"Dr. Walker has drawn a portrait of this movement that deserves the attention of
scholars. I strongly recommend it to teachers and students studying or writing about
Islam and the African American experience."
— Dr. Sulayman S. Nyang,Howard University
"Note: About the author: Dennis Walker is a Celtic Australian specialist on Muslim minorities and
author of two books on Islam and the national question. As a speaker of Arabic, he reads five
Muslim languages, and is the author of numerous scholarly papers, articles and reviews, which
have been printed in a various languages, which reflect his extensive travels throughout the world.
He has taught at Melbourne University, Deakin University and the Australian University. He
received his doctorate from the Australian University on pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism in
Egyptian high culture.
Real voices of Muslims translated from Arabic were heard in both Woodson and DubBois works. In
its West African setting, Arabic offered a high literary tradition predating and absolutely
independent of the Westerners both historians loathed---a tradition that recorded sub-Saharan
events and societies while judging them from viewpoints of Arabs or when Muslim Blacks wrote, of
Islamic ideology. Thus, Dubois excerpted firsthand reactions by the Arab traveler, Ibn Battutah, in
1352 to the society and customs of the West African townspeople of Melle.
Excerpt from Islam and the search for African American Nationhood, by Dr. Dennis Walker
It is not very often books of substance on African Americans, Islam and the Nation of Islam are
written to set the record straight, or to reveal the truth about an historical legacy in the making.
However, Islam and the search for African American, and the Nation of Islam, by Dr. Dennis Walker
is an exception to the rule.
While researching his book, Dr. Walker contacted many significant Islamic/Arab scholars, African
Americans, and my cousin, the late Dr. Jamil Diab to assist him in the documentation as well as
the authenticity of Islam and the African American connection. Throughout the course of Dr.
Walker's research work for his book, he displayed a genuine interest and keen sense of appreciation
for the Arabic language, and written materials on the Arab and African American connections.
Some of the articles Dr. Walker had read were articles I had written for the Muslim Journal. So
across the oceans, he and I began to communicate with an exchange of Muslim Journal
newspapers and articles which would prove to be valuable resource information for his new book,
Islam and the search for African American, and the Nation of Islam. It was during this time that I
had suggested to Dr. Walker via the internet--if you want to know the history of Islam and the
African American connection, you should call my cousin Dr. Jamil Diab, a Palestinian and
Islamic scholar who was the teacher and mentor to the Honorable Elijah Mohammad and son, the
Honorable Imam Warith Deen Mohammad.
Dr. Walker's book sets the record straight for an Islamic, African American and an Arab historical
connection, the influences and impacting maze of geographical history, as well as the search for
African American nationhood in the 21st century.
This well document book offers several defining points of views coupled with the elements of
societies' Black History, The Nation of Islam, race, class, and culture. Dr. Walker's book also
strengthens and confirms the longstanding relevance of media knowledge and networks within the
African American communities and its impact on domestic and international relations.
Islam and the search for African American Nationhood, is an extensive scholarly treasure trove of
African, Arab and Islamic history. This timely study on Islam and the African American movement
and its leaders is worthy reading, yet goes beyond the expansion of the African American
experience…and its search for Nationhood."
Leila Diab, Muslim Journal
"I endorse this book and I am glad that I have it. It is invaluable to me. I grew up
during some of the period which the author writes about. I watched as an inner-city
youth how the black Muslims, as they were known, worked. I was impressed in their
ability to clean up the neighbourhood, put people to work, refurbish old and broken
down buildings and clean up lives. I saw how black churches changed their rhetoric to
be more relevant in light of the inroads made by the NOI. I saw black
entrepreneurship at its best because the NOI had a plan and carried out its plan.
This book describes in great detail the successes and the failures of this powerful
organisation. As a scholar who teaches about the NOI, religion, cultures and race in
America this book gives the context and enables the reader to understand the
dynamics surrounding any movement. As I often tell my students: religions do not
exist in a vacuum. To that end religion is more than doctrines and creeds and
practices. Religion is not only affected by everything around it but in affects
everything in its environment.
Dennis Walker deserves praise for this very scholarly and comprehensive work.
This is a great study on a great movement, headed by some great people in an
IVORY LYONS, Journal of Intercultural Studies. 2009
This enormous study clinches the importance of Islam for African-Americans. But it is an
‘Americanized’ Islam, even in its more radicalized forms. The book covers in depth many of the
main features of the Black Muslim movement from its stridently millenarian phase under Elijah
Muhammad, its attempt to reach rapprochement with transnational Islam under his son Warith
(uddin) Muhammad, and the return of the millenarian ‘bite’ with Louis Farrakhan’s noisy ‘sectlet’
running alongside the settling of an ‘acceptably American’ Muslim ‘Establishment’ under Warith
(now recently deceased).
Walker goes much further than his prior published articles in this book. Indeed it is a huge
and daring exposure of the issues and postures involved in this extraordinary American new
religious movement called The Nation of Islam. He explores more deeply than anyone before him
the background to the movement in African religious life, with Islam [as one religion of Africans
enslaved in America] a forgotten shadow in the history of the Western slave trade, and thus he
argues how Islam can be said to have been ‘reborn’ on American soil among oppressed blacks [in
20th century Muslim movements]. And he further goes on to explain the huge rise in influence and
popularity of Louis Farrakhan, who was side-lined by Warith after Muhammad’s death, but who
becomes the leader of the astounding Million Man March to Washington of 1995.
Farrakhan, notorious for revitalizing Elijah Muhammad’s strident millenarian rhetoric and
for his anti-Zionist vitriol, has actually integrated the Nation of Islam into the black bourgeoisie
business world through his active media endorsement of private entrepreneurship. Despite keeping
up an anti-Christian (and anti-Israeli) tones, he nonetheless keeps up dialogue with the black
Christians, and also the marginalized Latin American communities within the United States, with a
vision of a “Millions More” march and movement in view. Walker concludes by asking what
chances the Nation has of uniting the oppressed “black classes” of North America.
The volume is carefully documented, and reflects Walker’s known attention to detail and
the intricacies of influences and causal factors, nowhere better illustrated than in his attention to
the Druzes in the whole story and to Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and black Marxism.
Garry W. Trompf, Professor of Religious Studies,
JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES, Australia