Nation of Islam

Wallace D. Fard
 Deportation of the Moon
The God-Scientist Yacub
God is Not a Man
The Supernatural
The Quest for the Historical Wallace D. Fard
The Virgin Mary
The Second Coming
Honor Thy Mother
Women's Rights

Wallace D. Fard

According to his disciple Elijah Muhammad, Wallace D. Fard was Allah in the flesh, who unexpectedly turned up on the streets of 1930's Detroit.


All Praises are due to Allah, who appeared in the Person of
Master W.D. Fard Muhammad

Born February 26, 1877


February 26, 1936

Written and sent to #1 Michigan by the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad,
Servant of Allah

This day February 26, 1877, Fifty nine years ago, in Heaven the Holy City Mecca, a Savior was born.

From the bearers of Heaven's throne, a voice raised high, and mighty Master W.D. Fard Muhammad has been born the mighty King. save me, and my people who were lost, Blind, Deaf, and Dumb. Dead to the knowledge of everything.

Born...Hath he, to intercede, for me, and my people in this Judgement Day. give life to me and my people, that we might live. give Freedom to me, and my people, who were slaves to devils in this wicked Hell of North America. give Justice, to we lost founds, who never knew what it was before. give Equality with the Angels of Paradise. save the fallen sons of the Tribe of Shabazz from the wicked grasp of Yakub's made devil and Satan. destroy with unquenchless fire, the enemy of we Lost People that the work of Yakub's made devil will never revive. unite the Lost Sheep who went astray in 1555 with the 4,400,000,000 of his Nation. restore all Black Mankind into one Love together.

Born...The Lord of the Worlds! destroy the old world; and bring in the new world.

Born...the Wisest of all, the most Merciful, the most Loving, the Almighty, the knower of what is in man's heart, the Doer of what he pleases...There is no God but Him, in the Earth, not in the heavens above the Earth. I shall forever remember this day, the 26th of February, 1877, and my off spring too. To keep a fast of joy with all my poor lost found Nation, whom this, Our Savior the King was born; I shall not eat any food this day until the sun goes down. This I will do, that my heart, and my body be not hindered, from giving praise to my King that was born this day, whose light of Love, Freedom, Justice, and Equality, is greater to me than the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

Now come all you lost-founds, and praise the name of our Savior and King, who was born, and we have reclaimed our own.

He gave to us his Holy Name and calls everyone of us by own. All praise be to Our Savior, the Almighty ALLAH. The Strong, the Giver of Life. Praise him, you who have reclaimed your own, and know him as your Savior and King. Forever and ever, let the Universe Praise Him.

(Savior's Day Greeting, 1936, from the web-site


This profession of faith is fundamental to 'Nation of Islam' identity; those who drop it, may remain Black Muslims but cease to belong to this group: "He soon convinced himself about Fard's divinity. 'The greatest and mightiest God who appeared on the earth was Master W. D. Fard,' Malcolm would eventually profess." (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 88).

"He said, finally, as though it had just happened to come into his mind, 'Malcolm, if a man knew every imaginable thing that there is to know, who would he be?'
"Back in Harlem, he had often liked to get at something through this kind of indirection. It had often irritated me, because my way had always been direct. I looked at him. 'Well, he would have to be some kind of a god—'
"Reginald said, 'There's a man who knows everything.'
"I asked, 'Who is that?'
"'God is a man,' Reginald said. 'His real name is Allah.'" (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley, p. 158).

Can it be that, to people accustomed to Christianity, straight-up Islam just seems flat, disappointing? An incarnate Savior is a deviation from standard-brand Islam. Yet the recurrence of this idea, in Islamic off-shoots like the Druse and Ahmadiyya sects, testifies that it corrects a deficiency in Islam, restoring the latter to its claimed status as the original faith. Jesus is "the desire of all nations" (Haggai 2:7). Those deprived of hearing the good news that He has come will sometimes allow their very desire to tell them he has come. . .only it's somebody else. Unfortunately Wallace D. Fard, scurrying away from J. Edgar Hoover, is a Savior who cannot save. It is not so much the wrong concept, but the wrong guy.


Need a Koran?

The Deportation of the Moon

A theory of secular science that goes in and out of fashion proposes that our present-day moon is the remnant of a body of material ejected from the earth. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad added a new twist to this story, reporting for the first time that it was human endeavor, through the means of dynamite drill bombs, which resulted in the transport of the moon to its present location.

Alas, the moon being deficient in oxygen, water, and other necessities of life, the survivors of the righteous Tribe of Shabazz who found themselves there relocated, pined away:

"And we also have a knowledge of the deportation of our planet and the moon which took place sixty-six trillion years ago by one of our own scientists...He'd taken high explosives drilled a tube into our moon, which it was called moon, and a lot of our ancient people today refer to the earth as moon, it is moon. And filled that tube full of high explosives, set it off and it split our planet in two.

"That part that you see up there tonight, that we call moon, it was blasted away from the original bed or pocket that we were in some 12,000 miles and it turned over, dropped all the water of that part on this part. That's why this part, today, it's surface is 3/4 covered under water because we have that water that once was on the moon...

"Now, a Black Scientist did that sixty-six trillion years ago. He was smart enough to try to destroy us by drilling a tube into our earth's, as we call it today, surface about 4,000 miles. He split the planet and this part dropped 36,000 miles from the original pocket and found a pocket and it started rotating. And we are the lucky people who were on this part that we didn't get destroyed with those who were once on the moon. The moon is part of our earth. The astronomers, today, they have learned that and they believe it."

('Messenger Elijah Muhammad Speaks in Baltimore in 1960,' transcription of an audio cassette, at

Elijah Muhammad's disciple Malcolm X explains the matter thus:

"So this scientist drove a shaft into the center of the Earth and filled it with high explosives and set it off. He was trying to destroy civilization; he was trying to destroy the black man. . .So The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said he filled the Earth, the planet, with high explosives and set it off, and when it was exploded the piece that you and I today call the moon was tossed out here into space and it rotated around the Earth. It still rotates around the Earth; it came from the Earth; it was blasted right off the Earth. And as it was blasted right off the Earth, it turned over and over and over and all of the water that was on it stayed with the earth. So that the piece that was blasted out there has no water on it today, and because it has no water on it it has no civilization on it, has no life on it. You can't have life where there's no water. [Water is the source of life.] Where there's no water there's no life; where there's no life there's no civilization." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962).

Was there ever such an unarguable case for reparations, as the plight of the unfortunate and unwilling space travellers marooned on the moon?

Wallace D. Fard
Wallace D. Fard

The God-Scientist Yacub and the White Race

According to the Bible, all mankind are of one race, one descent:

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;..." (Acts 17:24-26).

The Koran shares this universal emphasis. Mohammed ibn Abdallah's message is addressed to "all men," whatever their color:

"And among his signs are the creation of the Heavens and of the Earth, and your variety of tongues and color. Herein truly are signs for all men." (Koran, Sura 30: 21).

Mohammed ibn Abdallah also reiterates than mankind are of common descent:

"O men! fear your Lord, who hath created you of one man, and of him created his wife, and from these twain hath spread abroad so many men and women." And fear ye God, in whose name ye ask mutual favors,- and reverence the wombs that bore you." (Koran, Sura 4:1).
"And it is He who hath produced you from one man, and hath provided for you an abode and resting-place! Clear have we made our signs for men of insight." (Koran, Sura 6:98).
"He it is who hath created you from a single person, and from him brought forth his wife that he might dwell with her..." (Sura 7:189).
"He created you all of one man, from whom He afterwards formed his wife; and of cattle He hath sent down to you four pairs." (Koran, Sura 39:8).

As his biographer Ibn Ishaq tells it, when Mohammed entered Mecca, he scolded the tribe of the Quraysh for their boastful arrogance on account of their noble ancestry: "Every claim of privilege or blood or property are abolished by me except the custody of the temple and the watering of the pilgrims. . .O Quraysh, God has taken from you the haughtiness of paganism and its veneration of ancestors. Man springs from Adam and Adam sprang from dust.'" (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 553).

According to the Koran, Jews and Christians are men God created:

"Say the Jews and Christians, 'Sons are we of God and his beloved.'...Nay! ye are but a part of the men whom he hath created!" (Koran, Sura 5:19).

Though startlingly novel on its face, Yacub's History is the inversion of a tale not altogether unfamiliar to those versed in racist lore. In spite of purposeful Bible teaching that all mankind are of one descent, some white Georgians who met up with young Elijah Poole, a preacher's son, held to a different teaching: that the creation narrative in Genesis described, not the creation of the universe, but a singular event which took place 6,000 years ago, namely the creation of the white race. This view had been taught by the nineteenth century 'scientific racist' Arthur Gobineau:

"We must, of course, acknowledge that Adam is the ancestor of the white race. . .This being admitted, there is nothing to show that, in the view of the first compilers of the Adamite genealogies, those outside the white race were counted as part of the species at all." (Arthur de Gobineau, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, p. 136).

Many in the South followed whatever 'scientific' theory suited their fancy, while also claiming to follow scripture. The black race, they believed, was either a pre-existing unmentioned animal creation or the consequence of some subsequent process of pollution involving 'serpent-seed' or the like. It would appear that young Elijah's fact-checking skills were insufficient to overcome this predominant social consensus, and he adopted it wholesale into his account of the world:

"According to the Bible (Gen. 3:20-24), Adam and his wife were the first parents of all people (white race only) and the first sinners." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The White Race's False Claim To Be Divine, Chosen People,'

The difference between the creation story as told by white Georgians and Elijah's version is a difference of perspective: it seemed to young Elijah that the creation of the white race was not a good thing but a bad thing. Borrowing a page from gnosticism, his religion ascribes the creation of a significant feature of the world, namely the white race, not to the high god, but to a fallen, inept and ill-motivated lesser deity, a god-scientist named Yacub. He was dissatisfied in mind: "About sixty-six hundred years ago, when seventy per cent of the people were satisfied, and thirty per cent were dissatisfied, among the dissatisfied was born a 'Mr. Yacub.' He was born to create trouble, to break the peace, and to kill." (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 164-165). This party designed the white race according to a program of genetic engineering called 'grafting:'

"It was a black man by the name of Yakub, 6,600 years ago who grafted the white race out of us...what you have in the Bible there, dated back to 6, 000 years ago, means this: that it had taken their father, Yakub, 600 years to make a race out of another race. He was grafting out of darkness, or out of the Blackman for 600 years, to bring out a complete white man altogether different by nature than that in which he was taken from. These are facts that I defy your colleges or university professors to dispute. There are so many of you whispering, going around saying, 'This old story, we all are from God; we are all brothers; we all are alike.' I say to you my people, stop telling other than the truth, you are not like white people." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,' 1962,

Though white folk did not come out well, rule was given to them for 6,000 years, a period which came to an end in 1914. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's prophecies presented a bleak prospect for the future; an apocalyptic race war, to result in the extermination of this undesirable population, as Malcolm Shabazz explained it: "'In the next war, the War of Armageddon,' he predicted, 'it will be a race war and will not be a "spooky war."'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 190).

A novel feature in this system is the extremely long time period allotted to the history of the black race, stated in the trillions of years. Inasmuch as no birth record survives, perhaps the correct count is "forever." Where does this idea come from? Like the story about the moon, it seems to be an exaggerated version of information found in the newspapers, reporting on the 'Out of Africa' strain of secular science. However to count 'trillions,' the newspaper-reader must turn to the story about the national debt, not the age of the race or the planet:

"Long before there ever was a Caucasian, or white race, on the face of the earth, you and I and our fathers were. Not, just thousand of years, not just hundreds of thousands of years, not just millions of years, not just billions of years. But TRILLIONS of years ago, according to the word of All Mighty God Allah, to me, that we and our fathers were here. There is no birth record, meaning their is no beginning record, of The Black People. They have been here forever and forever they have. We don't know nothing about their beginning. There is no prophesy of any ending to them. This is known. The world knows it."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Master Fard Muhammad Not a Silk Peddler,'

So this odd concatenation of circumstances produced a unique result. The young earth creationists say that the earth is only six thousand years old. There is good reason, however, to think it is much older. The Bible nowhere gives any such information as 'the earth is six thousand years old;' rather, a process of indirect inference has led some people to draw that conclusion. Perceiving this perplexity, or contradiction, Elijah Muhammad, taking a cue from some Southern racists, asked, what was created six thousand years ago? The white race. The other elaborations on the story of Yacub are his own, or perhaps Wallace D. Fard's. The occasional mention of these things in the newspapers provides a hook; the 'white man' secretly knows these things, but he is concealing them from you.

Malcolm X fleshes out Yacub's portrait a bit:

"So Yacub knew that all he had to do was make a man unlike any other man on this Earth and because he would be different he would attract all other people. Then he could teach this man a science called tricknology, which is a science of tricks and lies, and this weak man would be able to use that science to trick and rob and rule the world. . .The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Yacub went to school in the East; he studied the astronomical sciences, mathematical sciences, and the germination of man. He discovered that in the black man there are two germs. In the black man there's a brown man. In the black man, or the black germ, which is a strong germ, there's a weak germ, a brown germ. Yacub was the first one to discover this and Yacub knew that by separating that brown one from the black one, and then by grafting the brown one from the black one so that it became lighter and lighter, it would eventually reach its lightest stage which is known as white. And when it got to that stage it would be weak, and because it was weak it would be susceptible to wickedness. And then Yacub could take that weak man that he made and teach him how to lie and rob and cheat and thereby become the ruler of all the rest of the world." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962).

The old Romans had a saying, "Quot homines, tot sententiae": 'As many men, so many opinions.' Common experience confirms this saying daily. But Malcolm X was so lacking in any ability to perceive white people as individuals, that this is the outcome:

"To show you what a liar the white man is. When I say liar: you have white people who are scientists and they keep truth in their own circles, and they never let you — they never let the masses — know anything about this truth that they keep in the circle. They got something else that they invent and put out for the masses to believe, but they themselves keep knowledge in a circle. . .This happened four different times — to give you somewhat of an idea of what the white man knows concerning the length of time man has been on this earth — and still that white man would jump up in your face and try to make you believe that the first man was made six thousand years ago named Adam." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962).

So, encountering some white men who were young earth creationists, some white men who were old earth creationists, some white men who were atheistic evolutionists,— I'll grant you, he probably never ran into any white people who said 'trillions,' other than followers of Velikovsky, perhaps?— Malcolm lacks any intellectual equipment to come to any other conclusion than, 'the white man [singular] is a liar.' He is a classical bigot. During the Civil Rights era, a boomlet in the publishing industry inflated to promote the idea that you must evaluate people as individuals, not assign stereotypes to them as members of a group. The essence of bigotry, it was held, subsisted in the inability to see human individuals as anything other than representatives of the group to which they belonged by birth. Malcolm, if he read any of these books, never got the message. How can millions of people be a monolith? The white community, if any such thing can be imagined, is no more monolithic than the black community. Yet given the available evidence, showing that white people held various views about human origins, Malcolm can only conclude, 'he [singular] is lying.'

Malcolm's hatred of white folks extended to his willingness to make the accusation that they were not entirely human, being the descendants of an unholy mixture of human seed with canine. You will see the proof of this, he promises, if you watch an elderly white man, struggling along, bent over his cane or walker, falling short of the ideal of bipedalism:

"The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that the white man went down into the caves of Europe and lived there for two thousand years on his all fours. Within a thousand years after he had gotten up there he was on his all fours, couldn't stand upright. You watch an old cracker today. Crackers don't walk upright like black people do. Every time you look at them, they look like they're going right down on all fours. . .The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that within a thousand years after the white people were up in the caves they were on all fours. And they were living in the outdoors where it's cold, just as cold over there as it is outside right now. They didn't have clothes. So by being out there in the cold their hair got longer and longer. Hair grew out all over their bodies. By being on their all fours, the end of their spine begin to grow. They grew a little tail that came out from the end of their spine...Oh yes, this was the white man, Brother, up in the caves of Europe. . .It was then during that time that the dog and the white woman amalgamated. The white woman went with the dog while they were living in the caves of Europe. And right to this very day the white woman will tell you there is nothing she loves better than a dog. They tell you that a dog is a man's best friend. A dog isn't a black man's best friend. God is the black man's best friend. But a dog is the white man's best friend. They lived in that cave with those dogs and right now they got that dog smell." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962).

Where do such ideas come from? Why would someone think it possible that humans could mate with the lower animals and produce offspring? White folks are human, aren't they? There are folk-tales of such things happening, and ancient myths tell of such wonders as the birth of the Minotaur, half bull and half man, to Pasiphae, Queen of Crete:

Pasiphae, Queen of Crete, cradling the little Minotaur
and the Minotaur

In the eighteenth century, King George was fascinated with the case of Mary Toft, who claimed to have given birth to rabbits. But leaving aside folklore, such things do not happen because they cannot happen. It is characteristic of a prescientific mindset to credit reports like, "Also, Alcippe was delivered of an elephant." (Pliny, Natural History, Book VII, Chapter 3). Human beings and dogs do not have the same number of chromosomes; humans have 23 pairs, for 46; dogs have 39, for 78 total. How likely is amalgamation under such circumstances? But not everyone knows this fact of nature. The education of some folk, such as Elijah Muhammad and his loyal lieutenant Malcolm X, was sadly neglected. Under modern conditions I would suspect it is mostly uninstructed children who think it is possible for human women to have relations with dogs and bear offspring. What was Malcolm X's mental capacity, that he would believe Elijah Muhammad's tall tales about white women having sex with dogs and giving birth to human pups? It is certainly insulting. What can be more racist than identifying other branches of the human family with animals?: "'We had wondered if there was anybody human enough to see us as human beings instead of animals.'" (Fannie Lou Hamer, quoted p. 297, Bruce Watson, Freedom Summer). And do not think, Dear Reader, that this grotesque racial slur has run its course and died a natural death; if you find yourself conversing on Twitter with the 'woke' crowd, you will see it rise again, as I can testify. The 'woke' crew will rummage through your Facebook photo bin looking for husband or boy-friend, then post the photo with head removed, replaced by a cartoon canine. It's not dead yet. Presumably, Dear Reader, if you are male, you will get the dog's head pasted on your neck, as it's the women who consort with dogs.

Like his preceptor Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm believed that the white race, six thousand years after its unnatural birth at the hands of the evil god-scientist Yacub, was destined soon to die, annihilated by selective bombardment from the Mother Ship. The FBI used to take notes of his sermons, referring to him with his given name:

"LITTLE told the group that there is a space ship 40 miles up which was built by the wise men of the East and in this space ship there are a number of smaller space ships and each one is loaded with bombs. LITTLE stated that when ELIJAH MOHAMMED of Chicago, Illinois, gives the word these ships will descend on the United States, bomb it and destroy all the 'white devils.' According to LITTLE these bombs will destroy all the 'devils' in the United States and that all the Muslims in good standing will be spared." (The Journey of Khalil Islam, the Man Who Didn't Shoot Malcolm X - New York Magazine, September 28, 2007).

I'm glad to point out we've outlived him. Racism maintains a stubborn popularity. Why? Perhaps because it empowers the weak; people who feel liberated to despise another people group take on a new strength, in their own eyes if not objectively. Proclaiming that people of color are incapable of racism accomplishes nothing but to silence the voice of the victims, who not only must be insulted but may not even complain.

Pasiphae, Queen of Crete, with the White Bull
Pasiphae, Queen of Crete

How is it conceivable that little school-children should be introduced to such grossly racist ideas and taught to admire the man who mouthed them? Yet they are today, in America, where Malcolm X has become, to the black community, something like a prophet if not a demi-god. He is revered. He is assigned a place in American history he never really had; in real life he garnered a small following while he was with the Nation of Islam, virtually none at all after he was squeezed out. Why is this virulent bigot turned into a hero, by our school establishment? Could race relations do anything but improve if he were dropped back into the obscurity he so richly deserves? He was a captivating speaker who managed to insinuate himself into the racial dialogue back in the Civil Rights era. Perhaps the Civil Rights era would have lasted a good deal longer had he not shown up. Some of his innovations caught on, such as referring to African-Americans as 'black,' which at the time was perceived as rude and unwelcome. But somebody: was it the CPUSA, who want to take humanity back to the Year Zero and begin over with a clean slate?— has established the rule that, every twenty-thirty years or so, the common designation for African-Americans must be changed to something new, and the prior designation retired as 'racist.' This has the side-effect that all prior poems, letters, songs, and other expressions of this people now carry a racial tinge and must be retired as an embarrassment. Therefore, they can have no history. We start anew every time the name changes, in the Year Zero. Seems like a dirty trick to play on people; other groups can have a history, because they do not keep changing their name and vilifying the old one as monstrous, but this group alone cannot.

Where do these strange teachings come from? The Bible, they will tell you. Where is Yacub in the Bible? He's in there: "Jacob was Yacub, and the angel that Jacob wrestled with wasn't God, it was the government of that day." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962). This is difficult to figure, given that the Biblical Jacob is a descendant of Adam; but the Bible is a tricky book, they say, which must be turned on its head to reveal its secrets.

Malcolm X
 The Black Man's History

People dispute nowadays about Jesus' complexion. Let's ask the unlettered Arabian prophet, Mohammed ibn Abdallah, who saw Him if you will recall, on his celebrated night journey. He explains that Jesus was white and red, unlike the brown-skinned Moses:

"Abu al-'Aliya reported:
"Ibn Abbas, the son of your Prophet's uncle, told us that the Messenger of Allah had observed: On the night of my night journey I passed by Moses b. 'Imran (peace be upon him), a man light brown in complexion, tall, well-built as if he was one of the men of the Shanu'a, and saw Jesus son of Mary as a medium-statured man with white and red complexion and crisp hair, and I was shown Malik the guardian of Fire, and Dajjal amongst the signs which were shown to me by Allah." (Hadith, Sahih Muslim 165b, at, Book 1, The Book of Faith, Chapter 74, Hadith 326 [317]).

Seventh century Arabia, so far as one can tell from literature, appears to have been a multi-racial society. The result of political and trade ties between east Africa and Arabia, and the pernicious importation of slaves from the dark continent, was that skin tones ranged from black to white. The people responsible for the Hadith were at pains to make it clear that Mohammed ibn Abdallah was himself a white man, but not all in that society were. In the night journey, a vivid dream Mohammed experienced, he met a white Christ, who likely resembled the icons he would have seen in his commercial travels about the region. Some people nowadays dispute Mohammed on this point, but without good grounds. A brown-skinned Moses is entirely credible, Moses having been born in Egypt, a brown-skinned Jesus markedly less so:

Among the grievances aired against Christianity by the black Muslims is the whiteness of its central cast of characters:

"'We so-called Negroes" are in pitiful shape,' said Malcolm, as he pointed to the images of self-hate in the worship of black Christians. 'We have been down on our knees looking up and praying to a picture of a white, blond and blue-eyed Jesus. That proves to you that we have been doing nothing but worshippping the white man and are still doing it. Get up off your knees,' he told black Christians. 'Come out of the sky!'" (Malcolm X, quoted p. 173, James H. Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America).

If God is to be become incarnate as a man, He must be some particular type of man, an Eskimo, say, or a Malay. As it happens, He became incarnate as a Jew, and the U.S. Census Bureau classifies persons whose origin lies in the Middle East as 'white.' If the Malay can cry 'self-hate' against the Eskimo savior, then God will have to become incarnate in each and every little population group that can be named, whether Slovenian, Mandarin Chinese, or Dinka. Perhaps, in this flurry of incarnations, might the message of universal brotherhood get blurred or even lost? As is unfortunately typical of the Nation of Islam, the accusation as stated is not precisely true: how often do you see a portrayal of Jesus as blond and blue-eyed? Such portraits do exist, but are not the representational consensus. If the white domination system ever intended to impose a vision of Jesus as blond-haired and blue-eyed upon the people, they failed in their project, because most of imagery of Jesus does not have those characteristics. As is distressingly par for the course, Malcolm is not quite telling the truth here. Incidentally, Wallace D. Fard, who according to the Nation of Islam is Allah in person, once checked the 'race' box on a prison form as 'white,' presumably in hopes of landing whatever benefits and goodies the prison system doled out to white inmates and not to blacks. Wallace D. Fard was not understood to be an 'incarnation' of God exactly, because the black Muslims reject the incorporeal 'spook' God of the Christians. God, they believe, is naturally and intrinsically embodied, just like everybody else. But their 'God,' though perhaps he is not white, nevertheless says he is. This is an improvement?

According to Malcolm X, 'white nationalism' in inherent in the fact that Jesus, a Middle Eastern man, was God incarnate: "'Don't join a church where white nationalism is preached,' Malcolm told an audience of blacks in Detroit. 'You can go into a Negro church and be exposed to white nationalism. When you go in a Negro church and you see a white Jesus and a white Mary and white angels, that Negro church is preaching white nationalism.'" (Malcolm X, quoted p. 199, James H. Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America). Some black preachers, like Bishop Talbert Swan and Jemar Tisby, foolishly accept this fatuous logic, but then, with a pot of black paint and a flick of the paintbrush, make Jesus black, as if it really were just that easy. The reality is that God did not become incarnate as a Jew in order to teach other ethnic groups to hate themselves.


The Honorable Elijah Muhammad is willing to follow where his gnostic paradigm leads, even if away from monotheism:


"Who was ALLAH Before MASTER W.D. FARD MUHAMMAD was born? Who was ALLAH when Jesus was born?

"Now there are twelve (12) Imams or Scientists, who have been ruling all the time, and one of the twelve is always greater than the other eleven (11), but the God of this world before the birth of Jesus and up until 1877 was Yacub. That means that the God of this world, Yacub, although he lived only 152 years, has ruled for the last six thousand (6,000) years; therefore, he was in power when Jesus was born, and that is why Jesus wasn't able to set up His Kingdom, because the wicked God's time was not up. A people who have been taught that the SUPREME BEING is other than a Being, something spooky-like, it is not so easy for them to see out of that dark and ignorant teaching into reality."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Concerning Allah, the Supreme Being... W.D. Fard Muhammad is Allah,'

His disciple Malcolm X had no problem counting more than one god; the speaker who said, 'Let us make man' is one of the minor leaguers:

"So when you get to the place in the Bible where it says, "And God said, 'Let us make man,'" that was Yacub too, not the Supreme Being. It wasn't the Supreme Being who made the sun that said, "Let us make man." When the Supreme Being made the sun he said, "Let there be light," to show He was supreme, He was independent, He needed no help, no associates. But when it came to making a man, that god said, "Let us make man." He didn't speak with independence, because there were two different gods. God the Supreme Being made the light. His word is "be"; that's how He makes things. But Yacub, who was a lesser god, he said to 59,999 of his followers, "Let us make man, let us make a man in our image, in our likeness. We're going to make a white man." It was Yacub talking. . ." (Malcolm X, The Black Man's History, 1962).

But Islam claims to be a monotheistic religion, as is Christianity. And so at other times Elijah Muhammad struggles to conform to the monotheistic theology he heard from his Baptist minister father's pulpit. There is only one God. . .except for all the others! The Koran, which Elijah Muhammad urged his followers to study, is equally unaware of any succession of gods. Even the more enlightened pagans, such as the Greeks and Romans, did not believe in gods with finite life-spans. The Greek and Roman gods were immortal, though venturesome ethnographers hear tales of the twilight of the gods. The gods under present scrutiny have not even that much to boast of:

"Allah, in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever, taught me that there are not any gods Who live forever. Their wisdom and work may live six thousand or twenty-five thousand years, but the actual individual may have died within a hundred or two hundred years, or the longest that we have a record of, around a thousand years." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 96).

There is a cycle, a succession, of gods in Nation of Islam theology. But a succession implies a plurality:

"He makes all things new. Allah (GOD) Who Came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever, taught me that every twenty-five thousand (25,000) years, each God coming after the other God made a new civilization. His belief, teaching, and theology were different from the other God who preceded Him who made a beautiful change in the history of the wisdom of man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 119).
"The Wisdom of each God, according to what Allah (God), in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom praises are due forever, taught me, has a cycle of twenty-five thousand years. Once every twenty-five thousand years, another God would be given a chance to show forth His wisdom to the people." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 98).

Here the suggestion is made that Wallace D. Fard is the highest ranking god, the god of gods: "The black people, God's children, were Gods themselves, Master Fard taught. And he taught that among them was one, also a human being like the others, who was the God of Gods: The Most, Most High, The Supreme Being, supreme in wisdom and power— and His proper name was Allah." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 207). This makes the Nation's denial of an afterlife all the odder; can a race of Gods die? But this strange theology fails to line up with the Bible, which teaches that God always has been God. He does not change. There is no succession to this office, and there is only One office-holder:

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2).
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6).

Elijah Muhammad did not teach that Wallace D. Fard always had been God. Neither is Wallace D. Fard, precisely speaking, the incarnation of One who had always been God; that is 'spook' theology. The Koran does not dispute God's eternity:

"SAY: He is God alone:
God the eternal!" (Koran, Sura 112:1-2).

Though Elijah Muhammad repeats the Muslim confession of one deity without any evident embarrassment, the tales he tells call to mind quite different precursors:

According to the gnostic world view, evil in the world,-- which for Elijah Muhammad includes the existence of the white race,-- requires another source than a good Creator:

"Yakub, the father of the devil, made the white race, a race of devils -- enemies of the darker people of the earth. The white race is not made by nature to accept righteousness...If you and I believe that the devils are from the God of Righteousness, we are making the God of Righteousness an evil god, who created an evil god, and made the evil god to become the best guide for the people of righteousness." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 90).

One might hope that this crew are 'called' gods who have not the nature of deity, like the 'other' or 'strange' gods of the Bible. The 'strange' gods, recall, are not gods by nature: "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods." (Galatians 4:8). But this fond hope would be disappointed, because there is not any entity in Nation of Islam theology which has the attributes of the true God, who cannot not exist. There is no 'I AM' in Nation of Islam theology, only an 'I, like you, came to be:'

"How came the Black God, Mr. Muhammad? He is Self-created. How could Self create Self? Take your magnifying glass and start looking at these little atoms out here in front of you...This is the way He was born: in total darkness. There was no light anywhere. Out of the total orbit of the Universe of darkness there sparkled an atom of life." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 39)
"Allah was created; self-created from an atom of life. The atom of life was not only able to create flesh and have blood from the earth that He was created on -- Allah (God) was created on the very earth that we are on today. But the earth was not as it is today." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p.146).

The author does not detail how to create oneself, other than that it involves 'rotation:'

"Just think it over: a little small atom of life rolling around in darkness. Think it over: Building itself up, just turning in darkness, making its own self...He started rotating." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 43)

Elijah Muhammad occasionally addresses black people corporately as God:

"You brought forth that light. You are walking around looking for a God to bow to and worship. You Are the God!" (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 35).
"When we say 'Allah,' that Name means God and covers all Muslims. All Muslims are Allahs, but we call the Supreme Allah the Supreme Being. And He has a Name of His Own. This Name is 'Fard Muhammad.' 'Fard' is a Name meaning an independent One and One Who is not on the level with the average Gods (Allahs)" (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, pp. 56-57).
"We are all God. When we say 'Allah' we mean every righteous person. Allah teaches me that He is a man -- not something that is other than man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 26).

This elevation of mankind (or in this case, a portion of mankind, exclusive of white persons) also fits into the gnostic paradigm, although other features of the religion, such as its denial of an afterlife, break the mold.


God is Not a Man

As seen earlier, Elijah Muhammad could talk about W. D. Fard in the same incarnational language Christians use in talking about Jesus. Sometimes it seems he's telling the familiar Christmas story, with a different set of characters.

But on a closer look, Elijah Muhammad's concept of Master Fard's deity is more reductive than incarnational. The Bible teaches that God's own nature is not the same nature as a man:

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

"And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent." (1 Samuel 15:29).

"I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city." (Hosea 11:9).

Thus Christians say, Jesus Christ has two natures, His own proper deity from before the ages and the humanity He took on late in time in the incarnation. Instead Elijah Muhammad argues, against the Bible, that God IS a man. He sees proof of this in the Bible's references to God's hands, His feet, His walking and talking. While Jesus taught,

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24),

Elijah Muhammad begs to differ:

"There are many people who would like that you think that God is a spirit and He has no form. This false thought is all condemned by His universe. God has made for us a visible universe. He has made for us visible beings. If a visible universe of material that has been made from His word, if there are people that He says, that they are His likeness and the very image of Him, the God has to be a person Himself! If He sees, if He hears, if He acts, then He is a person! There is no such thing as a spirit that can do these things!"

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The 6,000 Year History,'


Elijah Muhammad could not disagree more with the idea of God found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

"What is God?

"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 4)

Elijah Muhammad sees evidence of God's humanity in His likeness and His activities:

"So according to God's own words, through His prophets, He must be a man. He is interested in man's affairs according to the Bible (Genesis 1:27): 'God made man in His own image and likeness, both male and female.' If we believe that alone, that God created man in His own image and likeness, that is sufficient for us to expect God to be nothing other than man." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 66)
"All these scriptures show that He sees, hears, feels, tastes, smells, talks our language, walks, stands, sits, eats, and drinks. Therefore, God must be a human being." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 63).

This materialist way of thinking about God is surprisingly popular with American 'prophets' and religious teachers; Finis Dake and Joseph Smith shared a similar concept. Is it Biblical?

In the Image

In the Image

God or Man?

The Incarnation

The Beatific Vision

 Will We See God?


It is shameful to realize that nominal Christians were implicated in the slave trade. This legitimate indictment was over-generalized by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as, 'only Christians were involved in the slave trade.' This is not so. When Elijah Muhammad completed his Hajj to the holy places of Saudi Arabia, there were still persons of African origin held there in a condition of slavery. Slavery was not outlawed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until 1962.

"We are the results or victims of Christianity. Who made us spiritually blind? It was white Christians who went after our people and put them in chains 400 years and brought them here...The white race has made them a little religion to catch black people with. Christianity, if you study it, you will find that the whole of its teachings is nothing but slavery. It's to enslave black people for the service of white people; That's all it's for." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'

Is the Bible pro-slavery or anti-slavery?

The main selling point of the Nation of Islam has always been the following 'brand comparison' with Christianity:

"'Christianity is the white man's religion. The Holy Bible in the white man's hands and his interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings. Every country the white man has conquered with his guns, he has always paved the way, and salved his conscience, by carrying the Bible and interpreting it to call the people 'heathens' and 'pagans;' then he sends his guns, then his missionaries behind the guns to mop up—'" (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 241-242)

The irony here is that, while this indictment is only imperfectly true of Christianity, it fits Islam to a 'T:'

"It turns out now that the Arabs were the most successful imperialists of all time, since to be conquered by them (and then to be like them) is still, in the minds of the faithful, to be saved." (V. S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, p. 142).

Islam spread through imperialism, in its first century of expansion reaching the Atlantic. And slavery was only outlawed in Saudi Arabia in the 1960's, precisely because there is no Islamic foundation for abolition. Contrast this with the Bible-believing abolitionist movement, of which the Nation's spokesmen were reminded from time to time: "They would unearth Lincoln and his freeing of the slaves." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 242). If imperialism is bad, then Islam is bad. If slavery is morally unacceptable, then Mohammed ibn Abdallah, a slave owner, and slave trader, was a wicked man.

The notion of the 'white man's religion' is somewhat problematic, given that, under the racist Jim Crow laws, Arabs were classed as white, in accordance with a decision by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Chas A. Woods that persons from the "western Asiatic side of the Caspian Sea and the Ganges" were to be so classified. ('Census to Count Arabs as White, Despite Write-In Campaign,' March 25, 2010). Their reclassification, for purposes of Nation of Islam propaganda, as non-white is somewhat mysterious; have they ever requested such reclassification?

The great majority of Africans kidnaped from their homes and brought in chains to America had been pagan animists in their home countries. A study of registers of slave names in colonial America will reveal, however, more than a sprinkling of 'Ahmad's and 'Abdullahs.' Some of this may been trade Islam, where they had the names but little else, although John Wesley quotes a witness who lived among the West African peoples to this effect: "All the Mahometan Negroes constantly go to public prayers thrice a day; there being a Priest in every village, who regularly calls them together; and it is surprising to see the modesty, attention, and reverence which they observe during their worship." (Monsieur Brue, quoted Chapter II, John Wesley, Thoughts on Slavery). A certain percentage of the slaves captured and brought to these shores were practicing Muslims:

"Several great Islamic empires dominated West Africa from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. As European states colonized the Americas and the Caribbean in the sixteenth century, they ultimately transported about fifteen million chattel slaves into their respective colonies. A significant minority were Muslims: of the approximately 650,000 involuntarily taken to what would become the United States, Muslims made up about 7 or 8 percent." (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 80).

On into the nineteenth century, the travelling Christian preacher could still expect to encounter survivals from this viewpoint: "The Mohammedan Africans remaining of the old stock of importations, although accustomed to hear the Gospel preached, have been known to accommodate Christianity to Mohammedanism. 'God,' say they, 'is Allah, and Jesus Christ is Mohammed--the religion is the same, but different countries have different names.'" (Jones, Charles Colcock. The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States (1842) (p. 87). Kindle Edition.) During the Depression, many Americans felt the desire to uncover and return to their roots. This desire gave impetus to the rise of Islam in the black community, in the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam. But the clear majority of the African slaves did not come out of Islam but paganism. The unlettered Arabian prophet knew of people who valued their heritage: "And when it is said to them, ‘Follow ye that which God hath sent down;’ they say, ‘Nay, we follow the usages which we found with our fathers.’ What! though their fathers were utterly ignorant and devoid of guidance?" (Koran, Sura 2:165). Why rush to follow after people who are hell-bound?: "They found their fathers erring, and they hastened on in their footsteps." (Koran Sura 37:67-68). You should first ascertain whether your forbears were on the road to heaven or to hell before you rush to join them. Many of our forbears were pagan, "As with Pagans from all cultures, people attracted to Scandinavian and Germanic forms of Paganism often come to it as part of a search for their own ancestral roots." (Drawing Down the Moon, Margot Adler, Kindle location 5215). There are many roads that lead downward. Not that Islam leads out of this trap. So much for the thought of returning to one's roots!

In 1819 artist Charles Peale painted an interesting portrait of one member of this forgotten group, the Arabic-literate Mahmut Yarrow:

Charles Peale, Portrait of Mahmut Yarrow
Mahmut Yarrow, American Muslim ex-slave

To analyze the Nation of Islam's logic, let us look at a comparable case. When India gained its freedom from British banditry, some in the leadership uttered pious aspirations after religious pluralism, however that was never in the cards: not an 'ethnic cleansing,' but a religious cleansing, took place, the Muslims bound north and the Hindus remaining south, with consequent partition into two separate countries, the majority Muslim Pakistan and the majority Hindu India. Some Muslims however remain in the south, with resultant communal violence. Although there is no one side which is solely to blame, the fact that Islam lays no foundation for the religious toleration of pagan idolatry probably does play a role in these disturbances. Unlike Christians and Jews, people of the book, pagan idolaters cannot even aspire to the condition of 'Dhimmis' in an Islamic state; they have no civil rights. So imagine if pious Hindus emigrated to the United States, and some generations afterward, their descendants, looking to honor their forbears, adopted, not Hinduism, but Islam, on grounds that it was one of the religions found on the Indian sub-continent. Can one imagine the ancestors stirring in their graves, wondering, 'What? You mean those people who wanted to kill us?' For those African Americans whose ancestors were pagan animists, who are the overwhelming majority, it is unclear how their ancestors' memory is honored by their descendants adopting a religion whose adherents would have cheerfully murdered or enslaved these same forbears. 7 or 8 percent is far from a majority; if these numbers are correct, then 92 to 93% of this population were pagans, a religion despised by Muslims. Nevertheless Americans should be reminded that there were meaningful numbers of Muslims brought into this country in chains, an historic fact which has strangely disappeared into oblivion.

It is ironic that those Southern states whose white inhabitants obsess about creeping Sharia, are the very places in this country which once upon a time had a meaningful Muslim population, though no more. No functioning Muslim community survived up until the time when Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made it possible for these people to reclaim their lives and their liberty, including freedom of religion. In remembrance of the lost past, several start-up quasi-Islamic new religious movements in the Great Depression era justified their activities as a reclaiming of African Americans' Muslim roots. Though there was little enough of Islam in Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple, that was its rationale, as also for Wallace D. Fard's group. Their version of Islam owed more to Freemasonry than it did to any study of the Koran or Muslim traditions. In the process, they willingly overlooked Islam's long history of tolerance for slavery, which was only outlawed in Saudi Arabia in the 1960's:

  Mary the Copt

  Kidnapping Raids

  The Kingdom

  Thy Right Hand

  The Good Side

  Black Slaves

  Naught But a Sinner

  Islamic History

The prophet Mohammed ibn Abdallah was himself a slave-owner. The worst abuses of the Southern slave system which scandalized Malcolm X find no warrant in Christianity, but are specifically allowed in the Koran. The privilege of enjoying the sexual services of slaves is granted to the prophet:

"O Prophet! we allow thee thy wives whom thou hast dowered, and the slaves whom thy right hand possesseth out of the booty which God hath granted thee..." (Koran, Sura 33:49).

...and to the faithful generally:

"Not so the prayerful...And who control their desires, (Save with their wives or the slaves whom their right hands have won, for there they shall be blameless; But whoever indulge their desires beyond this are transgressors)...These shall dwell, laden with honors, amid gardens." (Koran, Sura 71:22-35).

It is shameful that white, nominally Christian slave-owners in the American southland conducted themselves as if they were Muslims, but the remedy is not to embrace Islam. Mohammed ibn Abdallah does not write as did the abolitionists, aflame with the morality of the Sermon on the Mount, or as the framers of our Declaration of Independence:

"God maketh comparison between a slave the property of his lord, who hath no power over anything, and a free man whom we have ourselves supplied with goodly supplies, and who giveth alms therefrom both in secret and openly. Shall they be held equal? No: praise be to God! But most men know it not." (Koran, Sura 16:77).

When I was a child growing up in New Jersey, I used to find myself on occasion in Port Authority bus terminal in New York City. When I happened by, adherents of the Nation of Islam used to sell me a copy of their periodical, 'Muhammad Speaks.' Reportedly, members were obliged to sell this periodical willing or not. I read my copy with great interest, but not entire conviction. Elijah Muhammad divided the American population into two categories, the children of slaves and the children of slave-owners.

Even as a child, I realized this division was not exhaustive; my Polish relatives, for example, were neither the children of slaves nor the children of slave-owners, because they were not even in the country prior to the Civil War. A momentary excursion into arithmetic will show this division cannot be exhaustive, because African-Americans, overwhelmingly the children of slaves, represent only 12-13 percent of the U.S. population; there never were enough of them to 'go around,' so to speak. Some Southern plantations were home to hundreds of slaves. The percentage of African-Americans in the population was slightly higher before the Civil War, before the great flood of European immigration, but not enough to change the accounting.

In this game of musical chairs, most white people never laid claim to a slave. It was not like they wanted to, but were forestalled by lack of cash, because the Northern states began setting up schedules to abolish slavery soon after independence made doing so possible. In this more populous part of the country, the abolitionist message was early on heeded. The great majority of white people residing in the United States, at the time of the Civil War, did not own slaves, not even to speak of the many immigrants who only arrived after slavery's defeat in that war. Perhaps as much as one third of white households in the South, at the time of the Civil War, owned slaves; that's the highest estimate I've seen that's arithmetically possible. Compare that with zero percent, in the North.

Elijah Muhammad's own audience were as likely to be the children of slave-owners than the average white American, given the documented proclivities of Southern slave-owners. Those white Americans whose forebears lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, where slavery was extinct prior to the Civil War, are not in general the children of slave-owners. Because the area north of the Mason-Dixon was always more populous, and more prosperous, than the south, this was the majority of the population prior to the Civil War. But wasn't the federal government to blame? People sometimes commit the anachronism of assuming that the current political constellation of the American system is just as it always was. But for much of the early history of the Republic, many people saw the central government as little more than a customs union and a self-defense pact, uniting states so strong as to be nearly autonomous. Proponents of these two tendencies quarrelled in the early years of the Republic. The Civil War changed all that. People today assume that, because the U.S. has a strong central government, it always fell within the competence of that government to end slavery with the flourish of a pen. It did not; it took, not only a bloody shooting war, but a constitutional amendment, the thirteenth, to blot out that unrighteous institution. Demanding restitution from the federal government for conditions the federal government had little power to ameliorate, and not only that, but for circumstances that existed before the federal government came into being, is not fair or rational.

Had the Southerners never fired on Fort Sumter, school-children would have heard little more than the name of Abraham Lincoln; he would have taken a well-earned place in the back row of do-little American presidents. He was not an abolitionist, but mildly anti-slavery in the sense that he did not want slavery to expand into the territories. But the South panicked when he was elected; although he would have been happy to welcome the rebellious Southerners back into the Union, under the sole condition of maintenance of the status quo, they pressed the issue, to the point of hundreds of thousands of dead Union soldiers, at which point Lincoln could not stave off emancipation. And the question of a strong central government was resolved. But that eventual clarity cannot be projected back to the beginning.

The prophet Ezekiel revisits the question of whether children are responsible for the sins of their parents:

“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying,
“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
“As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right; if he has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, nor approached a woman during her impurity; if he has not oppressed anyone, but has restored to the debtor his pledge; has robbed no one by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; if he has not exacted usury nor taken any increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man; if he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully— He is just; He shall surely live!” Says the Lord GOD.
“If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does any of these things and does none of those duties, but has eaten on the mountains or defiled his neighbor’s wife; if he has oppressed the poor and needy, robbed by violence, not restored the pledge lifted his eyes to the idols, or committed abomination; if he has exacted usury or taken increase— Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
“If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does not do likewise; who has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor’s wife; has not oppressed anyone, nor withheld a pledge, nor robbed by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; who has withdrawn his hand from the poor and not received usury or increase, but has executed My judgments and walked in My statutes— He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live! “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.” (Ezekiel 18:1-18).

Even if you are the love child of John Dillinger and Ma Barker, you need not despair of God's grace. But what to make of a case where the children are held to account, not for wrongs committed by their own personal family, who were innocent, but for crimes committed by other persons, on grounds these wrong-doers were similarly complected to themselves? Is this anything other than the logic of a lynch mob? Even in the South, prior to the Civil War, most whites were not personally slave-owners. Neither were the multitude of white Americans whose forebears were not in the country at the time of the Civil War but only arrived thereafter. As I sat on the bus and read Elijah Muhammad's screed against the children of the slave-owner, I recollected that my mother's side of the family is Polish; when my grandmother came here, at the age of thirteen, she owned no slaves. My paternal grandmother was born in Norway; when she came to this country, she owned no slaves. Is there any more air-tight alibi than residence on another continent at the time the crimes in question were committed? My grand-parents were born too late to have been ante-bellum slave-owners, had they even been in the country at the time, but the accusation sticks no more solidly against those from whom they came. Those who arrived from eastern Europe were as likely to have been, themselves, the children of recently liberated serfs. Of course, if you trace the family line all the way back to Adam and Eve, likely a slave-owner or two will turn up, but so will more than a few slaves. The remaining grand-father, born to a family already in the country who lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, was no more the child of a slave-owner than were they. There is great drama, and many tears shed, when the children of slave-owners and the children of slaves join hands together on the church platform. But to pretend that all white folk are children of slave-owners, merely by virtue of their pigmentation, is not at all correct. Demands for repentance premised on false accusation should not be heard. We all do belong to corporate bodies, like church and state; in a sense all Americans shivered at Valley Forge with Washington's troops, or feel like they did. But they exaggerate the prevalence and centrality of slavery.

To offer an example of this mind-set, consider Hitler's anger against those German citizens who did not willingly fork over their foreign currency deposits so that he could finance his military build-up. Some of these people were Jews: ". . .I therefore consider it necessary for the Reichstag to pass the following two laws: 1. a law providing the death penalty for economic sabotage, and 2. a law making the whole of Jewry liable for all damage inflicted upon the German economy by individual specimens of this community of criminals. . ." (quoted p. 221, The Wages of Destruction, Adam Tooze). How can "all of Jewry" be made responsible for the acts of certain individuals, never mind that what is being criminalized is ordinary economic behavior? But this is precisely the logic of slavery reparations: white people held slaves, never mind which white people, and therefore any and all white people must pay for the misdeeds of those similarly pigmented. Criminal responsibility is assigned simply based on group membership. Are we far here from Jim Crow and the logic of the lynch mob? This concept, that white people, all of 'em, are the 'slave-owners' children' who bear personal responsibility for slavery, started as the teaching of an obscure cult, but has by now gone mainstream. In a recent address to the nation, Michelle Obama said, "Living with the knowledge that. . .there will be far too many who will never see our humanity, who will project on us their own fears of retribution for centuries of injustice and thus only see us as a threat to be restrained. . ." (Michelle Obama, quoted at Breitbart. com, 'Michelle Obama: Trump and Allies are 'Stoking Fears about Black and Brown Americans', by Hannah Bleau, October 6, 2020). Does White America live in fear of retribution from Black America? Really? Somehow this information passed me by, as did the installment check for 'White Privilege.' Must be in the mail. It does seem there is a bit of projection going on; perhaps she believes White America deserves "retribution"? And where did she get that idea, if not, ultimately, from Elijah Muhammad, as transmitted through Malcolm X? Thus an idea which cannot be defended politically, legally, or economically, has vaulted from the cult world into the mainstream.

What about that minority of white Americans who actually are the descendants of slave-owners? The number of these is not nil, though it is nowhere near as sizeable as Elijah Muhammad thought it was. Do they owe either a moral debt, or a collectible one? We do not normally make it legally possible for the grandchildren of someone who may have suffered a civil wrong to sue the grandchildren of the party who may have done it. There have been societies where children were legally obligated to pay off their parents' debts: "We place a law in opposition to a law in this way: among the Romans he who renounces his paternal inheritance does not pay his father's debts, but among the Rhodians he pays them in any case; and among the Tauri in Scythia it was a law to offer strangers in sacrifice to Artemis, but with us it is forbidden to kill a man near a temple." (Empiricus, Sextus; Laërtius, Diogenes; Patrick, Mary Mills; MacColl, Norman; Bevan, Edwyn (2015-07-09). The Sceptics: Pyrhonic Sketches, Life of Pyrrho, Sextus Empiricus, The Greek Sceptics, Stoics & Sceptics and Life of Carneades (p. 30).) We have all seen the graduation videos where graduates write on their mortar-boards how much money they owe in student loans: $20,000, $30,000, whatever. Imagine if a baby laying in the cradle could doodle on his diapers, $100,000, $1,000,000. How hopeless to begin life owing more money than you can possibly ever pay back! So we just don't do it the way they did it in Rhodes. Even to the present day, people in Japan can inherit the debts of insolvent relatives, though I'm informed they can petition the courts to be relieved of this burden.

Closer to home, English common law is often cited as disallowing the inheritance of debts, though it took a round-about path to get there. At times, English law has allowed civil and even criminal liability to meander down through the generations. On the positive side, this results in the rise of the aristocracy, on the negative side, the 'corruption of blood.' This legal category is specifically disallowed in the U.S. Constitution, as respecting treason, Article III, Section 3, ". . .the Congress shall have Power to declare the punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. . ." Our founders preferred each individual born into this world to start out with a clean slate. Realizing that, unlike Rhodes and even arguably England in its aristocratic phase, we do not allow the collection of debts from the great-great-grandchildren of those who incurred them, then in consequence even that minority of the white population who are indeed children, or rather great-grandchildren, of slave-holders, are not legally obligated to pay their forbears' debts, actual or potential. This American way of doing things is not contrary to God's law. Moses' law incorporates a schedule of debt forgiveness: the Sabbatical year every seven years, the Jubilee the forty-ninth. God did not want financial obligations to remain open forever; debt is not to be passed down through the ages. It carries an expiration date. And so, in the Messianic age, the children are not held accountable for their fathers' debts: "In those days they shall no longer say: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.'" (Jeremiah 31:29).

William Tecumseh Sherman's Order No. 15 was just in its day. Partitioning the plantations and distributing the land to the former slaves, forcing the slave-owners to disgorge their ill-gotten gains, was justice. It was the slaves' uncompensated labor which enabled those large tracts to be accumulated in the first place. Unfortunately this just and defensible policy did not prevail. One hundred and fifty years later, compelling people who are not slave-owners to pay people who are not slaves is not justice. General Sherman did not require freeholders in the North to surrender their property to freed slaves; this would not have been just. Parochialism fuels the statistical perceptions that underlay Nation of Islam racial rhetoric. Their ancestors were enslaved: to whom? To white people. But who exactly, and where? The Northern states abolished slavery, peacefully and lawfully, prior to the Civil War. The Northern states never adopted the Jim Crow system of near-apartheid racial legislation that marred the South for generations. But most blacks living in the country at the time experienced Jim Crow. A paradox? Not really. Prior to 1910, more than 90 percent of blacks lived in the South, where that system was found. Elijah Muhammad should have corrected his rhetoric to reflect the actual reality that relatively few whites are, in fact, the children of slave-owners, whereas almost all African Americans are the children of slaves. This 'children of slave-owners' rhetoric has taken on a life of its own; it animates the recent discussion of slavery reparations. It did not originate in econometrics; it originated as cult doctrine.

Nor was the wealth of this country as a whole built up by slave labor. Certainly those individuals who owned slaves profited greatly by the arrangement; fortunes were made, a rare achievement in farming.  But not all forms of wealth-building benefit the community; plantation farming benefits the plantation owner, but bankrupts and ruins all the free farmers in the vicinity who must compete with the plantation, and are obliged in the end to receive the same low prices. The student of classical history will recall how the introduction of large slave-estates ruined the Italian family farmer, originally the backbone of the Roman empire. The planters' fortunes, if not spent in conspicuous consumption, were reinvested. . .in Northern textile mills? Why not Southern? No, in plantation agriculture, generally. Not a few of those fortunes were subsequently lost, in connection with the Civil War. Wealth is not only created and conserved, as is the guiding assumption amongst the advocates of reparations; it is also destroyed. What became of the fortune invested in slaves, after emancipation? Gone with the wind.

At the time of the Civil War, slavery was a regional institution, not a national one; and the region where it was prevalent was, and remained for a very long time, the most backward and impoverished area of the country. Oddly enough Africa, where the slaves were originally captured and sold to the slave traders, is also not in flourishing condition compared to the rest of the world. Perhaps there is some fundamental error here as to how wealth is really created? Most white Americans do not perceive themselves as having been the beneficiaries of the slave system, nor did Elijah Muhammad ever construct a plausible narrative justifying why he so categorized them. Yet oddly enough what started life as cult doctrine, no more or less plausible than the 'Mother Ship' and the rest of it, has become the socially dominant narrative. The poison has diffused throughout the organism. I wonder if young people today are even aware that Jim Crow legislation was not a national institution, given that they are ever hearing about how 'white America' imposed Jim Crow legislation on the backs of the black population. The Jim Crow system existed only in the South. Reparations advocates glide seamlessly from slavery to Jim Crow, when it is pointed out that no one now alive either was a slave under that system or owned slaves. But who, if anyone, profited from Jim Crow? Nor did 'white America' own slaves or defend the slave-system. To the contrary, the United States expended quite a bit of blood and treasure, in the Civil War, to liberate the slaves. I recently saw a video in which a woman gave as an example of 'white rage,' the resistance of white Southerners to desegregation after Brown vs. Board of Education. I couldn't help wondering why sending Federal Marshals down South wasn't an instance of 'white rage.' I wonder if some people don't think we all look alike; but at any rate, the men marching in Pickett's gallant but doomed charge, and the men taking pot-shots at them, knew enough to say, 'that's not us.' Would that the reparations advocates could learn that much.

The professionals at running this scam, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, start with a plausible number for the proportion of American wealth contributed by, say, cotton farming: 5% of the gross domestic product, perhaps. Since the Great Depression, Americans have had the luxury of perusing economic statistics collected and guaranteed accurate by various agencies of the government; prior to that time, comparable numbers are basically estimates. But 5% of GDP is plausible; cotton was the major export crop, it was the one thing the U.S. produced that that Old World, specifically the English textile manufacturers, wanted. But then they add in multiplier effects, to arrive finally at estimates of 50% of GDP, or even 80%; why not 100%! This is not plausible at all, and it is not even the way the GDP is computed. We don't count the cost of the tires when they are delivered at the auto plant, to be put on the car; we count them once, when the retail buyers picks up the car, tires and all.

Cotton does not grow everywhere. It does not grow in the northern tier of the Confederate States. While states like Virginia had produced some cotton early on, they were supplanted by states of the Deep South:

"After 1820, southern planters began mixing and cross-pollinating dozens of species of Mexican and Central American cotton plants, producing plants that could mature faster, separate more easily, and stand higher. . .These green-seed cottons did not need sea breezes and could grow far inland. They needed two hundred frost-free days to thrive, however, limiting planting to south of the 35th parallel. The best land for cultivation proved to be the black soil in the broad plain along the Mississippi and Red Rivers. . ." (A Nation of Deadbeats, Scott Reynolds Nelson, p. 82 of 254).

The Mason-Dixon line falls between the 39th and 40th parallel! Do these people who claim that cotton cultivation represents 100% of the U.S. economy prior to the Civil War, want to exclude from reparations payments those African-Americans whose enslaved ancestors lived and labored in Virginia, on grounds they did not grow cotton? Maybe they produced something else of value! Virginia hams, perhaps? Not even to mention the house-slaves, or those who labored as carpenters and mechanics. And for that matter maybe all those Northern farmers, north of the Mason-Dixon line, were producing something of value as well. The wheat they grew was sold abroad, just as was cotton. Never mind that the North produced, not only wheat, but railway locomotives. Which region held the upper hand economically? There was no contest, as was realized at the time: "William Tecumseh Sherman saw it so. That grim soldier with the ultra-modern viewpoint had called the turn before the war even began when he warned a Southern friend: 'In all history no nation of mere agriculturists ever made successful war against a nation of mechanics. . .You are bound to fail.'" (Bruce Catton, Glory Road, Kindle location 4521). And fail they did. This does not stop the proponents of reparations from publishing the bizarre theory that the South was the economic powerhouse of the United States. As with regions, so with eras: the undeniable fact that the gross domestic product of the United States in 1860 was tiny compared to what it is now, does not prevent them from pretending that people today are lounging on wealth inherited from the past.

As to what most of the population did, that was still agriculture. The family farmer is not less productive than the slave. When you go for a walk in the Maine woods, you are likely to stumble across a stone wall, the boundary of some 19th century farmer's domain. The total acreage under cultivation in New England has fallen since that time; much of the land has gone back to woods. At that time, from the Atlantic to Illinois, small farms covered the land. Grandma Moses produced primitive folk paintings showing the lay of the land:

Grandma Moses, Folk Painting
Grandma Moses

Farm country does not look like that any more, because at some point the farmers had to adopt the rubric, get big or get out. But at a time when the majority of the inhabitants of this country worked in agriculture, is it really conceivable that they worked from sun-up to sun-down, as farmers do, in the summer at least, and produced nothing at all? Not one thimble-ful of goods or services to contribute to the GDP? They were doing nothing but parasitizing the cotton production of the South? And how were they managing to do that? We did not have socialism at that time, no more than at this. These people believe so strongly in 'trickle-down' that they think, merely because cotton planters were making money, everyone else got a piece of the action? Every one that was breathing, or every 'white' person? How does that work? The Northern family farmers were not subsistence farmers, though they were self-sufficient; they grew crops for the market. But none of these crops ever made it to market? What a sad tale of futility and ineptitude! A large number of very industrious people held the means of production in their hands, arable acreage, blessed with abundant rain-fall, and they could do literally nothing with it? They can't have grown turnips or something and sold them to the cities? Since you must have a bowl to put your turnips in, we can add in the entire ceramics industry as a multiplier effect! Except it is not credible, so why bother being sad. The math must be a bit off.

When I see a hula-hoop display at Wal-Mart, I say, 'Oh! Hula-hoops are making a comeback!' Is that good for me? In a sense; any economic activity falls on the plus side, we are in a sense a 'common-wealth.' In the midst of a depression, when economic activity has collapsed, it would be encouraging to see signs of life. But I do not send the hula-hoop manufacturers a check, because I do not owe them a check. They have not benefited me directly. If it should turn out they under-paid their employees, those employees cannot come after me, an uninvolved by-stander looking at the hula-hoop display at Wal-Mart, for compensation. The family farmers of the North owed the slaves of the South, what, exactly, as compensation? What should they have been paying them for? For under-bidding them?

Presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren want the U.S. government to pay slave reparations. It isn't evading responsibility to point out that responsibility for this historic wrong cannot be assigned on the basis of skin pigmentation. What is, or ever was, 'white America,' and why is it responsible for slavery? Is the national government really to blame? Where does it mandate slavery, or what Northern state, in the process of abolishing slavery within its borders, ever perceived any constitutional barrier? The U.S. Constitution apportions representation based on counting slaves as three-fifths of a human being. But what is the alternative? Take South Carolina, where there were as many slaves as free voters. Everyone knew that, as far as the South Carolinians were concerned, no slave would ever vote. And so counting them means that every white South Carolinian voter gets two votes instead of one. That's not right. The rule should be, one man, one vote. Three-fifths is an ugly compromise, but 'one whole man, not a voter but represented nevertheless' is no real improvement; it unfairly rewards the South for enslaving people, giving them not only a life-time of unrequired labor, but disproportionate political power as well. The Southern politicians used their unfair advantage well: ". . .the roster of America's Virginia-born presidents suggests otherwise: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were all members of Virginia's First Families, their political base further stabilized by the 'ghost votes' of three-fifths of every black male slave." (Scott Reynolds Nelson, A Nation of Deadbeats, p. 20). These were free 'votes;' they made no demands, required no tiresome constituent meetings. It was not an abstract question of the slaves' ontological status, but rather a way of padding Southern representation; the Northern abolitionists would have preferred 'zero.'

During the period of peak production of abolitionist literature, there were several different streams whose confluence flowed together into the demand for freedom. There was a moral argument, derived from the Bible, that appealed especially to Christian folk; there was a political argument, focusing on legal rights and history; and there was an economic argument against slavery, that goes back to Adam Smith. Imagine you start on one end with a stack of inputs: raw materials, available labor hours, capital. Which economic system will give you the maximal output on the other end, the biggest stack of goods and services: is it slavery? or free enterprise? Adam Smith's answer was free enterprise, and it's a convincing answer. Sometimes people today talk as if economic institutions like slavery and serfdom were inevitable, given the low productivity of labor in those eras. But this is confusing cause and effect. Labor productivity was low because these systems lower it. Slavery makes labor so cheap as not to be worth saving. The owner of serfs does not introduce labor-saving devices because he saves no money by so doing; his labor force is fixed, attached to the ground.

Advocates of reparations assume that slavery was such a powerhouse of productivity that competing economic systems can only appear to produce wealth, while in fact they are parasitizing slavery, the only real wealth-producer. These people say that, not some, but all, of the wealth of the United States is built on slavery. This strains credulity. It was the North which was positioned to survive a war of attrition, not the South, pinched by real hardship once its economic connection to the North was severed. Prior to the Civil War, travelers sent out by the newspapers used to report that, compared to the already booming North, the South looked poor; not far outside of the cities, the main road would devolve down to a dirt track, unlike the already macadamized main roads in the North. Much of this seeming destitution was just the poverty of the commons; as defenders of slavery like Robert Lewis Dabney pointed out, the net worth of individual slave-owners, prior to the Civil War, was immense. This great wealth however was neither shared nor conserved. Their wealth was held in slaves and land. Or it might be more accurate to say, the bank's wealth: "As capital entered the business, the price of slaves accelerated, leading some planters to over-leverage; indeed most lived almost entirely on credit." (Scott Reynolds Nelson, A Nation of Deadbeats, p. 108). Upon adoption of the thirteenth amendment, the entry for 'slaves' zeroed out; upon the auction gavel banging down on sale of the land from the bankrupt owners to Northern carpet-baggers, the 'land' entry zeroed out. Or maybe they had prudently invented in Confederate bonds, or kept their money in a bank account denominated in Confederate dollars. A wise move, if you need scrap paper.

Wrongs were committed by the national government, like the horrific Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, then dominated by Southerners. It isn't restitution for this wrong, to adopt Justice Taney's flawed reasoning in its entirety, as they do. Weighing down the other arm of the balance were also righteous deeds. A balanced view will acknowledge the wrong, without omitting to mention, say, Antietam. To those demanding reparations, like Elizabeth Warren, the national government should say, 'We gave at the office. From any slave reparations paid, first we must deduct the cost of the Civil War, in lives and treasure, updated for inflation.'

The Confederate States of America was evil altogether; but there is no successor entity to that failed sedition attempt. Let those who identify with it attempt to defend it, and take the blame for its crimes. The Southern states, individually, might with good grounds be sued, because unlike the U.S. Constitution which barely acknowledges the existence of slavery, they drafted slave codes which put the police power of the state solidly behind this ungodly and inhuman institution. Under the Northern theory that secession was null and void, these states are still the same entities as they were then. Perhaps because the Southern states do not have deep pockets, it seems that no one is interested. There are corporate entities that survive over the years; the church is the body of Christ, and we all belong to the body politic, whichever jurisdiction receives the focus: state, federal government, or municipality. Some private corporations have persisted down through the years, beginning life as a slave brokerage, later becoming an investment bank. Those who bear responsibility should carry it. To demand that all white people, whether implicated or not, be held to account, is lynch mob justice. The lynch mob, hearing that a crime has been committed by a black man, grabs the first black man who crosses their path and executes him. Not having afforded him due process, can anyone be sure this is the guilty party? Does it matter? A black man committed the crime, and they punished a black man.

It is classic racism to assign negative characteristics, not distributed as they are found, but rather to all members of a population group; this is how we get 'Mexicans are rapists.' By the same logic as 'Mexicans are rapists,' then just so 'White Americans are the children of slave-owners.' Some Mexicans actually are rapists, and some white Americans sure enough are the children of slave-owners. Most are not. To demand that all white people must be taxed and the money turned over to the descendants of slaves, amounts to a mugging, because the people making the demand are not those to whom any monies are owed,— they were never slaves,— and those from whom they are demanding payment, white people of whatever background and social station, are not those who would owe such monies if any were due. Assigning negative characteristics to a group as a whole is classic racism. Speaking of rape, Ibram X. Kendi says, "Already, the American mind was accomplishing that indispensable intellectual activity of someone consumed with racist ideas: individualizing White negativity and generalizing Black negativity. Negative behavior by any Black person became proof of what was wrong with Black people, while negative behavior by any White person only proved what was wrong with that person." (Stamped from the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi, Chapter 3, p. 47 of 61). Some white persons, a small minority of the white population even at that time, enslaved Africans. Therefore, all white persons at all times must pay reparations, whether connected with the offenders or not.

If the logic is sound in the one case, so is it in the other; if mass guilt and corporate responsibility are valid ideas, so are they for all, and the history of Jim Crow must be revisited. Throughout the period of white racism, African-Americans displayed a disproportionately high crime rate, and still do to this day. Anti-racists of the day, who really were anti-racists back then, pointed out that you cannot punish an entire population, by deprivation of civil liberties, for crimes committed by a handful of criminals. But if, after all, you can demand reparations from all white people, involved or uninvolved, for the misdeeds of a few, based solely on shared pigmentation, then what is wrong with the reasoning behind Jim Crow? It's the very same reasoning. This crime wave, this continuing reign of terror by blacks against whites has gone on for generations. Bizarrely, black writers claim to be terrified at the prospect of suffering violence at the hands of whites, when a brief perusal of crime statistics will show the real fear runs in the other direction. Black folk assault, rape and kill white folk a whole lot more often than the other way around, in America today. So are whites owed reparations? No. For the same reason blacks are not,— because African-Americans cannot willy-nilly, indiscriminately be held to account for crimes committed by persons other than themselves. Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X taught black America to do the math wrong on this important question, and unfortunately, they have not yet learned to do it right. Correcting the faulty arithmetic upon which this entire argument rests will be a big step toward rectifying the error. It is to be hoped that this unjust exaction will die a quiet death.

In the mean time, the 'woke' mentality born out of Elijah Muhammad's musings continues to attack American patriotism at every turn. Patriotism is not a side-hobby, like an interest in opera, or macrame. It is an obligation every citizen owes to his native land:

"Parents are dear; dear are children, relatives, friends; one native land embraces all our loves; and who that is true would hesitate to give his life for her, if by his death he could render her a service?. . .Now, if a contrast and comparison were to be made to find out where most of our moral obligation is due, country would come first, and parents; for their services have laid us under the heaviest obligation. . ." (Cicero, On Duties, Book I, Chapter 17, Section 57-58).

Patriotism is the debt of gratitude we owe to our native land, for services performed and benefits received when we were of too little account to repay them. Anyone who tells us to hate our native land and bury her beneath a flood of ill-considered slurs and unfounded recriminations is telling us to do what is wrong. It is something like patricide or matricide to turn against one's own country; the anti-patriot, the 'woke' consumer, is an ingrate.

The Supernatural

Wallace D. Fard instructed his Messenger Elijah Muhammad for several years in Detroit before going...where? To Japan to construct the Mother Plane, or on to future encounters with the law and J. Edgar Hoover? That behemoth would take some constructing: "'The present wheel-shaped plane known as the Mother Plane, is one-half of a half-mile and is the largest mechanical manmade object in the sky. It is a small human planet made for the purpose of destroying the present world of the enemies of Allah. . .'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 89).

While no outside observer can know what features of this wildly original religion come from Mr. Fard and which originated in Mr. Muhammad's fertile brain, perhaps a note of Mr. Fard's street-wise voice lingers in the skepticism about the supernatural that pervades Nation of Islam thinking. How about life after death, a common religious concern? Elijah Muhammad isn't buying it:

"There’s no such thing as a little man going out of your mouth and going to an unknown place; no, no. . .There is no such thing as a spirit jumping out of your body going someplace. [...]

"'The cross, believe in the cross my brother,' he says. 'I will cling to that old cross.' Yeah, 'Oh yonder,' he says, 'on yonder hills stands an old cross.' Yeah; its a sign of shame. 'It’s a sign of my guilt of murdering the prophets of God, because I was at cross roads with them in the science of truth. So, here it is, blind deaf and dumb black man, follow this and you will go to heaven and meet Jesus.'

How many have been there and came back and told you that? There is no man that dies and goes back to the earth, then returns again. That is the thing that just doesn’t happen. You say 'Well Jesus rose again.' Yes, he’s rising now! The resurrection of Jesus means the resurrection of justice among you and me, that’s what it means. It doesn’t mean that man will come back alive like he once was."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Life After Death and the Existence of Spirit,', Theology of Time, June 4, 1972).


Though texts accepted as holy by the Nation speak of resurrection, this 'resurrection' is understood as an awakening from the death of error, not as revivification of the deceased. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad went so far to deny the Easter resurrection as to claim Jesus' dead body had been embalmed and preserved:

"There is no such thing as Jesus sitting in a heaven waiting for the final Judgment, he won't be here when the final Judgment come anymore than Moses or Abraham. He's gone back to the earth, or rather he's embalmed, and he will stay there another well 8,000 years. They embalmed him to last 10,000 years, and that his body will disappear at the end of ten thousand years. And it will disappear at this very hour if air is let in that tube that he's in. He's not alive, he looks just like he did the day that they killed him, but he's not alive. Go there and yell to him all you want to, he can't speak, he can't hear you either." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'

There is a perplexing ambiguity in Elijah Muhammad's understanding of Jesus. Elijah Poole was looking for the second coming of Christ when he told Wallace D. Fard, 'I know who you are.' Yet Jesus, in Nation of Islam teaching, is just a prophet, whereas Wallace D. Fard is Allah in person.

"There is no such thing as a Jesus and a God standing on any other planet looking at you and I. The God is here on this earth. This is the God where you and I live. This is the heaven this is the hell. Hell and heaven is not a certain place or a particular place, it is the condition of our lives. You won't be able to come through no tombstone, or even through the dust, because they don't come back after they go there. We have had life, they last for trillions of years and never have anybody returned from that earth that went back to it. When you go back to the earth, you don't rise anymore."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Christianity vs. Islam,'


In light of this movement's skepticism about a literal, physical resurrection, their choice to identify themselves as 'Muslims' is peculiar. Like a modern political candidate, Mohammed ibn Abdallah stayed 'on-message' even at the cost of repetition. His message, that men will rise again, was laughed at by the scoffers, who said,

"But the unbelievers say to those whom they fall in with, 'Shall we show you a man who will foretell you that when ye shall have been utterly torn and rent to pieces, ye shall be restored in a new form? He deviseth a lie about God, or there is a djinn in him,' but they who believe not in the next life, shall incur the chastisement, and be lost in the mazes of estrangement from God." (Sura 34:7-8).
"And He whom God shall guide will be guided indeed; and whom he shall mislead thou shalt find none to assist, but Him: and we will gather them together on the day of the resurrection, on their faces, blind and dumb and deaf: Hell shall be their abode: so oft as its fires die down, we will rekindle the flame. This shall be their reward for that they believed not our signs and said, 'When we shall have become bones and dust, shall we surely be raised a new creation?'" (Sura 17:99-100).
"If ever thou dost marvel, marvellous surely is their saying, 'What! when we have become dust, shall we be restored in a new creation?' These are they who in their Lord believe not: these! the collars shall be on their necks; and these shall be inmates of the fire, to abide therein for aye." (Sura 13:5-6).
"And they say, 'There is no other than our life in this world, neither shall we be raised again.' But if thou couldest see when they shall be set before their Lord! He shall say to them, 'Is not this it in truth?' They shall say, 'Yea, by our Lord!' 'Taste then,' saith He, 'the torment, for that ye believed not!'" (Sura 6:29-30).

Were the scoffers Mohammed ibn Abdallah encountered scoffing at the idea an author might forge a simile between correction from error and resuscitation from death? Inasmuch as there is nothing incredible in an author crafting a metaphor or likeness, why would the scoffers balk at such literary license? Rather they found the fact of resurrection impossible to credit, for much the same reasons as did Elijah Muhammad.

The only thing dearer to Mohammed ibn Abdallah's heart than the resurrection and meeting with God was the confession there is no God but God. Joining other gods to God is unwelcome in this faith:

"SAY: Come, I will rehearse what your Lord hath made binding on you -- that ye assign not aught to Him as partner; and that ye be good to your parents..." (Sura 6:152).
"Had there been in either heaven or earth gods besides God, both surely had gone to ruin. But glory be to God, the Lord of the throne, beyond what they utter!" (Sura 21:22).

Given Mohammed ibn Abdallah's preoccupations, it is perplexing that a story-teller who liked to recount tales of god-scientists and denied the resurrection attached himself and his followers to this religion. Why not Hinduism, which is sympathetic to long-phase cycles of gods? In attaching his followers to Islam and urging them to read the Koran, Elijah Muhammad was stamping an expiration date on his religion. When they follow his advice, they stampede into orthodox Islam.

The Quest for the Historical Wallace D. Fard

The rise of the Nation of Islam occurred in plain view, recently enough for ample documentation and evidence to survive detailing the circumstances of its origin. Let us impose, onto this well-documented modern event, the paradigm employed by secular 'Jesus scholarship.' The results are farcical.

The model employed by Ernest Renan in the nineteenth century was the "Legends of the Saints." European saints were alleged to be modest, unassuming types about whom legends congregated after their death. Jesus, too, must have been of this stamp, or else He would be unlike the European saints:

"The legends respecting Alexander were invented before the generation of his companions in arms became extinct; those respecting St. Francis d'Assisi began in his lifetime. A rapid metamorphosis operated in the same manner in the twenty or thirty years which followed the death of Jesus, and imposed upon his biography the peculiarities of an ideal legend." (Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus, Author's Introduction.)

Employing this paradigm in the case of Wallace D. Fard, we discover that Mr. Fard did not claim to be God, rather this claim arose in the "twenty or thirty years which followed [his] death." Yet not only Elijah Muhammad, but also the Detroit Police, heard him make this claim:

"On Wednesday morning, November 23, Fard was apprehended while leaving his hotel room at 1 West Jefferson Street. [...] Once at police headquarters, he answered questions circumspectly and in his typical messianic vein. According to police and press transcripts, Fard identified himself as the 'supreme being on earth' and claimed responsibility for starting the Nation of Islam, assisted by Ugan Ali, who was also arrested." (Claude Andrew Clegg III, 'An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad,' p. 31)

In 20 B.C., no one had heard of 'Christianity.' In 140 A.D., Christianity had spread round the globe. When confronted with a new thing in the world, the nineteenth century 'explained' it with an adverb: "gradually." Even though it is not clear an adverb can be the answer to a question 'why' or 'how,' this answer solidified into unquestionable dogma.

It's not clear it's a useful answer even in the fields where it was originally introduced. A tourist viewing the Western badlands is not impressed by the idea 'this must have happened gradually.' While the topography of Sandy Hook in New Jersey changes, no one has ever seen it change 'gradually.' Rather, people wake up and discover a thundering storm in the night has introduced a new reality.

The idea that new religions are introduced through gradual accretions to existing religions is an especially unhappy one, and not only because the time scale available is so compressed the 'Jesus scholars' must ever be trying to enlarge it. The religious public is expected to throng to some unpretentious, mild-mannered Mr. Milquetoast, holding aloft his beige banner, as he leads them on an unexciting and unassuming program of minor reform. They continue to follow complacently as the successor generation introduces radical innovations such as Mr. Milquetoast's deity. What would make people act like this? If the charismatic founder cannot introduce innovation, how can the lackluster caretakers who succeed him?

In fact, none of the new religions born on American soil arose according to the gradualist paradigm. When we inspect Mormonism, the Shakers, the Comet Hale-Bopp UFO cult, and others, we realize that the most extreme doctrines and practices of these groups either arose in the generation of the founders, or not at all. New religions often experience a pronounced contraction in the second generation, not an expansion to even wilder claims, if indeed they survive at all. When Wallace Muhammad took over the reins of the Nation of Islam from his deceased father, the group lunged toward mainstream Islam and away from the founder's doctrines. Louis Farrakhan and others who remained faithful to Elijah Muhammad's message were forced to secede. Likewise, the Mormons abandoned polygamy, a controversial but theologically significant practice espoused by Joseph Smith, in exchange for statehood for Utah. Herbert Armstrong's group abandoned the founder's heterodox teaching that God was a 'family,' not a Trinity, after the family who thought it plausible God was a family passed from the scene. These groups experienced, and succumbed to, pressures to conform, not only from the larger society, but from their own members and contributors. From whence would come pressure for ever-expanding doctrinal innovation?

New religions on American soil are not started by mild-mannered reformers whose teachings and personalities are exaggerated by their successors. Is there any reason to believe new religions have ever been so generated? If there is not, then why is secular 'Jesus scholarship' based on this illusion?


Many Americans think of Muslims in America as a new phenomenon. It is surprising to realize that some of the Africans brought to this country in its infancy, while the importation of slaves was still legal, were practicing Muslims:

"Before 1808, when the transatlantic trade was still legal in what was by then the United States, possibly tens of thousands of Muslims from Senegambia and other Islamic parts of West Africa were transported to North America as slaves. Numerous notices in Georgian and South Carolinian newspapers for runaway slaves with Arabic names confirmed the presence of a significant Muslim minority among African-American slaves." (Claude Andrew Clegg III, 'An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad,' p. 18)

But there were no practicing Muslim communities among the slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Nevertheless, the idea arose among some African-Americans that they could see past their slave identities by 'returning' to Islam, although the Islam of Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple owed more to the Shriners than to Mecca.

But where did this idea come from, that religious adherence is a subordinate factor in ethnic or national identity? It does not come from the Koran, which ridicules those who look to their ancestors for religious assurance. In the Koran, keeping to the fathers' tradition is the infidels' constant refrain:

"And when it is said to them, 'Follow ye that which God hath sent down;' they say, 'Nay, we follow the usages which we found with our fathers.' What! though their fathers were utterly ignorance and devoid of guidance?" (Koran, Sura 2:165)
"And when it was said to them 'Accede to that which God hath sent down, and to the Apostle:' they said, 'Sufficient for us is the faith in which we found our fathers.' What! though their fathers knew nothing, and had no guidance?" (Koran, Sura 5:103)
"Have thou no doubts therefore concerning that which they worship: they worship but what their fathers worshipped before them: we will surely assign them their portion with nothing lacking." (Sura 11:111).
"And when it is said to them, Follow ye what God hath sent down, they say, 'Nay; that religion in which we found our fathers will we follow.' What! though Satan bid them to the torment of the flame?" (Koran, Sura 31:20).
"For when our distinct signs are recited to them, they say, 'This is merely a man who would fain pervert you from your father's Worship.' And they say, 'This (Koran) is no other than a forged falsehood." (Koran, Sura 34:42).
"Then shall they return to hell.
They found their fathers erring,
And they hastened on in their footsteps." (Koran, Sura 37:66-68).
"But say they: 'Verily we found our fathers of that persuasion, and verily, by their footsteps do we guide ourselves.' And thus never before thy time did we send a warner to any city but its wealthy ones said: 'Verily we found our fathers with a religion, and in their tracks we tread.' SAY,--such was our command to that apostle--'What! even if I bring you a religion more right than that ye found your fathers following?'" (Koran, Sura 43:21-23).

Abraham is Mohammed ibn Abdallah's hero; he imagines himself to be following that patriarch, though he has lost hold of Abraham's messianic faith. Abraham was a man who left his home:

"Of old we gave unto Abraham his direction, for we knew him worthy. When he said to his Father and to his people, 'What are these images to which ye are devoted?' They said, 'We found our fathers worshipping them.' He said, 'Truly ye and your fathers have been in a plain mistake.'" (Sura 21:52-55).

What was Abraham's religion?

Elijah Muhammad also claimed Abraham as a progenitor in the faith, as explicated by his celebrated disciple, Malcolm X:

"There was no such thing as Judaism in Isaac's day, or in Jacob's day. Do you understand? So what was God's religion before they called it Judaism? This isn't something that the white man has ever taught you and me. The white man is afraid to let you and me know what God's religion was called in Abraham's day because Abraham was supposed to have been known as the father of all of them. He is supposed to be the progenitor of all of them. He is supposed to be one of God's first servants. One of the first to submit to God is supposed to be Abraham. Now if you can see this, then find out what was Abraham's religion.

"The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us Abraham's religion was the religion of Islam. Islam only means complete submission to God, complete obedience to God. Abraham obeyed God. Abraham obeyed God so much so that when God told Abraham to take his son and sacrifice—stick a dagger in his heart, isn't that what he told him?— Abraham took his only son up on the mountain. He was going to sacrifice him to God, showing you that he believed in Islam. What does Islam mean? Obey God. Submit to God." (The Black Man's History (1962), Malcolm X, Recording, 16:24-17:41).

Wow, who knew it was so simple? Somebody comes along in the seventh century A.D. and names his new religion 'Submission,' in Arabic, the language of the imperialist conqueror, and just like that, his religion becomes the original religion, because religious people just naturally submit to God. Having established that Islam was the religion of Abraham, Malcolm goes on to elucidate other historical considerations, like that white folk,—you know, "all those blue-eyed, blond-haired, white things,"— lived in caves and walked on all fours: "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad says that the white man went down into the caves of Europe and he lived there for two thousand years on all fours. Within one thousand years after he had gotten there he was on all fours, couldn't stand upright." One could wish to say it's a joke, but the joke was on the unfortunate Mr. X, who paid his money and didn't get a name, who sincerely (at that point in his life) believed that Elijah Muhammad was a prophet of God.

In Depression-era America, there was a 'return-to-the-roots' tendency. Because some few of the slaves brought over in chains from Africa had been Muslims, some people claimed Islam was a more authentically African religion than Christianity, even though the Ethiopians were Christian centuries before Islam was invented. If British imperialists in some cases brought Christian missionaries along with them, Arab imperialists had brought Islam centuries before, and why is one imperialism superior to the other? But wait a minute. How can we even know that returning to our roots is a desirable, or even a safe, thing to do? If Abraham had gone looking for his roots, he would have returned to idolatry, because Terah was an id0later. Return to the roots? There is no such instruction in the Koran.

Since the idea of looking to one's racial ancestors for religious guidance does not come from the Koran, from whence does it come? From nineteenth century Europe. It is the blood-drenched root of nationalism, an ideology which rivals even Islam and Communism in the number of human lives it has cut short.

You will sometimes hear Christianity accused of being a white, Northern European religion. How did it ever become so? Jesus was born and taught in the Middle East. Paul preached the gospel beginning in Asia Minor, which is today Turkey. Yet ultimately Christianity did come to be identified with Europe. How? Because of Muslim oppression. They came down hard on the Christian communions subject to their misrule, leaving these once numerous churches as tattered remnants.

"As Andrew Walls remarks, '[I]t was not until comparatively recent times — around the year 1500 — that the ragged conversion of the last pagan peoples of Europe, the overthrow of Muslim power in Spain, and the final eclipse of Christianity in central Asia and Nubia combined to produce a Europe that was essentially Christian and a Christianity that was essentially European.'" (John Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity, p. 25). Is that really fair? Wouldn't it be comparable to Anglo-Americans massacring Native Americans and then saying, 'Look around you, this is a majority white country.' A man applied for a job as a wood-cutter in a logging camp and was asked where he had done this kind of work previously. 'The Sahara,' he replied. 'The Sahara!' coughed the interviewer. 'But that's a desert!' 'Sure it is,' he confidently boasted, 'now.'

The Virgin Mary

"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34)

According to both the Bible and the Koran, Mary was a virgin when the angel announced her pregnancy:

"She said, 'How, O my Lord! shall I have a son, when man hath not touched me?' He said, 'Thus: God will create what He will; When He decreeth a thing, He only saith, "Be," and it is.'" (Koran, Sura 3:42).
"She said: 'How shall I have a son, when man hath never touched me? and I am not unchaste.' He said: 'So shall it be. Thy Lord hath said: "Easy is this with me"; and we will make him a sign to mankind, and a mercy from us. For it is a thing decreed.'" (Sura 19:20-21).
"Verily, these vied in goodness, and called upon us with love and fear, and humbled themselves before us: And her who kept her maidenhood, and into whom we breathed of our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to all creatures." (Sura 21:90-91).

Elijah Muhammad zigs on this point when everyone else zags. The way he tells it, Jesus was the natural offspring of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was married to another party who had borne him six children at the time of this illicit affair. Unlike the Honorable Elijah Muhammad himself in his later years, Joseph was swift enough not to get caught:

"Joseph came daily with water and food to Mary and to see the baby. He fooled his wife by telling her that he had a job building a house. This was how Jesus was born." (The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'The True History of Jesus,'

But this is the very same kind of slander against Mary that so incensed Mohammed ibn Abdallah against the Jews of Medina:

"So, for that they have broken their covenant, and have rejected the signs of God, and have put the prophets to death unjustly...And for their unbelief,-- and for their having spoken against Mary a grievous calumny..." (Koran, Sura 4:154-155).

The Second Coming

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11).

The Bible teaches two advents of "this same Jesus." This is He for whom Elijah Poole was looking when he found Wallace D. Fard instead. In Nation of Islam theology, Fard is the "Jesus" of the Second Coming:

"Jesus' history refers more to a future Jesus than to the past. There is a prophecy of a Son being prepared to redeem man (the so-called Negroes). This Jesus made His appearance July 4, 1930 and His work is now in effect."

(The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 152).


According to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, it is nothing but "ignorance" to believe that the Jesus of the first coming is anything other than a mortal man, a prophet, and a mistaken one at that, now dust:

"But you keep trying to preach the dead prophet, Jesus, back to life. Jesus was nothing but a prophet and he did not deny it. I have contended with you on this...We know what happened to him 2,000 years ago. He cannot come back from the grave. He is not in heaven...I would not give you two cents for all your praying to a dead Jesus to hear you. He does not hear you. He is dead and buried as all others before him and since who have died." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, pp. 210-211).

Yet the Jesus of the Second Coming, Wallace D. Fard, is God in person. Why this puzzling asymmetry? Why would there be an ontological difference between what Jesus was in His first advent and what "this same Jesus" would be in His second advent?

There is no need to investigate this claim, incidentally, because the Bible teaches that if you have to ask, it's not Him:

The Real Deal versus the Counterfeit

Honor Thy Mother

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." (Exodus 20:12).

Wallace D. Fard, according to Elijah Muhammad, was the son of a black father and a white mother:

"The Great Mahdi, the God and Judge Who is now present in the world, Master Fard Muhammad, To Whom praises are due forever, taught me that His father was a real Black Man. His Father went up to the mountains (governments of the Caucasians) picking out a white woman to marry so that she would give birth to a son looking white but yet the Father is Black." (Elijah Muhammad, 'Our Saviour Has Arrived,' 1974, p. 183).

It is distressing to think that Mr. Fard taught people to believe that his own mother was a devil. This is a dutiful son? And why is the Savior of the black man half-devil? Does good fruit come from an evil root?

Like gnosticism, this faith looks not for converts, for sinners willing to leap over the chasm to the other side, but for people to realize who they are. White folk, by nature, are wicked, and black folk are good. They should wake up and realize who they are. But who are they? An artist wishing to draw a colored pencil portrait of leaders of this movement like Wallace D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, and Louis Farrakhan, will make liberal use of that much maligned colored pencil formerly known as 'flesh' but subsequently relabelled 'peach.' The 'black' pencil will remain in the box unused.

Did Wallace D. Fard sincerely believe that his own mother was a devil, not a human being? Neither the Bible nor the Koran takes up his cause:

"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:7).
"Moreover, we have enjoined on man to show kindness to his parents. With pain his mother beareth him; with pain she bringeth him forth..." (Koran, Sura 46:14).
"Thy Lord hath ordained that ye worship none but him; and, kindness to your parents, whether one or both of them attain to old age with thee: and say not to them, 'Fie!' neither reproach them; but speak to them both with respectful speech; and defer humbly to them out of tenderness; and say, 'Lord, have compassion on them both, even as they reared me when I was little.'" (Sura 17:24-25).

Wallace D. Fard had so much in common with his contemporary Father Divine as to make an observer suspect copying. In the nature of things, Father Divine, whose message was not racist, attracted many more white followers, however both figures addressed a felt need at the time, aiming for that constituency which saw in the mainline churches the slave-master's religion. Marcus Garvey was the 'John the Baptist' who brought everyone to state of expectancy: "Marcus Garvey had once stirred crowds in Harlem with the prophecy, 'A black God is coming. Be ready when he cometh.'" (Robert Weisbrot, Father Divine and the Struggle for Racial Equality, p. 60.) Both, unfortunately, were false gods, upon whom their followers' lavish devotion was wasted:

The Nation of Islam is not, ultimately, all that Islamic. In some respects, such as avoiding pork, they are onboard. And they share Muslims' disdain for the idea of non-violence, "James 67X listened as Malcolm told the congregation, 'We are not Christian(s). We are not to turn the other cheek, but the laborers [NOI members] have gotten so comfortable that in dealing with the devil they will submit to him. . .If a blow is struck against you, fight back.'" (Manning Marable, Malcolm X, p. 209). Malcolm X is particularly indignant at the idea of turning the other cheek, which is indeed a distinctively Christian virtue: "This white man's Christian religion further deceived and brainwashed this 'Negro' to always turn the other cheek, and grin, and scrape, and bow, and be humble, and to sing, and to pray, and to take whatever was dished out by the devilish white man; and to look for his pie in the sky, and for his heaven in the hereafter, while right here on earth the slavemaster white man enjoyed his heaven." (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, p. 163). Yet worshipping a man, Wallace D. Fard, as God, is not Islamic; at the heart of their theology, they deviate. But Christian they certainly aren't either. Neither fish nor fowl, they occupy their own category; nothing can be more self-defeating than Elijah Muhammad's advice to his followers, to read the Koran. Do that, and you leave.

Indeed, Malcolm left, though not willingly. After his break from Elijah Muhammad's movement and its creative race mythology, he took a hard left turn, making common cause with Communists: "In early 1964, the extremist Negro 'Black Muslim' sect underwent a split as the dissident Malcolm X, a charismatic leader, set up his own splinter group and began advocating formation of Negro 'rifle clubs.' On July 1, Jesse Gray, the Communist Party's official Harlem organizer from 1950 to 1958, was publicly named adviser to the new 'Organization for Afro-American Unity,' putting his agit-prop talents at Malcolm's command." (Eugene H. Methvin, The Riot Makers, p. 374). Whether Malcolm would have proved as effective a recruiter for the Commies as he had been for Elijah Muhammad will never be known, because his former colleagues assassinated him. Would he even have continued to be "Malcolm X'? The 'X' of his name was a place-holder. According to the Detroit police, Wallace D. Fard confessed to them that he had founded the Nation of Islam as a name-selling racket. People lined up to receive their authentic names, leaving behind as unchosen and unwanted the 'slave-name' assigned by a former owner. Indeed it is true that few African-Americans have African names, unless they deliberately choose them. What Wallace D. Fard and Elijah Muhammad were peddling were however Arabic names, which originated in the Arabian peninsula, not Africa, dating from the period of Arabic imperialism. A cloak of mystery clung to the process, resulting in delays and 'X's. Elijah Muhammad seems to have experienced a mental blockage on encountering the Little family, because Malcolm's brother Philbert was also an 'X.' The never-to-be-corrected 'X' became his permanent name, after he was gunned down.

In the Islamic mainstream, being a Muslim is generally defined in a minimalist way, which seems to leave an opening for non-conforming groups like the Nation of Islam, or like the Ahmadis, who encounter similar problems in demonstrating their Islamic orthodoxy. Quoting an Ahmadi missionary, Nabeel Qureshi presents the case, "'The other Muslims say we are not Muslim, but who are they to cast us out of Islam? According to Anas ibn Malik, Muhammad said, 'Anyone who proclaims the shahada is a Muslim.' And the shahada is clear: 'There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.' Even today, all you have to do is recite the shahada and you will be accepted into the fold of Islam.'" (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi, p. 51). But if when you recite the shahada, what you mean to say is, 'There is no god but Wallace D. Fard,' that presents a bit of a problem. Or if you mean to say, 'There are many gods besides Wallace D. Fard,' that is even worse.


Women's Rights

As seen, in some respects the Nation of Islam is Islamic, in other respects not Islamic at all. Why did their temples meet together for corporate worship on Sunday, other than in imitation of Christianity? However, Malcolm Little's Seventh Day Adventist mother would likely be proud of him for abstaining from pork, because they did that. Some of the points the Saudi religious authorities insisted upon seem wrong-headed or inconsequential, like demanding the people pray in Arabic: why is it so important for people to pray in a language they do not understand? One point on which they were, and are, solidly on board the Islamic vessel, is their conviction that women are by nature inferior to men:

"Now, Islam has very strict laws and teachings about women, the core of them being that the true nature of a man is to be strong, and a woman's true nature is to be weak, and while a man must at all times respect his woman, at the same time he needs to understand that he must control her if he expects to get her respect. (Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, pp. 225-226).

They added their own misogyny to the sizeable deposit already encapsulated in this faith. Their glory days are pretty much over, although you still see revivals and small start-ups preaching the old-time religion of Wallace D. Fard and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad:



Plato in his prescription for a totalitarian society, 'The Republic,' talks about a society based on a salutary lie:

"How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke—just one royal lie which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?

"What sort of lie? he said.

Nothing new, I replied; only an old Phoenician tale of what has often occurred before now in other places, (as the poets say, and have made the world believe,) though not in our time, and I do not know whether such an event could ever happen again, or could now even be made probable, if it did. . .

"Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how to look you in the face, or in what words to utter the audacious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people. They are to be told that their youth was a dream, and the education and training which they received from us, an appearance only; in reality during all that time they were being formed and fed in the womb of the earth, where they themselves and their arms and appurtenances were manufactured; when they were completed, the earth, their mother, sent them up; and so, their country being their mother and also their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard as children of the earth and their own brothers.

"You had good reason, he said, to be ashamed of the lie which you were going to tell.

"True, I replied, but there is more coming; I have only told you half. Citizens, we shall say to them in our tale, you are brothers, yet God has framed you differently. Some of you have the power of command, and in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have the greatest honor; others he has made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again who are to be husbandmen and craftsmen he has composed of brass and iron; and the species will generally be preserved in the children." (Plato, Republic, Book III).

Plato the aristocrat despised democratic Athens, in which a shoe-maker could attain governmental office and dictate to his betters, and so he dreamed of a society like Hindu India. In that steamy tropical paradise, the inhabitants are divided into castes, and told from birth the soothing story that those who occupy the lower ranks of the social structure, as indeed most do, are being punished for misdeeds in a prior life. Who could possibly believe that whopper? The Hindus believe it, and accommodate themselves to an extremely inegalitarian society without complaint.

Henry Louis Gates, in his 'New Yorker' interview of Louis Farrakhan, hints at the possibility that a story might be strictly speaking untrue, i.e., a 'myth,' but might nonetheless be socially useful. Who can take literally the Nation of Islam's wild talk about god-scientists, the deportation of the moon, the mother ship, and all the rest of it? Taken as anthropology or history, it is absurd. But what if the purpose is, not to recount the facts just as they occurred, but to encourage the black populace to press onward? Are stories like these excusable, if put forward in a good cause? Did the Nation of Islam, in all its nuttiness, actually play a positive role in the civil rights movement?

They certainly enjoyed public visibility during the civil rights period. Although Elijah Muhammad was rarely seen, Malcolm X was all over the New York TV networks, which were quite sensationalistic in their news coverage during this period. Whatever got people going, whether a lost dog, or someone ranting about white devils, was guaranteed coverage. And there was plenty of that. The camera loved Malcolm X, who bore a slight physical resemblance to the then-president, John F. Kennedy, and was a glib talker quick with a sound-bite. The civil rights movement, which began by upholding non-violence, underwent a process of radicalization similar to what happened in the French Revolution, where taking a left-ward jog always proved to be the course of safety. Many of these people became doctrinaire Marxist-Leninists, as Malcolm X initially was not but was becoming during the brief year between his ouster from the Nation of Islam and his assassination. He did not take many with him when he left, and while the Saudi financiers may have liked his new, more orthodox theology, his former associates did not.  Malcolm was surprised to discover that nobody was paying attention when he predicted the demise of capitalism in an interview with a socialist magazine:

"As Malcolm read the transcript, he began to grin. When he came to the question about capitalism and the statement, 'It's only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely,' he said, 'This is the farthest I've ever gone. They will go wild over this.'" (The Last Year of Malcolm X, George Breitman, p. 138).

They didn't go wild; they didn't even notice. Only after his death would Malcolm's image be re-inflated. But things definitely had changed. For the Christian ideal of loving one's enemy, something different came to be substituted: "[H. Rap] Brown concluded his speech with typical bravado. “Don't be trying to love the honkey to death. Shoot him to death,” Brown exclaimed. “Shoot him to death, brother. Cause that's what he's out to do to you.” Alluding to the golden rule, Brown added, 'Do to him like he would do to you, but do it to him first.'” (Levy, Peter B. (2018-01-25). The Great Uprising (p. 116). Cambridge University Press.) All of this shrill hate speech was in service to the Revolution, which, famously, would not be televised. Indeed it was not televised, because it never happened. It never happened because the vast majority of people in this country did not want it to happen.

If black attitudes were moving left-ward during the civil right era, white attitudes lurched rightward, almost in sync one but in the opposite direction:

"In a retrospective analysis, sociologists Howard Schuman and Maria Krysan argued that 1968 represented a turning point in white attitudes regarding race relations and civil rights. In 1963, at the height of the nonviolent phase of the movement, Schuman and Krysan write, only 19 percent of whites blamed “blacks themselves” for their disadvantages. A far larger plurality, 43 percent, blamed whites. By the late spring of 1968, in contrast, 58 percent of whites blamed “blacks themselves for their disadvantages,” a dramatic shift that persisted for at least thirty years." (Levy, Peter B. (2018-01-25). The Great Uprising (p. 332). Cambridge University Press.)

In 1964 Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency against Lyndon Johnson, hewing almost the same political line as would later elect Ronald Reagan. The matter of civil rights was fully and copiously discussed during this campaign. Goldwater was a principled conservative who objected to civil rights legislation on libertarian grounds, and Lyndon Johnson supposed the movement generally. Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide. Those same voters, not different ones, as there was little distance in time, would later elect Richard Milhous Nixon, who adopted a policy of "benign neglect" in the civil rights field, in the sprightly phrase of his aide Daniel Patrick Moynihan. What on earth happened? Among other things, Malcolm X. What could produce such a sharp right-hand turn? Among other things, the riots of 1967 and 1968. A meaningful number of black Americans decided that intimidation was just the right strategy for them to adopt in the face of perceived recalcitrance by white America.

We hear a lot about the riots as the voice of the voiceless, a medium of communication for those too impecunious to purchase a megaphone: "The people living in this South Central Los Angeles neighborhood felt trapped by the forces of poverty, incarceration, failing schools, and racism. Though activists had been working for change over the course of many years, the cries of the people went largely unheard. As an alternative to gradual change through the system, which was frequently ineffective and ignored, they used the riots to call attention to their plight." (Tisby, Jemar (2019-01-22). The Color of Compromise (p. 173). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.) Violence is a powerful communicator, all right. But what does smashing a brick in someone's face communicate other than, 'I hate you'?— to be sure, in a way to which no one will ever respond, 'But you don't mean that.' What is like violence, in its ability to turn friends into enemies, to shut off any possibility of meaningful dialogue, to close the door on compromise?

What did Krikor George Messerlian 'hear' in the last moments of his life? Enough of the 'Old World' still clung to this gentleman, who owned a shoe repair shop in the Detroit riot zone, that he defended himself with a saber. But it ended badly: "At 4:45 P.M. a 68-year-old white shoe repairman, George Messerlian, had seen looters carrying clothes from a cleaning establishment next to his shop. Armed with a saber, he had rushed into the street, flailing away at the looters." (The Kerner Commission Report, pp. 93-94). He died of injuries resultant from being stomped to death: "Viecelli's first job was to head up Linwood Street to a restaurant where police officers hung out. It was there, four doors down from the restaurant, where he saw the shoemaker being stomped by a mob. 'They had kicked his head in. They killed him,' Viecelli said. 'He was about 110 pounds.'" ('Former Cop Says 1967 Riot Killed Detroit,' Detroit Free Press, July 26, 2017). What, other than, 'We think your life is of no value'? Who can be so depraved as to try to capitalize on such brutal, mindless violence? Blithely to announce that riots are the "language of the unheard” (p. 171) is to make another human being's body the canvas upon which to scrawl the ominous graffiti which is your personal expression. What gives you the right?

Who drafted John V. Gleason of the Plainfield, N.J. police, to serve as a human message board, stomped to death by a mob which employed a variety of objects including a metal shopping cart to dispatch him? Why? And why are we supposed to hear the sigh of the oppressed in all this horror? Realizing that a mob from the surrounding housing project trapped him as he lay dying, why was there only one criminal conviction they were ever able to make stick, that of a heavy-set woman who jumped up and down on him? Nobody saw anything, it appears. Officer Gleason's dead body wasn't even a very efficient messaging medium, as it turned out. If you want to send a message, call Western Union.

Oddly enough, author Jemar Tisby, as biased a historian as will be found, is platformed nowadays by the Southern Baptists, once a bastion of white supremacy. They have made great progress in coming to realize their slave-owner founders can no longer be unambiguously championed. Why go over to the opposite extreme? Is it possible that they can serenely abandon their own forbears, acknowledging they were the bad guys of the Civil War, if only they can be sure they will never need to affirm the hated Yankees like Abraham Lincoln as good guys? In Jemar Tisby's world, all white folks are evil; if they appear to be good on the surface, like William Wilberforce, one must dig or reinterpret until the illusion vanishes. This is normal in the academic racialism field: 'interest convergence' accounts for the presumably rare instances where white folks do the right thing, whereas blacks just naturally do the right thing, because they are warm and wonderful folk who experience the full panoply of human emotions. So when Jemar Tisby casts his insectival gaze on the white folks, he can see nothing human, much less virtuous. Thus the Civil War becomes, not a morality play of good vs. evil, but evil devouring itself, because in his world only black folk can be good. . .and they cannot be otherwise. This might remind the reader of classic racism, where all the virtues are sequestered and assigned to the favored group, while all the negative characteristics are projected onto the out group. In fact it's hard to see the difference. Since black folk can do no wrong, even riots must be good, all appearances to the contrary. What were the riots intended to be, by those promoting them? The Revolution. That's what they said. But not only was the Revolution not televised, it never even happened. Most Americans did not want it. Those unfortunates living in the Third World, who got hit in the bread-basket with the Revolution whether they wanted it or not, found in it only scarcity and want.

Anyone who follows the time-line can see how well violence and intimidation worked out. What would make a small minority, numbering 12-13 percent of the total population, think violence could work for them? While the race is not always to the swift nor the fight to the strong, that is the way to bet, as they say. What is helpful in making violence a winning strategy is overwhelming numerical superiority, as well as material and technological advantage. Whatever conduces to getting there 'firstest with the mostest' is helpful. In the absence of all these features, perhaps pursuing a different strategy is an option worth exploring. If the National Guard has all the armored personnel carriers and the neighborhood has none, the prospects for successful violence are not promising; seek alternatives. A ready alternative is at hand: non-violence. Neither need we look afar, to India, to find it, because democracy is a long-naturalized non-violent avenue for producing social change. Did the deportation of the moon and all the rest of it ever make sense in the first place? It is material for a science fiction comic book, and not even a high quality one.

It is greatly to be hoped that the Spike Lee's of the world will stop glorifying Malcolm X, a babbling imbecile who failed to make the world a better place than he found it. Instead of turning in embarrassment away from this man's comic ignorance, his remaining followers, none the wiser, demand that academia study his profound thought. The Nation's focus on black nationalism and separatism diverted political energies away from channels where they might conceivably have helped to make the world a better place, to a fantasy-land far beyond the sea. The spasms of violence Malcolm X succeeded in inciting led, not to victory in an apocalyptic race war as in Elijah Muhammad's mumbled promises, but to calcification of the status quo. While historical revisionists scramble to invent avenues by which these events might have been cathartic or informative, the reality is far more pointless, barbaric and senseless. Why is it that observers who have no difficulty perceiving Jim Jones' adventure in Guyana as a tragedy and a disaster, a pointless self-inflicted wound, not a chapter in an endless round leading victory onto victory, don't see the same dynamic here? A more realistic identification of who the good guys are in the story would produce a more solid foundation for progress in racial reconciliation. It would seem the African-American community has such a strong sense of collective solidarity that they dislike excommunicating outliers. People other communities would push away, like the thief Michael Brown, they pull to their bosom even more closely. But Malcolm X is not an asset.

Alas, the present field of 'white studies' is an academic dumpster fire. It is astonishing the number of young people who think they are doing something immeasurably positive by vilifying white people, whom they expect to grovel on command. Some do, but most don't, leaving them bewildered. Don't white people understand how evil they are?  Scream it yet more shrilly; surely there's a volume setting at which they'll understand! Or maybe racial harmony does not lie in that direction. These arrogant demands leave no room for comity and leave no political basis for a unified nation of one people saluting one flag. A much better basis for unity would be mutual respect, an alien concept nowadays. Whose ancestors are the slave-owners? We are all one people: e pluribus unum, so they belong to all of us, in a sense. But, if so, we also all spilled our blood at Antietam. To assign all the bad to one level of pigmentation all the good to another is racism redux: