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The Black Power Movement and the Nation of Islam.

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Presentation on theme: "The Black Power Movement and the Nation of Islam."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Black Power Movement and the Nation of Islam

2 Malcolm X: Early Life May 19, 1925: Born in Omaha, Nebraska; one of 11 children of a preacher In his youth, his house was burned by the KKK and his family was harassed, threatened, and shot at Father was killed by Whites due to his outspokenness about Black rights Malcolm dropped out of school at the age of 15 His family eventually moved to New York, where Malcolm became involved in criminal activities – Con activities, selling drugs, armed robbery

3 Prison Term Feb 1946: Convicted of burglary in Boston and sentenced to ten years in the Massachusetts State Prison at the age of 21 Educated himself while in prison, especially about White civilization and oppression Learned about Islam while in prison Released in 1952 Once he was released, he caught the attention of the Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and became a spokesperson/leader – His favorite sermon topic = “Christianity and the horrors of slavery”

4 Nation of Islam (NOI) Founded in the 1930s by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad Led by Elijah Muhammad after Fard mysteriously “disappeared” Members of the Nation of Islam read the “Koran,” worshipped Allah as their God, and accepted Muhammad as their chief prophet Mixed with the religious tenets of Islam were BLACK PRIDE and BLACK NATIONALISM (an ideology advocating for a racial definition of national identity) The followers of the NOI = Black Muslims

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7 The NOI’s Mission The Nation of Islam attracted many followers, especially in prisons Preached adherence to a strict moral code and reliance on other African Americans Integration was NOT a goal Wanted Blacks to set up their own schools, churches, communities and support networks without the involvement of Whites Oppositional to the “non-violence” movement being preached by Dr. King at the time

8 Malcolm X and the NOI Malcolm X vs. Dr. King: Violence was not the only answer, but violence was justified in self-defense. Blacks should achieve what was rightfully theirs "by any means necessary.” "If you live in a society... and it doesn't enforce its own law because of the color of a man's skin... then... people are justified to resort to any means necessary to bring about justice...” — Malcolm X, Nation of Islam spokesman

9 Video: Civil Rights Movement Footage 5w Video: Malcolm X on Violence/MLK Video: MLK on Malcolm X Jk

10 NOI and Christianity Goal of the NOI = convince Black people to leave Christian churches (including Black churches) and bring the entire Black population into the Nation of Islam Saw Black churches as part of the problem due to their attempts to integrate and create peace with White society/churches

11 NOI on Christianity Christianity = a white religion A hypocritical religion that did not follow its own moral code No Black person could be Christian without betraying the cause of Black dignity and self-determination The Bible = “a poisoned book” of a “slave religion” – Main purpose: to teach Blacks that a white man named Jesus was God – To tell Black people to love their oppressors and “turn the other cheek” to brutality so they could get “into heaven after a life of hell on earth”

12 Sunni Muslims on the NOI 1.Allah did not appear in the person of Fard and Fard is not the Messiah/Mahdi 2.Disagree with the NOI that people will experience a mental, rather than physical, resurrection and that Black people will resurrect first 3. The NOI wants to re-interpret the Bible but Muhammad said to neither accept nor reject it 4. The NOI does not want to be forced by America to go to war, but the Qur’an and Sunnah demand the necessity of going to war when the situation calls for it

13 Malcolm X’s Fatal Split with the NOI Malcolm made the hajj to Mecca in 1964 At the hajj, he saw people of all races come together peacefully and began having doubts about the NOI’s call for separatism Showed signs of softening his stance on violence and met with Martin Luther King, Jr. Ultimately, Malcolm X decided to leave the NOI Feb 21, 1965: As Malcolm X led a mass rally in Harlem rival Black Muslims gunned him down and killed him

14 “My pilgrimage broadened my scope. It blessed me with a new insight. In two weeks in the Holy Land, I saw what I never had seen in thirty-nine years here in America. I saw all races, all colors, -- blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans -- in true brotherhood! In unity! Living as one! Worshipping as one! In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again -- as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man. The true Islam has shown me that a blanket indictment of all white people is as wrong as when whites make blanket indictments against blacks. True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological, and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the Human Family and the Human Society complete.” – Malcolm X

15 Video: Segregated Prom in A Video: Clark Doll Experiment d1g

16 1. Many Sunni Muslims denounce certain core beliefs of the Nation of Islam as “un-Islamic,” and even Malcolm X himself differentiated between “True Islam” and the NOI. Do you think it is accurate to consider the NOI a true Islamic group and its followers true Muslims? Why or why not? 2. The importance of Malcolm X to U.S. Civil Rights History has often taken a “back seat” to the importance that the nation places upon MLK. For example, MLK has a national holiday while Malcolm X does not. A. Why do you think this has been the case? (If you disagree, explain.) B. Do you think more emphasis should be placed on Malcolm X and his religious and political ideologies? Why or why not? 3. Do you think the dichotomy often perpetuated in the nation’s historical macro-narrative between MLK/Christianity/non-violence and Malcolm X/Islam/violence has contributed to the way in which Americans view Muslims/Islam and violence today? Why or why not?


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