African Religions Long Paper - Longer Essay#2 Ryan Neale Dr...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Longer Essay #2 Ryan Neale Dr. Murrell African American Religions The Nation of Islam began in 1930 with the arrival of Wallace Dodd Fard to the black ghetto of Detroit. To the black underclass, Fard presented himself as a merchant allegedly from "the holy city of Mecca." He sold silks, hats, and other artifacts allegedly imported from his homeland, though Elijah Muhammad once stated that Fard was not a silk peddler but a tailor of custom-made clothes. Poor black families would invite Fard to their homes, where he who assumed the role of a Muslim teacher, reading to them directly from an Arabic edition of the Qur'an. At the dinner table Fard warned his hosts against pork, polished rice, and other foods: "Now don't eat this food, it is poison for you. The people in your own country do not eat it. Since they eat the right kind of food they have the best health all the time." In various ways Fard undermined his hearers' faith in Christianity and the Bible, which for generations had sustained downtrodden black families. He encouraged his followers to listen to radio broadcasts of Jehovah's Witness president Joseph Rutherford, whose rallying cry at that time was "Religion is a snare and a racket." Fard also used Jehovah's Witness literature to teach his followers that the time of "Gentile" (i.e., Caucasian) domination had come to an end in 1914; that the resurrection of the "so-called Negro" had already occurred as a mental and invisible fact, and that the coming New World was just around the corner. In just a few years, he claimed, the oppressed black man would receive the kingdom and the New World would arrive by 1936 at the very latest. When Fard arrived, Elijah Poole was an unemployed migrant laborer from rural Georgia, suffering, together with his wife and eight children, the consequences of the Great Depression. Though interested in Negro improvement, Elijah testified that before meeting "Master Fard," he often took refuge in drunkenness. Within a year of Fard's arrival, Elijah Poole and two of his brothers joined the new movement. Very quickly, Poole became Fard's most trusted and ardent follower; Fard renamed him Elijah Muhammed, now the "chief minister" of Islam. Fard told his eager listeners that black America had been craftily deceived by the dominant Caucasian society, a perverse race of "blue-eyed devils" who used the Bible to enslave black people. The white man's heaven, he often said, was the black man's hell. Elijah Poole had witnessed a vicious lynching when he was a small child, and this saying rang true. For many years, a painting of a Negro hung at a lynching adorned the front podium at NOI temples and meeting places. The true religion of black people, Fard said, was Islam; their God was Allah, and their book the Holy Qur'an. His audience was keenly aware that the white culture which professed Christianity was the same culture that (in spite of its positive accomplishments) sired the Ku Klux Klan, the Jim Crow laws, racism, murder, castration,
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course PAR 377 taught by Professor Murrell during the Spring '08 term at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Page1 / 5

African Religions Long Paper - Longer Essay#2 Ryan Neale Dr...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online