ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
What will happen to the Black Muslims in the future is hard to foretell,
but their puritanical spirit and economic successes have impressed black leaders
who once made only disparaging remarks about the movement
Books by Elijah Muhammad
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The Achievements of Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad, the 77-year-old leader of The Nation of Islam, died February 25, one day before the Black Muslim sects Savior day observance. He had been at the helm of the controversial black separatist movement for 40 years. During that time the Black Muslims grew from a handful of embittered urban blacks to an estimated 150,000 loyal followers 20,000 of whom were present at his funeral in Chicago recently.
Throughout the civil rights era, when integration was the clearly stated goal of most of the countrys black leaders, Muhammad espoused separatism and still managed to keep his movement afloat. He also survived several internal disruptions, chief among which was the defection and eventual assassination of Malcolm X. Credited with a rare ability to rehabilitate drug addicts and incorrigible criminals, Muhammad built 75 Muslim temples in at least 50 cities by preaching the myth that blacks are the earths original people and that whites are devils.
Under his rigidly centralized authority, the Black Muslims developed hundreds of small businesses around the country restaurants, dry cleaning establishments, beauty shops, grocery stores and bakeries. An estimated 25,000 acres of land, mostly in the south, is owned by the sect. The total assets of the Nation of Islam have been valued at $80 million no mean achievement for the former laborer who had only a fourth-grade education.
The tremendous economic success of the Black Muslims led later to a softening of their antiwhite tenets and an increased emphasis on hard work and self-mastery. Muhammad apparently discovered that it was more productive to combat the demons within than those without. That shift in motivation might well be the reason for the relatively peaceful changeover in leadership to one of his six sons, 41-year-old Wallace D. Muhammad. Most outside observers expected a protracted and violent power struggle for leadership, as is so often the case when absolute rulers die.
What will happen to the Black Muslims in the future is hard to foretell, but their puritanical spirit and economic successes have impressed black leaders who once made only disparaging remarks about the movement. Such civil rights luminaries as Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Roy Wilkins and Vernon Jordan are now heaping extravagant praises upon the departed Elijah Muhammad, lauding him for presenting to black people a model of thrift, of hard work, of devotion to self, and of cleanliness of mind and body. Even Chicagos white mayor, Richard J. Daley, sensing widespread black respect for Muhammad, said, He was an outstanding citizen who was always interested in helping young people and especially the poor.
Such lavish praise from former detractors demonstrates how much everyone loves a winter especially someone who was willing to take societys losers and make winners out of them. Said Father George Clements, pastor of Chicagos Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church: His teachings of dignity, self-respect, discipline and a sense of responsibility are great works he leaves behind. And this we admire no matter what our religion.
Source: The Christian Century (March 26, 1975)
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Elijah Muhammad, born Elijah Poole 7 October 1897, in Sandersville, Ga., U.S., died 25 February 1975 in Chicago, the son of sharecroppers and former slaves. In 1923 Muhammad moved to Detroit where, around 1930, he became assistant minister to the founder of the sect, Wallace D. Fard, at Temple No. 1. In 1934, when Fard disappeared Muhammad became head of the movement, with the title “Minister of Islam.” Because of troubles within the Detroit temple, Muhammad moved to Chicago where he established Temple No. 2. During World War II he advised followers to avoid the draft, as a result of which he was charged with violating the Selective Service Act and was jailed (1942-46).
Muhammad slowly built up the membership of the Black Muslims. His most prominent disciple, Malcolm X, broke with the group and, before his assassination in 1965.
After Muhammad’s death in 1975, the Nation of Islam split into what once known as the American Muslim Mission, now part of the worldwide orthodox Muslim community, and a resurrected Nation of Islam under the leadership of Louis Farrakhan.
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The Honorable Elijah Muhammad addressing the laborers in a meeting that took place around September or October of 1964. In this meeting The Messenger mentions that Brother Ben and his wife can bare witness to his moral character and that he would never fall for the many women that would come onto him during his younger days. The Messenger based off his own words could have had plenty of women when he was a young man full of energy. In other words why would he wait until he is old to have this all of a sudden urge to mess around with other women young enough to be his daughter or granddaughter? The Messenger in this meeting wanted to stress to the laborers to defend him when he is attacked by claims like this. The attacks The Messenger is referring to involved the false charges by Malcolm and the 7 secretaries claiming he fathered their children. This is what he meant by mud-slinging and scandalizing. Malcolms goal with the help of Wallace behind the scenes was to disgrace The Messenger and take over the leadership and all its assets. The Messenger in the September 11th 1964 edition of the Muhammad Speaks Newspaper informed us that two of the women involved in this scheme (Evelyn and Lucille) use to date Malcolm before he joined the NOI. Evelyn and Lucille joined the NOI because of their affection for Malcolm. It was Wallace and Malcolm who put these women (all seven of them) up to harassing The Messenger (especially OLA) by trying to extort money out of him and threatening to take him to court. It was Ola, Evelyn and Lucille who were the most aggressive in attempting this plot. The first child born out these seven women was Saudi Muhammad in January of 1960. The Last child born out of the seven women was Neemah Cushmeer Muhammad in 1965. Keep in mind that from 1960 to 1975 The Honorable Elijah Muhammad maintained that he had one wife, six sons and two daughters. If we are to accept the view that they were divinely appointed by God. This would mean Elijah Muhammad lied to every interviewer who would asked him about his private life between that time. If someone has 8 wives and 21 children but claims in an interview and to the public that he only had one wife, six sons and two daughters. The following is called lying to the 10th degree. We are taught in Islam that Messengers and prophets cannot be accused of lying. Elijah Muhammad could not be qualified to be a Messenger if he lied as a Messenger. The following has never happened in the history of prophets and messengers. What is even more strange about this claim of these women fulfilling some divine prophecy is that out of all the women on the planet, God would choose two women who dated an enemy of Elijah Muhammad (Malcolm Little). Two out of the seven women involved were not even pure and had a history with Malcolm before they ever claimed to have been with Elijah Muhammad. Something is wrong with this picture. In continuing to dissect this strange claim even further. Bernique Cushmeer (the so-called 7th wife) had a child with Benard Cushmer after she claimed to have had a child with Elijah Muhammad. Now why would a divinely appointed woman desire another man outside of the apostle of God? What is even stranger is that Benard Cushmer claimed he did not know that she was the concubine of Elijah Muhammad when he had relations with her. Why didn’t God take the thought of desiring this so-called divinely appointed woman away from any man who came in contact with her? Why would God put Ola (the so-called third wife) in a position wherein she would have to call the police to try and force Elijah Muhammad to acknowledge her and her child? Why would Elijah Muhammad put his so-called divine wife out on the street? If we are to believe Elijah Muhammad married these women, when did it happen? Was there an underground behind the scenes secret ceremony nobody else knew about? There are 2 choices a believer in the NOI can take or accept about this topic. 1. Accept what Elijah Muhammad says about himself on face value and leave it at that. or 2. Accept an alternative view that would make him out to be an outright liar.
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Malcolm X artifacts unearthedPolice docs and more found among belongs of ‘Shorty’ Jarvis1 February 2012Documents outlining the crime that landed Malcolm X in prison in the 1940s are among some 1,000 recently unearthed items purchased jointly by the civil rights leader’s foundation and an independent collector of African-American artifacts. The documents and other artifacts belonged to late musician Malcolm “Shorty” Jarvis, who served in prison with Malcolm X and was one of his closest friends. Jarvis’ 1976 pardon paper also is part of the collection, which was recently discovered by accident. The items had been in a Connecticut storage unit that had gone into default, and were initially auctioned off to a buyer who had no idea what he was bidding on. The Omaha, Nebraska-based Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, which oversees the Malcolm X Center located at his birthplace, will house and display the just-arrived archives. It split the cost with Black History 101 Mobile Museum, based in Detroitthe birthplace of the Nation of Islam.Mobile Museum founder and curator Khalid el-Hakim declined to identify the original buyer or the price the two organizations paid for the trove. Still, even after splitting the cost, he said it’s the largest acquisition to date for his mobile museum, which includes Jim Crow-era artifacts, a Ku Klux Klan hood and signed documents by Malcolm X and Rosa Parks. . . . The collection also reveals an enduring connection between the two Malcolms after their incarceration, Malcolm X’s conversion to Islam and his rise to prominence. There’s a 72-page scrapbook of Malcolm X’s life that was maintained by Jarvis until after his friend’s 1965 assassination. One of the civil rights era’s most controversial and compelling figures, Malcolm X rose to fame as the chief spokesman of the Nation of Islam, a movement started in Detroit more than 80 years ago. He proclaimed the black Muslim organization’s message at the time: racial separatism as a road to self-actualization and urged blacks to claim civil rights “by any means necessary” and referred to whites as “devils.”TheGrio
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Manning Marable
Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.
Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.
Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 9 November 2007