Min. Abdul Haleem Farrakhan - Black Solidarity Day Sermon (Tuskegee Chapel, November 7, 1976)
Farrakhan, Abdul Haleem
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In 1976, Min. Abdul Haleem Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam (now known as Louis Farrakhan) was invited to give a speech in the Tuskegee Institute Chapel in observance of Tuskegee Institute's Black Solidarity Day, on Sunday, November 7. Farrakhan delivered his talk at a pivotal moment in the history of the Nation of Islam: after the death of longtime leader Elijah Muhammad in February 1975, his son, Wallace D. Muhammad (later known as Warith Deen Muhammad) was elected Supreme Minister of the Nation of Islam and began to introduce dramatic doctrinal and institutional changes within the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan would later break with Muhammad over the question of the Nation's future, but when Farrakhan came to speak at Tuskegee in 1976 he came to address those who were "turned off by the Nation of Islam's changes" and who were asking "What is happening to the Nation?" and to defend their changing direction as a process of evolution and growth. Farrakhan praises Elijah Muhammad as a David who challenged the Goliath of white supremacy, and who used Goliath's sword -- "the very racism of the Caucasian" -- to challenge the white power structure. But he also re-assess Elijah Muhammad's legacy as a preacher deliberately using "extremism" to "balance" the extremism of white racism. Farrakhan speaks positively of the "fiery eloquence" and evolution of Malcolm X, who he says showed how "a man whose knowledge is far beyond can be seen as an enemy," and of Martin Luther King, "a giant Brother of a man," and re-considers the debate between Malcolm and Martin on the roles of love, anger, separation and extremism in building black solidarity. He also considers the influence of Black Muslim preaching and of Malcolm X on the emergence of black intellectuals like James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka, as well as on the younger generation of activists including Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown. But now that "All of our giants are gone, but we remain," Farrakhan turns to ask what role education, knowledge, leadership and religious revival can play in the evolution of the black community to a new level and the development of solidarity both within the black community and across lines of race. One and a half hours of Farrakhan's talk was recorded and preserved on an audio cassette tape, preserved in the Tuskegee University archives. Digitized by Charles Johnson and Jared McWilliams, April-May 2017.
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