Nation of Islam in the Light of Elijah Muhammad

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Nation of Islam in the Light of Elijah Muhammad In 1961 James Baldwin met Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam movement at the time. Baldwin’s experience within the Christian Church prior to his meeting with Elijah helped him analyze the Nation of Islam. This also allowed him to draw parallels between the Nation of Islam movement and the Christian Church. How James Baldwin understood the way the Christian Church worked, and a close look at the Nation of Islam, brings to light the credibility of organized religions. In 1930 Wallace D. Fard gave birth to the Nation of Islam movement. He began in Detroit going door to door preaching to black families about his remedy for their problems. He tried replacing their beliefs with his own, for solving their problems. Fard had three main ideas that laid the foundation for his “remedy”. He wanted black separatism, everyone to know that white men are evil (which was not hard for African Americans to believe since the idea already lived within their minds), and to show the inadequacy of Christianity to African Americans. During this period Fard recruited Elijah Poole, changed Elijah’s name to Elijah Muhammad and developed him into his Chief Minister. With the mysterious disappearance of Fard in 1934, Elijah took over the movement. Elijah was born in Sandersville, Georgia in 1897 as the seventh of twelve children. He barely finished the third grade before dropping out to work in the fields to help support his family (Muhammad 1+). During his childhood Elijah witnessed a lynching right before his eyes; different accounts vary on whom he actually saw lynched. In Baldwin’s account in “Down at the Cross,” he says he saw his father lynched befo... ... middle of paper ... ...1961 . Kihss, Peter. “Negro Extremist Groups Step Up Nationalist Drive.” New York Times. 2. ProQuest. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, NY. 1 Mar. 1961 . Muhammad, Mother Tynetta. A Historical Look at the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. 1+. 28 March 1996. Nation of Islam. 10 March 2004. . Pement, Eric. “Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam: Part One.” Cornerstone. 1997, vol. 26, issue 111, p. 10-16, 20. <>. Pement, Eric. “Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam: Part Two.” Cornerstone. 1997, vol. 26, issue 112, p. 32-36, 38. <>. Pipes, Daniel. “How Elijah Muhammad Won.” Commentary. Jun. 2000, vol. 109 issue 6, p31, 6p. Academic Search Elite. EBSCOhost. .

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