For many years this policy [self-determination] was exclusively associated with the Communists and, more than any other theoretical and practical program, distinguished them from other American radical movements. 1
Some time in the summer of 1930, when the comrades in Moscow were busy clarifying the policy of "self-determination for the Negroes in the Black Belt," a peddler appeared in the Negro community of Detroit. "He was welcomed into the homes of the culture-hungry Negroes, who were eager to purchase his silks and artifacts," writes Professor C. Eric Lincoln, "which he claimed were like those the Negro people wore in their homeland across the sea."
"He came first to our houses selling raincoats, and then afterwards, silks. In this way he could get into the people's houses, for every woman was eager to see the nice things the peddlers had for sale. He told us that the silks he carried were the same kind that our people used in their home country, and that he was from there. So we asked him to tell us about our own country."(2)
So he did. He began holding meetings from house to house throughout the community.
At first, the "prophet," as he came to be known, confined his teachings to a recitation of his experiences in foreign lands, admonitions against certain foods and suggestions for improving his listeners' physical health. He was kind, friendly, unassuming and patient.
Thus was born the movement whose followers are called Black Muslims.
Who in fact was this itinerant peddler and prophet? His name was usually Mr. Farrad Mohammad or Mr. F. Mohammad Ali, except when it was Professor Ford, Mr. Wali Farrad or W. D. Fard. Legends about him abounded, says Lincoln, one having him a Palestinian Arab "who had participated in various racial agitations in India, South Africa and London before moving on to Detroit."(4) Another says he was educated at a London university in preparation for a diplomatic career in the service of the kingdom of Hejaz, but that he sacrificed his personal future "to bring 'freedom, justice, and equality' to the 'black men in the wilderness of North America, surrounded and robbed completely by the Cave Man.'" (5)
It was really all very simple, Fard later explained to the Detroit police: It seems he was "The Supreme Ruler of the Universe."
It now appears, however, that the truth is even more amazing. For according to reporter Ed Montgomery:
[Fard] is not a Negro. He is a white man masquerading as a Negro!
It seems that at 26, Dodd took as his common-law wife a 25 year old Los Angeles waitress, and on September 1, 1920, she bore him a son, Wallace Dodd Ford.
On the son's birth certificate, Dodd listed himself as "White."
So here is a white man teachings Negroes to hate white men, which to say the least is very peculiar.
Fard-Dodd established a "religion," named Elijah Muhammad to succeed him, and then disappeared as suddenly as he had come. Mr. Muhammad, also known as Gulam Bogans, Elijah Poole, Muhammad Rassouli, Elijah Muck Muhd, "and various other aliases,"(7) now says that Fard returned to Mecca and keeps in touch--spiritually; Mr. Montgomery says that police records show he returned to New Zealand.
Now, what were the essential teachings of this very mysterious man? The prophet taught that white men were "blue-eyed devils," and "incapable of telling the truth." He spoke of "the glorious history of Black Afro-Asia."
[Fard explained] that his followers were not Americans and that they owed no allegiance to the American flag. It was stupid, he argued, to pledge allegiance to a flag that offered no protection against "the depravities of the white devils [who] by their tricknology. . . keep our peoples illiterate to use as tools and slaves."(8)Mr. Muhammad, the present prophet, has developed these simple principles into an even simpler political program, which reads as follows:
. . .we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by white America, justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own.It seems, you see, that American Negroes are "a nation within a nation," an "occupied people."(10)
Muhammad usually asks for "two or three states," but at the Muslim convention of 1960 he asked for "four or five."(11) The late Malcolm X thought "nine or ten states would be enough."(12)
In The Negroes in a Soviet America, the Communist plan for the "Negro Soviet Republic," we read the following:
"the same will occur throughout the plantation area--from southeastern Virginia, down through the Carolinas and central Georgia, across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana reaching even into Arkansas and parts of Tennessee and Texas. . ."(13)
And what would be the result of such an amputation?
. . . Let us say that the Muslims were to achieve the possession of the six or seven states that they claim are owed to Negroes by the United States as "back payment" for slave labor [writes James Baldwin]. Clearly, the United States would never surrender this territory, on any term whatever, unless it found it impossible, for whatever reason, to hold it--unless, that is, the United States were to be reduced as a world power, exactly the way, and at the same degree of speed, that England has been forced to relinquish her Empire. . . If the states were Southern states--and the Muslims seem to favor this--then the borders of a hostile Latin America would be raised, in effect, to, say, Maryland. Of the American borders on the sea, one would face toward a powerless Europe and the other toward an untrustworthy and non-white East, and on the North, after Canada, there would only be Alaska, which is a Russian border. The effect of all this would be that the white people of the United States and Canada would find themselves marooned on a hostile continent, with the rest of the white world probably unwilling and certainly unable to come to their aid. All this is not, to my mind, the most imminent of possibilities, but if I were a Muslim, this is the possibility that I would find myself holding in the center of my mind and driving toward. And if I were a Muslim, I would not hesitate to utilize--or, indeed, to exacerbate--the social and spiritual discontent that reigns here. . .(14)
So the question arises:
Are Muhammad's teachings in fact seditious? No one can say [says Professor Lincoln], for his goals--and the ultimate methods he would use to reach them--are never baldly stated. . .He speaks knowingly of an impending "Battle of Armageddon" and has promised that Negroes "will soon gain control of New York City--and that 'white rule' in the United States will be overthrown by 1970."(15)
Now, what sort of people are these Black Muslims? Well, some are in jail. At Clinton state prison in New York, for instance, officials refused to let four Negro inmates practice their new faith. ". . . Prison officials did not dispute that discipline improves markedly among those converted to Islam, but they protested that the Muslims have 'ulterior motives,' aimed at forcing supremacy over whites, although they do not express it.' "(16)
"But the revolution will not stop with the seizure of the land. . . With the power of the plantation owners destroyed, a new kind of government will be set up by the farmers and the workers in this territory. . . The Negroes will play the leading role both in the land revolution and in the new revolutionary governments.
It must not be supposed, however, that all Muslims spend time in jail. Most of them apparently are workmen and thoroughly solid citizens: "Recruitment for the Movement is still predominantly from among low-income groups at the lower end of the educational scale. . . a majority of the membership of any given temple is composed of domestic and factory workers, common laborers and the like. . . "(18)
". . . The aim of the Communist Party must be to fight for the hegemony of the working-class elements in the national liberation movement. The basic task of the communists is to form working-class organizations for the Negro proletariat and agricultural workers, and farmers' organizations for the Negro farmers and to turn these organizations into energetic integral forces of the whole class struggle. . ."(19)
In fact: ". . . Where Negroes of middle- and upper-class status have developed--or moved into--residential areas consistent with their new prosperity, Muslims have not followed, for the Movement continues to emphasize its affiliations with the working class. . ."(20)
And this brings us to the Muslim ideal:
". . . It is permissible to form a united front (for example in the form of a Negro Race Congress) of the working-class elements with the petit-bourgeois elements. . ."(21) John Pepper, 1928
The Muslim ideal is "a United Front of Black Men," who will "take the offensive and carry the fight for justice and freedom to the enemy." Through such a united front, "the American Negroes will discover themselves, elevate their distinguished men and women. . . give outlets to their talented youth, and assume the contours of a nation."(22)
"The Negro liberation movement, in my opinion will not be confined to the scope of any one organization, but will take the form of a united Negro people's front, embracing all organized sections of the Negro people, around a common program of liberation. While the leadership of such a movement must represent all sections of the Negro population, the Negro workers must constitute the main driving force. The Negro workers must strive to build and strengthen the alliance between the organized labor movement and the Negro people."(23) Ray Hansborough, secretary, National Negro Commission, Communist Party, USA, 1947.
Such then [writes Professor Lincoln] is the Muslim vision of a United Front of Black Men--a phalanx of American Negroes no longer torn by dissension but standing shoulder to shoulder, ready for battle. The leader and the enemy are known, but everything else is shrouded in mystery: the methods of combat, the terms of surrender and the new way of life to be established after the victory.(24) (Italics added)
It is necessary as always to be absolutely punctillious. And the question arises as to whether or not everything we have already learned could be nothing more than coincidence. In order to give the Muslims a chance to speak for themselves, let us turn to the Muslim newspaper, Muhammad Speaks.
On page nine of the issue for October 11, 1963, we learn that "this is a time," here in America, "of mass murder of innocent children; of day-to-day police brutality; of mass arrests and torture and frame-up trials--all of it openly directed against those who fight to throw off the yoke of slavery. . ."
On page eleven, Charles P. Howard, Sr., "UN and Foreign Correspondent," presents a laudatory story of Cuba's "educational" activities: "Cuba today has the highest literacy rate of any country in Latin America. Thus Cuba is well on the way to becoming a nation of people free of discrimination and hatreds based on ignorance."
On the next page, Mr. Howard speaks of the "immense significance of the Cuban revolution, with its deep implications for the peoples of African descent the world over. . ."
"At the same time the Negro question in the United States of America must be treated in its relations to the huge Negro masses of farmers and workers oppressed and exploited by white imperialism in Africa and South America."(26) John Pepper, 1928
On page twenty-three of this same issue of Muhammad Speaks for October 11, 1963, a photograph shows Ben Bella, president of what used to be Moslem Algeria, giving an award to Dr. W. E. B. DuBois--a Communist--in DuBois' adopted country, Ghana--a Communist state. The caption reads in part: ". . . President Ben Bella is the young revolutionary who led Algeria's successful seven-year struggle for freedom from French rule, and looked up to Dr. DuBois as a champion in the cause of liberty for all Africa."
The late Dr. DuBois was of course a Negro, and at one time was an American.
The Muslim dream [Professor Lincoln explains] is to have a solid Black Muslim community in the United States, recognized and supported by Moslems throughout the world as an integral part of Islam. . ."To the extent that the idea of the Negro question as but a 'race question' is being replaced by the concept that the root of the Negro question is the oppression and subjugation of a nation in the Black Belt, and therefore a national question to that extent do we see the influence of Marxism ....
". . . The growing extent to which the Negro people see their own struggle in relationship to, and in unity with, the world-wide colonial struggle is further evidence o! this in- fluence.'' (28) Gus Hall
In the Muhammad Speaks issue for January 31, 1964, on page two, Mr. Howard strikes again, this time from Tan- ganyika, "where the young and charming Julius Nyerere pre- sides as President." Tanganyika, as you will recall, according to U.S. News & World Report and the New York Times, is also where the young and charming Julius Nyefete has es- tablished a base from which "freedom fighters," trained mainly in Communist Algeria and probably in Communist Cuba, and probably Using Russian arms, are conducting a campaign to Capture and communize Mozambique.
Jomo Kenyatta, Mr. Howard goes on, is an "African freedom fighter." "It was in Kenya . ï¿½ ï¿½ that the African surge for freedom began. And it was Kenyatta who lit the torch for that freedom drive." It was also Kenyatta who conducted the murder and dismemberment of both black and white Africans. And it is Kenyatta who, as we have seen, has been a member of the Communist party since 1929.
President Nkrumah of Ghana "continues to move forward in the way he feels is best for his country .... "Mr. Howard tells us. And the way he feels is best, according to K. A. Busia, is "increasingly" to tie the economy of Ghana to the Soviet Union.
What Mr. Howard is doing, then, is trying to convince his~; readers, who may not know the truth, that Nyerere, Nkrumah and Kenyatta, three black Communist leaders, should be some sort of idols to American Negroes.
ï¿½ . . although the Black Muslims call their Movement a religion [Professor Lincoln explains] religious values are of secondary importance. They are not part of the Movement's basic appeal, except to the extent that they foster and strengthen the sense of group solidarity. The Muslims make no secret of the fact that they count themselves a part of the growing a~iance, of non-white peoples, which they expect eventually to inundate the white race .... (29)
"In 1963, Communist leader Benjamin Davis spoke of "the increasing consciousness of American Negroes of a cornmunlty of interests between the Africans fighting against white supremacy and colonialism and the Negro in the United States fighting white supremacy and the Jim Crow system. This sense of solidarity will grow." (30)
On page seven of the January 31, 1964, issue of Muhammad Speaks Herbert Muhammad, son of Elijah, hails Nasser's revolution,
which set about building a new kind of society, totally different from the old Western Christian systems. . . . Egypt's courageous struggle for the ownership and control of the Suez its own possession--makes it easier to understand the current struggle of the peoples of Panama now for some realistic control of their own canalï¿½
On page eleven Mr. Howard strikes yet again, this time from Algiers:
History may yet say that the greatest benefactors of the Algerian revolution have been the orphans. . . . Today the tender concern exhibited by the revolutionary government, led by Algeria's President Ahmed Ben Bella, for these destitute children is bringing startling results. Thousands of children who saw their mothers and fathers gunned down in cold blood by Nazi-like French settlers bent on destroying what they could not hold, look upon Ahmed Ben Bella literally as both "father and mother."
That thousands of children saw their parents gunned down, is true. But that their parents were gunned down by "Nazilike French settlers" is a lie--a vicious lie--as Mr. Howard is probably aware.
Their parents were gunned down by the very man who now claims to be their benefactor--the Communist bank bandit Ahmed Ben Bella. It's all in the record. (31)
Mr. Howard tells us instead on page twelve: "Now, color plays no part in how high an ambitious young person may rise." On the faces of the youth "I see a joy and eagerness; a confidence which rarely reaches the youth of many other more prosperous countries."
A story on page fourteen of this same issue of Muhammad Speaks for January 31, 1964, reports the Communist revolution in Zanzibar: "... the new government indicates a keen interest in a federation with Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika." Prime Minister Abdullah Kassim Hanga is reported to have said "we support all African liberation movements." Sheik Abdul Rahman Mohammed--who is, remember, "an advocate of Peking's theory of violent revolution," according to the New York Times--is identified only as the leader of the Umma party and minister of external affairs and defense in the new government. Not a word is said about communism.
The issue for February 28, 1964, of Muhammad Speaks contains a
three-page article beginning on page twelve on the wonders of Ghana and
President Nkrumah, who is "leading his country toward African socialism
The masthead of the Worker, official Communist party newspaper, lists as a member of the editorial staff a Mike Newberry. This man and the author of The Yahoos are one and the same!
But of course this is not mentioned in Muharnmad Speaks.
In fact, something else isn't mentioned in Muhammad Speaks and it's the most important thing to be learned from the whole publication: As we have seen, the Muslims teach that white men are "blue:eyed devils," and "incapable of telling the truth"; they are hopelessly depraved and love nothing better than to commit "tricknology," whatever that is. In fact, whatever goes wrong, some white man did it.
Yet, as we have seen, Muhammad Speaks has praise---fulsome praise---not only for Nkrumah, who is black, and for Kenyatta, who is black, but for Sheik Abdul Rahman Mo~ hammed, who is probably white, and for Ahmed Ben Belle and Fidel Castro, who are definitely white.
Why? If what they have in common isn't race--then what is it?
It's very simple: It's communism.
In 1963 Jack Lotto reported on the closed convention of the Socialist Workers party:
Attending the sessions of this Marxist-Leninist party as delegates and guests were members of the Muslims. The Muslim members participated in the SWP discussions on resolutions on Negro activities, which called for closer SWP orientation toward the Muslim movement .... (32)
The Socialist Workers party is of course a Communist party.
2. C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (Boston, Beacon Press, 1961), p. 10.
3. Ibid., pp. 10-11.
4. Ibid., p. 12.
5. Ibid. Also, E. D. Beynon, "The Voodoo Cult Among Negro Migrants in Detroit," The American Journal of Sociology, vol. 43 (July 1937-May 1938), p. 896.
6. New York Mirror (July 30, 1963).
7. Lincoln, p. 180.
8. Ibid., p. 12-16.
9. Elijah Muhammad, "The Muslim Program," Muhammad Speaks, vol. 3, no. 2 (October 11, 1963), p. 24. Also, the last page
of any issue of Muhammad Speaks.
10. Lincoln, p. 85.
11. Ibid., p. 95. Also Chicago Daily De[ender (March 5, 1960).
12. Lincoln, p. 95 (interview, WMEX, Boston, April 2, 1960).
13. James S. Allen and James W. Ford, The Negroes in a Soviet America (New York, Workers Library Publishers, June 1935), pp. 26-27.
14. James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (New York, The Dial Press, 1963), pp. 88-89.
15. Lincoln. pp. 86-87.
16. Ibid., p. 211. From the New York Amsterdam News (November 7, 1959).
17. Allen and Ford, pp. 26-27.
18. Lincoln, p. 24.
19. John Pepper, "American Negro Problems," Communist, vol.7, no. 10 (October 1928), p. 636.
20. Lincoln, p. 25.
21. Pepper, p. 636.
22. Lincoln, p. 85. From the Los Angeles Herald-Express (February 6, 1958).
23. As quoted in "The Communist Position (1947)," pp. 46-47. See footnote 16, chapter 3.
. Lincoln, p. 87.
.25 Ibid., p. 94.
26. Pepper, p. 628. Also quoted by Wilson Record, "The Development of the Communist Position on the Negro Question in
the United States," Phylon, vol. 19, no. 3 (Fall 1958), p. 257.
27. Lincoln, pp. 218-219, 223.
28. Gus Hall, Marxism and Negro Liberation (New York, New Century Publishers, 1951), pp. 16-17.
29. Lincoln, p. 27.
30. Benjamin J. Davis, Against Tokenism and Gradualism (New York, New Century Publishers, April 1963 ), p. 12.
. See "The Green Book," Aspects Veritables de la Rebellion Algerienne (Ministere de l'Algerie, Cabinet du Ministre, n.d.); and Documents on the Crimes and Outrages Committed by the Terrorists in Algeria (Algiers, Societe d'Editions et de Regie Publicitaire, n.d.) for a description and photographs of the crimes committed by the forces of Ben Bella against Christian and Moslem Algerians. These books are not recommended for women and children.
32. Los Angeles Herald-Examiner (August 31, 1963).