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Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
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CIVIL RIGHTS > ARCHIVE - MAY 2016 - SPOILER THREAD - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

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Spoiler Alert

This is the spoiler thread for the book MALCOLM X: A LIFE OF REINVENTION by Manning Marable.

There are articles/videos/interviews etc. which deal with this book that I am setting up a thread to add any of these items to.

Please feel free to add your own. If you cite any book or author aside from the book being discussed - you have to add the proper citation, book cover, author's photo and author's link.

This way the adds will not be disruptive to the non spoiler conversation. And you can discuss any and all of these without spoiler html because this is not the book discussion thread nor a non spoiler thread. Setting up this spoiler thread for this book will also not clutter up the book discussion thread.

Malcolm X A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable by Manning Marable Manning Marable

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The History Book Club has added the In Memoriam interviews that Manning Marable had with Democracy Now about his life's work on Malcolm X which became a Pulitzer Prize winner after his death.

Here is the link to the videos:

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Malcolm X at interview at UC Berkeley (Oct. 11, 1963)

I believe this interview at UC Berkeley identifies Malcolm X's thought patterns fairly consistently with his other presentations and speeches. This interview was done
in 1963 prior to his break with the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X appears to have a vastly different approach than Martin Luther King. Very interesting listening to someone speak and respond to questions quite openly.

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Malcolm X: (this video shows him indicating that the black history was destroyed by slavery)

Rare color footage of Malcolm X appearing on a television show in Chicago called "City Desk" on March 17, 1963.

Police mugshots from 1944 of the young hoodlum Malcolm Little, before he reinvented himself as Malcolm X. Photograph: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Excerpt from the Guardian article:
"It is, as Manning's title says, not one reinvention, but several. White America in the mid-60s could not stomach the black nationalist for ever pointing his finger. It didn't like Malcolm Little, the sleazy street hustler who had earlier existed in the underbelly of Detroit and New York. But it could do business with the Malcolm slain at the Audubon, for by then he had shed the skin of Malcolm Little, and the layer that embraced the separatist, racist Nation of Islam. He had undertaken the hajj and, noting how people of different races embraced mainstream Islam, he rejected his earlier racism. He recalled in the days before his death his curt dismissal some years earlier of a white college girl who said she wanted to help and was sent away crying. One of his strengths, says Marable, certainly towards the end, was self-awareness. "I did a lot of things as a Muslim that I am sorry for now," Malcolm X was to say.

He was still a danger, to the government and the NoI, for by then his strategy was to make loud and common cause between the disadvantaged African-American communities of the US and administrations with whom he had forged alliances in Africa. He planned to make black America's fight an international one, pursued through the UN. And he had that voice. The "ability to speak on behalf of those to whom society and state had denied a voice due to racial prejudice. He understood their yearnings and anticipated their actions," as Marable writes.

But the threat was of a different quality, for towards the end of his life Malcolm was in favour of using the system to improve the system rather than standing aside. And by 1999, 34 years after his death, the journey was completed to mainstream America's satisfaction. The US postal service, Marable notes, celebrated Malcolm X and his "universal multiculturalism" with a commemorative stamp."

Remainder of article:

Source(s): Youtube, The Guardian

Teri (teriboop) Audubon Ballroom

The restored Audubon Ballroom entrance with terracotta Neptune sculpture. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sometimes listed as William Fox Audubon, Beverly Hills, San Juan Theater.


The Audubon Ballroom served as a multi-functional entertainment facility in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The ballroom was originally constructed in 1912 by Hungarian immigrant William Fox, creator of 20th Century Fox. Thomas W. Lamb, a prominent theater designer, was commissioned by Fox to build the ballroom. The Audubon consisted of a 2500-seat theater, and a seated ballroom for 200 guests on the second floor. The building first functioned as a vaudeville house, later as a movie theater, and eventually as a key meeting place for political activism.

Thomas W. Lamb designed the Audubon Ballroom with a hybrid of mythical and anthropomorphic imagery that heightened its sense of theatricality. The exterior features a three-dimensional polychrome terracotta sculpture of a boat. A personified sculpture of Neptune crowns the front of the ship with a maiden hovering below amidst the tumultuous waves. In a symbolic nod to the building’s creator, the pilasters feature three dimensional terracotta sculptures of red foxes which flank the rounded windows. A unique detail to the exterior is the mix of Greek influence illustrated in the multicolored projecting ionic capitals, comparable to the Erechteion in Greece, with sculptures of sirens laid between the scrolling volutes.The interior, which has now been gutted, had been described as having the same mythological themes. The curtain draped box seating was adorned with a satyr head framed by two beautiful maidens in the periphery. In the 1930s, the Emes Wozedek Jewish congregation began using the rooms in the basement for religious practices. Several workers unions also used the building for meetings including the Municipal Transit Workers, the IRT Brotherhood Union, and the Transportation Workers Union.

The ballroom became an important landmark for the African American community in Harlem and Washington Heights in the 1950s. The annual New York Mardi Gras festival was held in the Audubon Ballroom where the King and Queen of Harlem were crowned. Noted jazz drummer Arthur Zutty Singleton and trumpeter Henry Red Allen both played at the Audubon Ballroom. Upon Malcolm X’s return from his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964, he formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). The organization began to hold weekly meetings at the Audubon Ballroom. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot to death on the stage of the ballroom while delivering a speech. The Audubon Ballroom soon became a cultural landmark in the "history of Afro-American struggle". In the 1960s and 1970s, the San Juan Theater became an important landmark for the Latino community. It showcased many of the popular films of Latin America. It officially closed to the public in 1980.

New York City took possession of the ballroom in 1967 due to back taxes. After the San Juan Theater closed, the building sat vacant and deteriorated over the time. In 1989, Columbia University reached an agreement with the city and the Port Authority Of New York and New Jersey to demolish the Audubon Ballroom in order to build a research medical facility. African American community activists along with preservationists and Columbia University students protested the potential demolition and eventually reached a compromise to protect the 2/3rds of the original facade of the building and a portion of the interior ballroom; the San Juan Theater was demolished. The complex now serves as the Audubon Business and Technology Center. The university restored the Broadway portion of the facade, which contains the three-dimensional sculpture of the Neptune on the ship. The interior of the lobby contains a portion of the ballroom where Malcolm X was assassinated that was protected and restored. In 2005, the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center opened in the lobby of the Audubon Hall in order to commemorate the contributions Malcolm X made to the civil rights movement.

Current Status

The Audubon Ballroom now functions as the Audubon Business and Technology Center. In 2005, a portion of the former ballroom was converted into the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

Preservation Campaigns

The Audubon Ballroom's significance resonated among many ethnic groups as an important landmark worthy of preservation. The ballroom originally functioned as an entertainment center showcasing vaudeville acts and movies. For the Jewish community, it was a haven for the religious practices of the Emes Wozendek congregation. Yet it was also the location where several labor unions were created. The most notorious event that occurred in the ballroom was Malcolm X's assassination. Soon after his assassination, the structure became a symbol for the civil rights movement.

One of the most unrecognized aspects of the Audubon's history is the San Juan Theater, which showcased popular films of Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s. The battle to preserve the Audubon Ballroom represented the changing tides of preservation in New York City in which cultural significance became as equally important as architectural merit.

Columbia University Proposal to Raze the Audubon Ballroom

After the theater closed in 1980, the Audubon sat vacant and suffered deterioration. The once gleaming variegated terracotta exterior became caked with graffiti. The city had usurped the building in 1967 due to back taxes. Columbia University in partnership with the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey planned to demolish the Audubon Ballroom in order to build a new building, the Center for Commercial Biotech Research. This new research facility would be strategically located across the street from the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The proposal presented a conundrum: while the construction of the building would bring jobs to an area in need of economic revitalization, it would mean destroying an important part of history that symbolized cultural importance for a variety of different groups. The city argued this $22 million dollar project would bring jobs to the poor area of Washington Heights, which had suffered an economic downturn because of the fiscal crisis on the 1970s. Mayor David Dinkins, along with Community Board 12, was heavily in favor of the project.

A Movement Divided

It was a contentious battle for preservationists and African Americans because of the controversial events that took place at the building and the economic benefits the project hoped to bring to Washington Heights. Preservationists were torn over whether or not the Audubon Ballroom should be designated as a New York City Landmark or if some form of compromise could be reached in saving portions of the building. Yet, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission refused to hold a hearing for the Audubon Theater's potential designation.

Some of the groups that were against the demolition included the Sugar Hill Historical Society, the Upper Manhattan Society for Progress Through Preservation, and the Malcolm X Coalition to Save the Audubon Ballroom (an ad hoc group formed to preserve the legacy of Malcolm X). However, groups such as the New York City Landmarks Conservancy and the Municipal Art Society were willing to breach a compromise with the proposed project. The Municipal Art Society assembled a pro bono team of architects to investigate the ballroom structure to see if remnants of the building could be salvaged. They composed a plan that included the adaptive reuse of the building as the biotech research facility while retaining the original facade and restoring the terracotta detailing. The role of the Municipal Art Society ultimately influenced the protection of portions of the Audubon Ballroom. Without their involvement, other groups would not have been as successful for at least securing a compromise. Unfortunately, the San Juan Theater would have to be destroyed for the research facility. According to historian Luis Aponte-Pares, Latino-Americans lacked the financial resources to protect the San Juan Theatre.

Not all preservation groups were satisfied with this compromise. For instance, the Upper Manhattan Society for Progress Through Preservation president, Michael Henry Adams, argued that it was not fair to preserve only part of the structure. He believed it set a bad precedent for what parts of history were considered worthy of preservation.

The Compromise

Luckily preservationists had a political ally in their pursuit to save the Audubon Ballroom. Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger had to approve the project in order for Columbia University to receive public funding. Messinger was a strong advocate for the restoration of the full facade and interior of the Audubon Ballroom. The Port Authority discovered a loophole, that allowed for the city to secure funding for the project without the approval of the Manhattan Borough President. In order to negotiate a compromise with the Port Authority, Messinger advocated for the adaptive reuse of the Audubon Ballroom, which included retaining 2/3rds of the front facade facing Broadway and 40% of the ballroom where Malcolm X was shot. Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X's widow, also supported the compromise with the plan to convert this section into a museum and memorial. In 1990, the Board of Estimate approved the plan to preserve the portion of the facade and interior ballroom. The proposal also stipulated that local residents would be provided with jobs. The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and educational facility officially opened in 2005.

Although preservationists were unsuccessful in designating the Audubon Ballroom as a New York City Landmark, the compromise exemplifies that preservation can work with new development by using innovative solutions for its protection. This battle illustrates the complexities involved in landmarking buildings yet it also reinforces that historic buildings can still be protected by other methods other than the use of local legislation. However, if the Audubon building had been designated as a NYC Landmark, the outcome would have preserved the ballroom in its entirety.
(Source: The New York Preservation Archive Project)

Forgotten New York Views of a Lost Metropolis by Kevin Walsh by Kevin Walsh Kevin Walsh
Betty Shabazz A Remarkable Story of Survival and Faith Before and After Malcolm X by Russell J. Rickford by Russell J. Rickford

Teri (teriboop) Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) 1965

Malcolm X at the Founding Rally of the OAAU, Audubon Ballroom, New York City, 1964

The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was founded by Malcolm X, John Henrik Clarke, and other black nationalist leaders on June 24, 1964 in Harlem, New York. Formed shortly after his break with the Nation of Islam, the OAAU was a secular institution that sought to unify 22 million non-Muslim African Americans with the people of the African Continent. The OAAU was modeled after the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a coalition of 53 African nations working to provide a unified political voice for the continent. In the coalition spirit of the OAU, Malcolm X sought to reconnect African Americans with their African heritage, establish economic independence, and promote African American self-determination. He also sought OAAU representation on the OAU.

The OAAU was designed to encompass all peoples of African origin in the Western hemisphere, as well those on the African continent. Malcolm X insisted that progress for African Americans was intimately tied to progress in Africa, and outlined a platform of five fronts for this progress called "The Basic Unity Program." This program called for Restoration, Reorientation, Education, Economic Security, and Self-Defense as a means of promoting Pan-African unity and interests. With a strong focus on education as the primary means of repairing the damages of slavery, economic discrimination, and physical violence directed towards African Americans, the OAAU hoped to foster pan-African consciousness. Among the more controversial positions taken by the OAAU was the suggestion that leaders of African states held more legitimate political power for African Americans than did the American government.

At the founding conference, Malcolm X stressed the importance of escaping terms like "negro," "integration," or "emancipation," insisting that such language was inherently pejorative and antithetical to the ideology of the OAAU. The OAAU called for African American-run institutions within the black community as well as increased participation in mainstream politics. In order to keep the OAAU strictly in African American hands, Malcolm X insisted that there be no monetary donations from non-African sources. The organization also refused membership to whites.

After Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom on February 19, 1965, the fledgling movement died. Malcolm's half-sister Ella Collins took over the OAAU, but without his charismatic leadership, most members deserted the organization. Nonetheless the OAAU became the inspiration for hundreds of "black power" groups that emerged during the next decade.

Malcolm The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America by Bruce Perry by Bruce Perry (no photo)
From Civil Rights to Black Liberation Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-America Unity by William W. Sales Jr. by William W. Sales Jr. (no photo)

Teri (teriboop) Nation of Islam (NOI)

Nation of Islam in America: A Nation of Beauty & Peace

On July the Fourth, the day of America’s Independence celebration, He announced the beginning of His mission which was to restore and to resurrect His lost and found people, who were identified as the original members of the Tribe of Shabazz from the Lost Nation of Asia. The lost people of the original nation of African descent, were captured, exploited, and dehumanized to serve as servitude slaves of America for over three centuries. His mission was to teach the downtrodden and defenseless Black people a thorough Knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to Self-Independence with a superior culture and higher civilization than they had previously experienced.

He taught us the ways of love and peace, of truth and beauty. We are being led into the path of a new spiritual culture and civilization of complete harmony and peace, one of refinement in the pursuit of happiness and eternal joy in the Supreme Knowledge of God and the Science of everything in life.

IN 1931, THE MASTER WAS preaching this Great Truth of salvation when He met a man named Elijah Poole in Detroit, Michigan. He chose him to be His Divine Representative in continuing this most difficult task of bringing truth and light to His lost and found people. For 3 1/2 years He taught and trained the Honorable Elijah Muhammad night and day into the profound Secret Wisdom of the Reality of God, which included the hidden knowledge of the original people who were the first founders of civilization of our Planet and who had a full knowledge of the Universal Order of Things from the beginning of the Divine Creation.

Upon the Master’s departure in 1934, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad labored tirelessly to bring life to his mentally and spiritually dead people until his return to the Master in 1975. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad identified the Master as being the answer to the one that the world had been expecting for the past 2,000 years under the names Messiah, the second coming of Jesus, the Christ, Jehovah, God, and the Son of Man. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad asked Him to identify Himself He replied that He was the Mahdi. He signed His name in 1933 as Master Wallace Fard Muhammad to express the meaning of One Who had come in the Early Morning Dawn of the New Millennium to lay the base for a New World Order of Peace and Righteousness on the foundation of Truth and Justice; to put down tyrants and to change the world into a Heaven on Earth.

During the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s initial 44 years, he suffered persecution & rejection from the very people whom he was appointed as a Servant of God. He was rejected and despised by the 10 percent leaders of America and the world because he revealed a Greater Truth and Wisdom that would end the old world of Satan’s rule and dominion. He was not self-taught or self-made but ONE MIGHTY IN POWER had taught him what he knew not. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had never received any more than a fourth grade education, yet his heart was true in what he saw and he saw the greatest of the Signs of his Lord.

The more converts that he made in the cities, in the by-ways, and in the highways of this land, along with receiving honor and fame abroad, the powerful leaders and rulers of this world grew in opposition. As the baby Nation of Islam came to birth in America, the world rulers were shaken in their foundation to learn of this miraculous achievement, and are today frustrated in plans to prevent our survival. The theme of the Holy Qur’an and Bible that most clearly defines this struggle is revealed in the history of Pharaoh’s opposition to Moses and Aaron in the delivery of Israel in bondage in Egypt.

THE NATION OF ISLAM WAS founded on the basis of peace and as an answer to a prayer of Abraham to deliver his people who would be found in servitude slavery in the Western Hemisphere in this day and time. The Flag of Islam with the symbols of the Sun, Moon, and the Stars, represent the Universe and is also a Banner of Universal peace and Harmony. Our Holy Temples of Islam were established in America as sanctuaries of peace and higher learning into the Knowledge of the Oneness of God. Our schools are called Universities of Islam and teach the higher meaning of Islam which is Mathematics. We have always been taught to respect the laws of the land. We are taught never to carry arms, to make war or to be the aggressor, for this is against the nature of the righteous. We are taught the Principles of Divine Unity and the Universal Brotherhood of Islam.

We are taught cleanliness inwardly and outwardly with the practice of good manners and respect to one and all. We are taught that the family is the back bone of society and that our children must be reared to reflect the highest morals and training to perfect our society. We are trained to eat and to prepare the best of foods for the longevity of life, without the use of alcohol, smoking and substance abuse which endangers the ethics of healthy living. We are taught to respect and protect our women who are the mothers of civilization.

Our women are taught a dress code of modesty that will lead to the practice of high morality. We are trained to be an exemplary community expressing the highest spiritual goals for the reform of ourselves and others based on wisdom, knowledge and beauty.

Contrary to the inflammatory rhetoric that has been utilized by the news media and some community leaders to condemn the positive effects of Islam’s influence in today’s modern society, just the opposite is being proven true. The Nation of Islam (The Nation of Peace) represents hope to millions of our people in America and around the globe who have been deprived of the high standards of a righteous way of life.

This unity and love so sorely absent from our communities was genuinely exemplified by the millions of participants on the day of the Million Man March held in Washington, D.C., October 16, 1995. The exemplary Spiritual Leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan in the rebuilding of the Nation of Islam in America is showing the way in the breaking down of barriers of communication throughout the society regardless to one’s religious, racial, or ideological beliefs and views.

Through God’s Divine Guidance, we are extending this Divine Work of moral and spiritual reform throughout the Western Hemisphere. God’s Light and Truth will prevail against the darkness and falsehood of all opposition. In spite of the controversy and clamor surrounding the Nation of Islam and it’s Divine Leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, we are forging ahead in the Spirit of Almighty God, Allah, to unite with all of humanity in the Oneness of God, where all people of goodwill of every Race and of every Nation may participate in the Universal Expression of the Principles of Peace and the Brotherhood of man. This is the Beautiful Community of the Nation of Islam that is coming to birth in America on this Farthest Western Horizon in fulfillment of the Prophecy that God would meet with Muhammad for a second time and reveal to His servant What He Revealed. Thus the world is witnessing the Sun of Islam arising in the West. Praise the Holy Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Where do we go from here in the remaining four years of the twentieth century? Will we continue to argue, to condemn, to fight and kill one another; or will we sit down and counsel with one another in seeking a just solution to the problems that beset us in America and in the world? Wisdom decrees that in counsel and in dialogue is the way to peace. Foolishness decrees that if we ignore the warning signs, we will fall into the deeper abyss of Hell. God is the Judge today; and most surely upon Him do the Believers rely!

Document written by Minister, Writer, Music Composer
and wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
Mother Tynetta Muhammad
March 28, 1996

History of the Nation of Islam by Elijah Muhammad by Elijah Muhammad (no photo)
The Nation of Islam Understanding the Black Muslims by Steven Tsoukalas by Steven Tsoukalas (no photo)

Teri (teriboop) Muslim Mosque, Inc.

Malcolm X announced the establishment of Muslim Mosque, Inc. on March 12, 1964, four days after his departure from the Nation of Islam. The group's membership consisted primarily of former Nation of Islam members. In a 2003 interview, one of its former leaders recalled that MMI started with a core of about 50 dedicated activists.

Malcolm X spent much of the time between March 1964 and February 1965 overseas. In his absence, James 67X Shabazz served as the de facto leader of Muslim Mosque, Inc.

Between March 1964, when he left the Nation of Islam, and February 1965, when he was assassinated, Malcolm X's philosophy evolved as he traveled through Africa and the Middle East. Those changes confused many members of Muslim Mosque, Inc.

Initially, the teachings of Muslim Mosque, Inc. were similar to those of the Nation of Islam. When Malcolm X became a Sunni Muslim, made the hajj, and wrote to the members of MMI from Mecca about his pilgrimage and how it had forced him to reject the racism that had previously characterized his views of white people, many members could not believe what they were hearing. The Nation of Islam had taught that no white people were permitted in the holy city of Mecca. Some MMI members refused to believe that Malcolm X had become a Sunni, and others thought he was being misquoted when he wrote about white people.

By May 1964, membership in Muslim Mosque, Inc. had grown to 125, and the group was attracting people who were not former Nation of Islam members.

Malcolm X sought acceptance of Muslim Mosque, Inc. by mainstream Islamic organizations. In August 1964, the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs awarded 20 scholarships to permit young MMI members to study at Al-Azhar University tuition-free. Also in August, MMI was admitted to the Islamic Federation of the United States and Canada. The following month the World Islamic League offered 15 scholarships through MMI for study at the Islamic University of Madinah.

Following the assassination of Malcolm X in February 1965, Muslim Mosque, Inc. foundered and was disbanded.

The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, located at 130 West 113th Street in Harlem, is a successor to Muslim Mosque, Inc.
(Source: Wikipedia)

They Thought They Were Followers of Elijah Muhammad But Then It Was Too Late by Elijah Hakim by Elijah Hakim (no photo)
Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts by Randy Roberts (no photo)

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Post moved from Malcolm X main discussion thread - due to no headers and no citations:

Rachel wrote:

Response to introductory questions: - (added by moderator)

(view spoiler)

Citations added by moderator:

Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts by Randy Roberts (no photo)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X

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Post moved from Malcolm X main discussion thread - due to no headers and no citations:

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Responses to Introductory Questions and Other Source with spoilers - added by moderator - header missing - if spoiler launched - a spoiler from another book within

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Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts by Randy Roberts (no photo)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X

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Teri (teriboop) Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl’s civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm’s fourth birthday.

Regardless of the Little’s efforts to elude the Legion, in 1929, their Lansing, Michigan home was burned to the ground. Two years later, Earl’s body was found lying across the town’s trolley tracks. Police ruled both incidents as accidents, but the Littles were certain that members of the Black Legion were responsible. Louise suffered emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband and was committed to a mental institution, while her children were split up among various foster homes and orphanages.

Eventually, Malcolm and his long-time friend, Malcolm “Shorty” Jarvis, moved back to Boston. In 1946, they were arrested and convicted on burglary charges, and Malcolm was sentenced to 10 years in prison, although he was granted parole after serving seven years.

Recalling his days in school, he used the time to further his education. It was during this period of self-enlightenment that Malcolm’s brother Reginald would visit and discuss his recent conversion to the Muslim religion. Reginald belonged to the religious organization the Nation of Islam (NOI).

Intrigued, Malcolm began to study the teachings of NOI leader Elijah Muhammad. Muhammad taught that white society actively worked to keep African-Americans from empowering themselves and achieving political, economic, and social success. Among other goals, the NOI fought for a state of their own, separate from one inhabited by white people. By the time he was paroled in 1952, Malcolm was a devoted follower with the new surname “X” (He considered “Little” a slave name and chose the “X” to signify his lost tribal name.).

Intelligent and articulate, Malcolm was appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam. Elijah Muhammad also charged him with establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan, and Harlem. Malcolm utilized newspaper columns, as well as radio and television, to communicate the NOI’s message across the United States. His charisma, drive, and conviction attracted an astounding number of new members. Malcolm was largely credited with increasing membership in the NOI from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.

The crowds and controversy surrounding Malcolm made him a media magnet. He was featured in a weeklong television special with Mike Wallace in 1959, called The Hate That Hate Produced. The program explored the fundamentals of the NOI, and tracked Malcolm’s emergence as one of its most important leaders. After the special, Malcolm was faced with the uncomfortable reality that his fame had eclipsed that of his mentor Elijah Muhammad. In addition to the media, Malcolm’s vivid personality had captured the government’s attention. As membership in the NOI continued to grow, FBI agents infiltrated the organization (one even acted as Malcolm’s bodyguard) and secretly placed bugs, wiretaps, cameras, and other surveillance equipment to monitor the group’s activities. Malcolm’s faith was dealt a crushing blow at the height of the civil rights movement in 1963. He learned that his mentor and leader, Elijah Muhammad, was secretly having relations with as many as six women within the Nation of Islam organization. As if that were not enough, Malcolm found out that some of these relationships had resulted in children.

Since joining the NOI, Malcolm had strictly adhered to the teachings of Muhammad, which included remaining celibate until his marriage to Betty Shabazz in 1958. Malcolm refused Muhammad’s request to help cover up the affairs and subsequent children. He was deeply hurt by Muhammad’s actions, because he had previously considered him a living prophet. Malcolm also felt guilty about the masses he had led to join the NOI, which he now felt was a fraudulent organization built on too many lies to ignore.

Shortly after his shocking discovery, Malcolm received criticism for a comment he made regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “[Kennedy] never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon,” said Malcolm. After the statement, Elijah Muhammad “silenced” Malcolm for 90 days. Malcolm, however, suspected he was silenced for another reason. In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the NOI. Unable to look past Muhammad’s deception, Malcolm decided to found his own religious organization, the Muslim Mosque, Inc.

That same year, Malcolm went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, which proved to be life altering for him. For the first time, Malcolm shared his thoughts and beliefs with different cultures and found the response to be overwhelmingly positive. When he returned, Malcolm said he had met “blonde-haired, blued-eyed men I could call my brothers.” He returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration and a new hope for the future. This time when Malcolm spoke, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races.

After Malcolm resigned his position in the Nation of Islam and renounced Elijah Muhammad, relations between the two had become increasingly volatile. FBI informants working undercover in the NOI warned officials that Malcolm had been marked for assassination–one undercover officer had even been ordered to help plant a bomb in Malcolm’s car.

After repeated attempts on his life, Malcolm rarely traveled anywhere without bodyguards. On February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm, Betty, and their four daughters lived in East Elmhurst, New York was firebombed. Luckily, the family escaped physical injury.

One week later, however, Malcolm’s enemies were successful in their ruthless attempt. At a speaking engagement in the Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965, three gunmen rushed Malcolm onstage. They shot him 15 times at close range. The 39-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Fifteen hundred people attended Malcolm’s funeral in Harlem on February 27, 1965 at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ (now Child’s Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ). After the ceremony, friends took the shovels away from the waiting gravediggers and buried Malcolm themselves.

Later that year, Betty gave birth to their twin daughters.

Malcolm’s assassins, Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson, were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1966. The three men were all members of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X’s legacy has moved through generations as the subject of numerous documentaries, books, and movies. A tremendous resurgence of interest occurred in 1992 when director Spike Lee released the acclaimed movie, Malcolm X. The film received Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Costume Design.

Malcolm X is buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X
Malcolm X The Last Speeches by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X
Malcolm X Speaks Selected Speeches and Statements by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X
Malcolm X by Arnold Adoff by Arnold Adoff Arnold Adoff
Malcolm X By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers by Walter Dean Myers Walter Dean Myers

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Great glossary item Teri.

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Teri (teriboop) Elijah Muhammad


Elijah Muhammad, son of a sharecropper, was born into poverty in Sandersville, Georgia, on October 7, 1897. After moving to Detroit in 1923, he met W. D. Fard, founder of the black separatist movement Nation of Islam. Muhammad became Fard’s successor from 1934-75 and was known for his controversial preaching. His followers included Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan. He died February 25, 1975, in Chicago.

Early Life

Elijah Muhammad was born Robert Poole in Sandersville, Georgia, on October 7, 1897. He was one of 13 children of William and Mariah (Hall) Poole; his father was a sharecropper, and his mother was a domestic worker. He grew up in Cordele, Georgia, where he attended school only through the fourth grade and dropped out to begin working in sawmills and brickyards. At an early age, he witnessed extreme prejudice and violence toward blacks. He married Clara Evans in 1919 and eventually had eight children with her. In 1923, seeking better employment and a more tolerant environment, he moved his own family, parents and siblings to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked in an auto factory.

Nation of Islam

In 1931 he met Wallace D. Fard, a former salesman preaching a new form of Islam tailored to the needs and problems of black Americans. Poole converted to Islam and adopted Fard’s teachings, and Fard gave him a new name, Elijah Muhammad, and a new way of life. Some of Fard’s doctrines, such as a cosmology that identified blacks as the original race and white people as “devils” created later by a mad scientist named Yakub, are still difficult to interpret. Other teachings, such as self-reliance, clean living and the promise of a future in which blacks would no longer be oppressed, had obvious appeal for Muhammad and other black Muslims.


When Fard mysteriously disappeared in 1934, the Nation of Islam split into several rival factions. Muhammad moved a group of followers to Chicago, where he established Temple of Islam No. 2 as the new headquarters of the religion. There he began to spread the word of the Nation of Islam, slowly but steadily attracting new members.

Muhammad was imprisoned from 1942 for 1946 for evading the draft. After his release, he returned to leadership of the Nation of Islam. He declared that Fard had been an incarnation of Allah and that he himself was now Allah’s messenger. Over the next 30 years, Muhammad built the religion from a small fringe group into a large and complex organization that attracted controversy along with its new prominence. He continued to preach financial independence for black Americans, racial separation rather than integration, and a strict code of moral behavior. His writings included Message to the Black Man (1965) and How to Eat to Live (1972).

Later Life and Legacy

When Muhammad died of congestive heart failure on February 25, 1975, he left behind a thriving religious movement with a membership as high as 250,000. Its social and political influence was matched by the success of its financial enterprises: real estate holdings, a national newspaper called Muhammad Speaks and numerous independent businesses. His most famous disciples included civil rights activists Malcolm X, who had first corresponded with Muhammad from prison, and Louis Farrakhan. He was succeeded as leader of the Nation of Islam by his son W. Deen Mohammed.

The Messenger The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad by Karl Evanzz by Karl Evanzz (no photo)
Message to the Blackman in America by Elijah Muhammad by Elijah Muhammad (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Universal Negro Improvement Association - UNIA

The Flag of the UNIA

As Marcus Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1914, after four years in Central America and Europe, he came upon the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, the conservative dean of American black leaders. It was while reading Up from Slavery, Garvey said, that he developed his vision for the Universal Negro Improvement Association. "Where is the black man's government?" Garvey asked himself. "Where is his King and his kingdom? Where is his President, his ambassador, his country, his men of big affairs? I could not find them," he said, "and then I declared, 'I will help to make them.'"

On July 20, 1914, Marcus Garvey, at the age of twenty-eight, founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association. His co-founder was Amy Ashwood, who would later become his first wife. The U.N.I.A. was originally conceived as a benevolent or fraternal reform association dedicated to racial uplift and the establishment of educational and industrial opportunities for blacks, taking Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute as a model. The U.N.I.A. floundered in Jamaica. But shortly after Garvey's relocation to Harlem in 1916, New York became the headquarters of the movement. The Harlem branch started with 17 members meeting in a dingy basement. But by the spring of 1918, Garvey's strong advocacy of black economic and political independence had taken hold, and U.N.I.A. branches and divisions were springing up in cities and towns across the country, and then in different parts of the world. By 1920 Garvey claimed nearly a thousand local divisions in the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, Canada and Africa.

Garvey's followers were largely ordinary people, described by the Baltimore Observer as "cooks, porters, hodcarriers, and washwomen," and said Garvey should have on the official seal of the empire "a washtub, a frying pan, a bailhook and a mop." Large branch meetings were like religious revivals, with entire families gathering for a day of debates, fashion shows, classical music, plays and vaudeville acts. Garvey gave his followers, who were dispossessed in the broader society, a sense of belonging. Men could join the African Legion. For young people, the U.N.I.A. Juvenile Division. And in the Black Cross Nurses and the Universal Motor Corps, the Garvey movement offered black women a place of their own. He created the red, black and green flag to symbolize black unity. And there were official U.N.I.A. slogans, prayers, poetry and songs.

Garvey was known to rule the U.N.I.A. with an iron hand. He did not tolerate disagreement on even insignificant matters, and demanded complete loyalty from U.N.I.A. members. His autocratic style would over the years cause considerable dissention within the ranks, and turnover and defections among the U.N.I.A.'s top leadership.

In addition to the internal problems of the Garvey movement, Garvey and the U.N.I.A. became targets of the Bureau of Investigation (the precursor to the FBI) in a campaign directed by the then up-and-coming J.Edgar Hoover. For five years beginning in 1919, largely under Hoover's direction, Bureau of Investigation officers would report on U.N.I.A. activities in over two dozen cities. Hoover would also coordinate the actions of at least seven federal government agencies investigating Garvey, in what some experts have called a personal vendetta.

Membership in the U.N.I.A. declined after Garvey's incarceration for federal mail fraud between 1925 and 1927, and his deportation in 1927 increased the factionalization within the movement. A new U.N.I.A. and African Communities League of the World, over which Garvey presided, was incorporated at the 1929 U.N.I.A. convention in Kingston. It was distinguished from the rival U.N.I.A., Inc., in New York, headed by Fred A. Toote in 1929, and by Lionel Francis in 1931. Part of the American-based movement remained loyal to Garvey, notably the Garvey Club and the Tiger Division of New York. In 1935, after being deported from America and spending a few years in Jamaica, Garvey moved his headquarters to London. After his death in 1940, Garveyite loyalists elected a new slate of officers in New York, and the headquarters of the parent body was moved to Cleveland under the direction of a new president general, James Stewart, who eventually relocated to Monrovia, Liberia.
Source: PBS

Black Moses The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association by E. David Cronon by E. David Cronon (no photo)
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington by Booker T. Washington Booker T. Washington

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Teri (teriboop) Marcus Garvey
Civil Rights Activist (1887–1940)


Born in Jamaica, Marcus Garvey was an orator for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Garvey advanced a Pan-African philosophy which inspired a global mass movement, known as Garveyism. Garveyism would eventually inspire others, from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement.

Early Life

Social activist Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born on August 17, 1887, in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica. Self-educated, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, dedicated to promoting African-Americans and resettlement in Africa. In the United States he launched several businesses to promote a separate black nation. After he was convicted of mail fraud and deported back to Jamaica, he continued his work for black repatriation to Africa.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was the last of 11 children born to Marcus Garvey, Sr. and Sarah Jane Richards. His father was a stone mason, and his mother a domestic worker and farmer. Garvey, Sr. was a great influence on Marcus, who once described him as "severe, firm, determined, bold, and strong, refusing to yield even to superior forces if he believed he was right." His father was known to have a large library, where young Garvey learned to read.

At age 14, Marcus became a printer's apprentice. In 1903, he traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, and soon became involved in union activities. In 1907, he took part in an unsuccessful printer's strike and the experience kindled in him a passion for political activism. Three years later, he traveled throughout Central America working as an newspaper editor and writing about the exploitation of migrant workers in the plantations. He later traveled to London where he attended Birkbeck College (University of London) and worked for the African Times and Orient Review, which advocated Pan-African nationalism.

Founding the United Negro Improvement Association

Inspired by these experiences, Marcus Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1912 and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) with the goal of uniting all of African diaspora to "establish a country and absolute government of their own." After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, the American educator who founded Tuskegee Institute, Garvey traveled to the United States in 1916 to raise funds for a similar venture in Jamaica. He settled in New York City and formed a UNIA chapter in Harlem to promote a separatist philosophy of social, political, and economic freedom for blacks. In 1918, Garvey began publishing the widely distributed newspaper Negro World to convey his message.

By 1919, Marcus Garvey and UNIA had launched the Black Star Line, a shipping company that would establish trade and commerce between Africans in America, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Canada and Africa. At the same time, Garvey started the Negros Factories Association, a series of companies that would manufacture marketable commodities in every big industrial center in the Western hemisphere and Africa.

In August 1920, UNIA claimed 4 million members and held its first International Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Before a crowd of 25,000 people from all over world, Marcus Garvey spoke of having pride in African history and culture. Many found his words inspiring, but not all. Some established black leaders found his separatist philosophy ill-conceived. W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent black leader and officer of the N.A.A.C.P. called Garvey, "the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America." Garvey felt Du Bois was an agent of the white elite.

Charges and Loss of Authority

In 1922, Marcus Garvey and three other UNIA officials were charged with mail fraud involving the Black Star Line. The trial records indicate several improprieties occurred in the prosecution of the case. It didn't help that the shipping line's books contained many accounting irregularities. On June 23, 1923, Garvey was convicted and sentenced to prison for five years. Claiming to be a victim of a politically motivated miscarriage of justice, Garvey appealed his conviction, but was denied. In 1927 he was released from prison and deported to Jamaica.

Garvey continued his political activism and the work of UNIA in Jamaica, and then moved to London in 1935. But he did not command the same influence he had earlier. Perhaps in desperation or maybe in delusion, Garvey collaborated with outspoken segregationist and white supremacist Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi to promote a reparations scheme. The Greater Liberia Act of 1939 would deport 12 million African-Americans to Liberia at federal expense to relieve unemployment. The act failed in Congress, and Garvey lost even more support among the black population.

Death and Legacy

Marcus Garvey died in London in 1940 after several strokes. Due to travel restrictions during World War II, his body was interred in London. In 1964, his remains were exhumed and taken to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him Jamaica's first national hero and re-interred him at a shrine in the National Heroes Park. But his memory and influence remain. His message of pride and dignity inspired many in the early days of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. In tribute to his many contributions, Garvey's bust has been displayed in the Organization of American States' Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C. The country of Ghana has named its shipping line the Black Star Line and its national soccer team the Black Stars, in honor of Garvey.

Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa by John Henrik Clarke by John Henrik Clarke (no photo)
Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons A Centennial Companion to the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers by Marcus M. Garvey by Marcus Garvey Marcus Garvey

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Teri (teriboop) Black Star Line

"They said that the Negro had no initiative; that he was not a business man, but a laborer; that he had not the brain to engineer a corporation, to own and run ships; that he had no knowledge of navigation, therefore the proposition was impossible.
Oh! ye of little faith. The Eternal has happened."

-- Marcus Garvey, on the launching of the Black Star Line

"There is that joke of the maritime world -- the Black Star Line...I should like to inquire as to where that Black Star Line is, anyhow? Is it on top of, or under the water? Are the ships sailing or being assailed by the courts?"
-- A. Philip Randolph in The Messengermagazine, August 1922

The Black Star Line was the steamship company operated by Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association from 1919 to 1922. The Black Star Line was to be the U.N.I.A.'s vehicle for promoting worldwide commerce among black communities. In Garvey's vision, Black Star Line ships would transport manufactured goods, raw materials, and produce among black businesses in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and become the linchpin in a global black economy.

The Black Star Line was incorporated in Delaware on June 23, 1919 and was capitalized at a maximum of $500,000. Shares were valued at five dollars each, and individuals could purchase a maximum of two hundred shares. Black Star Line stock was sold at U.N.I.A. meetings and conventions, by traveling agents, by mailed circulars, and through advertisements in The Negro World newspaper.

To the surprise of his critics, just three months after the incorporation of the Black Star Line, Garvey announced the purchase of its first ship. The "S. S. Yarmouth," which Garvey intended to rename the "Frederick Douglass," would set sail with an all-black crew under the command of a black captain, Joshua Cockburn.

From the beginning of the Black Star Line, Garvey faced chaos and betrayal. The "Yarmouth" had been used as a coal boat in World War I, and was in very poor condition at the time of its sale. The ship was reportedly worth no more than $25,000, yet the U.N.I.A. paid $165,000 for it. Joshua Cockburn, Garvey's hand-picked captain, would later be accused of taking a kickback from the purchase price.

In 1920 Garvey spent another two hundred thousand dollars, raised from among his followers, on additional ships not worth the price. The "S. S. Shadyside," a Hudson river excursion boat, carried black passengers on a "cruise to nowhere" on the Hudson one summer, and in the fall, sprang a leak and sank. The steam yacht "Kanawha" (renamed the "S. S. Antonio Maceo") was grandly displayed on a Harlem pier for all Garvey's admirers to see. But on its maiden voyage, the "Kanawha" blew a boiler, killing a man.

The Black Star Line fell victim to overcharging by engineers, thievery by representatives and officers, and sabotage by the Bureau of Investigation, the predecessor to the FBI, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover. But it was also plagued by mismanagement. The "Yarmouth's" first commission was to transport a cargo of whiskey out of the U.S. and into Cuba before the start of Prohibition. The ship made the trip in record time, but arrived in Cuba without docking arrangements, and quickly became entangled in a longshoremen's strike. The "Yarmouth" sat stranded on the docks of Havana, waiting -- and losing money -- for weeks on end. On another Black Star Line voyage, a cargo load of coconuts rotted at sea because Garvey insisted the ship make ceremonial visits to politically important ports. As a business venture, the Black Star Line quickly became a disaster. Garvey's supporters invested what was in many cases their life's savings. Estimates of the company's losses are as high as $1.25 million.

Yet the Black Star Line was a powerful symbol to a dispossessed people. Thousands of Garveyites crowded the dock at 135th Street in Harlem to witness the launching of the "Yarmouth." One spectator described the launch: "We stood on a pile of logs and watched hundreds of people jump up and down, throw up their hats and handkerchiefs and cheer while the "Yarmouth" backed from the wharf and slowly glided down the North River." In Cuba and Central America, thousands of black supporters on horses, donkeys, and makeshift carts descended on the docks to witness the arrival of the first ship they'd ever seen owned and operated by black men.

Though it was ultimately a business fiasco, the Black Star Line was an important symbol of black potential, and a powerful propaganda and recruitment tool for Garvey and the U.N.I.A. It stands as a major achievement. Facing financial ruin, Garvey announced the suspension of the company shortly after his February 1922 indictment on mail fraud charges stemming from the sale of Black Star Line stock.
Source: PBS

A Cadet of the Black Star Line by Ralph D. Paine by Ralph D. Paine (no photo)
Leaving on the Black Star Line by Esther B. Nelson by Esther B. Nelson (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Style Trends of the 50s

The book discusses some fashion and style trends that Malcolm X used. Specifically, Malcolm was known to "conk" his hair and wear Zoot Suits.


Malcolm X with conk hair

The congalene, or conk for short, was a potent solution of potato starch, egg protein, and lye that had to be applied to the hair with protective gloves, kept off the scalp, and washed out quickly. The keratin proteins in the kinky hair were altered so that the strands relaxed and the hair could be styled in different ways, from the piled pompadour to the hair being parted and combed flat. One of the first commercially available conks was created by a company called KKK that was based in Los Angeles and owned by two black entertainers named Peg Leg Bates and Mr. Roe. Lafayette Jones, former executive director of the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute said that “the name KKK was an in-joke, a way of diffusing something that struck terror into the hearts of Blacks.” Few found the joke funny, although the product was quite popular. One could also mix their own, sometimes with disastrous results.
Source: Ask Me About My Hair

Zoot Suit

With its super-sized shoulder pads, sprawling lapels and peg leg pants, the zoot suit grew out of the “drape” suits popular in Harlem dance halls in the mid-1930s. The flowing trousers were tapered at the ankles to prevent jitterbugging couples from getting tripped up while they twirled. By the ’40s, the suits were worn by minority men in working-class neighborhoods throughout the country. Though the zoot suit would be donned by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, it was “not a costume or uniform from the world of entertainment,” the Chicago big-band trumpeter and clothier Harold Fox once said. “It came right off the street and out of the ghetto.’’

Fox was one among many, from Chicago to Harlem to Memphis, who took credit for inventing the zoot suit—the term came out of African-American slang—but it was actually unbranded and illicit: There was no one designer associated with the look, no department store where you could buy one. These were ad hoc outfits, regular suits bought two sizes too large and then creatively tailored to dandyish effect.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Hair Story Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd by Ayana Byrd (no photo)
Zoot Suit The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style by Kathy Peiss by Kathy Peiss Kathy Peiss

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Teri (teriboop) Ku Klux Klan

Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Its members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders. Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. After a period of decline, white Protestant nativist groups revived the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and staging rallies, parades and marches denouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw a surge of Ku Klux Klan activity, including bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black and white activists in the South.


A group including many former Confederate veterans founded the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan as a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1866. The first two words of the organization’s name supposedly derived from the Greek word “kyklos,” meaning circle. In the summer of 1867, local branches of the Klan met in a general organizing convention and established what they called an “Invisible Empire of the South.” Leading Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest was chosen as the first leader, or “grand wizard,” of the Klan; he presided over a hierarchy of grand dragons, grand titans and grand cyclopses.

The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto. Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male suffrage.


From 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in the South became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For its part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence against Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort to reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in the South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such as the Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the White Brotherhood. At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions became victims of violence during Reconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbols of black autonomy—were also targets for Klan attacks.

By 1870, the Ku Klux Klan had branches in nearly every southern state. Even at its height, the Klan did not boast a well-organized structure or clear leadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in the organization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out their attacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals of defeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South. Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blacks were a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relatively limited in others. Among the most notorious zones of Klan activity was South Carolina, where in January 1871 500 masked men attacked the Union county jail and lynched eight black prisoners.


Though Democratic leaders would later attribute Ku Klux Klan violence to poorer southern whites, the organization’s membership crossed class lines, from small farmers and laborers to planters, lawyers, merchants, physicians and ministers. In the regions where most Klan activity took place, local law enforcement officials either belonged to the Klan or declined to take action against it, and even those who arrested accused Klansmen found it difficult to find witnesses willing to testify against them. Other leading white citizens in the South declined to speak out against the group’s actions, giving them tacit approval. After 1870, Republican state governments in the South turned to Congress for help, resulting in the passage of three Enforcement Acts, the strongest of which was the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

For the first time, the Ku Klux Klan Act designated certain crimes committed by individuals as federal offenses, including conspiracies to deprive citizens of the right to hold office, serve on juries and enjoy the equal protection of the law. The act authorized the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and arrest accused individuals without charge, and to send federal forces to suppress Klan violence. This expansion of federal authority–which Ulysses S. Grant promptly used in 1871 to crush Klan activity in South Carolina and other areas of the South–outraged Democrats and even alarmed many Republicans. From the early 1870s onward, white supremacy gradually reasserted its hold on the South as support for Reconstruction waned; by the end of 1876, the entire South was under Democratic control once again.


In 1915, white Protestant nativists organized a revival of the Ku Klux Klan near Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by their romantic view of the Old South as well as Thomas Dixon’s 1905 book “The Clansman” and D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation.” This second generation of the Klan was not only anti-black but also took a stand against Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners and organized labor. It was fueled by growing hostility to the surge in immigration that America experienced in the early 20th century along with fears of communist revolution akin to the Bolshevik triumph in Russia in 1917. The organization took as its symbol a burning cross and held rallies, parades and marches around the country. At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million people nationwide.

The Great Depression in the 1930s depleted the Klan’s membership ranks, and the organization temporarily disbanded in 1944. The civil rights movement of the 1960s saw a surge of local Klan activity across the South, including the bombings, beatings and shootings of black and white activists. These actions, carried out in secret but apparently the work of local Klansmen, outraged the nation and helped win support for the civil rights cause. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a speech publicly condemning the Klan and announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with the murder of a white female civil rights worker in Alabama. The cases of Klan-related violence became more isolated in the decades to come, though fragmented groups became aligned with neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremist organizations from the 1970s onward. In the early 1990s, the Klan was estimated to have between 6,000 and 10,000 active members, mostly in the Deep South.

The Ku Klux Klan A Bibliography by Lenwood G. Davis by Lenwood G. Davis (no photo)
The Fiery Cross The Ku Klux Klan in America by Wyn Craig Wade by Wyn Craig Wade (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - NAACP

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was one of the earliest and most influential civil rights organization in the United States. During its early years, the NAACP focused on legal strategies designed to confront the critical civil rights issues of the day. They called for federal anti-lynching laws and coordinated a series of challenges to state-sponsored segregation in public schools, an effort that led to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared the doctrine of “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional. Though other civil rights groups emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, the NAACP retained a prominent role within the movement, co-organizing the 1963 March on Washington, and successfully lobbying for legislation that resulted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Act.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909-1910 in New York City by a group of white and black intellectuals. United in their opposition to the gradualism preached by Booker T. Washington, the NAACP leaders sought, first, to make whites aware of the need for racial equality. To do this, the organization launched a program of speechmaking, lobbying, and publicizing the issue. It also started a magazine, the Crisis, which was edited for years by the black leader W. E. B. Du Bois. At the same time, the NAACP attacked segregation and racial inequality through the courts. It won a Supreme Court decision in 1915 against the grandfather clause (used by many southern states to prevent blacks from voting) and another in 1927 against the all-white primary.

In 1916, a new field secretary, James Weldon Johnson, began expanding the organization’s membership in the South. Johnson became the NAACP’s first black executive secretary in 1920, by which time membership had grown to ninety thousand, of which nearly half was in the South. Under his leadership, followed by that of Walter White (who served as secretary from 1930 to 1955), the NAACP became the dominant civil rights organization in the country, noted particularly for its work in publicizing the evils of Jim Crow discrimination and for its leadership in the fight for a federal antilynching law.

In 1950, the NAACP began its campaign against the legal doctrine–first established in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896–that separate but equal schools for black and white children were constitutional. In a series of cases, it demonstrated that separate facilities provided to black students were not equal to those for whites. Then, drawing on extensive scholarly testimony showing the pernicious social and psychological effects of segregation, the NAACP set out to prove that facilities separated according to race were inherently unequal. Five desegregation suits were launched in different states (1950-1952). The 1954 Supreme Court decision on the case that reached it first–Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Kansas)–declared segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. The decision was greeted with bitter hostility in the South, and among the reactions was a concerted attack–using both legal and illegal methods–on local NAACP branches. By 1957, its membership in the South had dropped from nearly half of the organization to 28 percent.

Other civil rights groups attracted more members in the South during the 1960s, many using direct mass action instead of the legal strategies pioneered by the NAACP. The NAACP, however, remained active nationally both through its main organization and through its Legal Defense Fund. Although rivalry among civil rights groups was a continuous problem within the movement during those years, particularly at the leadership level, there were also innumerable instances of cooperation and mutual support, most notably the March on Washington in 1963. In the late 1970s, the NAACP broadened its scope by committing itself to the struggle for equal rights around the world.

Walter White Mr. NAACP by Kenneth Robert Janken by Kenneth Robert Janken (no photo)
Lift Every Voice The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement by Patricia Sullivan by Patricia Sullivan (no photo)

There is also a great, lengthy history of the NAACP found at:

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Teri (teriboop) Redd Foxx

Notorious for his frank, tell-it-like-it-is style, Redd Foxx broke new ground for minorities and comedians alike. By joking about everything from sex to color barriers, he brought simmering and taboo issues into the open. His candor onstage not only jump-started what is now considered a war with censors, but also inspired and enabled other comedians to achieve more than had ever been possible. Foxx was not only "The King of Comedy," but also a talented artist. He took a sketch book with him whenever possible, and enjoyed creating his own fantastic images or capturing the essense of those whom he loved or admired.

John Elroy Sanford was born into poverty in St. Louis on December 9, 1922. With a ruddy complexion, Redd became a fast nickname. He derived Foxx from admirable Major League Baseball player, Jimmie Foxx. He left St. Louis for Chicago when he was 13, and supported himself by playing the washboard in a band. When the band broke up three years later, he hopped a train to New York City. It was there that he met Malcolm Little, a man who would later be known as Malcolm X. In "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," he is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth."

Malcolm X and Redd Foxx reunited in the early 1960′s.

Foxx began performing as a comedian/actor in black theaters and nightclubs, often referred to as the "Chitlin Circuit." From 1951-1955 he teamed with comic Slappy White, a lifelong friend who would also act alongside him on "Sanford and Son" and "The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour." While he was performing in Los Angeles, he was offered a deal with the Dooto record label. Foxx received $25 for his first recording. In the years to follow he would produce over 50 comedic albums. During the 1960s, as cultural barriers began to wear down, Foxx's audience grew steadily. In 1972, after his film debut in Ossie Davis' Cotton Comes to Harlem, Norman Lear signed Foxx as junk dealer Fred Sanford in a new NBC sitcom.

"Sanford and Son," which co-starred Demond Wilson and La Wanda Page, was a big hit. So big, in fact, that it ranked in the top ten virtually every week it aired. At one point NBC even ran the show twice a week. When Foxx left in 1977, it was reportedly because NBC wouldn't give him a dressing room with a window. Closer to the truth, however, might have been the generous salary offered to him by ABC. In an effort to weaken NBC's powerhouse Friday line-up, ABC was determined to lure away the "Sanford and Son" star. It worked.

NBC's ratings dropped continuously. Meanwhile, Foxx launched his own show, "The Redd Foxx Comedy Hour." He was executive producer of the program, which first aired on September 15, 1977, and cast him alongside Sarah Hardy, Slappy White, "Iron Jaw" Wilson, Billy Barty, Hal Smith, Bill Saluga and The Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Foxx was excited about the variety show's open forum, and planned to take full advantage of the opportunity. "I'll be doing anything that can possibly be different from what's been done before." He said. "I'll be doing skits, bits, obnoxious things.. I might do Romeo and Juliet with a gorilla." In keeping with the show's tone, during the introduction a list of guest stars that would not appear on the program was read. Real guest stars included comedian Andy Kaufman and Bob Einstein's "Super Dave Osborne" character.

During the first episode, well aware that he was infamous for a special brand of comedic routines, he joked, "The only thing I can do from my nightclub act is smoke." Foxx took live questions from the audience during his monologue, demonstrating his clever and on-the-ball wit. The program's undisciplined nature made it extremely adventurous for the 1970s, and challenged both the audience and the censors to speculate what would transpire next. Nevertheless, having only been interested in hindering NBC's progress, ABC wasn't concerned with how Foxx faired at their network. The show was cancelled on January 26, 1978.

Foxx then took to Las Vegas, where he instantly became a headliner. He enjoyed performing there, and continued even while he launched another sitcom for ABC. On "The Redd Foxx Show," he played Al Hughes, a likeable, friendly newsstand owner. The cast was a mix of former co-stars, including "Iron Jaw" Wilson, and new faces, such as Nathaniel "Rollo" Taylor, Barry Van Dyke and Beverly Todd. The show did not fair well with audiences, however, and when production was terminated, Foxx left ABC for good.

In 1989, he and long-time friend Della Reese co-starred in Eddie Murphy's "Harlem Nights." Though the movie itself received little attention, critics took notice of the pair's performance. CBS jumped and signed the two for a new sitcom, "The Royal Family."

Sadly, while on the set of "The Royal Family," Foxx suffered a massive heart attack. Reese bent over him and prayed, "Don't die Redd, don't die," but it was too late. The world lost comedic genius Redd Foxx on October 11, 1991. Foxx's albums stand as proof of his legacy as they continue to sell, topping out at over 15 million copies sold.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X
The Life And Times Of Redd Foxx by Dempsey J. Travis by Dempsey J. Travis Dempsey J. Travis

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Teri (teriboop) The Harlem Renaissance: 1917 - 1935

The Harlem Renaissance was the name given to the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of World War I and the middle of the 1930s. During this period Harlem was a cultural center, drawing black writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars. Many had come from the South, fleeing its oppressive caste system in order to find a place where they could freely express their talents. Among those artists whose works achieved recognition were Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, Countee Cullen and Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston and Jean Toomer, Walter White and James Weldon Johnson. W.E.B. Du Bois encouraged talented artists to leave the South. Du Bois, then the editor of THE CRISIS magazine, the journal of the NAACP, was at the height of his fame and influence in the black community. THE CRISIS published the poems, stories, and visual works of many artists of the period. The Renaissance was more than a literary movement: It involved racial pride, fueled in part by the militancy of the "New Negro" demanding civil and political rights. The Renaissance incorporated jazz and the blues, attracting whites to Harlem speakeasies, where interracial couples danced. But the Renaissance had little impact on breaking down the rigid barriers of Jim Crow that separated the races. While it may have contributed to a certain relaxation of racial attitudes among young whites, perhaps its greatest impact was to reinforce race pride among blacks.
Source: PBS


Listen to the sounds of Jazz from the Harlem Renaissance Audio/Video:

Jazz Was the Sound of Harlem Renaissance Music!

Jazz was the sound of the 1920s. Jazz and individuality blossomed in the Roaring Twenties, and there was no better medium to nurture the pure jazz sound than 1920's Harlem.

With the Harlem Renaissance in full swing, jazz became the "people's" music despite some trouble being accepted by the black "cultural elite."

Jazz remained very popular with most of Harlem's citizens and it's popularity was growing quickly nationally and worldwide.

Nightclubs like the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theater, and the Cotton Club were perfect venues to display the vibrant intimacy of jazz.

Yet jazz was not held in the highest regard by all of Harlem's residents.

Going to nightclubs and rent parties was very popular they were "the special passion of the community" jazz is too often left out of Harlem Renaissance history.

Ted Gioia, author of the amazing book The History of Jazz believes: "Middle-class and upper-class black families were, at best, ambivalent about embracing vernacular elements of African American culture-and often explicitly hostile."

Gioia and other jazz and cultural historians believe there was a profound desire for well-to-do blacks to assimilate into the white business culture of the large American north-eastern cities where jazz was gaining in popularity: New York, Chicago, Detroit, Saint Louis and others.

The advent of the "Harlem Stride Style" of piano helped bridge the gulf between the "low life" culture as jazz musicians were perceived, and the black social elite. The piano(for many was a symbol of affluence) rather than the brass band (a symbol of the south) defined this style of jazz.

With the Harlem stride style of jazz, the music became more accessible not only for wealthy blacks, but also for whites. Jazz's popularity was at an all time high as the fervor grew throughout the country.

Harlem Renaissance music was defined by the lively clubs and characters who constantly improved and modified jazz's sound.

Men like Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and Willie "The Lion" Smith were the "gladiators" of jazz in these early years. Perfectionists, they had little patience for musicians without the talent or skills to keep up.

The competition and innovation during the 1920s was fierce.

Harlem Renaissance music was more than just music, for many, jazz was a way of life.
Source: 1920's Fashion and Music

The Savoy

Owned by Moe Gale, a Jewish man, and managed by Charles Buchanan, a black man, the Savoy Ballroom opened its doors on March 12, 1926 right in the middle of Harlem, between 140th and 141st Streets on Lenox Avenue. The vision of the two young men created one of the first racially integrated public places in the country, which proved to be a wise business decision as well, attracting a wide range of clientele. The ballroom was on the second floor of a two-story building stretching the entire block. The ground floor of the building housed the entrance to the ballroom at the center of the block signified by the marquee extending out over the sidewalk and various stores. The spacious basement checkrooms could serve up to 5,000 patrons with swift and efficient ease. Billed as the "World's finest ballroom," the Savoy was complete with large luxurious carpeted lounges and mirrored walls. The block long ballroom had two bandstands, colored spotlights and a spring-loaded wooden dance floor. Approximately 700,000 patrons visited the ballroom annually; and, consequently, the floor had to be completely replaced every three years. The Savoy was appropriately nicknamed, "The home of happy feet," and it was also known among the regular patrons as "the Track" for the elongated shape of the dance floor.

The staff of 90 permanent employees at the Savoy included musicians, waiters, cashiers, floor attendants, porters and administrative assistants. There were also hostesses with whom a visitor, mostly from downtown, could dance for a dime or be tutored on the latest steps, as well as a team of bouncers clad in black tuxedos and bow ties. The bouncers were ex-boxers, basketball players etc., who would rush in on a moment's notice and put out any person.

Over 250 name and semi-name bands were featured at the Savoy. The house bands included those of Fess Williams, Chick Webb, Erskin Hawkins and Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans, just to name a few. The two bandstands allowed continuous live music all night, and provided the stage for the famous battles of bands. The most famous, and one of the most highly publicized, was the battle of Chick Webb vs. Benny Goodman, when both bands were at the crest of their popularity. Future Be-bop stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk played there too. As a matter of fact, Teddy Hill, who later became a manager at Minton's Playhouse, also led a house band at the Savoy at one point.

A long succession of dance fads were launched from the Savoy that swept the nation and overseas in response to ever changing music trends from dixieland, ragtime, jazz, blues, swing, stomp, boogie-woogie, bop to countless peabody, waltz, one-step, two-step and rhumba variations. Among the countless dance styles originated and developed at the Savoy were: The Flying Charleston, The Lindy Hop, The Stomp, The Big Apple, Jitterbug Jive, Peckin', Snakehips, Rhumboogie and intricate variations of the Peabody, the Shimmy, Mambo, etc..

Herbert White, a.k.a. Whitey, an ex-boxer and bouncer at the Savoy, organized and cultivated a group of young Lindy Hoppers and had them appear in theaters around the world as well as in films. The Lindy Hop, purportedly named after Charles Lindbergh's solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, signifies the entire historical period known as the Swing Era, and was the staple dance at the Savoy until it closed its doors in 1958. Although the building eventually gave way to a much needed housing complex, the Lindy Hoppers from the Savoy and their heirs dominated the annual Harvest Moon Ball in Madison Square Garden until the 1980's. The Savoy tradition of the Lindy Hop continues to thrive to this date thanks to films and other documented accounts as well as living legends such as Norma Miller and Frankie Manning.

Harlem Renaissance by Nathan Irvin Huggins by Nathan Irvin Huggins (no photo)
The History of Jazz by Ted Gioia by Ted Gioia (no photo)
Happy Feet The Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hoppers and Me by Richard Michelson by Richard Michelson Richard Michelson

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Teri (teriboop) Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912)

Edward Wilmot Blyden, widely known as the father of Pan-Africanism, was born on August 3, 1832 in Saint Thomas, in what are now the U.S Virgin Islands. Blyden was the third of seven children and was born to Romeo and Judith Blyden, a tailor and schoolteacher, respectively. The family lived in a predominantly Jewish and English speaking community, and attended church at the integrated Dutch Reformed Church. Blyden’s parents were free and literate at a time when most blacks on the islands were enslaved and illiterate.

In 1842, the family moved to Porto Bello, Venezuela where Blyden first discovered his facility with languages. He also found that black free Venezuelans performed much the same menial labor as enslaved blacks in the Virgin Islands. Upon the family’s return to Saint Thomas Blyden became a student of Rev. John P. Knox, the pastor at the Dutch Reformed Church. Rev. Knox, impressed with Blyden’s scholarly potential, his mentor and through him Blyden decided to become a clergyman. In May 1850, Blyden accompanied Mrs. Knox, the clergyman’s wife, to the U.S to enroll into Rutgers’ Theological College in New Jersey but was refused admission because of his race.

Blyden turned his attention to Africa. The West African nation of Liberia had become independent in 1847. Blyden accepted an offer in 1850 to come to Liberia to teach. Soon after his arrival in January 1851, Blyden was employed at Alexander High School in Monrovia. There he began self-directed studies of theology, the classics, geography and mathematics. In 1858 Blyden was ordained a Presbyterian Minister and appointed Principal of Alexander High School. He was also appointed editor of the Liberian Herald, then the only newspaper in the nation, by Liberian President Joseph Roberts.

Drawing on both scriptures and science, Blyden challenged the arguments about black inferiority that were increasingly popular in Europe and North America during this period. He argued black equality and used examples of little known but successful persons of African ancestry.

Between 1856 and 1887 Blyden authored four books, A Voice From Bleeding Africa (1856); A Vindication of the African Race; Being a Brief Examination of the Arguments in Favor of African Inferiority (1862); Africa for the Africans (1872); and Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race (1887) as well as numerous articles to advance his case. Blyden also challenged black and mulatto elites in Liberia who hoped to monopolize political power.

During the 1860s and early 1870s Blyden was Liberia’s Secretary of State and Professor of Classics at Liberia College. From these posts he called for the emigration of skilled and intelligent Black West Indians and African Americans to Liberia. Not surprisingly his proposals drew determined opposition from the Liberian elite. Nonetheless in 1885, Blyden ran for President of Liberia. After his defeat he went into self-imposed exile in neighboring Sierra Leone. Edward Wilmot Blyden died in Sierra Leone on February 7, 1912.

West Africa Before Europe; And Other Addresses, Delivered in England in 1901 and 1903 by Edward Wilmot Blyden by Edward Wilmot Blyden (no photo)
Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race by Edward Wilmot Blyden by Edward Wilmot Blyden (no photo)
West Africa Before Europe And Other Addresses, Delivered in England in 1901 ... by Edward Wilmot Blyden by Edward Wilmot Blyden (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Fruit of Islam (FOI)

Elijah Muhammad surrounded by Fruit of Islam guards at a rally in Chicago 1967.

The Fruit of Islam (FOI), or "Fruit" for short, is the male-only paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam (NOI). The Fruit of Islam wear distinctive blue or white uniforms and caps and have units at all NOI temples. Louis Farrakhan, as head of the Nation of Islam, is commander-in-chief of the Fruit of Islam, and his son, Mustapha Farrakhan Sr, is second in command. The women's counterpart to the Fruit of Islam is Muslim Girls Training (MGT).

The Fruit of Islam draws its membership from male members in Nation of Islam temples. While NOI does not release membership figures, estimates for total membership in the NOI range from 10,000 to 50,000.

The Fruit of Islam is one of the original institutions of the Nation of Islam, created by its founder W.D. Fard in 1933, shortly before his final disappearance. The men, mostly young, active members, were considered the "fruit" of the new nation. At the time the Fruit was created to help defend the members of the NOI and all others. It existed until the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975. When Warith Deen Muhammad took control of the Nation of Islam he disbanded the Fruit. The organization was then reorganized by Louis Farrakhan when he reestablished the NOI.

In 1988 the Nation of Islam created a separate security agency using members of the Fruit of Islam. The agency received contracts primarily to patrol and staff public housing complexes in tough urban areas like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles and received at least $20 million in the 1990s for security work. NOI Security had notable successes in Washington, D.C. projects particularly, but had difficulty in others and faced opposition by some members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League, among others. It also faced scrutiny from federal agencies for racial and gender preference in hiring and from the IRS for failure to withhold taxes from employees

The Fruit of Islam says its mission is to teach civilization, and teach what they know to those who do not know. A Nation of Islam website urging men to enroll in the FOI describes members as "brave fighter[s] for Allah" engaged in "a unique war for the very heart and soul of a people." The site explains, "The responsibility of the F.O.I. is that of a head of house: protection, provision, and maintenance of the Nation of Islam (all Original People). The F.O.I. are militant in the sense that our operations are done as a unit."
Source: Wikipedia

The History of the FOI, Volume 1 The Name Given to the Military Training of Men That Belong to the Nation of Islam in North America by Wakeel Allah by Wakeel Allah (no photo)
Islam Is a Foreign Country American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority by Zareena Grewal by Zareena Grewal Zareena Grewal

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Teri (teriboop) Muslim Girls Training (MGT)

Muslim Girls Training & General Civilization Class (MGT & GCC) is the all-female training program of the Nation of Islam. It is often considered to be the counterpart for girls and women to the Fruit of Islam.

The Muslim Girls Training & General Civilization Class is one of the institutions established in 1933 by Wallace Fard Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam. He also established the University of Islam schools and the Fruit of Islam in that year before vanishing in 1934. The classes were developed to teach domestic duties like cooking and nutrition, sewing, cleaning, housekeeping, child-rearing, religious instruction and the role of women in Muslim life and even personal hygiene and self-defense. Classes are generally held at least once a week.

An example of their class song is as follows:

We're the M.G.T and the G.C.C.,
Muslim Girls in Training we are striving to be!
We're determined to gain respect,
Rear our children, make them the best.
Caring for our homes and our families, too,
We, the M.G.T., are appealing to you.
Let us rise and make nations see
Righteous women in unity!

E-E-E-Elijah Muhammad!
Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class! Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class!

We are taught to bathe and pray five times a day.
Following Elijah to our Saviour, we say,
Thanks to Allah, Al-Hamdulillah!
For our Leader and Messenger!

E-E-E-Elijah Muhammad!
Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class! Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class!

E-E-E-Elijah Muhammad!
Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class! Oh, Elijah, Elijah's Class!
Source: Wikipedia

Muslim Girl's Training (NOI Renaissance) by Candace Shabazz by Candace Shabazz (no photo)
Muslims in America A Short History by Edward E. Curtis IV by Edward E. Curtis IV (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Louis Farrakhan

A Young Louis Farrakhan

Minister Louis Farrakhan, born on May 11, 1933 in Bronx, N.Y., was reared in a highly disciplined and spiritual household in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Raised by his mother, a native of St. Kitts, Louis and his brother Alvan learned early the value of work, responsibility and intellectual development. Having a strong sensitivity to the plight of Black people, his mother engaged her sons in conversations about the struggle for freedom, justice and equality. She also exposed them to progressive material such as the Crisis magazine, published by the NAACP.

Popularly known as “The Charmer,” he achieved fame in Boston as a vocalist, calypso singer, dancer and violinist. In February 1955, while visiting Chicago for a musical engagement, he was invited to attend the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention.

Although music had been his first love, within one month after joining the Nation of Islam in 1955, Minister Malcolm X told the New York Mosque and the new convert Louis X that Elijah Muhammad had said that all Muslims would have to get out of show business or get out of the Temple. Most of the musicians left Temple No. 7, but Louis X, later renamed Louis Farrakhan, chose to dedicate his life to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1975 and the assumption of leadership by Imam W. Deen Mohammed brought drastic changes to the Nation of Islam. After approximately three years of wrestling with these changes, and a re-appraisal of the condition of Black people and the value of the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Farrakhan decided to return to the teachings and program with a proven ability to uplift and reform Blacks.

His tremendous success is evidenced by mosques and study groups in over 120 cities in America, Europe, the Caribbean and missions in West Africa and South Africa devoted to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In rebuilding the Nation of Islam, Minister Farrakhan has renewed respect for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his Teachings and Program.

At 80 years of age, Minister Farrakhan still maintains a grueling work schedule. He has been welcomed in a countless number of churches, sharing pulpits with Christian ministers from a variety of denominations, which has demonstrated the power of the unity of those who believe in the One God. He has addressed diverse organizations, been received in many Muslim countries as a leading Muslim thinker and teacher, and been welcomed throughout Africa, the Caribbean and Asia as a champion in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

In 1979, he founded The Final Call, an internationally circulated newspaper that follows in the line of The Muhammad Speaks. In 1985, Minister Farrakhan introduced the POWER concept. In 1988, the resurgent Nation of Islam repurchased its former flagship mosque in Chicago and dedicated it as Mosque Maryam, the National Center for the Re-training and Re-education of the Black Man and Woman of America and the World. In 1991, Minister Farrakhan reintroduced the Three Year Economic Program, first established by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to build an economic base for the development of Blacks through business ventures. In 1993, Minister Farrakhan penned the book, “A Torchlight for America,” which applied the guiding principles of justice and good will to the problems perplexing America. In May of that year, he traveled to Libreville, Gabon to attend the Second African-African American Summit where he addressed African heads of state and delegates from America. In October of 1994, Minister Farrakhan led 2,000 Blacks from America to Accra, Ghana for the Nation of Islam’s first International Saviours’ Day. Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings officially opened and closed the five-day convention.

The popular leader and the Nation of Islam repurchased farmland in Dawson, Georgia and enjoyed a banner year in 1995 with the successful Million Man March on the Mall in Washington, D.C., which drew nearly two million men. Minister Farrakhan was inspired to call the March out of his concern over the negative image of Black men perpetuated by the media and movie industries, which focused on drugs and gang violence. The Million Man March established October 16 as a Holy Day of Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility. Minister Farrakhan took this healing message of atonement throughout the world during three World Friendship Tours over the next three years. His desire was to bring solutions to such problems as war, poverty, discrimination and the right to education. Minister Farrakhan would return to the Mall on Washington, D.C. in 2000 convening the Million Family March, where he called the full spectrum of members of the human family to unite according to the principle of atonement. Minister Farrakhan performed thousands of weddings, as well as renewed the vows of those recommitting themselves in a Marriage Ceremony.

As part of the major thrust for true political empowerment for the Black community, Minister Farrakhan re-registered to vote in June 1996 and formed a coalition of religious, civic and political organizations to represent the voice of the disenfranchised on the political landscape. His efforts and the overwhelming response to the call of the Million Man March resulted in an additional 1.7 million Black men voting in the 1996 presidential elections. In July 1997, the Nation of Islam, in conjunction with the World Islamic People’s Leadership, hosted an International Islamic Conference in Chicago. A broad range of Muslim scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, along with Christian, Jewish and Native American spiritual leaders participated in the conference.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, Minister Farrakhan was among the international religious voices that called for peace and resolution of conflict. He also wrote two personal letters to President George Bush offering his counsel and perspective on how to respond to the national crisis. He advised President Bush to convene spiritual leaders of various faiths for counsel. Prior to the war on Iraq, Minister Farrakhan led a delegation of religious leaders and physicians to the Middle East in an effort to spark the dialogue among nations that could prevent war.

Marking a new milestone in a life that has been devoted to the uplift of humanity, Minister Farrakhan launched a prostate cancer foundation in his name May 10-11, 2003. First diagnosed in 1991 with prostate cancer, he survived a public bout and endured critical complications after treatment that brought him 180 seconds away from death.

In July of that year, Minister Farrakhan accepted the request to host the first of a series of summits centered on the principles of reparations. Nearly 50 activists from across the country answered his call to discuss operational unity within the reparations movement for Black people’s suffering in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Culminating the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention in February 2004, Minister Farrakhan delivered an international address entitled, “Reparations: What does America and Europe Owe? What does Allah (God) promise?” stepping further into the vanguard position of leadership calling for justice for the suffering masses of Black people and all oppressed people throughout the world.

On May 3, 2004, Minister Farrakhan held an international press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. themed, “Guidance to America and the World in a Time of Trouble.” The press conference sought to expose the plans and schemes of President George W. Bush and his neo-conservative advisors who plunged American soldiers into worldwide conflict with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. This international press conference was translated into Arabic, French and Spanish.

In October 2005, after months of a demanding schedule traveling throughout the U.S., Minister Farrakhan called those interested in establishing a programmatic thrust for Black people in America and oppressed people across the globe to participate in the Millions More Movement, which convened back at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on the 10th Anniversary of the Historic Million Man March. The Millions More Movement involved the formation of 9 Ministries that would deal with the pressing needs of our people. Also in 2005, Minister Louis Farrakhan was voted as’s “Person of The Year” as the person users believed made “the most powerful impact on the Black community over the past year.”

In April 2006, Minister Farrakhan led a delegation to Cuba to view the emergency preparedness system of the Cuban people, in the wake of the massive failure to prevent the loss of human life after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

In January 2007, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan underwent a major 14-hour pelvic exoneration. In just a few weeks, and as a testament to the healing power of God, Minister Farrakhan stood on stage at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 25, 2007 to deliver the first of several speeches that year with the theme “One Nation Under God.”

On October 19, 2008, after nearly a year of extensive repairs and restoration, Minister Farrakhan opened the doors and grounds of Mosque Maryam to thousands of people representing all creeds and colors during a much anticipated Rededication Ceremony themed “A New Beginning.” This day also served as the commemoration of the 13th Anniversary of the Historic Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement.
Source: NOI

A Torchlight for America by Louis Farrakhan by Louis Farrakhan (no photo)
Prophet Of Rage A Life Of Louis Farrakhan And His Nation by Arthur J. Magida by Arthur J. Magida (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) I mentioned this article on the non-spoiler thread but wanted to post it here in more detail for everyone's perusal.

Comparison Between Islam & the Nation of Islam

The relationship between Islam and the Nation of Islam is complicated. While members of the NOI profess to follow Islam's fundamental tenets, traditional Muslims regard many of the beliefs and practices of the NOI as incompatible with their faith. The NOI, moreover, is primarily a political organization; while Islam can be and is politicized in some parts of the world, it is first and foremost a religious belief system, rather than a political philosophy.


Islam was founded in the seventh century on the Arabian Peninsula by the Prophet Muhammad, who Muslims believe received God's final revelations to mankind. These collected revelations comprise Islam's holy book, the Quran. After Muhammad's death in A.D. 632, Islam quickly spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and even into parts of Europe. Islam's fundamental tenets -- the Five Pillars of Islam -- include belief in a single god, Allah, and a commitment to daily prayers, ritual fasting, alms giving and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Today there are more than one billion Muslims around the world.

Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit in 1930 by Wallace Fard. Fard, also known as Fard Muhammad, a peddler and preacher, advocated black empowerment by drawing upon the Quran and the Bible. After Fard's disappearance in 1934, the NOI was led by Elijah Poole, better known as Elijah Muhammad. It was Elijah Muhammad who, along with the NOI's highly charismatic and controversial spokesman, Malcolm X, brought the organization's militant brand of black nationalism to global prominence during the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s. Elijah Muhammad also drafted the NOI's manifesto, "What the Muslims Want," which outlined both the religious beliefs and political aims of the group. The NOI today is led by Louis Farrakhan, who has been censured and criticized for his anti-Semitic and racist public comments.


Traditional Islam and the NOI share some common theological ground. The NOI's manifesto asserts that its followers ascribe to some of the fundamental tenets of Islam, namely, the Islamic creed that there is only one God, and his name is Allah; belief in the Prophet Muhammad and Allah's other prophets, such as Jesus, David, Moses and Abraham, among others, and belief in the Quran and other holy Scriptures, including the Old and New Testaments. Like mainstream Muslims, NOI followers fast during Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, and avoid pork, tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.


Traditional Muslims don't regard the followers of the NOI as true Muslims. Indeed, in many respects, Islam and the NOI are, as the "Seattle Times" reports, "in complete contradiction." The two key theological differences are that the NOI worships its founder, Wallace Fard, as the messiah, and Elijah Muhammad as God's prophet. For mainstream Islam, the worship of Fard constitutes idolatry, while revering Elijah Muhammad as a prophet violates the Muslim belief that Islam's founder, the Prophet Muhammad, was the last of God's prophets. The NOI's race-based ideology is also at odds with traditional Islam. The "Los Angeles Times" once described the NOI's black supremacist views as "anathema to Islam," which insists on equality between the races. W. Deen Muhammad, the son of Elijah Muhammad, attempted to move the NOI towards traditional Islam in the mid-1970s, renouncing the divinity of Wallace Fard and emphasizing Quranic study and the Five Pillars of Islam with a non-racial approach to religion. These reforms splintered the black Muslim movement -- while Deen Muhammad followed a more orthodox route, Louis Farrakhan and his followers promoted a black nationalist agenda.
Source: Opposing Views

Understand My Muslim People by Abraham Sarker by Abraham Sarker (no photo)
The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History by Edward J. Blum by Edward J. Blum (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) I wanted to post some of our folders that you may want to peruse as we move through this month's Book of the Month selection. Please check out these folders / topics for some supplemental information and book recommendations that will no doubt be valuable to your understanding of Malcolm X.

History of Religion - Islam

Civil Rights

Music - Jazz

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Bentley | 44126 comments Mod
Great adds Teri

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Dale Wade | 13 comments Hello, all. It's Dale from TX. I agree with others about only knowing Malcolm X from media and school. I often saw him as the antithesis of MLK and a strong figure for the Black Panther movement.

I have several comments about Chapters 1-4, but will wait until next week to voice them. Cheers.

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Teri (teriboop) Dale wrote: "Hello, all. It's Dale from TX. I agree with others about only knowing Malcolm X from media and school. I often saw him as the antithesis of MLK and a strong figure for the Black Panther movement.


You can start voicing them. We're working on Prologue and Chapters 1-4 all week. I will post questions throughout the week on the chapters, spending today and tomorrow on 1 then moving to 2, etc, but as long as you stay within those four chapters this week, we're good.

Be sure to use the spoiler tags as you make direct comments about the book. ;-)

Glad to have you Dale. I reside in SATX, btw! It's a beautiful day in south Texas today!

Jovita Reed | 52 comments Chapter 3: Articles about Robert Harris

While searching for more info on the "Voodoo Murder" mentioned on page 87, in which Nation of Islam member Robert Harris was arrested for sacrificially killing a man, I ran across these articles from The Detroit News, and thought I'd share them. I found them quite interesting as they chronicle some of the larger communities attitudes towards the group and towards blacks, and also gives some info on the arrest of Fard in relation to the incident and the Nation of Islam response to his arrest.

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Teri (teriboop) Message to the Grassroots Speech

"Message to the Grass Roots" is a public speech delivered by human rights activist Malcolm X. The speech was delivered on November 10, 1963, at the Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference, which was held at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Malcolm X described the difference between the "Black revolution" and the "Negro revolution", he contrasted the "house Negro" and the "field Negro" during slavery and in the modern age, and he criticized the 1963 March on Washington. "Message to the Grass Roots" was ranked 91st in the top 100 American speeches of the 20th century by 137 leading scholars of American public address.
(Source: Wikipedia)

From Civil Rights to Black Liberation Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-America Unity by William W. Sales Jr. by William W. Sales Jr. (no photo)
Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour A Narrative History of Black Power in America by Peniel E. Joseph by Peniel E. Joseph (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks


Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus spurred a city-wide boycott. The city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift the law requiring segregation on public buses. Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP's highest award.

Civil Rights Pioneer

Famed civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a public bus Montgomery, Alabama, spurred on a citywide boycott and helped launch nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities.

Early Life and Education

Rosa Parks's childhood brought her early experiences with racial discrimination and activism for racial equality. After her parents separated, Rosa's mother moved the family to Pine Level, Alabama to live with her parents, Rose and Sylvester Edwards—both former slaves and strong advocates for racial equality; the family lived on the Edwards' farm, where Rosa would spend her youth. In one experience, Rosa's grandfather stood in front of their house with a shotgun while Ku Klux Klan members marched down the street.

Taught to read by her mother at a young age, Rosa went on to attend a segregated, one-room school in Pine Level, Alabama, that often lacked adequate school supplies such as desks. African-American students were forced to walk to the 1st- through 6th-grade schoolhouse, while the city of Pine Level provided bus transportation as well as a new school building for white students.

Through the rest of Rosa's education, she attended segregated schools in Montgomery, including the city's Industrial School for Girls (beginning at age 11). In 1929, while in the 11th grade and attending a laboratory school for secondary education led by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes, Rosa left school to attend to both her sick grandmother and mother back in Pine Level. She never returned to her studies; instead, she got a job at a shirt factory in Montgomery.

In 1932, at age 19, Rosa met and married Raymond Parks, a barber and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. With Raymond's support, Rosa earned her high school degree in 1933. She soon became actively involved in civil rights issues by joining the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943, serving as the chapter's youth leader as well as secretary to NAACP President E.D. Nixon—a post she held until 1957.

Ordered to the Back of the Bus

The Montgomery City Code required that all public transportation be segregated and that bus drivers had the "powers of a police officer of the city while in actual charge of any bus for the purposes of carrying out the provisions" of the code. While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and black passengers by assigning seats. This was accomplished with a line roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front of the bus and African-American passengers in the back.

When an African-American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. When the seats in the front of the bus filled up and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would move back the sign separating black and white passengers and, if necessary, ask black passengers give up their seat.

On December 1, 1955, after a long day's work at a Montgomery department store, where she worked as a seamstress, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. She took a seat in the first of several rows designated for "colored" passengers. Though the city's bus ordinance did give drivers the authority to assign seats, it didn't specifically give them the authority to demand a passenger to give up a seat to anyone (regardless of color). However, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers, when no other seats were available. If the black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed.

As the bus Rosa was riding continued on its route, it began to fill with white passengers. Eventually, the bus was full and the driver noticed that several white passengers were standing in the aisle. He stopped the bus and moved the sign separating the two sections back one row and asked four black passengers to give up their seats. Three complied, but Rosa refused and remained seated. The driver demanded, "Why don't you stand up?" to which Rosa replied, "I don't think I should have to stand up." The driver called the police and had her arrested. Later, Rosa recalled that her refusal wasn't because she was physically tired, but that she was tired of giving in.

The police arrested Rosa at the scene and charged her with violation of Chapter 6, Section 11, of the Montgomery City Code. She was taken to police headquarters, where, later that night, she was released on bail.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

On the evening that Rosa Parks was arrested, E.D. Nixon, head of the local chapter of the NAACP, began forming plans to organize a boycott of Montgomery's city buses. Ads were placed in local papers, and handbills were printed and distributed in black neighborhoods. Members of the African-American community were asked to stay off city buses on Monday, December 5, 1955—the day of Rosa's trial—in protest of her arrest. People were encouraged to stay home from work or school, take a cab or walk to work. With most of the African-American community not riding the bus, organizers believed a longer boycott might be successful.

On the morning of December 5, a group of leaders from the African-American community gathered at the Mt. Zion Church in Montgomery to discuss strategies, and determined that their boycott effort required a new organization and strong leadership. They formed the Montgomery Improvement Association, electing Montgomery newcomer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. The MIA believed that Rosa Parks's case provided an excellent opportunity to take further action to create real change.

When Rosa arrived at the courthouse for trial that morning with her attorney, Fred Gray, she was greeted by a bustling crowd of around 500 local supporters, who rooted her on. Following a 30-minute hearing, Rosa was found guilty of violating a local ordinance and was fined $10, as well as a $4 court fee. Inarguably the biggest event of the day, however, was what Rosa's trial had triggered. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, as it came to be known, was a huge success. The city's buses were, by and large, empty. Some people carpooled and others rode in African-American-operated cabs, but most of the estimated 40,000 African-American commuters living in the city at the time had opted to walk to work that day—some as far as 20 miles.

Due to the size and scope of, and loyalty to, boycott participation, the effort continued for several months. The city Montgomery had become a victorious eyesore, with dozens of public buses sitting idle, ultimately severely crippling finances for its transit company. With the boycott's progress, however, came strong resistance. Some segregationists retaliated with violence. Black churches were burned, and both Martin Luther King Jr.'s and E.D. Nixon's homes were destroyed by bombings. Still, further attempts were made to end the boycott. The insurance was canceled for the city taxi system that was used by African Americans. Black citizens were arrested for violating an antiquated law prohibiting boycotts.

In response to the ensuing events, members of the African-American community took legal action. Armed with the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which stated that separate but equal policies had no place in public education, a black legal team took the issue of segregation on public transit systems to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern (Montgomery) Division; Rosa's attorney, Fred Gray, filed the suit. In June 1956, the district court declared racial segregation laws (also known as "Jim Crow laws") unconstitutional. The city of Montgomery appealed the court's decision shortly thereafter, but on November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling.

With the transit company and downtown businesses suffering financial loss and the legal system ruling against them, the city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift its enforcement of segregation on public buses, and the boycott officially ended on December 20, 1956. The combination of legal action, backed by the unrelenting determination of the African-American community, made the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott one of the largest and most successful mass movements against racial segregation in history.

Racial Discrimination

Although she had become a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks suffered hardship in the months following her arrest in Montgomery and the subsequent boycott. She lost her department store job and her husband was fired after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or their legal case. Unable to find work, they eventually left Montgomery; the couple, along with Rosa's mother, moved to Detroit, Michigan. There, Rosa made a new life for herself, working as a secretary and receptionist in U.S. Representative John Conyer's congressional office. She also served on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In 1987, with longtime friend Elaine Eason Steele, Rosa founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development. The organization runs "Pathways to Freedom" bus tours, introducing young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country.

In 1992, Rosa published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography recounting her life in the segregated South. In 1995, she published Quiet Strength which includes her memoirs and focuses on the role that religious faith played throughout her life.

Death and Legacy

Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP's highest award, and the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award. On September 9, 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given by the United States' executive branch. The following year, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award given by the U.S. legislative branch. In 1999, TIME magazine named Rosa Parks on its list of "The 20 most influential People of the 20th Century."

On October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, Rosa Parks quietly died in her apartment in Detroit, Michigan. She had been diagnosed the previous year with progressive dementia. Her death was marked by several memorial services, among them lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., where an estimated 50,000 people viewed her casket. Rosa was interred between her husband and mother at Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery, in the chapel's mausoleum. Shortly after her death, the chapel was renamed the Rosa L. Parks Freedom Chapel.
(Source: Bio)

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis by Jeanne Theoharis Jeanne Theoharis
Rosa Parks My Story by Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks Rosa Parks

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Teri (teriboop) National Housewives League

Detroit Housewives' League meeting

Women workers also faced heavy discrimination and social criticism during the Depression. The American public was very critical of women working during the Depression for two main reasons. The first reason was that they thought women were taking men’s jobs. In reality, women were entering the work force only in the traditionally female employments of manufacturing, domestic service, and clerical work. Still, they were seen as a threat to men’s ability to find gainful employment that would support their families. The second reason behind criticisms of women workers was that they were abandoning their families in a time of extreme need. The crisis of the Depression caused many Americans to look nostalgically back to their childhoods, when the majority of married women had not worked and had stayed home to take care of their families. The media railed against working mothers, failing to recognize that the large numbers of married women who entered the Depression-era labor force did so out of absolute necessity in an effort to save their families from starvation and homelessness.

The federal government also discriminated against married women workers. In 1932 Congress passed the Federal Economy Act, which, through explicit language, had the effect of excluding a married woman from working in civil service if her husband did as well. Twenty-six state and local governments all over the country considered laws that would bar married women from working in government jobs in the early 1930s. As a result, public school and transportation systems nationwide began to fire and refuse to hire married women. Banks, insurance companies, public utilities companies, and railways also discriminated against married women in their hiring practices. Also, traditional labor unions, like those associated with the AFL, almost entirely excluded women during the early 1930s.

In response to poverty and unemployment during the Depression, white and black women began to organize into local groups that worked to control rent and food prices, procure government relief payments, and create employment opportunities, following in the footsteps of the early 20th century meat and rent strikes in New York. Unemployed Councils emerged in cities across the country. Women and men in these neighborhood-based groups organized protests of evictions and picketed government relief offices for more unemployment benefits. Housewives’ Leagues also emerged in both white and black neighborhoods nationwide. Leagues of white housewives organized strikes and boycotts of meat shops that charged unfairly high prices in the Depression economy.

The Detroit Housewives’ League took on the meat packing industry itself. In 1935, they burned a huge packinghouse in protest of high prices, and they joined thousands of Chicago housewives in a march that shut down that city’s entire meat industry. African-American Housewives’ Leagues initiated canvasses, negotiations, and boycotts on the local level to convince neighborhood businesses to hire black employees. The Detroit black women’s Housewives’ League was founded in 1930 by Fannie Peck, and by 1935, the League had over 10,000 members. Nationwide, these Leagues created 75,000 jobs for African Americans, overcoming racial discrimination and ameliorating some of the devastating effects of the Depression.
(Source: National Women's Museum)

The True worth of a Race African American Women and the Struggle for Freedom by Lopez Matthews by Lopez Matthews (no photo)
Sweet Land of Liberty The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue by Thomas J. Sugrue Thomas J. Sugrue

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Teri (teriboop) Mary McLeod Bethune’s National Council of Negro Women, Inc.

Mary McLeod Bethune was an extraordinary educator, civil rights leader, and government official who founded the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.

The significant challenges facing our families and communities today demand that we find ways to optimize our resources to work more effectively. Historically, positive change has come about when coordinated, focused efforts are put into action both on local and national levels simultaneously. This is why the vision of Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) is even more relevant today than it was in 1935 when she called together 28 national women leaders to form "an organization of organizations," a council.

Why is an organization like NCNW so necessary? In 1935, Mary McLeod Bethune, from her vantage point as Advisor of Minority Affairs to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said that she could not rest to see the unharnessed womanpower among our women. When the 28 national women leaders responded to her call she pointed out that what was needed was not another organization, but one that would bring organizations together. Mary Church Terrell proposed forming a "council." Thus, Mrs. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women as such - "a national organization of national organizations."

Hers was a visionary call for working together with a "Unity of Purpose and a Unity of Action." Much like the United Nations, which is a kind of council of sovereign nations coming together to promote development and peace, NCNW is a council of autonomous national organizations coming together to improve the quality of life for women.

Mrs. Bethune envisioned NCNW functioning as a clearinghouse, facilitating networking and coalition-building, and advocating the use of collective power on issues affecting women, their families and communities.

Through the years there has been growing appreciation and recognition of the value of a unified voice in the corridors of power. This has been expressed in different ways. What happens on Capitol Hill has direct bearing on the quality-of-life issues core to our community's survival and well-being, and our voices must continue to be heard loudly.
(Source: National Council of Negro Women, Inc.)

The Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune by Nancy Ann Zrinyi Long by Nancy Ann Zrinyi Long (no photo)
Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C. Activism and Education in Logan Circle by Ida Jones by Ida Jones (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) The Johnson Hinton Incident

Malcolm X holding a newspaper headlining the Johnson Hinton Incident

Malcolm X wasn't known to the public until April 26, 1957. When Johnson X Hinton, a member of The Nation of Islam was beaten by two NYC police officers. Hinton and two other passersby were walking past Johnson, all three members of the Nation of Islam saw the two officers beating him and jumped in to help shouting "You're not in Alabama, this is New York". One of the officers turned to Hilton and started beating him so badly that he suffered brain damage and subdural hemorrhaging. All four men were later arrested and incarcerated.

Alerted by an unknown source, Malcolm and other members of the Nation of Islam went to the police station and asked to Hilton and the other Muslims. At first police denied that any Muslims, but the protest crowd grew to around 500 they had no choice but to allow Malcolm to speak with Hilton. after about a half hour of complaining to police they finally allowed him to be taken to the Hospital.

Hinton had his injuries treated and upon re-arrival at the police station some 4000 White, Black, and Muslim had gathered outside of the building. When Malcolm returned to the police station he had an attorney making bail arrangements to free the four who were put in jail. However Hinton was not bailed because police wouldn't let him go till following arrangements were made the following day. Malcolm was furious. So he stepped outside for a moment, gave a hand signal to the crowd of now around 5000 people. as Malcolm gave the signal, Members of the Nation of Islam left and later the crowd dispersed. Within a month Malcolm X was under police surveillance. The supreme court decided not to indite the police officers who beat Hilton. Malcolm later sent an angry telegram to the police commissioner and undercover agents were later told to infiltrate the Nation of Islam.

"The media's most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make innocent guilty, and the guilty innocent, and that's power. because they control the minds of the masses" - Malcolm X.
(Source: A History of Malcolm X)

Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts by Randy Roberts (no photo)
Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour A Narrative History of Black Power in America by Peniel E. Joseph by Peniel E. Joseph (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) CORE – Congress of Racial Equality

CORE Banner

Founded in 1942, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) became one of the leading activist organizations in the early years of the American Civil Rights Movement. In the early 1960s, CORE, working with other civil rights groups, launched a series of initiatives: the Freedom Rides, aimed at desegregating public facilities, the Freedom Summer voter registration project and the historic 1963 March on Washington. CORE initially embraced a pacifist, non-violent approach to fighting racial segregation, but by the late 1960s the group’s leadership had shifted its focus towards the political ideology of black nationalism and separatism.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded on the University of Chicago campus in 1942 as an outgrowth of the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation. For the next two decades, CORE introduced a small group of civil rights activists to the idea of achieving change through nonviolence, but during these years, its chapters were all in the North and its membership predominantly white and middle class. In 1955 CORE went into the South and provided nonviolence training to demonstrators during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Soon thereafter, CORE hired a small staff to work in the South.

The group first drew national attention in 1960 with its active support of the sit-in movement at lunch counters that refused to serve blacks. Symbolic of the organization’s new direction was the appointment in February 1961 of James Farmer, as CORE’s first black national director. A few months later, CORE organized the first Freedom Ride to desegregate interstate transportation facilities. Although the riders were attacked so brutally in Alabama that they were unable to continue, more than a thousand participants, black and white, carried on Freedom Rides during the summer.

Starting in late 1961, voter registration became the new civil rights priority, and CORE focused on Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. At this time many civil rights workers were beginning to feel that black political power, not integration, offered the best hope for achieving racial equality. Although CORE did not abandon its commitment to racial understanding–it was, for instance, a cosponsor of the March on Washington in August 1963–it placed increasing emphasis on black autonomy. Pessimism about integration was reinforced by the wave of beatings and murders that met the voter registration projects and by CORE’s expanded work in the North, which shed new light on the depth and intransigence of racial discrimination in the United States. In early 1966, Farmer, a pacifist and longtime advocate of racial integration, was replaced as national director by Floyd McKissick, who had become committed to black separatism. Thereafter, as a primarily black organization, CORE continued to press for political and economic justice for blacks while also lending its voice to the rising antiwar movement.

Seattle in Black and White The Congress of Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity by Joan Singler by Joan Singler (no photo)
Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn by Brian Purnell by Brian Purnell (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Ella Baker

Ella Baker


Born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia, Ella Baker became involved in political activism in the 1930s. She organized the Young Negroes Cooperative League in New York City, and later became a national director for the NAACP. In 1957, Baker joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose first president was Martin Luther King, Jr. She also worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to support civil rights activism on college campuses. Baker died in New York City in 1986.

Early Life and Education

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, on December 13, 1903, Ella Baker was one of the leading figures in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. She grew up in rural North Carolina. Baker was close to her grandmother, a former slave. Her grandmother told Baker many stories about her life, including a whipping she had received at the hands of her owner.

A bright student, Baker eventually went to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was the class valedictorian when she graduated in 1927. After she completed her degree, Baker moved north to New York City. There she worked a number of jobs while trying to make ends meet. Baker helped start the Young Negroes' Cooperative League, which allowed its members to pool their funds to get better deals on goods and services.

Civil Rights Activist

Around 1940, Baker became a field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She traveled extensively, raising funds and recruiting new members to the organization. In 1946, Baker became the NAACP's national director of branches. She took over care for her niece, Jackie Brockington, a few years later, which Baker to resigned from her NAACP post. She felt her position required too much travel. Staying in New York, Baker worked for a number of local organizations, including the New York Urban League. She also helped out at the New York chapter of the NAACP.

In 1957, Baker joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as its executive director at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The SCLC was a civil rights group created by African American ministers and community leaders. During her time with the SCLC, Baker set up the event that led to the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. She offered her support and counsel to this organization of student activists.

While she left the SCLC in 1960, Baker remained active in the SNCC for many years. She helped them form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 as an alternative to the state's Democratic Party, which held segregationist views. The MFDP even tried to get their delegates to serve as replacements for the Mississippi delegates at the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey that same year. While they were unsuccessful in this effort, the MFDP's actions brought a lot of attention to their cause.

Final Years and Legacy

Baker continued to fight for social justice and equality for the rest of her life. With her many years of experience as a protester and organizer, she gave her wise counsel to numerous organizations and causes, including the Third World Women's Coordinating Committee and the Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee. Her life and accomplishments were chronicled in the 1981 documentary Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker. "Fundi" was her nickname, which comes from a Swahili word that means a person who passes down a craft to the next generation.

Baker died on her 83rd birthday, on December 13, 1986, in New York City.
(Source: Bio)

Ella Baker Community Organizer of the Civil Rights Movement by J Todd Moye by J. Todd Moye (no photo)
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby by Barbara Ransby Barbara Ransby

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Teri (teriboop) Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was a Baptist minister and social activist who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. Inspired by advocates of nonviolence such as Mahatma Gandhi, King sought equality for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.


The second child of Martin Luther King Sr. (1899-1984), a pastor, and Alberta Williams King (1904-1974), a former schoolteacher, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. Along with his older sister, the future Christine King Farris (born 1927), and younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King (1930-1969), he grew up in the city’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood, then home to some of the most prominent and prosperous African Americans in the country.

A gifted student, King attended segregated public schools and at the age of 15 was admitted to Morehouse College, the alma mater of both his father and maternal grandfather, where he studied medicine and law. Although he had not intended to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the ministry, he changed his mind under the mentorship of Morehouse’s president, Dr. Benjamin Mays, an influential theologian and outspoken advocate for racial equality. After graduating in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree, won a prestigious fellowship and was elected president of his predominantly white senior class.

King then enrolled in a graduate program at Boston University, completing his coursework in 1953 and earning a doctorate in systematic theology two years later. While in Boston he met Coretta Scott (1927-2006), a young singer from Alabama who was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music. The couple wed in 1953 and settled in Montgomery, Alabama, where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. They had four children: Yolanda Denise King (1955-2007), Martin Luther King III (born 1957), Dexter Scott King (born 1961) and Bernice Albertine King (born 1963).


The King family had been living in Montgomery for less than a year when the highly segregated city became the epicenter of the burgeoning struggle for civil rights in America, galvanized by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks (1913-2005), secretary of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus and was arrested. Activists coordinated a bus boycott that would continue for 381 days, placing a severe economic strain on the public transit system and downtown business owners. They chose Martin Luther King Jr. as the protest’s leader and official spokesman.

By the time the Supreme Court ruled segregated seating on public buses unconstitutional in November 1956, King, heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) and the activist Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), had entered the national spotlight as an inspirational proponent of organized, nonviolent resistance. (He had also become a target for white supremacists, who firebombed his family home that January.) Emboldened by the boycott’s success, in 1957 he and other civil rights activists–most of them fellow ministers–founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a group committed to achieving full equality for African Americans through nonviolence. (Its motto was “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.”) He would remain at the helm of this influential organization until his death.


In his role as SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders. (During a month-long trip to India in 1959, he had the opportunity to meet family members and followers of Gandhi, the man he described in his autobiography as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”) King also authored several books and articles during this time.

In 1960 King and his family moved to Atlanta, his native city, where he joined his father as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. This new position did not stop King and his SCLC colleagues from becoming key players in many of the most significant civil rights battles of the 1960s. Their philosophy of nonviolence was put to a particularly severe test during the Birmingham campaign of 1963, in which activists used a boycott, sit-ins and marches to protest segregation, unfair hiring practices and other injustices in one of America’s most racially divided cities. Arrested for his involvement on April 12, King penned the civil rights manifesto known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an eloquent defense of civil disobedience addressed to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.


Later that year, Martin Luther King Jr. worked with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is widely regarded as a watershed moment in the history of the American civil rights movement and a factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The march culminated in King’s most famous address, known as the “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for peace and equality that many consider a masterpiece of rhetoric. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial–a monument to the president who a century earlier had brought down the institution of slavery in the United States—he shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” The speech and march cemented King’s reputation at home and abroad; later that year he was named Man of the Year by TIME magazine and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the spring of 1965, King’s elevated profile drew international attention to the violence that erupted between white segregationists and peaceful demonstrators in Selma, Alabama, where the SCLC and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had organized a voter registration campaign. Captured on television, the brutal scene outraged many Americans and inspired supporters from across the country to gather in Selma and take part in a march to Montgomery led by King and supported by President Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973), who sent in federal troops to keep the peace. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote–first awarded by the 15th Amendment–to all African Americans.


The events in Selma deepened a growing rift between Martin Luther King Jr. and young radicals who repudiated his nonviolent methods and commitment to working within the established political framework. As more militant black leaders such as Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) rose to prominence, King broadened the scope of his activism to address issues such as the Vietnam War and poverty among Americans of all races. In 1967, King and the SCLC embarked on an ambitious program known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which was to include a massive march on the capital.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where he had traveled to support a sanitation workers’ strike. In the wake of his death, a wave of riots swept major cities across the country, while President Johnson declared a national day of mourning. James Earl Ray (1928-1998), an escaped convict and known racist, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. (He later recanted his confession and gained some unlikely advocates, including members of the King family, before his death in 1998.)

After years of campaigning by activists, members of Congress and Coretta Scott King, among others, in 1983 President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King. Observed on the third Monday of January, it was first celebrated in 1986.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King Jr. by Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. A Life by Marshall Frady by Marshall Frady Marshall Frady

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Teri (teriboop) Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers was a native of Decatur, Mississippi, attending school there until being inducted into the U.S. Army in 1943. Despite fighting for his country as part of the Battle of Normandy, Evers soon found that his skin color gave him no freedom when he and five friends were forced away at gunpoint from voting in a local election. Despite his resentment over such treatment, Evers enrolled at Alcorn State University, majoring in business administration. While at the school, Evers stayed busy by competing on the school's football and track teams, also competing on the debate team, performing in the school choir and serving as president of the junior class.

He married classmate Myrlie Beasley on December 24, 1951, and completed work on his degree the following year. The couple moved to Mound Bayou, MS, where T.R.M. Howard had hired him to sell insurance for his Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Howard was also the president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a civil rights and pro self-help organization. Involvement in the RCNL gave Evers crucial training in activism. He helped to organize the RCNL's boycott of service stations that denied blacks use of their restrooms. The boycotters distributed bumper stickers with the slogan "Don't Buy Gas Where You Can't Use the Restroom." Along with his brother, Charles Evers, he also attended the RCNL's annual conferences in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1954 which drew crowds of ten thousand or more.

Evers applied to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in February 1954. When his application was rejected, Evers became the focus of an NAACP campaign to desegregate the school, a case aided by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education 347 US 483 that segregation was unconstitutional. In December of that year, Evers became the NAACP's first field officer in Mississippi.

After moving to Jackson, he was involved in a boycott campaign against white merchants and was instrumental in eventually desegregating the University of Mississippi when that institution was finally forced to enroll James Meredith in 1962.

In the weeks leading up to his death, Evers found himself the target of a number of threats. His public investigations into the murder of Emmett Till and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard left him vulnerable to attack. On May 28, 1963, a molotov cocktail was thrown into the carport of his home, and five days before his death, he was nearly run down by a car after he emerged from the Jackson NAACP office. Civil rights demonstrations accelerated in Jackson during the first week of June 1963. A local television station granted Evers time for a short speech, his first in Mississippi, where he outlined the goals of the Jackson movement. Following the speech, threats on Evers' life increased.

On June 12, 1963, Evers pulled into his driveway after returning from an integration meeting where he had conferred with NAACP lawyers. Emerging from his car and carrying NAACP T-shirts that stated, "Jim Crow Must Go", Evers was struck in the back with a bullet that ricocheted into his home. He staggered 30 feet before collapsing, dying at the local hospital 50 minutes later. Evers was murdered just hours after President John F. Kennedy's speech on national television in support of civil rights.

Mourned nationally, Evers was buried on June 19 in Arlington National Cemetery and received full military honors in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 people, the largest funeral at Arlington since John Foster Dulles. The past chairman of the American Veterans Committee, Mickey Levine, said at the services, "No soldier in this field has fought more courageously, more heroically than Medgar Evers."

On June 23, Byron De La Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and member of the White Citizens' Council and Ku Klux Klan, was arrested for Evers' murder. During the course of his first 1964 trial, De La Beckwith was visited by former Mississippi governor Ross Barnett and one time Army Major General Edwin A. Walker.

All-white juries twice that year deadlocked on De La Beckwith's guilt, allowing him to escape justice. In response to the murder and miscarriage of justice, musician Bob Dylan wrote the song "Only a Pawn in Their Game" about Evers and his assassin. Phil Ochs wrote the songs "Too Many Martyrs" and "Another Country" in response to the killing (Evers is also mentioned in the song "Love Me I'm a Liberal"). Matthew Jones and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singers paid tribute to Evers in the haunting "Ballad of Medgar Evers." Malvina Reynolds mentioned "the shot in Ever's back" in her song "It isn't nice".

Evers' legacy has been kept alive in a variety of ways. In 1970, Medgar Evers College was established in Brooklyn, NY as part of the City University of New York. In 1983, a made-for-television movie, For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story starring Howard Rollins, Jr. was aired, celebrating the life and career of Medgar Evers, and on June 28, 1992, he was immortalized in Jackson with a statue.

In 1994, thirty years after the two previous trials had failed to reach a verdict, Beckwith was again brought to trial based on new evidence concerning statements he made to others. During the trial, the body of Evers was exhumed from his grave for autopsy, and found to be in a surprisingly excellent state of preservation as a result of embalming. Beckwith was convicted on February 5, 1994, after living as a free man for three decades after the murder. Beckwith appealed unsuccessfully, and died in prison in January of 2001.

Before his body was reburied, owing to his excellent state of preservation, a new funeral was staged for Evers. This permitted his children, who were toddlers when he was assassinated and had very little memory of him, to have a chance to see him. The new funeral was covered on HBO's Autopsy series.

The 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi tells the story of the 1994 trial, in which a District Attorney's office prosecutor, Robert Delaughter, successfully retried the case, and won.

Evers's wife, Myrlie, became a noted activist in her own right later in life, eventually serving as chairwoman of the NAACP. Medgar's brother Charles returned to Jackson in July 1963 and served briefly in his slain brother's place. Charles Evers remained involved in Mississippi Civil Rights for years to come. He resides in Jackson.

In 2001, Myrlie and Medgar's oldest son, Darrell Kenyatta Evers, died of colon cancer. Their two surviving children are Reena Denise and James Van.
(Source: NAACP)

The Autobiography of Medgar Evers A Hero's Life and Legacy Revealed Through his Writings, Letters, and Speeches by Myrlie Evers-Williams by Myrlie Evers-Williams (no photo)
Of Long Memory Mississippi And The Murder Of Medgar Evers by Adam Nossiter by Adam Nossiter (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Stanley Levison

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stanley Levison

In 1956 Stanley Levison, a Jewish attorney from New York, began raising funds to support the Montgomery bus boycott and became acquainted with Martin Luther King, Jr. The two men developed a close relationship in which Levison not only advised King, but also aided him with the day-to-day administrative demands of the movement. In 1963, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used King’s relationship with Levison, who they believed to be a Communist functionary, to justify surveillance of King.

Born in New York City on 2 May 1912, Levison studied at the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the New School for Social Research before earning two law degrees from St. John’s University. As treasurer of the Manhattan branch of the American Jewish Congress, Levison became a champion of left-wing causes and supported the defense of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and on the campaign against the McCarran Internal Security Act. In the early 1950s the FBI considered Levison to be a major financial coordinator for the Communist Party in the United States and began to monitor his activities.

In the mid 1950s Levison turned his attention to the civil rights struggle. In 1956 Levison, Bayard Rustin, and Ella Baker created In Friendship, an organization that raised money for southern civil rights activists and organizations, including the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). Together they formulated the concept of a regional ‘‘congress of organizations’’ dedicated to mass action grounded in nonviolence, an idea that would later develop into the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) (Papers 4:491).

Throughout King’s career, Levison drafted articles and speeches for him, prepared King’s tax returns, and raised funds for SCLC. In 1958 Levison helped King edit Stride Toward Freedom and secured a book contract with Harper & Brothers. In almost all instances, he performed these services without compensation. When King offered payment, Levison refused. ‘‘My skills,’’ he wrote King, ‘‘were acquired not only in a cloistered academic environment, but also in the commercial jungle.… I looked forward to the time when I could use these skills not for myself but for socially constructive ends. The liberation struggle is the most positive and rewarding area of work anyone could experience’’ (Papers 5:103).

The FBI’s interest in Levison was suddenly rekindled in 1959, when the bureau learned of Levison’s connection with King and the movement. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover believed that Levison was a Communist agent, and that through Levison international communism influenced King’s actions. He brought this concern to the attention of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and Harris Wofford was enlisted by the Kennedy administration to warn King to end his relationship with Levison. Unwilling to lose a trusted advisor because of vague allegations, King refused to act on the administration’s request for over a year. In March 1962 Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI to begin electronic surveillance of Levison, including his contact with King.

Just before a 22 June 1963 White House meeting with civil rights leaders, Burke Marshall and Robert Kennedy separately repeated the warning to King, and this time included a recommendation to also fire Jack O’Dell. King demurred and requested proof of Levison’s threat to national security. After the meeting President John F. Kennedy took King aside and repeated the request that he ban Levison and O’Dell directly.

Over the next months King debated how to handle the requests to cease contact with Levison. Levison, however, valued the administration’s support for the movement and took the initiative to cut off all visible ties with King. He continued to advise King on important matters indirectly, often using Clarence Jones as an intermediary. In October 1963, evidence of the ongoing relationship helped convince Robert Kennedy to approve wiretaps in King’s home and office.

Throughout the 1960s, Levison continued to lend King practical and moral support. Following the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, Levison wrote King: ‘‘For the first time, whites and Negroes from all over the nation physically joined the struggle in a pilgrimage to the deep south.’’ For Levison, Selma was a turning point in King’s status as a leader, ‘‘[it] made you one of the most powerful figures in the country—a leader now not merely of Negroes, but of millions of whites’’ (Levison, 7 April 1965).

In early 1967, when King became determined to participate in a public denunciation of the Vietnam War organized by Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, Levison counseled him to refrain. Levison felt that King’s planned speech, ‘‘Beyond Vietnam,’’ was unbalanced and would have disastrous consequences to SCLC’s fundraising campaign and King’s personal prestige.

A year after publicly speaking out against the Vietnam War, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew Young, another of King’s trusted advisors, called Levison a few hours afterward to tell him the news. Young wrote in his autobiography that ‘‘Martin had confided in Stan his worries and doubts and hopes ever since Montgomery and had defied the FBI and the president of the United States for their friendship.’’ I knew he … would want to hear from one of us personally (Young, 467).

After a long battle with diabetes and cancer, Levison died at his home in New York City in 1979. Upon hearing of his death, Coretta Scott King called him ‘‘one of my husband’s loyal and supportive friends’’ whose ‘‘contributions to the labor, civil rights, and peace movements,’’ are relatively unknown (‘‘Civil Rights Strategist’’).
(Source: King Encyclopedia | Stanford)

Dangerous Friendship Stanley Levison, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Kennedy Brothers by Ben Kamin by Ben Kamin (no photo)
Down to the Crossroads Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear by Aram Goudsouzian by Aram Goudsouzian (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in front of SCLC Headquarters in Atlanta

The very beginnings of the SCLC can be traced back to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began on December 5, 1955 after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. The boycott lasted for 381 days and ended on December 21, 1956, with the desegregation of the Montgomery bus system. The boycott was carried out by the newly established Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). Martin Luther King, Jr. served as President and Ralph David Abernathy served as Program Director. It was one of history’s most dramatic and massive nonviolent protests, stunning the nation and the world.

The boycott was also a signal to Black America to begin a new phase of the long struggle, a phase that came to be known as the modern civil rights movement. As bus boycotts spread across the South, leaders of the MIA and other protest groups met in Atlanta on January 10 – 11, 1957, to form a regional organization and coordinate protest activities across the South.
Despite a bombing of the home and church of Ralph David Abernathy during the Atlanta meeting, 60 persons from 10 states assembled and announced the founding of the Southern Leadership Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration. They issued a document declaring that civil rights are essential to democracy, that segregation must end, and that all Black people should reject segregation absolutely and nonviolently.

Further organizing was done at a meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 14, 1957. The organization shortened its name to Southern Leadership Conference, established an Executive Board of Directors, and elected officers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as President, Dr. Ralph David Abernathy as Financial Secretary-Treasurer, Rev. C. K. Steele of Tallahassee, Florida as Vice President, Rev. T. J. Jemison of Baton Rouge, Louisiana as Secretary, and Attorney I. M. Augustine of New Orleans, Louisiana as General Counsel.

At its first convention in Montgomery in August 1957, the Southern Leadership Conference adopted the current name, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Basic decisions made by the founders at these early meeting included the adoption of nonviolent mass action as the cornerstone of strategy, the affiliation of local community organizations with SCLC across the South, and a determination to make the SCLC movement open to all, regardless of race, religion, or background.

SCLC is a now a nation wide organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.
(Source: Southern Christian Leadership Conference)

To Redeem The Soul Of America The Southern Christian Leadership Conference And Martin Luther King, Jr by Adam Fairclough by Adam Fairclough (no photo)
Bearing the Cross Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J. Garrow by David J. Garrow (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Robert F. Williams

Robert F. Williams

The first African American civil rights leader to advocate armed resistance to racial oppression and violence, Robert F. Williams was born on February 26, 1925 in Monroe, North Carolina. The fourth of five children born to Emma Carter Williams and John Williams, Williams quickly learned to navigate the dangers of being black in the Deep South. The Ku Klux Klan was a powerful and feared force in Monroe, and the community where Williams grew up experienced regular brutalization at the hands of whites.

Williams’ grandmother, a well-read and proud woman who was born a slave in Union County in 1858, taught Williams to cherish his heritage and to stand up for himself. Before she died, she presented her young grandson with his first gun, a rifle that had belonged to his grandfather, as a symbol of their family’s resistance against racial oppression.

After high school Williams joined the Marines in hopes of being assigned to information services, where he could pursue journalism. Instead, he received a typical assignment given to African American Marines at that time: supply sergeant. Williams’ resistance to the Marine Corps’ racial discrimination earned him an “undesirable” discharge and he returned to Monroe.

Becoming a Leader

In 1956, Williams took over leadership of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was close to disbanding due to a relentless backlash by the Ku Klux Klan. Williams canvassed for new members and eventually expanded the branch from only six to more than 200 members.

Williams also filed for a charter from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and formed the Black Guard, an armed group committed to the protection of Monroe’s black population. Members received weapons and physical training from Williams to prepare them to keep the peace and come to the aid of black citizens, whose calls to law enforcement often went unanswered.

With his fellow NAACP members, Williams waged local civil rights campaigns and brought the conditions of the Jim Crow South to the attention of the national and international media. Williams led an ongoing fight to integrate the local public swimming pool and opposed the condemnation of two young African American boys for the “crime” of kissing a white girl during a harmless child’s game—a cause that had been deemed too controversial for the national NAACP.

Meeting Violence with Violence

In 1959, after a jury in Monroe acquitted a white man for the attempted rape of a black woman, Williams made a historic statement on the courthouse steps.

He said of his courthouse proclamation at a later press conference: “I made a statement that if the law, if the United States Constitution cannot be enforced in this social jungle called Dixie, it is time that Negroes must defend themselves even if it is necessary to resort to violence.

“That there is no law here, there is no need to take the white attackers to the courts because they will go free and that the federal government is not coming to the aid of people who are oppressed, and it is time for Negro men to stand up and be men and if it is necessary for us to die we must be willing to die. If it is necessary for us to kill we must be willing to kill.”

At Odds with the Mainstream Civil Rights Movement

The NAACP suspended Williams for advocating violence. In 1961, the Freedom Riders came to Monroe to demonstrate the efficacy of passive resistance—the hallmark of the mainstream Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. An angry mob of Klansmen and Klan supporters overwhelmed the Riders, who called upon Williams and his Black Guard for help. Amid the chaos, Williams sheltered a white couple from an African American mob, only to be accused later of kidnapping them.

Life in Exile

With state and local authorities pursuing Williams for “kidnapping,” and frenzied Klansmen calling for his death, Robert and Mabel Williams and their two small children fled Monroe. Fidel Castro granted Williams political asylum in Cuba, and the family spent the next five years in Havana. Robert and Mabel Williams continued to fight for human rights from Havana through their news and music radio program, “Radio Free Dixie,” and the publication of Williams’ pamphlet, The Crusader, which reached an influential underground audience. In 1962, he wrote the book Negroes With Guns.

In 1966, Williams moved his family to China during the height of the Cultural Revolution. There, as in Cuba, he enjoyed celebrity status and fraternized with Mao Zedong and Chou En Lai.


In 1969, Williams returned to the U.S. aboard a TWA flight chartered by the federal government. All charges against Williams were dropped, and he went on to advise the State Department on normalizing relations with China. Williams did not, however, assume leadership of what had become a divided and beleaguered Black Power Movement. Instead, Williams accepted a position as a research associate at the Institute for Chinese Studies at University of Michigan, and he and Mabel moved to Baldwin, near the university. Williams died of cancer in 1996 and was buried in Monroe.
(Source: PBS)

Radio Free Dixie Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power by Timothy B. Tyson by Timothy B. Tyson Timothy B. Tyson
Negroes with Guns by Robert Franklin Williams by Robert Franklin Williams Robert Franklin Williams

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Teri (teriboop) The United States Commission on Civil Rights

Members of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 created the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Since then, Congress has reauthorized or extended the legislation creating the Commission several times; the last reauthorization was in 1994 by the Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994.

Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, our mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws. We pursue this mission by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice. We play a vital role in advancing civil rights through objective and comprehensive investigation, research, and analysis on issues of fundamental concern to the federal government and the public.
(Source: USCCR)

The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle by Clayborne Carson by Clayborne Carson (no photo)
The Origins of the Civil Rights Movements Black Communities Organizing for Change by Aldon D. Morris by Aldon D. Morris (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Benjamin O. Davis Jr.

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., in full Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. (born December 18, 1912, Washington, D.C., U.S.—died July 4, 2002, Washington, D.C.) pilot, officer, and administrator who became the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force. His father, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., was the first African American to become a general in any branch of the U.S. military.

Davis studied at the University of Chicago before entering the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1932. After graduating in 1936 he was commissioned in the infantry and in 1941 was among the first group of African Americans admitted to the Army Air Corps and to pilot training. Upon his graduation he was swiftly promoted to lieutenant colonel, and he organized the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first entirely African American air unit, which flew tactical support missions in the Mediterranean theatre. In 1943 he organized and commanded the 332nd Fighter Group (the Tuskegee Airmen). By the end of the war Davis himself had flown 60 combat missions and had been promoted to colonel.

After the war Davis held other commands, and he helped plan the desegregation of the air force in 1948. He graduated from the Air War College in 1950, commanded a fighter wing in the Korean War, and was promoted to brigadier general (a one-star general) in 1954. In 1959 Davis became the first African American officer to reach the rank of major general (a two-star general) in the air force and was promoted to lieutenant general (a three-star general) in 1965. After retiring in 1970 he was named director of civil aviation security in the U.S. Department of Transportation. In that post he devised and coordinated measures that effectively ended a wave of aircraft hijackings in the United States. Davis became an assistant secretary of transportation in 1971.

Davis received many decorations during his career, including two Distinguished Service Medals and a Silver Star. On December 9, 1998, Davis was awarded his fourth general’s star (making him a general of the highest order within the U.S. military). He was the first African American to be so honoured in retirement. His 1991 autobiography, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American, recounts his career.
(Source: Britannica)

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American An Autobiography by Benjamin O. Davis Jr. by Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (no photo)
Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Air Force General & Tuskegee Airmen Leader by Sari Earl by Sari Earl (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Louis Lomax

Louis Lomax

Born in 1922, Louis E. Lomax was raised by a prominent Valdosta, Georgia, family who pruned him from youth for his eventual greatness. From educating and authoring, to reporting and broadcasting Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam into millions of American households for the very first time, Lomax created a legacy of groundbreaking journalism to become one of the most influential African-American reporters and authors of his time.

Lomax got his start in teaching philosophy at Georgia State College (now Savannah State University); he eventually began climbing the ladder as a reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American and the Chicago American until 1958, after which he began producing documentaries at WNTA-TV in New York.

It was here that Lomax set a precedent as a journalist and activist in his own right.

Avidly involved in the movement, Lomax brought civil rights leader Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam to the attention of Mike Wallace of CBS — host of the program Newsbeat at this time. In early 1959, the network wanted to pursue filming a documentary on the Muslim leader, but Malcolm X refused to be interviewed by any white reporters, including Wallace. His race granting him exclusive access to and trust with the Nation, Lomax was permitted to interview Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X on camera, only assisted by two white cameramen.

The footage captured on that day became the documentary The Hate That Hate Produced, which was nationally televised in July 1959 as a five-part series on Newsbeat, presented by Wallace and Lomax.

The series was the first time many white people had ever seen or heard of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X — and it was the first time a Black man appeared on television to report the news.

Now in his prime and a nationally recognized journalist, he hosted the Louis E. Lomax Show on KTTV of Los Angeles from 1964 to 1968, interviewing guests and holding debates on controversial topics of the time, frequently surrounding the differing approaches of activists in achieving racial justice. A strong supporter of unity between races while still advocating the then-rebellious beliefs of Black Power, an unpopular idea with other commentators of the day, Lomax was unafraid of criticism and frequently received it from all sides.

Lomax continued shaking up the journalism world, writing novels, teaching at various universities and challenging standards of racial inequality until his abrupt death in 1970. Killed in a car crash in New Mexico, he left behind his wife Robinette and an unfinished three-volume novel chronicling the history of African-Americans.

He was only 47 years old.

Undaunted by and unafraid to express his own unique concepts of achieving equal rights, Lomax garnered respect and achieved precedence in the civil rights movement, journalism, literature and many a college classroom. Among the many accomplishments he is known for, he will forever be remembered as the first Black reporter to appear on television, and the man who introduced the masses to Malcolm X in that now iconic 1959 interview.
(Source: Atlanta Black Star)

To Kill A Black Man by Louis E. Lomax by Louis E. Lomax (no photo)
When The Word Is Given... by Louis E. Lomax by Louis E. Lomax (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace


Mike Wallace was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1918. Beginning in college he worked as an announcer and a newscaster on radio, and later served as a naval communications officer during World War II. In the 1950s he began to work on television, and in 1963 he joined CBS as a reporter. In 1968 Wallace became co-editor of the news program 60 Minutes and was known for his aggressive interview style, winning numerous Emmy Awards over the ensuing decades. Wallace died in New Canaan, Connecticut. in 2012.

Early Career

One of television's most admired journalists, Mike Wallace spent much of his career as a host and correspondent on the popular news magazine 60 Minutes. His relentless interviewing style often made his subjects nervous, whether they were world leaders or popular actresses. Sometimes called a pit bull, Wallace seemed to be driven by an intense commitment to deliver the truth to his audience. "I'm nosy and insistent," he once explained.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Wallace was born on May 9. 1918, in Brookline, Massachusetts. After high school he attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he first discovered radio journalism at the campus station. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1939, Wallace worked at several radio stations in Michigan.

During World War II, Wallace spent several years in the U.S. Navy as a communications officer. After the war, he ended up working a number of television and media jobs before finding his true calling in the mid-1950s. Living in New York at the time, Wallace became the host of an interview show called Night Beat. The program went national on ABC in 1957 as The Mike Wallace Interview. This was America's first taste of Wallace as the tough interrogator. He later called these one-on-one encounters "a radical departure from the usual pablum of radio and television interviews."

In 1963, Wallace became a full-time correspondent for CBS News. He had decided to pursue hard news as a career after the 1962 death of his oldest son, Peter. In a later interview, Wallace explained that he wanted to "do something that would make Peter proud."

'60 Minutes'

Wallace was one of producer Don Hewitt's first picks for his news magazine 60 Minutes. Debuting in 1968, 60 Minutes featured Wallace and Harry Reasoner as co-hosts. Wallace helped pioneer what is known as "ambush journalism." He was fond of the technique, which called for approaching a subject without warning. While he later dropped the practice, he maintained a reputation for having no mercy for his subjects.

Never afraid of asking the tough questions, Wallace interviewed numerous world leaders. He had the courage to question the sanity of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, soon after the American hostage crisis began in Iran. He later challenged Russian leader Vladimir Putin about whether Russia was truly a democracy and questioned him about corruption.

Wallace also talked with other newsmakers, using the same, no-nonsense approach. For each interview, he was known to do extensive research and approached every subject with a skeptical eye. Wallace asked singer Barbra Streisand about spending two decades in psychoanalysis, saying "What is she trying to find out that takes 20 years?" He also asked comedian Johnny Carson about a possible drinking problem. One of his most controversial segments, however, came in 1998, when he included footage of an assisted suicide of a terminally ill patient by outspoken euthanasia supporter Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Career Obstacles

Wallace's success did not come without its share of challenges. He was personally devastated by a libel suit by General William Westmoreland over a CBS News special Wallace had done on the Vietnam War. The 1982 program claimed that Westmoreland had intentionally underreported the strength of enemy troops, a charge that Westmoreland disputed. "The Westmoreland affair, professionally and personally, was one of the most difficult times of my life," he later said. The resulting trial in 1984 sent the distinguished newsman into a terrible depression, and Wallace later revealed that he had attempted suicide during this difficult time.

Another professional setback came in 1995 when Wallace fought with his own network over an interview he conducted with Jeffrey Wigand, a former research head for a tobacco company, for a story on misleading industry practices. This whistleblower gave Wallace some startling information on nicotine, but higher-ups at the network initially refused to air the story—and Wallace himself reportedly capitulated—for fear of lawsuits. The incident became the basis for the 1999 film The Insider with Christopher Plummer as Wallace and Russell Crowe as Wigand.

No matter what controversies he stirred up or roadblocks he faced, Wallace tirelessly strove to the bottom of each story for nearly 40 years. As fellow 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer once explained, Wallace "took to heart the old reporter's pledge to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." For his impressive work, Wallace won numerous accolades, including 21 Emmy Awards.

Final Years

Wallace stepped away from his full-time role on 60 Minutes in 2006. Not ready to give up chasing stories completely, he made several appearances on the show over the next two years. One of his biggest interviews from this time was with Dr. Jack Kevorkian who had just been released from prison. In January 2008, Wallace's final 60 Minutes interview aired, during which he talked with disgraced baseball star Roger Clemens about his alleged steroid use.

Around this time, Wallace underwent surgery for a triple bypass, and his health began to decline. Some reports indicate that Wallace suffered from dementia. He spent his last years at a care facility in New Canaan, Connecticut.

On April 7, 2012, Wallace passed away "peacefully surrounded by family members." He was survived by his fourth wife, Mary; his son, Chris; stepdaughter Pauline Dora; stepsons Eames and Angus Yates; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Chris Wallace has carried on the family's name in journalism as the host of Fox News Sunday.

Friends, fans and colleagues responded to the news with great sadness. "His extraordinary contribution as a broadcaster is immeasurable and he has been a force within the television industry throughout its existence," said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather also remarked on Wallace's impact on television news, saying he made it "more investigative, more aggressive and relevant."

For many, the passing of Wallace marks the end of an era in news reporting. No one in today's news media seems to have the same mixture of nerve, talent and determination. Wallace won his audience's trust and admiration week after week, and his unpredictability kept them tuning in. "It almost didn't matter what stories he was covering, you just wanted to hear what he would ask next," said Jeff Fager, former CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer.
(Source: Bio)

Mike Wallace A Life by Peter Rader by Peter Rader Peter Rader
Between You and Me A Memoir with 82-Minute DVD by Mike Wallace by Mike Wallace Mike Wallace

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Teri (teriboop) The Hate That Hate Produced Interview

Video: The Hate that Hate Produced | PBS
Transcript: The Hate That Hate Produced Transcript | Columbia University

The Hate That Hate Produced is a television documentary about Black Nationalism in America, focusing on the Nation of Islam and, to a lesser extent, the United African Nationalist Movement. It was produced in 1959 by Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax.

Top Left: Mike Wallace, Top Right: Malcolm X, Bottom Left: Elijah Muhammad, Bottom Right: Louis Lomax


In 1959, Wallace and Lomax were television journalists for News Beat, a program on WNTA-TV in New York. Lomax told Wallace about the Nation of Islam, and Wallace became interested in the group. Lomax, who was African American, was given rare access to the organization. Accompanied by two white camera operators, Lomax conducted interviews with the Nation's leaders and filmed some of its events. The Hate That Hate Produced was broadcast in five parts during the week of July 13–17, 1959, and was repeated several days later.

The Program

The Hate That Hate Produced began with a narration by Wallace:

While city officials, state agencies, white liberals, and sober-minded Negroes stand idly by, a group of Negro dissenters is taking to street-corner step ladders, church pulpits, sports arenas, and ballroom platforms across the United States, to preach a gospel of hate that would set off a federal investigation if it were preached by Southern whites.

The cameras cut to a scene of Louis X (later known as Louis Farrakhan) indicting "the white man" for his crimes:

I charge the white man with being the greatest liar on earth! I charge the white man with being the greatest drunkard on earth.... I charge the white man with being the greatest gambler on earth. I charge the white man, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, with being the greatest murderer on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest peace-breaker on earth.... I charge the white man with being the greatest robber on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest deceiver on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest trouble-maker on earth. So therefore, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you, bring back a verdict of guilty as charged!

Wallace returned to tell the audience:

The indictment you've just heard is being delivered over and over again in most of the major cities across the country. This charge comes at the climax of a morality play called The Trial. The plot, indeed the message of the play, is that the white man has been put on trial for his sins against the black man. He has been found guilty. The sentence is death. The play is sponsored, produced, by a Negro religious group who call themselves "The Muslims".

During the course of the program, Wallace told viewers more about the Nation of Islam, which he described as "the most powerful of the Black supremacist groups". The documentary included footage of the University of Islam, a school run by the Nation, where, according to Wallace, "Muslim children are taught to hate the white man". It also showed portions of a large Nation of Islam rally, while Wallace told viewers that the organization had 250,000 members, a tremendously inflated number.

The Hate That Hate Produced included interviews between Lomax and Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam. When Lomax asked him whether he was preaching hate, Muhammad answered that he was just teaching truth. Muhammad said he believed black people were divine and white people were devils. He also said that Allah was a black man.

The program also included Lomax's interviews with Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam's charismatic spokesman. Lomax asked him if all white people were evil, and Malcolm X explained that white people collectively were evil: "History is best qualified to reward all research, and we don't have any historic example where we have found that they have, collectively, as a people, done good." When he was asked about the Nation's schools, such as the University of Islam, Malcolm X denied that they taught black children to hate; he said they were being taught the same things white students were taught, "minus the little Black Sambo story and things that were taught to you and me when we were coming up, to breed that inferiority complex in us."

The program also includes interviews with James R. Lawson, the president of the United African Nationalist Movement, which advocated freedom for Africans from non-African rule. Lawson was asked about his relationship with African leaders of the time, notably President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. According to commentators Christopher Kyriakides and Rodolfo Torres, this aspect of the program "draws public attention to the significant threat that Black Nationalism, as an enemy within, is presumed to pose to American interests in the Middle East".

At the program's end, Wallace asked for support for black leaders who were "counseling patience and the relatively slow operation of legal measures". He said it was necessary to make the United States a nation that was truly "indivisible, with freedom and justice for all".

Public Reaction

The Hate That Hate Produced shocked many of the millions of people who watched it. Most white people had never heard of the Nation of Islam before, and many were stunned to learn that some black people had such strong feelings toward white people. For many white viewers, it was the first time they learned there was a radical black alternative to the Civil Rights Movement.

Some African Americans could not believe that black people were saying such things out loud, but more than a few agreed with it. The number of people attending Nation of Islam meetings increased significantly, and the group's membership doubled to 60,000 within weeks after the broadcast.

The Hate That Hate Produced catapulted Malcolm X to national attention. Although he had rarely been mentioned in the mainstream press before the program went out, Malcolm X soon became a frequent participant in television debates on race-related issues and one of the most sought-after speakers on college campuses across the United States.

Modern Analysis

Recent commentators generally feel that The Hate That Hate Produced was biased against the Nation of Islam. One writer said "its title reflected its severe view". Others have described it as "marked [by] a tendency to caricature", "blatantly one-sided", and a "piece of yellow journalism".

One of the first things Wallace said about Muhammad and Malcolm X was that they had served time in prison, a statement that seemed designed to call their leadership credentials into question and suggest the organization itself was criminal. Wallace referred to "this disturbing story" and used phrases such as "black supremacy", "black racism", and "gospel of hate" to frighten the white audience, critics say, and no effort was made to balance the presentation.

In his book White Violence, Black Response, Herbert Shapiro criticizes Wallace's opening comments that the Nation of Islam "preach[es] a gospel of hate that would set off a federal investigation if it were preached by Southern whites." He noted that some Southern whites—including state and local elected officials—did in fact preach such a gospel of hate, but the federal government had done almost nothing to stop their hate propaganda. Shapiro also argues that Wallace confused the Nation's rhetoric that condemned white people with a specific plan for violence against white people.
(Source: Wikipedia)

1959 The Year Everything Changed by Fred Kaplan by Fred Kaplan Fred Kaplan
Colored People by Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Teri (teriboop) The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

SNCC sit-in, 1964, at Atlanta's Toddle House restaurant.

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), formed to give younger blacks more of a voice in the civil rights movement, became one of the movement’s more radical branches. In the wake of the early sit-ins at lunch counters closed to blacks, which started in February 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ella Baker, then director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helped set up the first meeting of what became SNCC. She was concerned that SCLC, led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was out of touch with younger blacks who wanted the movement to make faster progress. Baker encouraged those who formed SNCC to look beyond integration to broader social change and to view King’s principle of nonviolence more as a political tactic than as a way of life.

The new group played a large part in the Freedom Rides aimed at desegregating buses and in the marches organized by King and SCLC. Under the leadership of James Forman, Bob Moses, and Marion Barry, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee also directed much of the black voter registration drives in the South. Three of its members died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. Events such as these heightened divisions between King and SNCC. The latter objected to compromises at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, where the party refused to replace the all-white Mississippi delegation with the integrated Freedom Democrats.

In 1966, Stokely Carmichael was elected head of SNCC and popularized the term black power to characterize the new tactics and goals–including black self-reliance and the use of violence as a legitimate means of self-defense. He also drew attention to the plight of blacks in the inner cities. Carmichael’s successor, H. Rap Brown, went further, saying “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” But the fires and disorders that followed in the summer of 1967 led to Brown’s arrest for incitement to riot, and SNCC disbanded shortly thereafter as the civil rights movement itself splintered.

The River of No Return The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC by Cleveland Sellers by Cleveland Sellers (no photo)
A Circle of Trust Remembering SNCC by Cheryl Lynn Greenberg by Cheryl Lynn Greenberg (no photo)

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Teri (teriboop) Hello everyone ~

Samanta has posted the Bibliography from the book on this thread:

A special thanks to Samanta for her hard work on this exhaustive body of work for this book.

The Bibliography has some links to some wonderful primary resources that Marable used for this book. You'll find a lot under the website that is listed that contains some of the oral histories and FBI files used. Not everything is directly viewable online, but there is a bit and it is interesting read.

The Bibliography contains the following sections:

Government Documents
Archival Collections
Oral Histories
Newspapers and Periodicals
Dissertations and Theses
Journal Articles

Please feel free to add any other books that may aid in our discussion of this book. Please remember to use proper citations, such as:

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X by Malcolm X Malcolm X

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