Baldwin and the Nation of Islam

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Baldwin and the Nation of Islam The Nation of Islam impacted many African American people during its time. This Black Muslim nation not only requested, but demanded and required basic teachings which included racial separation, white devilry, and the coming Armageddon. None of these basic teachings supported James Baldwin’s perceptions. It was Baldwin’s view of pitying the white man for their lack of not being able to see through the color line and to embrace differences that whites and blacks held together to create a better, inexorable, and supreme nation. The Nation of Islam felt no pity for the whites or, as they would call them, devils. Neither would the Muslims embrace their differences from other races, but actually want to keep them divided. Although Baldwin is not confident as to where or to whom he belongs to, Baldwin is certain that a black nation separated from all other races will only separate blacks from the future of a better nation and keep them from further developing as a community. Born in Georgia, the leader of the Nation of Islam was a man named Elijah Muhammad. He has often been portrayed as a saint by his peers, but during World War II, Elijah Muhammad expressed support for Japan, on the basis of its being a nonwhite country, and was jailed for sedition. On August 24, 1946 Muhammad was released from prison in Milan, Michigan. According to the journal named The Black Scholar by Claude Clegg, Muhammad’s time at Milan had done more for him than ever before and after his release, Muhammad had unquestionably become “the premier martyr of the Muslims” (Clegg 49). From his speeches on the radio and in newspapers, Muhammad was also thought of by many people as a fierce man, one of thes... ... middle of paper ... ...munity can arise. Baldwin believes that our own separate houses are burning and asks himself: “do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?” (Baldwin 340). It has since been time that we all move into the anticipating house down the street, and together we can help make its future grow into a bigger and brighter one. Works Cited Kihss, Peter. “In Return for Years of Slavery, Four or Five States.” New York Times 23 Apr 1961: 1. Baldwin, James. “Notes of a Native Son.” 1955 James Baldwin: Collected Essays. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Library of America, 1998. 63-84. Kihss, Peter. “Negro Extremist Groups Step Up Nationalist Drive.” New York Times 1 March 1961: 2. Clegg, Claude Andrew. “Rebuilding the Nation: The Life and Work of Elijah Muhammad.” 1996 The Black Scholar. Vol. 26 Issue ¾, 49-59.
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