WEB POSTED 03-10-2000
Commemorative of The Nation of Islam in North America
"He will carry you across
the river on his shoulders"
Farrakhan continues Hon. Elijah
Black America enters into the new millennium, no other mass movement has
impacted upon the world scene like the Nation of Islam.
Its message of moral and spiritual renewal, self-improvement,
economic responsibility and political empowerment has electrified a wide
cross-section of Black people all over the world.
Over the last 20 years, no other leader has addressed the
pressing issues of the day facing the descendants of slaves as has the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
the success of the Million Man March, with its themes of atonement,
personal responsibility and reconciliation, Min. Farrakhan and his
supporters are preparing to reconvene in the same location that they had
in 1995, but this time they will celebrate the Million Family March, be
it the will of God.
This unique event in world history has put the spotlight on one
of the 20th century’s chief students of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
in ways social scientists have yet to measure.
a better understanding of the man and what he stands for, the following
biographical sketch gives a brief glimpse into the time and
circumstances that Min. Farrakhan has experienced and endured in service
to Black people and the oppressed worldwide.
the Great Depression, Min. Louis Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott
on May 11, 1933, in New York City.
At the age of 3, he and his family moved to Boston, Mass.
He is the son of Sumayyah Farrakhan (1900-1988) and Percival
Clarke, whom he did not meet.
His mother reared him in a highly disciplined and spiritual
Alvan, his older brother, died in 1994.
an early age, his mother exposed him to music, art, culture and history.
Black newspapers and magazines like the Crisis
were popular in his household.
His mother, at great personal sacrifice, sponsored her
children’s music education, Alvan on piano and Louis on violin.
his young teens, Min. Farrakhan performed with the Boston College
Orchestra and the Boston Civic Symphony. Soon he would receive national
recognition after winning first place on the historic “Ted Mack
Amateur Hour” television program.
graduating from the prestigious Boston Latin High School, he entered
Winston-Salem Teachers College in North Carolina, on an academic and
athletic scholarship, majoring in English.
September 1953, during his senior year, he married his childhood
sweetheart, Betsy Jean, who is today known as Mother Khadijah Farrakhan.
To support his young family, he left college and began his career
in show business.
On the performing arts stage he became known as “The Charmer”
and was highly acclaimed as a vocalist, actor, musician and composer.
Commentators, during the 1950s, acknowledged his versatility and
deftness in all the popular genres of the time including calypso,
classical, jazz and blues.
on tour appearing at the prestigious Chicago supper club, Gene
Sperling’s Blue Angel, a friend from Boston invited young Louis to
attend the Nation of Islam’s 1955 Saviour’s Day convention.
Upon hearing the message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he
immediately accepted it along with his wife.
He would soon convert his entire family into his “new”
there he quickly enrolled in the ranks of Islam in New York City under
Min. Malcolm X.
He gave up his career in show business and dedicated his life to
advance the religion of Islam.
As a fundraiser for the Nation of Islam combined with spreading
the message of his leader, Min. Farrakhan debuted as a playwright,
producer and actor in his original play, “Orgena,” on the stage of
New York’s prestigious Town Hall theater in 1960.
Around the same time, he recorded the hit song, “A White
Man’s Heaven Is A Black Man’s Hell.”
receiving his “basic training,” Min. Malcolm X under the guidance of
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad dispatched the then-Louis X to Boston to
serve as captain, the coordinator of men’s affairs.
Soon thereafter, he was elevated to the post of minister and
served from 1956 to 1965 at Muhammad’s Temple No. 11.
May 1965, Mr. Muhammad reassigned him to New York City and promoted him
to the post he currently holds, National Representative of the Honorable
In the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X and
destruction of the Harlem Temple, Min. Farrakhan and the faithful began
the arduous task of rebuilding in New York City virtually from scratch.
New York scene quickly was transformed by the ever-widening Muslim
Every borough and suburb of the city was bustling with members of
the Nation of Islam. Temples, schools, businesses and community
rehabilitation programs could be found all over the city.
Also during the 60s and 70s, on behalf of the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad, Min. Farrakhan began his radio ministry in New York and all
over the country. In
the 80s and 90s, he would add television and the Internet to his radio
appearances on behalf of the Nation of Islam.
popularity of the Nation of Islam and Min. Farrakhan, in particular, was
so great that many referred to him as the “Black Mayor” for his
prestige and influence in affairs of the city
more than one occasion, the Black community expressed its love for the
Nation of Islam.
In 1972, the Harlem mosque and school was wrongfully attacked by
the police, resulting in a melee which almost touched off a riot had it
not been for the leadership shown by Min. Farrakhan.
Min. Farrakhan’s tactful conflict resolution skills were put
the test and were the determining factor during this deadly episode in
which he and the Black community successfully resolved the situation
with the NYPD.
The outcome of this episode helped the city to establish a
sensible policy regarding religious institutions. By 1974, Black
America’s love of the Nation of Islam grew into one of that decade’s
largest mass meetings of its kind on Randall’s Island where Min.
Farrakhan delivered his “Black Family Day” address before 70,000.
the departure from the scene of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1975,
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, the subsequent leader, reassigned Min. Farrakhan
to Chicago in June of that year.
As the Nation of Islam changed its direction away from the
teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Min. Farrakhan underwent a
personal reassessment of his role and plans for the future.
This led to his separation from Imam Mohammed and the community
During this period, Min. Farrakhan traveled around the world and
reflected on the state of Black people and ultimately decided to rebuild
the Nation of Islam under the teachings of the Honorable Elijah
he began to crisscross the country building a network of relationships
and study groups that would begin the Nation of Islam’s “second
In 1981, he was able to host the first Saviour’s Day convention
of the “second resurrection.”
frontiers and alliances were forged in the years to come.
After Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. announced his plan to run for
president of the United States in 1983, Min. Farrakhan became a member
of the steering committee.
In fact, the Nation of Islam provided volunteers and security for
the candidate, and in 1984 Muslims under Min. Farrakhan’s guidance
registered to vote in the Democratic primaries across the country.
1985, African heads of state offered their support and assistance to the
Nation of Islam.
Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar Gadhafi, in 1985 loaned the Nation
of Islam a $5 million interest free loan.
aid received from Africa, Min. Farrakhan established an organization
dedicated to economic development, P.O.W.E.R., (People Organized and
Working for Economic Rebirth) and debuted a line of personal care
products popularly known as “Clean N Fresh.” In keeping his pledge
to rebuild the Nation of Islam, he and his supporters have made
tremendous strides in reacquiring a number of the real estate holdings
achieved by his mentor prior to 1975.
In Chicago alone, the Nation of Islam has reacquired its flagship
mosque and school on Stony Island Avenue, the sales and office building
on South Cottage Grove Avenue, the Chicago and Phoenix homes of the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad, farmland in Georgia, among many other
In 1982, the Nation of Islam purchased the Final Call
Administration building, home of
Final Call newspaper that was founded in 1979. In the mid-1990s, the
Nation of Islam opened, in Chicago, the luxurious Salaam Restaurant and
progress continued in the rebuilding of the Nation of Islam and by 1992,
60,000 people attended Saviours’ Day in Atlanta at the newly opened
In 1993, Min. Farrakhan released his first-ever book, “A
Torchlight for America,” which represented “some of the guiding
principles taught to us by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”
the social scene, with the rise of violent crime stemming from the crack
cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s, Min. Farrakhan embarked on another
cross-country speaking tour with the theme “Stop The Killing.” Soon
thereafter, in his quest to redeem and reform Black men, he embarked on
another cross-country tour where he held exclusive “men-only”
At these special gatherings, he addressed the issues of
Black-on-Black crime, the
ever-increasing rate of divorce, wife abuse,
child neglect, drug abuse, the lack of economic opportunity, among
the meanwhile, in 1995, a 30-year schism would begin to heal itself when
Min. Farrakhan shared the same stage with Betty
Shabazz, the widow of
the late Malcolm X, at the Apollo Theater.
Both leaders were responding to the need to mend old differences
and come together to defend the daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz,
Qubilah, who had been the victim of an orchestrated plot to entrap her
in a complex U.S. government surveillance program which included an
attempt to assassinate Min. Farrakhan at the hands of prepaid white,
Jewish government informant who today is in the federal witness
men-only meetings were in preparation for one of the world’s greatest
assemblies of its kind on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Oct.
16, 1995, the Million Man March.
The March was dedicated to God and included the themes of
atonement, personal responsibility and reconciliation.
the success of the Million Man March, Min. Farrakhan expanded his focus
on the rest of the globe and embarked on the first of three successful
From all corners of the globe, Min. Farrakhan and his delegation
carried the themes of the Million Man March abroad and established
religious, political, social and economic ties on behalf of Black
Likewise, in 1994, the first Saviours’ Day convention outside
of the United States was convened in Accra, Ghana, West Africa.
the political scene in recent years, he has advocated voter registration
under the independent banner in order that the Black vote will be the
decisive one that will decide the next presidential election.
Indeed, social scientists have determined that the significant
increase in Black male voter registration in the late 1990s was
exclusively a result of the Million Man March.
his recovery from the side effects resulting from his treatment for
prostate cancer in the late nineties, Min. Farrakhan has remerged on the
international stage preparing for Saviours’ Day 2000 in Chicago, and
the Million Family March in October 2000 in Washington, D.C.
father of nine children, grandfather of 23 and great-grandfather of four
continues his relentless work schedule. In November 1999, while
recovering, he and his National Board met a delegation of Jewish leaders
at their request—initially to seek help in the release of Jewish
rabbis in Iran suspected of spying for Israel—to begin to build a
bridge for dialogue between the Nation of Islam and the Jewish
community. He convened a press conference of religious leaders in
December 1999 to continue his call for religious harmony and proper
celebration of religious holy days. On Feb. 27, 2000, at the United
Center in Chicago, he will make his anxiously awaited public return
during Saviours’ Day.
Over his career, on behalf of the Nation of
Islam, Min. Farrakhan has received numerous awards and commendations
from both political and religious bodies for his remarkable years of
service to humanity.
captions: #1-Min. Farrakhan; #2-Min. Farrakhan joins Native American's
at Big Mountain, Arizona, in 1985; #3-On Jan. 16, 1988, Min. Farrakhan
and the Nation of Islam re-purchased Muhammad Mosque No. 2 and Muhammad
University complex for $2.17 million. On Feb. 26, 1989, the refurbished
mosque now called Mosque Maryam, after the mother of Jesus, was
re-dedicated; #4-Re-purchased farm land in Georgia; #5-Love show during
'Men Only' meeting... #6...as women in Atlanta attend 'Women Only'
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