysteries: An Account of an Initiation (York Beach, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1991), p. 43.

10. Muhammad, Message, pp. 110-21.

11. Elijah Muhammad, Our Savior Has Arrived (Newport News, Va.: UB & USCS, 1974), p. 13.

12. Lincoln, p. 75.

13. India’s ambassador to Mongolia, considered a “living Buddha”; New York Times, July 22, 1991, p. A-6

14. Muhammad, Message, p. 9, and Saviour, p. 61.

15. Prof. Ravanna Bey, third-generation Moorish Scientist and Adept, in personal communication with the author.

16. Essien-Udom, pp. 35-36.

17. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Field Office Report, File #100- 26356 (Nov.12, 1942).

18. Arna Bontemps and Jack Conroy, Anyplace but Here (New York; Hill & Wang, 1966); cited in Essien-Udom, pp. 35-45.

19. Detroit Times, Nov. 22, 1932.

20. Muhammad, Message, pp. 24-25.

21. Ibid., p. 20.

22. Pittsburgh Courier, July 20, 1957.

23. Lincoln, p. 14.

24. San Franscisco Herald-Examiner, July 23, 1963.

25. The New Crusader (Chicago), Aug. 15, 1959.

26. Sayyid Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi, The Book of the Five Percenters (Monticello, N.Y.: Tents of Kedar, 1991), p. 413.

27. Hakim Shabazz, Essays of the Life and Teachings of Master W. Fard Muhammad (Newport News, Va.: UB & USCS, 1990).

28. Essien-Udom, p. 32: Lincoln, p. 182. See also Sara Harris, Father Divine: Holy Husband (New York, 1953).

29. Essien-Udom, p.43.

30. Muhammad, Saviour, p. 21; cf. Essien-Udom, pp. 45-46

31. San Franscisco Herald-Examiner, Feb. 26, 1965, and July 28, 1963; Lincoln, p. 17.

32. Issa Al Mahdi, The Book of the Lamm (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Ansarullah Publications, 1986).

33. Interview with Dr. Alauddin Shabazz in New Trend, July 1991

34. Lincoln, pp. 17, 199.

35. Ibid.

36. Essien Udom. p. 128.

37. Muhammad, Saviour, p. 23.

38. Muhammad, Message, p. 264.

39. Essien-Udom, p. 67.

40. Wallace D. Muhammad, As the Light Shineth from the East (Chicago: WDM Publishing, 1980), p. 20.

41. The practice of inserting the “X” (meaning “unknown”) before the “slave name” or surname came into existence after the disappearance of Fard. Believers were told in the early period that they would get their “righteous name” on his return. The practice became established and its purpose forgotten.

42. Les Matthews, “Allah Lives,” (New York) Amsterdam News, June 21, 1969, pp. 1, 41.

43. Barry Gottterher, The Mayor’s Man (New York, 1975). p. 92. This book provides a good history of Allah’s career and interactions with the Lindsay administration.

44. William F. Farrell, “Harlem Militants Offer Peace Vow,” New York Times, June 15, 1969.

45. Frank Faso, “Kenyatta’s Pal is Killed, Cops See Muslim war,” New York Daily News, June 14, 1969.

46. Essien-Udom, p. 81.

47. Wallace D. Muhammad. “Self-Government in the New World.” Bilalian News, Vol. 1., No. 19, March 19, 1976; cited in Milton C. Sernett, ed., Afro-American Religious History: A Documentary Witness (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1985), pp. 413-20

48. Minister Louis X, “Boston Minister Tells of Malcolm – Muhammad’s Biggest Hypocrite,” Muhammad Speaks, December 4, 1964, See also Clayborne Carson, Malcolm X: the FBI File (New York; Carroll & Graf, 1991), p. 43; and Playthel Benjamin, “Interview with Louis Farrakhan,” Emerge magazine, February 1990.

49. Jabril Muhammad, Is it Possible That the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is Still Alive? (New York; Resurrecting Light Communications, 1983), p.v.

50. Chalie Ahearn, “The Five Percent Solution,” Spin, February 1991, pp. 55-57, 76; Harry Allen, “Righteous Indignation,” The Source (March-April 1991), pp. 49-55.

Selected Bibliography

Fauset, Arthur H. “Moorish Science Temple of America,” in J. Milton Yinger, Religion, Society, and the Individual, New York: Macmillan, 1968, pp. 458-507.

Goldman, Peter, The Death and Life of Malcolm X, New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

Lomax, Louis, When the Word is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the Black Muslim World, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1963.

Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, New York: Grove Press, 1965.

Marsh, Charles E. From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separatism to Islam, 1930-80, Metuchin, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1984.

Parenti, Michael. “The Black Muslims: From Revolution to Institution,” in Social Research 31 (1964), pp. 975-94.

Watts, Jill. God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

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