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A Brief Look at the Roots and Development of The Nation of Islam
Political Issues
Bradley P. Roderick


The Nation of Islam is an American synthesis of traditional Islam, urban Christianity, and Black Nationalism. The organisation was founded in 1933 by W. D. Fard in Detroit, Michigan and was directed by Elijah Muhammad until his death in 1975.

Following the death of Elijah Muhammad, his son, W. Deen Mohammed, took over the organisation and over the next decade gradually disbanded it. He led the majority of his followers into traditional Islam. Later, several groups were reorganised around the teachings of the original Nation of Islam. The largest of these groups is currently under the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Membership figures for the Nation of Islam are difficult to determine – estimates vary between several hundred thousand to one and a half million. The influence of the organisation far exceeds its actual membership.

The membership periodically surfaces in the news through the actions of its outspoken leader, Louis Farrakhan, and the conversion of well-known African-Americans like Mike Tyson (reminiscent of the conversion of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in the 1960s) and former director of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, Benjamin Chavis, now Benjamin Chavis Muhammad. Aside from these sensational reports, however, the history of the movement is rarely reported.

No movement, religious or otherwise, develops in a vacuum. The Nation of Islam is no exception. The purpose of this article will be to examine four of the most significant foundations of the organisation: Islam in America prior to 1934, the role and status of African-Americans in early twentieth century America, Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, and Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple.

Islam in America Prior to 1934

No reliable record of the first Muslim immigrant to enter the United States has been found. Strong evidence does exist, however, that Islam was the religion of many of the Africans who entered the country through the slave trade. Akbar Muhammad, son of Elijah Muhammad, reported ‘a continuous flow of African Muslim captives well into the nineteenth century.’1

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Muslims began to immigrate voluntarily to the United States, especially from Lebanon. Faced with the difficulties of adapting to the American lifestyle, however, immigrant Muslims did not begin to share their faith actively until the middle of the twentieth century. The first American known to convert to Islam, according to Akbar Muhammad, ‘seems to have been a rather obscure European American, the Reverend Norman, a Methodist missionary in Turkey who embraced Islam in the 1879s’.2 Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb, the second recorded American convert also accepted Islam in the late nineteenth century. Webb, an American diplomat working in the Philippines corresponded regularly with a diplomat from India who eventually led him to accept the Islamic faith. After resigning his post with the American government, he returned to the United States and founded a magazine, The Moslem World, and the American Islamic Propaganda Movement.

Although Islam is a missionary religion and expanded rapidly in other areas, outreach in the United States was extremely limited prior to World War II. In fact, the first mosque was not built in America until 1934.3 The major exception of this lack of outreach, according to E. S. Gausted, was ‘the special case of the Black Muslims.’4

African-American Status in the Early Twentieth Century

Edgar Toppin summarised the life of the average African-American at the end of the nineteenth century:

American blacks were a rejected and despised people. They were almost completely isolated from the mainstream of American Life. Jim Crow laws, lynching, denial voting rights, and other forms of racism pointed to the failure of American whites to extend to all Americans the freedoms guaranteed under the constitution.5

The beginning of the twentieth century did not offer much hope for progress. African-Americans were faced with unemployment and underemployment, unfavourable treatment from the entertainment and news media and physical violence.

Following the American Civil War, many African-Americans began to leave the South in search of job opportunities. As they attempted to enter the work force they discovered that racism, lack of experience and lack of education kept them from high paying jobs. Hopes were destroyed as they discovered they ‘were confined to jobs as porters, maids, and errand boys.’6

During the First World War, hopes for equality were raised in the African-American community. When Americans went to Europe to fight for freedom and democracy, Black-run newspapers began to promise positive race relations and equal opportunity in the United States.7 However, with the return of White soldiers, African-Americans found jobs even more scarce. The Depression in the thirties caused conditions to worsen. In 1932, approximately thirty percent of the White work force was unemployed; for African-Americans the figure was sixty percent.8

As African-Americans moved into the northern United States, the media often exploited racist attitudes and fears. Newspapers carried false accounts of crimes committed by African-Americans. Forrest Wood wrote, ‘Exaggerated and sometimes fabricated descriptions of Negro violence were frequent in the Democratic press.’9

The entertainment industry also damaged the image of African-Americans. Minstrel shows travelled in the North and West where many people had no personal knowledge of African-Americans. According to Toppin:

In the singing, dancing and joke telling, blacks were shown as lazy, stupid, chicken-stealing, razor carrying people ... These shows convinced many Americans that blacks were a comical, inferior people who were unfit for first class citizenship.10

These stereotypes reinforced the prevailing racism.

As the economy continued to decline, some Whites began to look for a scapegoat. The Ku Klux Klan, which had declined after Reconstruction, was reorganised during World War I. National membership exceeded five million.11 The Klan-sponsored reign of terror included riots, intimidation, and lynchings.12 The hardships confronting the African-American community led to the rise of the Black Nationalist movements in general and the Universal Negro Improvement Association in particular.

Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association

Although his contributions to American and global society are only now beginning to be recognised, Marcus Garvey was one of the most influential leaders of the African-American community in the early twentieth century.13 Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887. As a young adult, he held jobs that took him through Latin America, Europe and the United States. He was depressed by what he saw as the plight of his race.

In 1914, Garvey returned to Jamaica and established the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The international headquarters were moved to Harlem, New York in 1919. That same year the organisation claimed a membership of two million.14 Garvey’s purpose was to demonstrate to all men and women of African descent their essential oneness in the struggle for survival in a hostile White dominated world.15

Garvey’s programme was centred around building self-esteem and a sense of empowerment. He wanted African-Americans to be proud of their heritage and to be independent of White society. He encouraged parents to give their children Black dolls and told his followers to worship a black Jesus within the African Orthodox Church.

Garvey did not think that Jesus or the angels were Black or White, but said, ‘if they are going to make the angels beautiful white peaches from Georgia, we are going to make them beautiful black peaches from Africa.’16 He also started a newspaper, The Negro World, that featured Black authors and articles about the achievement of Black men and women.17

In order to free his followers from economic dependence on Whites, Garvey launched the Black Star Line. The company was a shipping line that Garvey hoped would be larger than any other Black-owned enterprise. Instead, the Line proved to be his downfall. Pictures of a ship that the Line had not yet purchased were used in flyers sent to shareholders. Although no evidence was produced that indicated Garvey was intentionally dishonest, he was convicted of mail fraud, and on 10 December 1927 he was deported.

Following his deportation, Garvey went to Europe. He continued to promote his ideas but never regained the popular support he lost in America. He died in London on 10 June 1940.

Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple

One of the people influenced by Marcus Garvey’s attempts to promote the rights of African-Americans was Timothy Drew. Born in North Carolina on 8 January 1886, Drew converted to Islam during a visit to Saudi Arabia and changed his name to Noble Drew Ali. In 1913 he started the Moorish Science Temple, a Black Nationalist organisation and an Islamic sect. After Garvey was deported in 1927, many of his followers joined the Moorish Science Temple.

Ali taught that African-Americans were actually Asiatic, or ‘Moors’, who would never be free until they acknowledged their true identity. He also taught that the Moors were superior to the White race, which was doomed. Jesus, according to Temple teaching, ‘as a black man who tried to redeem the Black Moabites, only to be executed by the white Romans.’18

As the Temple gained popularity some of the leaders saw an opportunity to profit financially. Against Ali’s orders, potions, charms and literature were sold. In March 1929, while Ali was out of town, Shayk Claude Greene, one of the leaders who sponsored the sales, was killed. Ali was arrested for the murder and, while in police custody awaiting trial, died to mysterious causes on 20 July 1929.19

In the early 1930s a mysterious figure. W.D. Fard, was able to take these foundations, and give birth to the Nation of Islam. We will now look at his role and that of four men in contributing to the growth and development of the Nation of Islam: Elijah Muhammad, the prophet of the Nation; Malcolm X, the chief spokesman from the early 1950s until 1964; W.D. Mohommad, who disbanded the original Nation of Islam, and Louis Farrakhan who recreated the Nation of Islam.

Contributions of Wallace Fard

With Marcus Garvey in Europe and Noble Drew Ali dead, there was a vacuum in the leadership of the Black Nationalist movement. Among those who attempted to fill that vacuum was Wallace Fard.20 The details of Fard’s life remain a mystery; he appeared in Detroit in 1930 claiming to be the reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali.

Many theories have been advanced to explain Fard’s background. C. Eric Lincoln has catalogued several of them:

One such legend is that Fard was a Jamaican Negro whose father was a Syrian Arab. Another describes him as a Palestinian Arab. Some of his followers believed him to be the son of wealthy parents of the tribe of Koreish – the tribe of Muhammad … Others says that he was educated at a London university in preparation for a diplomatic career … Fard announced himself to the Detroit police as ‘the Supreme ruler of the Universe’… At the other extreme, a Chicago newspaper refers to Fard as ‘a Turkish-born agent [who] worked for Hitler in World Ward II.’21

The final answer to the question of Fard’s background has yet to be documented.

After Fard arrived in Detroit he began selling silk clothing and artifacts to African-Americans. He claimed that the items were traditional in Africa and encouraged his customers to adopt the customs of their homelands. Once he was welcome in a home, he would begin to tell his customers stories of their national origin. He used the Bible to instruct people in Islam, which he claimed was ‘the true religion of the Black Men of Asia and Africa’.22

Fard’s teachings differed significantly from those of classical Islam. Perhaps the biggest difference was in his teachings on race. Islam promotes brotherhood between the races; Fard, however, taught that the White race was the devil.

Few of Fard’s doctrines originated in the Qur’ān. He was heavily influenced by the teachings of Marcus Garvey and Noble Drew Ali. Consequently, many of his early converts came from the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Moorish Science Temple.23 Other sources for his doctrine included Freemasonry and Jehovah’s Witnesses.24

The houses where Fard taught were too small to hold those who were attracted by his teaching. In 1931 he rented a hall and the first Temple of Islam was organised. By 1933 Fard had attracted eight thousand followers from the Detroit area, and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the wilderness of North America was launched.

Fard taught that the writings of the White race were symbolic and he alone was capable of interpreting them properly. He prepared two primers that employed a symbolic style that required his interpretation. The first, The Secret Ritual of the Nation of Islam, was passed on orally and has never been written down. The second, Teaching for the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in a Mathematical Way, was only available to registered members of the organisation.

Gradually Fard’s position changed. He began as a teacher but came to be known as the Mahdī, the expected saviour of the Shi’ites; later he became known as the Prophet, the Son of Man, and finally Allah, or God in human form. In order to cultivate the image of divinity, Fard would perform magic tricks and interpret them symbolically. Marsh recorded that ‘once, members placed strands of their hair in a pile and Fard took a strand of hair from his head and lifted all of them up.’25 This experience was interpreted to mean that if Fard were lifted up he would draw all men to himself.

Elijah Muhammad was the first to recognise Fard as Allah. Fard rewarded Muhammad for his insight by appointing him Chief Minister of Islam. Not long after Muhammad’s promotion, Fard disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. Four basic theories were advanced: Fard returned to Makkah; Fard was murdered by the police; Fard was murdered by leaders jealous of Muhammad; or Fard was murdered by Muhammad. None of these theories has been substantiated.

Contributions of Elijah Muhammad

Elijah Poole was born in Bold Springs, Georgia, on 7 October 1897. His father was a Baptist minister who supported himself by working on farms and in sawmills. Forced to quit schools after the fourth grade, Elijah Poole would come home after work and study his sister’s books and the family Bible.

One day, while walking home through the woods, Poole saw a lynch mob beat and hang a member of the church his father pastored. Halasa noted that:

This gruesome scene would continue to haunt Elijah for many years. Instead of fading from his memory, the nightmarish incident would serve as a vivid reminder to him of the brutal treatment that blacks, especially those in the South, were known to suffer.26

By 1923, Poole had married and started a family. Feeling that he could not support his family in the south, he moved to Detroit in search of work. While living in Detroit, he joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and eventually became a leader in the movement. He was disturbed when Garvey was deported.

In 1930, Poole met Wallace Fard; the next year he joined the Nation of Islam. Fard gave Poole his ‘original’ name and thereafter Elijah Poole was known as Elijah Muhammad. Lincoln noted that Fard would replace the ‘slave name’ given to members by their White owners with their original Islamic name. When Elijah and two of his brothers requested names, they forgot to mention their relationship and Fard named them Sharrief, Karriem, and Muhammad.27

Fard soon selected Muhammad for a position of leadership because of his insight into the scriptures. As the son of a Baptist Minister, Muhammad had a special attraction for the biblically-oriented members of the African-American community.28

Following Fard’s disappearance, Muhammad moved to Chicago and opened a second temple. He restructured the organisation into a tightly-knit movement under his authority.29 He established a para-military corps, the Fruit of Islam to carry out his instructions and to provide discipline for the community.30 Other contributions of Muhammad include the development of business enterprises, a school system, and new temples across the country.

On 8 May 1942, Muhammad and two of his sons were arrested for failing to register for the draft. While in prison, Muhammad taught classes in English, History, Numerology, and the doctrines of the Nation of Islam. He was released in 1946 and returned to Chicago. His experience in prison helped him to establish prison chaplaincy as an ongoing ministry of the Nation of Islam.31

Under the leadership of Muhammad, the Nation of Islam prospered. By 1960, membership in the organisation had reached eighty thousand.32 By 1975, the year Muhammad died, seventy temples had been established with over one hundred thousand members.33

Contribution of Malcolm X

Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on 19 May 1925. When Malcolm was four, his house burned down while White police and firemen watched. In order, to escape persecution his family was forced to move from Omaha to Lansing, Michigan.34

Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little, was born in the British East Indies. Her father was a White man who had raped her mother. Earl Little, Malcolm’s father, was a Baptist preacher and a follower of Marcus Garvey.

Four of Earl Little’s six brothers were killed by White men. In 1931 he was murdered, probably by members of the Ku Klux Klan or the Black Legionnaires, a White supremist organisation similar to the Ku Klux Klan. In spite of the fact that Little had been beaten and his body cut into two by a street car, the insurance company refused to pay the family’s claim, citing suicide as the cause of death.

Left with eight children and no source of income, Louise Little was forced to go on welfare. Malcolm recalled an important lesson learned during that time:

I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things. My older brothers and sister had started school, when sometimes, they would come in and ask for a buttered biscuit or something, and my mother, impatiently, would tell them no. But I would cry out and make a fuss until I got what I wanted. I remember well how my mother asked me why I couldn’t be a nice boy like Wilfred; but I would think to myself that Wilfred, for being so nice and quiet, often stayed hungry.35

In 1937 Mrs. Little was declared insane and placed in state mental hospital; the children were sent to foster homes. Malcolm initially lived with a Black family, but after being expelled from school he was moved to a White family.

Malcolm, the only Black student in his eighth grade class, became very popular and was elected class president. Although he excelled in his studies and had hopes of becoming a lawyer, his teacher told him to be realistic and prepare for a career as a carpenter. After that he lost interest in his school work and began to withdraw from White society.

In 1941 he moved to Boston and eventually became a hustler, a drug dealer and a pimp. He was arrested for armed robbery in 1946 and sentenced to eight to ten years in the state penitentiary. White in prison he heard of the Nation of Islam and was converted. He wrote to Elijah Muhammad requesting membership in the Nation. Muhammad responded with words of encouragement and a five dollar gift.

While in prison, Malcolm became an avid reader. Through his reading he became convinced that the White race was responsible for all of the problems faced by non-Whites. When he realised the inhumanity of the slave trade, he rejected his ‘slave name’, Little, and took the name ‘X’, signifying that he did not know his true identity.

Malcolm began debating with other prisoners and soon had a following. When he was released from prison in 1952, he joined the Detroit Temple and began working as a recruiter for the Nation. He was quickly promoted, first to Assistant Minister, then Minister of the Temple. Eventually he became a national spokesman for the movement.

Joseph Gudel and Larry Duckworth described Malcolm as ‘the St. Paul of this movement.’36 In 1959, he founded Muhammad Speaks, a newspaper that spread the Nation’s message, achieving a circulation of over five hundred thousand.37 He helped organise new temples in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Boston. Serving as Muhammad’s messenger, he spoke to college groups, reporters and African-American audiences across the country. A dynamic speaker, Malcolm never failed to draw a large crowd.

In the early 1960s, Malcolm’s power was perceived as a threat by other members of the organisation, including Muhammad. After he confronted charges of adultery, plans were made to push Malcolm out of the organisation. Two events furthered those efforts: Malcolm’s movement closer to classical Islam and his response to President Kennedy’s assassination. He said that the latter was a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost.’ Malcolm claimed that he meant only that a society that tolerated violence against one segment (i.e. Blacks) must be prepared to receive violence in other segments (i.e. Whites). His comment, in his opinion, was used as an excuse to force him out of the Nation. Muhammad forbade him to speak in public. In his autobiography Malcolm wrote:

The Muslims were given the impression that I had rebelled against Mr. Muhammad. I now could anticipate step two: I would remain ‘suspended’ .. indefinitely. Step three would be either to provoke some Muslim ignorant of the truth to take it upon himself to kill me as a ‘religious duty’, or to ‘isolate’ me so that I would gradually disappear from the public scence.38

His words proved prophetic:

Shortly after leaving the Nation of Islam (in early 1964) Malcolm discovered that a leader of the Boston Temple had sent someone to kill him. On 15 February 1965 Malcolm claimed that Muhammad had ordered the death of any member of the Nation of Islam that joined Malcolm’s new organisation, the Muslim Mosque Inc.39 Six days later, while delivering a speech, Malcolm X was assassinated by three African-Americans.

Several theories have been advanced to explain the assassination. Responsibility has been given to Elijah Muhammad, the CIA, members of the Muslim Mosque Inc., or someone who knew Malcolm during his days as a hustler in Harlem.40 They only man arrested at the scene of the crime, Talmadge Hayer, denied any link with the Nation of Islam.41

In the brief period between his departure from the Nation of Islam and his death, Malcolm X moved toward classical Islam. He took the Hajj, changed his name to Malik al-Shahbaz, and began to teach the unity of the races. He was a close friend of W. Deen Mohammed and had an influence on Muhammed’s interpretation of Islam. Both Malcolm X and Muhammad agreed that the only hope for the Nation of Islam was to move toward orthodoxy.42

Contributions of W. Deen Mohammed

Born in October of 1933, Warith Deen Muhammed was the seventh child of Elijah Muhammad. All of Muhammed’s elementary and secondary education took place in the Nation of Islam’s school system. After graduating from high school he spent four years studying classical Islam and Arabic.43

Mohammed was ex-communicated from the Nation of Islam because of his association with Malcolm X and because of his shift toward orthodoxy. When Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, however, W. Deen Mohammed was selected to head the Nation of Islam. This decision was based on a prophecy made by Fard ‘who told Elijah that his seventh child would be a son and his eventual successor.’44

Over the next ten years, the Nation of Islam experienced drastic changes. Fard was stripped of his divinity and Elijah Muhammad was no longer considered to be a prophet. The Yakub myths were rejected and Whites were accepted as members. In 1976 the first female minister was named.

The name of the organisation was changed to the World Community of al-Islam in the West and later to the American Muslim Mission. In 1978, Mohammed resigned as head of the organisation saying there is no priesthood is Islam. In May 1985 he disbanded the organisation all together.

The changes instituted by Mohammed generally have been accepted by the world Muslim community. Members of the mosques associated with Mohammed are allowed to take the Hajj. Money for the construction of new mosques has been provided from Islamic countries.

The response of members has been mixed. Mohammed estimated membership in the group to be 1.5 million.45 He also claimed that only a few ministers left the organisation with minimal impact to the overall membeship.46

Contribution of Louis Farrakhan

The most influential defector from the original Nation of Islam is Louis Farrakhan, born Louis Eugene Walcott. During his youth in Boston, Farrakhan was active in St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and the high school track team. He spent two years in a teacher’s college before choosing a career in music.

In 1955, Farrakhan was invited to attend a service led by Elijah Muhammad. Farrakhan abandoned his music career and dedicated his life to the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X recalled the contributions of Farrakhan, then known as ‘Louis X’.

Young Minister Louis X, previously a well-known and rising popular singer called ‘the Charmer’, had written our Nation’s first popular song, titled, ‘White Man’s Heaven is Black Man’s Hell.’ Minister Louis X had also authored our first play, ‘Orgena’ (‘A Negro’ spelled backwards); its theme was the all Black trial of a symbolic White man for his world crimes against non-Whites.47

Following Malcolm’s defection from the Nation, Farrakhan was selected to replace spokesman for Elijah Muhammad.48

Although he publicly supported the changes adopted by W. Deen Mohammad in the mid 1970s, Farrakhan disagreed with Mohammed’s shift away from his father’s teachings. In 1977 Farrakhan was ex-communicated from the World Community of al-Islam in the West. In 1978, he announced his plan to rebuild the Nation of Islam according to Muhammad’s pattern.

Farrakhan succeeded in capturing national and international attention. In 1984 he entered the media spotlight with his public support of Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. His rallies consistently drew tens of thousands of African-Americans, many of them belonging to the middle class. More recently he has gained attention for his relationship with Lybian leader Mu’ammar Qaddafi, who offered to given the Nation a billion dollars.

Official membership in the Nation of Islam under Farrakhan is only five to ten thousand according to the Encyclopaedia of American Religions.49 Other estimates range as high as two hundred thousand. But the influence of the organisation is growing. In Los Angeles alone, more than a thousand young men joined the organisation in 1990.50

Because of his economic plan and his drug rehabilitation programmes, Farrakhan’s followers have ‘quietly established themselves as welcome presence in Black neighbourhoods.’51 The Million Man March in 1995 demonstrated his ability to draw a crowd. Currently, there are temples in a hundred and twenty cities, all under the supervision of Farrakhan.

Contributions of Others

In addition to Farrakhan, two other groups have attempted to reorganise the original Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad’s brother, John Muhammad, broke with W. Deen Mohammed in 1978. Membership figures for his organisation are unavailable and only one temple is associated with John Muhammad.

The Nation of Islam, the Caliph, also continues to follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. The organisation took its name from an Islamic tradition that claims that a prophet is always followed by a caliph. Two mosques are aligned with this movement, one in Baltimore and the other in Chicago.

Groups who follow in the spirit of black nationalism mixed with Islamic theology also include Ansaaru Allah, under the direction of Imam Isa and the Five Per Cent Nation.












1. Akbar Muhammad, ‘Muslims in the United States: An Overview of Organisations, Doctrines and Problems’ in The Islamic Impact, eds. Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Byron Haies and Ellison Findly (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1984), p. 196. The majority of those captives were sent to Brazil and the Caribbean, but some did enter the United States.

2. Ibid., p. 197.

3. Stephen Themstrom, ed. Harvard Encyclopaedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1980), s.v. ‘Muslims’ by Thomas Philip, p. 733.

4. Edwin Scott Gausted, A Religious History of America, rev. ed. (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990), p. 371. The term ‘Black Muslim’ is frequently used to describe followers of the Nation of Islam.

5. Edgar A. Toppin, The Black American in United States History (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1973), p.181.

6. Ibid., p. 211.

7. Robert Ivanov, Blacks in United States History (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1985), pp. 165-171.

8. Toppin, op. cit., pp. 197, 214.

9. Forrest G. Wood, Black Scare (Berkley: University of California Press, 1970), p.25.

10. Toppin, op.cit., p. 165

11. Ibid., p. 197.

12. Ibid. According to Toppin, lynch mobs killed seventy Blacks in 1919 alone. Malu Halasa claimed that approximately 3,500 Blacks wer lynched in between 1882 and 1968. Malu Halasa, Elijah Muhammad: Religious Leader (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990), p. 22.

13. In addition to the leaders of the Nation of Islam, those who credited Marcus Garvey as an important influence in their own life include Kwame Khrumah, the first Prime Minister of Ghana, and former Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta.

14. Halasa, op. cit.  p. 35.

15. Randall K. Burkett, Garveyism as a Religious Movement (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1978), p. 7

16. Ibid., p. 84

17. Mary Lawler, Marcus Garvey: Black Nationalist Leader (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988), p. 51.

18. Gary L. Word, ‘Drew, Timothy’ in Religious Leaders of America, ed. J. Gordon Melton (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991), p. 138.

19. Arthur Huff Fauset, Black Gods of the Metropolis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1944), pp. 43-44.

20. Fard has been known by the following names; W.D. Fard, W.F. Muhammad, Farrad Mohammad, F. Mohammad Ali, Professor Ford, Wali Farrad, the Mahdi, the Christ, and Allah. For the purpose of this research he will be referred to as Wallace Fard.

21. C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), p. 12 According to the teaching of the Nation of Islam, Fard was born on 26 February 1877, a day celebrated as ‘Saviour’s Day’ when the Nation of Islam was under the direction of Elijah Muhammad. See Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (Philadelphia: Hakim’s Publications, 1965), p. 237. Farrakhan has moved the celebration of Saviour’s Day to 7 October in honour of Elijah Muhammad’s birthday.

22. Lincoln op. cit., pp. 10-11

23. Gutbi Mahdi Ahmad, Muslim Organisations in the United States, in The Muslims of America, ed. Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 18.

24. Halasa, op. cit., p. 49. According to Lincoln, Fard’s followers ‘were encouraged to purchase radios so that they could hear the addresses of Rutherford (then leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) and of Frank Norris, the Baptist fundamentalist.’ Lincoln, op. cit., p. 13.

25. Clifton E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separation to Islam, 1930-1980 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1984), p. 52.

26. Halasa, op. cit., p. 22.

27. Lincoln, op. cit., pp. 14, 15.

28. Marsh, op. cit., pp. 53-54.

29. Lincoln, op. cit., p. 16.

30. Ahmed, op. cit., p. 19.

31. Halasa, op. cit., p. 60.

32. Ibid., p. 67.

33. J. Gordon Melton, Religious Leaders of America (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991), p. 67.

34. Unless otherwise noted, all the information in this section is taken from Alex Haley and Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Ballentine Books, 1973).

35. Ibid., p. 8

36. Joseph P. Gudel and Larry Duckworth, ‘Hate Begotten of Hate: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam’, Forward, Fall 1986, p. 10.

37. Marsh, op. cit., pp. 61-62.

38. Haley and X, op. cit. p. 305.

39. Bruce Perry, ed Malcolm X: The Last Speeches (New York: Pathfinder, 1989), p. 137.

40. Archie Epps, ed. Malcolm X: Speeches at Harvard (New York: Paragon House), 1991), pp. 41-42.

41. Halasa, op. cit., p. 94.

42. Haley and X, op. cit., p. 339; and James Emerson Whitehurst, ‘Mainstreaming the Black Muslims: Healing the Hate’, Christian Century, 27 February 1980, p. 228.

43. E.U. Essien-Udom, Black Nationalism (New York: Dell, 1962), p. 81.

44. Marsh, op. cit., p. 92.

45. ‘Stepping Down and Moving On’, Christianity Today, 6 October 1978, p. 44.

46. ‘Conversion of the Muslims’, Time, 14 March 1977. P. 59.

47. Haley and X, op. cit., p. 250.

48. ‘Black Muslim Rift: Recalling the Past’, Christianity Today, 21 April 1978, p. 47.

49. Encyclopaedia of American Religions: A Comprehensive Study of the Major Religious Groups in the United States and Canada, 1991 ed., s.v., ‘Black Islam’.

50. Ibid.

51. Sylvester Monroe, ‘Doing the Right Thing’, Time, 16 April 1990, p.22

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