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Chapter 14 Black Muslims

In the spring of nineteen fifty-nine-some months before Brother Johnson Hinton's case had awakenedthe Harlem black ghetto to us-a Negro journalist, Louis Lomax, then living in New York, asked meone morning whether our Nation of Islam would cooperate in being filmed as a televisiondocumentary program for the Mike Wallace Show, which featured controversial subjects. I told Lomaxthat, naturally, anything like that would have to be referred to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. AndLomax did fly to Chicago to consult Mr. Muhammad. After questioning Lomax, then cautioning himagainst some things he did not desire, Mr. Muhammad gave his consent.

  Cameramen began filming Nation of Islam scenes around our mosques in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. Sound recordings were made of Mr. Muhammad and some ministers, includingme, teaching black audiences the truths about the brainwashed black man and the devil white man.

  At Boston University around the same time, C. Eric Lincoln, a Negro scholar then working for hisdoctorate, had selected for his thesis subject the Nation of Islam. Lincoln's interest had been arousedthe previous year when, teaching at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, he received from one of hisReligion students a term paper whose introduction I can now quote from Lincoln's book. It was theplainspoken convictions of one of Atlanta's numerous young black collegians who often visited ourlocal Temple Fifteen.

  "The Christian religion is incompatible with the Negro's aspirations for dignity and equality inAmerica," the student had written. "It has hindered where it might have helped; it has been evasivewhen it was morally bound to be forthright; it has separated believers on the basis of color, although ithas declared its mission to be a universal brotherhood under Jesus Christ. Christian love is the whiteman's love for himself and for his race. For the man who is not white, Islam is the hope for justice andequality in the world we must build tomorrow."After some preliminary research showed Professor Lincoln what a subject he had hold of, he had beenable to obtain several grants, and a publisher's encouragement to expand his thesis into a book.

  On the wire of our relatively small Nation, these two big developments-a television show, and a bookabout us-naturally were big news. Every Muslim happily anticipated that now, through the whiteman's powerful communications media, our brainwashed black brothers and sisters across the UnitedStates, and devils, too, were going to see, hear, and read Mr. Muhammad's teachings which cut backand forth like a two-edged sword.

  We had made our own very limited efforts to employ the power of print. First, some time back, I hadmade an appointment to see editor James Hicks of the _Amsterdam News_, published in Harlem.

  Editor Hicks said he felt every voice in the community deserved to be heard. Soon, each week's_Amsterdam News_ carried a little column that I wrote. Then, Mr. Muhammad agreed to write acolumn for that valuable _Amsterdam News_ space, and my column was transferred to another blacknewspaper, the Los Angeles _Herald Dispatch_.

  But I kept wanting to start, somehow, our own newspaper, that would be filled with Nation of Islamnews.

  Mr. Muhammad in 1957 sent me to organize a Temple in Los Angeles. When I had done that, being inthat city where the _Herald Dispatch_ was, I went visiting and I worked in their office; they let meobserve how a newspaper was put together. I've always been blessed in that if I can once watchsomething being done, generally I can catch onto how to do it myself. Quick "picking up" wasprobably the number one survival rule when I'd been out there in the streets as a hustler.

  Back in New York, I bought a secondhand camera. I don't know how many rolls of film I shot until I could take usable pictures. Every chance I had, I wrote some little news about interesting Nation ofIslam happenings. One day every month, I'd lock up in a room and assemble my material and picturesfor a printer that I found. I named the newspaper _Muhammad Speaks_ and Muslim brothers sold iton the ghetto sidewalks. Little did I dream that later on, when jealousy set in among the hierarchy,nothing about me would be printed in the paper I had founded.

  Anyway, national publicity was in the offing for the Nation of Islam when Mr. Muhammad sent meon a three-week trip to Africa. Even as small as we then were, some of the African and Asianpersonages had sent Mr. Muhammad private word that they liked his efforts to awaken and lift up theAmerican black people. Sometimes, the messages had been sent through me. As Mr. Muhammad'semissary, I went to Egypt, Arabia, to the Sudan, to Nigeria, and Ghana.

  You will often hear today a lot of the Negro leaders complaining that what thrust the Muslims intointernational prominence was the white man's press, radio, television, and other media. I have noshred of argument with that. They are absolutely correct. Why, none of us in the Nation of Islamremotely anticipated what was about to happen.

   In late 1959, the television program was aired. "The Hate That Hate Produced"-the title-was editedtightly into a kaleidoscope of "shocker" images . . . Mr. Muhammad, me, and others speaking . . .

  strong-looking, set-faced black men, our Fruit of Islam . . . white-scarved, white-gowned Muslimsisters of all ages. . . Muslims in our restaurants, and other businesses . . . Muslims and other blackpeople entering and leaving our mosques . . . .

  Every phrase was edited to increase the shock mood. As the producers intended, I think people satjust about limp when the program went off.

  In a way, the public reaction was like what happened back in the 1930's when Orson Welles frightenedAmerica with a radio program describing, as though it was actually happening, an invasion by "menfrom Mars."No one now jumped from any windows, but in New York City there was an instant avalanche ofpublic reaction. It's my personal opinion that the "Hate . . . Hate . . ." title was primarily responsible forthe reaction. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, black and white, were exclaiming "Did you hearit? Did you see it? Preaching _hate_ of white people!"Here was one of the white man's most characteristic behavior patterns-where black men areconcerned. He loves himself so much that he is startled if he discovers that his victims don't share hisvainglorious self-opinion. In America for centuries it had been just fine as long as the victimized,brutalized and exploited black people had been grinning and begging and "Yessa, Massa" and UncleTomming. But now, things were different. First came the white newspapers-feature writers andcolumnists: "Alarming" . . ."hate-messengers" . . ."threat to the good relations between the races" . . ."black segregationists" . . ."black supremacists," and the like.

  And the newspapers' ink wasn't dry before the big national weekly news magazines started: "Hateteachers" . . ."violence-seekers" . . ."black racists" . . ."black fascists" . . ."anti-Christian" . . . "possiblyCommunist-inspired . . . ."It rolled out of the presses of the biggest devil in the history of mankind. And then the aroused whiteman made his next move.

  Since slavery, the American white man has always kept some handpicked Negroes who fared muchbetter than the black masses suffering and slaving out in the hot fields. The white man had these"house" and "yard" Negroes for his special servants. He threw them more crumbs from his rich table,he even let them eat in his kitchen. He knew that he could always count on them to keep "good massa"happy in his self-image of being so "good" and "righteous." "Good massa" always heard just what hewanted to hear from these "house" and "yard" blacks. "You're such a good, _fine_ massa!" Or, "Oh,massa, those old black nigger fieldhands out there, they're happy just like they are; why, massa,they're not intelligent enough for you to try and do any better for them, massa-"Well, slavery time's "house" and "yard" Negroes had become more sophisticated, that was all. Whennow the white man picked up his telephone and dialed his "house" and "yard" Negroes-why, he didn'teven need to instruct the trained black puppets. They had seen the television program; had read thenewspapers. They were already composing their lines. They knew what to do.

  I'm not going to call any names. But if you make a list of the biggest Negro "leaders," so-called, in 1960,then you've named the ones who began to attack us "field" Negroes who were sounding _insane_,talking that way about "good massa.""By no means do these Muslims represent the Negro masses-" That was the first worry, to reassure"good massa" that he had no reason to be concerned about his fieldhands in the ghettoes. "Anirresponsible hate cult" . . ."an unfortunate Negro image, just when the racial picture is improving-"They were stumbling over each other to get quoted. "A deplorable reverse-racism" . . ."Ridiculouspretenders to the ancient Islamic doctrine" . . ."Heretic anti-Christianity-'

  The telephone in our then small Temple Seven restaurant nearly jumped off the wall. I had a receiveragainst my ear five hours a day. I was listening, and jotting in my notebook, as press, radio, andtelevision people called, all of them wanting the Muslim reaction to the quoted attacks of these black"leaders." Or I was on long-distance to Mr. Muhammad in Chicago, reading from my notebook andasking for Mr. Muhammad's instructions.

  I couldn't understand how Mr. Muhammad could maintain his calm and patience, hearing the things Itold him. I could scarcely contain myself.

   My unlisted home telephone number somehow got out. My wife Betty put down the phone aftertaking one message, and it was ringing again. It seemed that wherever I went, telephones wereringing.

  The calls naturally were directed to me, New York City being the major news-media headquarters,and I was the New York minister of Mr. Muhammad. Calls came, long-distance from San Francisco toMaine . . . from even London, Stockholm, Paris. I would see a Muslim brother at our restaurant, orBetty at home, trying to keep cool; they'd hand me the receiver, and I couldn't believe it, either. Onefunny thing-in all that hectic period, something quickly struck my notice: the Europeans never pressedthe "hate" question. Only the American white man was so plagued and obsessed with being "hated."He was so guilty, it was clear to me, of hating Negroes.

  "Mr. Malcolm X, why do you teach black supremacy, and hate?" A red flag waved for me, somethingchemical happened inside me, every time I heard that. When we Muslims had talked about "the devilwhite man" he had been relatively abstract, someone we Muslims rarely actually came into contactwith, but now here was that devil-in-the-flesh on the phone-with all of his calculating, cold-eyed, self-righteous tricks and nerve and gall. The voices questioning me became to me as breathing, livingdevils.

  And I tried to pour on pure fire in return. "The white man so guilty of white supremacy can't hide_his_ guilt by trying to accuse The Honorable Elijah Muhammad of teaching black supremacy andhate! All Mr. Muhammad is doing is trying to uplift the black man's mentality and the black man'ssocial and economic condition in this country.

  "The guilty, two-faced white man can't decide what he wants. Our slave foreparents would have beenput to death for advocating so-called 'integration' with the white man. Now when Mr. Muhammadspeaks of 'separation,' the white man calls us 'hate-teachers' and 'fascists'!

  "The white man doesn't _want_ the blacks! He doesn't _want_ the blacks that are a parasite upon him!

  He doesn't _want_ this black man whose presence and condition in this country expose the white manto the world for what he is! So why do you attack Mr. Muhammad?"I'd have _scathing_ in my voice; I _felt_ it.

  "For the white man to ask the black man if he hates him is just like the rapist asking the _raped_, or thewolf asking the _sheep_, 'Do you hate me?' The white man is in no moral _position_ to accuse anyoneelse of hate!

  "Why, when all of my ancestors are snake-bitten, and I'm snake-bitten, and I warn my children toavoid snakes, what does that snake sound like accusing _me_ of hate-teaching?""Mr. Malcolm X," those devils would ask, "why is your Fruit of Islam being trained in judo andkarate?" An image of black men learning anything suggesting self-defense seemed to terrify the white man. I'd turn their question around: "Why does judo or karate suddenly get so ominous because blackmen study it? Across America, the Boy Scouts, the YMCA, even the YWCA, the CYP, PAL-they _all_teach judo! It's all right, it'sfine-until _black men_ teach it! Even little grammar school classes, little girls, are taught to defendthemselves-""How many of you are in your organization, Mr. Malcolm X? Right Reverend Bishop T. Chickenwingsays you have only a handful of members-""Whoever tells you how many Muslims there are doesn't know, and whoever does know will nevertell you-"The Bishop Chickenwings were also often quoted about our "anti-Christianity." I'd fire right back onthat:

  "Christianity is the white man's religion. The Holy Bible in the white man's hands and hisinterpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of nonwhite human beings. Every country the white man has conquered with his guns, he has always pavedthe way, and salved his conscience, by carrying the Bible and interpreting it to call the people'heathens' and 'pagans'; then he sends his guns, then his missionaries behind the guns to mop up-"White reporters, anger in their voices, would call us "demagogues," and I would try to be ready after Ihad been asked the same question two or three times.

  "Well, let's go back to the Greek, and maybe you will learn the first thing you need to know about theword 'demagogue.' 'Demagogue' means, actually, 'teacher of the people.' And let's examine somedemagogues. The greatest of all Greeks, Socrates, was killed as a 'demagogue.' Jesus Christ died on thecross because the Pharisees of His day were upholding their law, not the spirit. The modern Phariseesare trying to heap destruction upon Mr. Muhammad, calling him a demagogue, a crackpot, andfanatic. What about Gandhi? The man that Churchill called 'a naked little fakir,' refusing food in aBritish jail? But then a quarter of a billion people, a whole subcontinent, rallied behind Gandhi-andthey twisted the British lion's tail! What about Galileo, standing before his inquisitors, saying 'Theearth _does_ move!' What about Martin Luther, nailing on a door his thesis against the all-powerfulCatholic church which called him 'heretic'? We, the followers of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, aretoday in the ghettoes as once the sect of Christianity's followers were like termites in the catacombsand the grottoes-and they were preparing the grave of the mighty Roman Empire!"I can remember those hot telephone sessions with those reporters as if it were yesterday. The reporterswere angry. I was angry. When I'd reach into history, they'd try to pull me back to the present. Theywould quit interviewing, quit their work, trying to defend their personal white devil selves. Theywould unearth Lincoln and his freeing of the slaves. I'd tell them things Lincoln said in speeches,_against_ the blacks. They would drag up the 1954 Supreme Court decision on school integration.

  "That was one of the greatest magical feats ever performed in America," I'd tell them. "Do you mean totell me that nine Supreme Court judges, who are past masters of legal phraseology, couldn't haveworked their decision to make it stick as _law_? No! It was trickery and magic that told Negroes theywere desegregated-Hooray! Hooray!-and at the same time it told whites 'Here are your loopholes.'"The reporters would try their utmost to raise some "good" white man whom I couldn't refute as such.

  I'll never forget how one practically lost his voice. He asked me did I feel _any_ white men had everdone anything for the black man in America. I told him, "Yes, I can think of two. Hitler, and Stalin. Theblack man in America couldn't get a decent factory job until Hitler put so much pressure on the whiteman. And men Stalin kept up the pressure-'

  But I don't care what points I made in the interviews, it practically never got printed the way I said it. Iwas learning under fire how the press, when it wants to, can twist, and slant. If I had said "Mary had alittle lamb," what probably would have appeared was "Malcolm X Lampoons Mary."Even so, my bitterness was less against the white press than it was against those Negro "leaders" whokept attacking us. Mr. Muhammad said he wanted us to try our best not to publicly counterattack theblack "leaders" because one of the white man's tricks was keeping the black race divided and fightingagainst each other. Mr. Muhammad said that this had traditionally kept the black people fromachieving the unity which was the worst need of the black race in America.

  But instead of abating, the black puppets continued ripping and tearing at Mr. Muhammad and theNation of Islam-until it began to appear as though we were afraid to speak out against these"important" Negroes. That's when Mr. Muhammad's patience wore thin. And with his nod, I beganreturning their fire.

  "Today's Uncle Tom doesn't wear a handkerchief on his head. This modern, twentieth-century UncleThomas now often wears a top hat. He's usually well-dressed and well-educated. He's often thepersonification of culture and refinement. The twentieth-century Uncle Thomas sometimes speaksWith a Yale or Harvard accent. Sometimes he is known as Professor, Doctor, Judge, and Reverend,even Right Reverend Doctor. This twentieth-century Uncle Thomas is a _professional_ Negro . . . bythat I mean his profession is being a Negro for the white man."Never before in America had these hand-picked so-called "leaders" been publicly blasted in this way.

  They reacted to the truth about themselves even more hotly than the devilish white man. Now their"institutional" indictments of us began. Instead of "leaders" speaking as themselves, for themselves,now their weighty name organizations attacked Mr. Muhammad.

  "Black bodies with white heads!" I called them what they were. Every one of those "Negro progress"organizations had the same composition. Black "leaders" were out in the public eye-to be seen by theNegroes for whom they were supposed to be fighting the white man. But obscurely, behind thescenes, was a white boss-a president, or board chairman, or some other title, pulling the real strings.

   It was hot, hot copy, both in the white and the black press. _Life_, _Look_, _Newsweek_ and _Time_reported us. Some newspaper chains began to run not one story, but a series of three, four, or five"exposures" of the Nation of Islam. The _Reader's Digest_ with its worldwide circulation of twenty-four million copies in thirteen languages carried an article titled "Mr. Muhammad Speaks," by thewriter to whom I am telling this book; and that led off other major monthly magazines' coverage of us.

   Before very long, radio and television people began asking me to defend our Nation of Islam in paneldiscussions and debates. I was to be confronted by hand-picked scholars both whites and some ofthose Ph.D. "house" and "yard" Negroes who had been attacking us. Every day, I was more incensedwith the general misrepresentation and distortion of Mr. Muhammad's teachings; I truly think that notonce did it cross my mind that previously I never had been _inside_ a radio or television station-letalone faced a microphone to audiences of millions of people. Prison debating had been my onlyexperience speaking to anyone but Muslims.

  From the old hustling days I knew that there were tricks to everything. In the prison debating, I hadlearned tricks to upset my opponents, to catch them where they didn't expect to be caught. I knewthere were bound to be tricks I didn't know anything about arguing on the air.

  I knew that if I closely studied what the others did, I could learn things in a hurry to help me to defendMr. Muhammad and his teachings.

  I'd walk into those studios. The devils and black Ph.D. puppets would be acting so friendly and"integrated" with each other-laughing and calling each other by first names, and all that; it was such abig lie it made me sick in my stomach. They would even be trying to act friendly toward me-we allknowing they had asked me there to try and beat out my brains. They would offer me coffee. I wouldtell them "No, thanks," to please just tell me where was I supposed to sit. Sometimes the microphonesat on the table before you, at other times a smaller, cylindrical microphone was hung on a cordaround your neck. From the start, I liked those microphones better; I didn't have to keep constantlyaware of my distance from a microphone on the table.

  The program hosts would start with some kind of dice-loading, non-religious introduction for me. Itwould be something like-and we have with us today the fiery, angry chief Malcolm X of the New York Muslims. . . ." I made upmy own introduction. At home, or driving my car, I practiced until I could interrupt a radio ortelevision host and introduce myself.

  "I represent Mr. Elijah Muhammad, the spiritual head of the fastest-growing group of Muslims in theWestern Hemisphere. We who follow him know that he has been divinely taught and sent to us byGod Himself. We believe that the miserable plight of America's twenty million black people is the fulfillment of divine prophecy. We also believe the presence today in America of The Honorable ElijahMuhammad, his teachings among the so-called Negroes, and his naked warning to Americaconcerning her treatment of these so-called Negroes, is all the fulfillment of divine prophecy. I amprivileged to be the minister of ourTemple Number Seven here in New York City which is a part of the Nation of Islam, under the divineleadership of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad-"I would look around at those devils and their trained black parrots staring at me, while I was catchingmy breath-and I had set my tone.

  They would outdo each other, leaping in on me, hammering at Mr. Muhammad, at me, and at theNation of Islam. Those "integration"-mad Negroes-you know what they jumped on. _Why_ couldn'tMuslims _see_ that "integration" was the answer to American Negroes' problems? I'd try to rip that topieces.

  "No _sane_ black man really wants integration! No _sane_ white man really wants integration! Nosane black man really believes that the white man ever will give the black man anything more thantoken integration. No! The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches that for the black man in America theonly solution is complete _separation_ from the white man!"Anyone who has ever heard me on radio or television programs knows that my technique is non-stop,until what I want to get said is said. I was developing the technique then.

  "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that since Western society is deteriorating, it hasbecome overrun with immorality, and God is going to judge it, and destroy it. And the only way theblack people caught up in this society can be saved is not to _integrate_ into this corrupt society, but to_separate_ from it, to a land of our _own_, where we can reform ourselves, lift up our moralstandards, and try to be godly. The Western world's most learned diplomats have failed to solve thisgrave race problem. Her learned legal experts have failed. Her sociologists have failed. Her civilleaders have failed. Her fraternal leaders have failed. Since all of these have _failed_ to solve this raceproblem, it is time for us to sit down and _reason!_ I am certain that we will be forced to agree that ittakes _God Himself_ to solve this grave racial dilemma."Every time I mentioned "separation," some of them would cry that we Muslims were standing for thesame thing that white racists and demagogues stood for. I would explain the difference. "No! We reject_segregation_ even more militantly than you say you do! We want _separation_, which is not thesame! The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that _segregation_ is when your life and libertyare controlled, regulated, _by someone else_. To _segregate_ means to control. Segregation is thatwhich is forced upon inferiors by superiors. But _separation_ is that which is done voluntarily, by twoequals-for the good of both! The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that as long as our peoplehere in America are dependent upon the white man, we will always be begging him for jobs, food,clothing, and housing. And he will always control our lives, regulate our lives, and have the power to segregate us. The Negro here in America has been treated like a child. A child stays within the motheruntil the time of birth! When the time of birth arrives, the child must be separated, or it will _destroy_its mother and itself. The mother can't carry that child after its time. The child cries for and needs itsown world!"Anyone who has listened to me will have to agree that I believed in Elijah Muhammad andrepresented him one hundred per cent. I never tried to take any credit for myself.

  I was never in one of those panel discussions without some of them just waiting their chance to accuseme of "inciting Negroes to violence." I didn't even have to do any special studying to prepare for thatone.

  "The greatest miracle Christianity has achieved in America is that the black man in white Christianhands has not grown violent. It _is_ a miracle that 22 million black people have not _risen up_ againsttheir oppressors-in which they would have been justified by all moral criteria, and even by thedemocratic tradition! It is a miracle that a nation of black people has so fervently continued to believein a turn-the-other-cheek and heaven-for-you-after-you-die philosophy! It _is a miracle_ that theAmerican black people have remained a peaceful people, while catching all the centuries of hell thatthey have caught, here in white man's heaven! The _miracle_ is that the white man's puppet Negro'leaders,' his preachers and the educated Negroes laden with degrees, and others who have beenallowed to wax fat off their black poor brothers, have been able to hold the black masses quiet untilnow."I guarantee you one thing-every time I was mixed up in those studios with those brainwashed,"integration"-mad black puppets, and those tricky devils trying to rip and tear me down, as long as thelittle red light glowed "on the air," I tried to represent Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam tothe utmost.

  Dr. C. Eric Lincoln's book was published amid widening controversy about us Muslims, at just aboutthe time we were starting to put on our first big mass rallies.

  Just as the television "Hate That Hate Produced" title had projected that "hate-teaching" image of us,now Dr. Lincoln's book was titled _The Black Muslims in America_. The press snatched at that name.

  "Black Muslims" was in all the book reviews, which quoted from the book only what was critical of us,and generally praised Dr. Lincoln's writing.

  The public mind fixed on "Black Muslims." From Mr. Muhammad on down, the name "BlackMuslims" distressed everyone in the Nation of Islam. I tried for at least two years to kill off that "BlackMuslims." Every newspaper and magazine writer and microphone I got close to: "_No!_ We are black_people_ here in America. Our _religion_ is Islam. We are properly called 'Muslims'!" But that "BlackMuslims" name never got dislodged.

  Our mass rallies, from their very beginning, were astounding successes. Where once Detroit's struggling little Temple One proudly sent a ten-automobile caravan to Chicago to hear Mr.

  Muhammad, now, from East Coast Temples-the older Temples as well as the new ones that all of themassive publicity had helped us to bring into being-as many as 150, 200 and even as many as 300 big,chartered buses rolled the highways to wherever Mr. Muhammad was going to speak. On each bus,two Fruit of Islam men were in charge. Big three-by-nine-foot painted canvas banners hung on thebuses' sides, to be read by the highway traffic and thousands of people at home and on the sidewalksof the towns the buses passed through.

  Hundreds more Muslims and curious Negroes drove their own cars. And Mr. Muhammad with hispersonal jet plane from Chicago. From the airport to the rally hall, Mr. Muhammad's motorcade had asiren-screaming police escort. Law agencies once had scoffed at our Nation as "black crackpots"; nowthey took special pains to safeguard against some "white crackpots" causing any "incidents" or"accidents."America had never seen such fantastic all-black meetings! To hear Elijah Muhammad, up to tenthousand and more black people poured from public and private transportation to overflow the bighalls we rented, such as the St. Nicholas Arena in New York City, Chicago's Coliseum, andWashington, D.C. 's Uline Arena.

  The white man was barred from attendance-the first time the American black man had ever dreamedof such a thing. And that brought us new attacks from the white man and his black puppets. "Blacksegregationists . . . racists!" Accusing us of segregation! Across America, whites barring blacks wasstandard.

  Many hundreds arrived too late for us to seat them. We always had to wire up outside loudspeakers.

  An electric atmosphere excited the great, shifting masses of black people. The long lines, three andfour abreast, funneling to the meeting hall, were kept in strict order by Fruit of Islam mencommunicating by walkie-talkie. In anterooms just inside the halls, more Fruit of Islam men andwhite-gowned, veiled mature Muslim sisters thoroughly searched every man, woman, and childseeking to enter. Any alcohol and tobacco had to be checked, and any objects which could possibly beused to attempt to harm Mr. Muhammad. He always seemed deathly afraid that some one wouldharm him, and he insisted that everyone be searched to forestall this. Today I understand better, why.

  The hundreds of Fruit of Islam men represented contingents which had arrived early that morning,from their Temples in the nearest cities. Some were detailed as ushers, who seated the people bydesignated sections. The balconies and the rear half of the main floor were filled with black people ofthe general public. Ahead of them were the all-Muslim seating sections-the white-garbed beautifulblack sisters, and the dark-suited, white-shirted brothers. A special section near the front was for blackso-called "dignitaries." Many of these had been invited. Among them were our black puppet andparrot attackers, the intellectuals and professional Negroes over whom Mr. Muhammad grieved somuch, for these were the educated ones who should have been foremost in leading their poor blackbrothers out of the maze of misery and want. We wanted them to miss not a single syllable of thetruths from Mr. Muhammad in person.

   The front two or three press rows were filled with the black reporters and cameramen representing theNegro press, or those who had been hired by the white man's newspapers, magazines, radio, andtelevision. America's black writers should hold a banquet for Mr. Muhammad. Writing about theNation of Islam was the path to success for most of the black writers who now are recognized.

  Up on the speaker's platform, we ministers and other officials of the Nation, entering from backstage,found ourselves chairs in the five or six rows behind the big chair reserved for Mr. Muhammad. Someof the ministers had come hundreds of miles to be present. We would be turning about in our chairs,beaming with smiles, wringing each other's hands, and exchanging "As-Salaam-Alaikum" and "Wa-Alaikum-Salaam" in our genuine deep rejoicing to see each other again.

  Always, meeting us older hands in Mr. Muhammad's service for the first time, there were............

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