clarity
clarity
P  R  E  S  S,   I  N  C  .

ISLAM AND THE SEARCH FOR
AFRICAN-AMERICAN NATIONHOOD:
Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, and
the Nation of Islam
by Dr. Dennis Walker

ISBN: 0-932863-44-2  *  $24.95   600 pages  2005







see below for

REVIEWS SYNOPSIS  AUTHOR  TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Pear Tree

    SUMMARY

    The presence of Islam in America is as long-standing as the arrival of the first captive
    Muslims from Africa, making Islam one of America's formative religions. But the long-
    suppressed indigenous Islam didn't resurface in organized form until the 1930s,
    when it infused the politico-spiritual drive by the Noble Drew 'Ali and the Honorable
    Elijah Muhammad to address the appalling social conditions of the ghettoized black
    masses of the North.

    Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam would prove to be the most extensive, influential
    and durable of African-American self-generated organizations. Combining black
    cooperative entrepreneurship with indigenous Islam-tinged culture and spirituality,
    the NOI pursued a collectivist nationalist agenda which sought to advance the black
    masses' cause--within America or without it. At its collectivist height, the NOI achieved
    a $95 million empire of interlocking black Muslim small businesses and farms--
    providing a model for "bootstrap self-development" by the marginalized and
    dispossessed, worldwide.

    Bourgeois elements developed within, or engaged by, the NOI sought to weld a
    united African-American nation out of a range of classes. Outstanding second
    generation leaders--Warith Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X--would
    further imbed Islam in Black America, and extend its relations into the international
    community. Their media offered an informed and critical outlook on both domestic
    and international affairs that often paralleled progressive analysts.

    What seems clear, after two monumental marches in 1995 and 2005 to the nation's
    capital, is that the NOI and African-American Muslims will have substantial input into
    the future direction of the African-American struggle.

    But it remains ambiguous whether the developing African-American nation will
    pursue its still-unfulfilled promise through secession, autonomy or long-term
    integration. To date, indigenous American Islam has been made a bogey by various
    white elites in order to regiment their own and other ethnic groups.

    About the Author

    Dr. Dennis Walker is a Celtic Australian specialist on Muslim minorities and author of
    two books on Islam and the national question. He reads five Muslim languages, and
    is author of numerous scholarly papers, articles and reviews in a number of
    languages, reflecting his wide travels and areas of interest. He has taught at
    Melbourne University, Deakin University and Australian National University.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION
    GLOSSARY
    I. THE NATION OF ISLAM AND ITS SUCCESSORS AFTER
    1975: FROM
    MILLENARIAN PROTEST TO TRANS-CONTINENTAL
    RELATIONSHIPS
    1: TO ELIJAH MUHAMMAD'S DEATH IN 1975
    The Black Muslims' Original Millenarianism
    The Drive for a New Economy and a New Language under
    Elijah Muhammad
    Theological Adjustments up to 1975: the Emergence of  
    Warith ud-Deen Mohammed
    Arab World Attitudes to Black Muslims to 1975
    2: POST-1975 BLACK MUSLIM MOVEMENTS
    Relations with Other Faiths, especially Christianity,under
    Warith's Leadership
    Coalitionism: The Farrakhan Group's Attitudes to Christianity
    3: RESPONSES TO THE POST-1973 SOCIAL CRISIS
    The Muslims Struggle Against Ghetto Decay, Crime, and
    Black Lumpen Sub-Culture
    From Elijah's Rhetorical-Secessionism to Frank Integration
    4: POST-1975 ATTITUDES TO OVERSEAS MUSLIMS AND
    AFRICANS
    Black Muslim Attitudes to Israel and Middle Eastern Affairs
    The New NOI Starts to Empathize with Powerless Whites in
    America
    The NOI and Overseas Islamists
    Cargoism
    Black Muslim Attitudes to Africa Below the Sahara
    Farrakhan and Ghana: 1986
    Africa in the 1990s
    5: THE RISE OF FARRAKHAN: THE CHALLENGE FOR
    WARITH
    1984: Farrakhan and the Jews
    Farrakhan and the Easts Orthodox Islam
    Ongoing Millenarianism
    The Farrakhan-Warith Contest to 1990
    6: MATURE WARITHITE ISLAM
    Classical Muslims and the Modern West
    Jews and Arabs Ongoing Input into African-American Identity

    II. AFRICAN ISLAM IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE AFRICAN-
    AMERICAN NATION:
    FORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAS MULTI-
    ETHNIC SOCIETY
    1: ISLAM IN AMERICAN SLAVERY
    Power and Dialogue
    Jihad? Integration?
    Syncretism or Dissimulation?
    Atoms from Islam Transmitted Down New Generations
    Post-1960 Reactions to Slavery and Forced Assimilation
    The Evolving Critique of Christianity
    Original Languages and 20th-century Nationality
    2: JEWISH PARTICIPATION IN SLAVERY AND SEGREGATION
    3: THE ANGLO-AMERICANIZATION OF OTHER WHITES AND
    THE
    FORECLOSURE OF MICRONATIONALISMS
    The Formation of the Ethnic Groups
    Ethnic Entry into the American Parliamentarist Political System
    4: EARLY ELITE BLACK HISTORIOGRAPHY VIS--VIS ISLAM
    Christianity Marginalized
    Arabic Writings of Africans Recycled
    Qualified Identification with the Wider Arabo-Islamic World
    Muslim Slave-Trade Palliated?
    The Long-Term Legacy for Scholarship
    New Historiography Unites Diverse Black Classes and
    Groups
    Long-Term Patterns of Meaning

    III. THE DIFFICULT REBIRTH OF ISLAM AMONG AFRICAN-
    AMERICANS, 1900-1950
    1: SOCIAL CHANGE AND THE BIRTH OF THE MOORS
    The Social Crisis in Which Indigenous Islam Took Form
    African-American Relations with Jews in the Early Twentieth
    Century
    2: THE MOORISH SCIENCE TEMPLE OF AMERICA
    3: THE GARVEYITE MOVEMENT AND ISLAM
    UNIA Interactions with Middle Eastern Muslims
    The Garveyites Responses to Muslim Insurrection Overseas
    Garvey and Zionism
    The Shifts and Opening to Islam in Religion
    The Moors and Political Black Nationalism
    4: THE MOORS EVOLVE
    Increased Awareness of Third World Muslim Countries and
    Concepts
    Purist Rejection of Arab Authority in Islam
    5: JEWISH-BLACK INTERACTION AND THE EARLY NOI
    Black-Jewish Cultural Relations
    WASP and Jewish Distortion of African-American Culture
    Ameliorism by Jews and Black American Self-Formation of
    Identity
    6: THE NATION OF ISLAM


    IV.THE HEYDAY OF ELIJAH:
    HIS ARTICULATION OF IDEOLOGY IN THE 1960S AND
    1970S
    1: ELIJAHS PERIOD CONTEXT
    The Emergence of Bourgeois Nationalism Among
    African-Americans
    2: NOI PROTEST RELIGION
    The Threat to White America
    Anti-Christianity
    Arabic and Islamic Elements in the Hybrid, Composite
    Religion
    Monotheism
    Secession from Islam?
    3: RESISTANCE AND ACCOMMODATION TO WHITE
    AMERICA
    Attraction to Creativity by Whites
    Economic Affiliation to America?
    Parliamentarism, U.S. Institutions
    Southern Background and Regionalism
    U.S. Prisons
    4: THE IMPACT OF ARABS AND MIDDLE EAST ISLAMS
    Middle Easterners and the Borders of World Black
    Community to 1975
    The Patterns of Ideology and Discourse to 1975

    V, ELIJAH MUHAMMADS MUSLIMS IN A
    CHANGING AMERICA
    1: THE NOI IN ECONOMIC MODERNIZATION OF
    BLACKS
    Class Status Shifts Through Conversion
    Openings for Affiliating Neo-Bourgeois Muslims
    to America and Success
    2: RISING ETHNIC TENSIONS IN THE 1960S
    BETWEEN THE BLACKS AND THE JEWS
    Affinities Between Blacks and Jews
    The Blacks Struggle to Win Control Over Their
    Education Economic Foci of Conflict
    The Failure and Waning of Jewish-American
    Liberalism
    Nation of Islam Activists and Tensions of Black
    Ghettoes With Jews
    3: THE WIDENING DIVERSITY OF AFRICAN-
    AMERICAN GROUPS
    The Black Panthers
    Elijah Muhammad on the New Left and the
    Campus Revolts
    Elijah on the Factionalization of Blacks
    Muhammad Speaks Coverage of Internal America
    4: POSSIBILITIES FOR RELATIONSHIP WITH
    THIRD WORLD PEOPLES
    Growing African-American Cultural Attraction to
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Attitudes to Arabs Among Americanist
    Integrationists and Secular Black Nationalists
    5: NOI RELATIONS WITH THE ARAB, MUSLIM
    AND THIRD WORLDS
    Arabization and Islam's Macro-History
    Religion, Economics, and the Non-White States
    The Israel-Palestine Struggle
    Arabs and Persians
    Wider Muslim World and Other Third World
    Countries
    Relations with the Communist World
    Relations with Spanish-Speaking States and
    Hispanic Americans

    VI. THE RISE OF FARRAKHAN IN ELIJAHS NOI
    1: TENSIONS BETWEEN THE BLACKS AND THE
    JEWS OVER FOREIGN POLICY TO 1980
    Andrew Young and the Shifts in African-American
    Relations with Jews, Israel and Arabs
    Young's Functions in African-American Macro-
    Consciousness U.S. Foreign Policy and African-
    American Identity and Institutions-Building
    2: THE FORMATION OF MINISTER LOUIS
    FARRAKHAN WITHIN THE NATION OF ISLAM
    (1955-1980)
    African-American Culture and Mass Mobilization
    Farrakhan's Evolution as Leader from Minister of
    a Mosque to Deputy of Elijah
    Farrakhan After Wallace Mohammed's
    Succession, 1975-1980
    The Young Farrakhan and Jewish Culture and
    Groups
    3: PERSPECTIVE: ISLAM AND U.S. BLACK
    IDENTITY TO 1980

    VII. FARRAKHANS CHANGING POST-1990
    NATION OF ISLAM
    1: RELIGIOUS THOUGHT AND CHANGE IN
    FARRAKHANS NEW NOI
    Toward the Humanization of Leadership, and
    Self-Reflection
    Combating Envy as a Force for Political
    Fragmentation
    2005: The Quran and the Humanization of
    Leadership for a United Front of All Blacks
    Neo-Fardian Themes in Farrakhan's NOI
    NOI Changes and Deepening Engagement with
    Middle Eastern Islam
    The Threat of Violence and Repression of the
    Religion
    2: THE MILLION MAN MARCH: INDUCTION INTO
    ELECTORAL POLITICS?
    The Million Man March of 1995
    Political Mobilization after the 1995 Million Man
    March Militants: Could the U.S. Systemic
    Disintegrate?
    3: DISPARATE BLACK CLASSES AND GETTING
    RICH: CAN THE NOI
    INTEGRATE HUMANE NATIONHOOD?
    The NOI and Nationalist Private Enterprise
    Farrakhans NOI and the Black Bourgeoisie's
    Economic Nationalism
    Strata and Classes Beyond the Bourgeoisie
    Tentative Incorporation into the System
    The Transformation of NOI Pan-Islamism
    4: AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
    General Non-Muslim African-American Reactions
    Non-Muslim Blacks: Al Sharpton
    The Impact of September 11 on Farrakhan and
    his Sect
    Movement towards a Median Position between
    Arabs and Jews
    Abdul Akbar Muhammad: Pan-Islam
    The U.S. Invasion of Iraq
    What Future for Farrakhan’s New NOI and Islam
    among African-Americans?
    5: THE 2005 MILLIONS MORE MOVEMENT:
    RESURGENCE FOR FARRAKHAN?
    PERSPECTIVES AND SOME CONCLUSIONS

    REVIEWS

    "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
    important nation.
    IVORY LYONS, Journal of Intercultural Studies. 2009
an independent publisher on global issues and alternatives

    "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. 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