The Black Muslims in the United States
Lincoln, Charles Eric
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The slow and painful progress of desegregation in America when seen in contrast with the dramatic successes the non-white peoples of Asia and Africa have experienced since World War II in their determination to be free of white supremacy, has markedly increased the frustrations and anxieties of America's Negro minority. There is a developing apprehension that it may come to pass that the American Negro will be the only people in the world still demeaned by racial subordination. The Black Muslims represent one organized reaction to continuing patterns of discrimination in the United States and to the white man's tendency to deprecate all non-white races and cultures. They also represent an extreme protest against Christianity for its failure to treat black and white Christians with equanimity. The study is designed: (1) to survey some characteristic defenses against the effects of race prejudice and discrimination in order to provide a perspective from which to evaluate the Muslim Movement; (2) to examine in detail the Black Muslims as a particular form of reaction to prejudice and discrimination in America; and (3) to assess the response-patterns of other Negro organizations and institutions towards the Muslim Movement and its modus vivendi. The data was collected over a span of four years by means of: (1) interviews with Muslim leaders and laymen, and with Negro leaders outside the Movement such as ministers, businessmen, politicians and educators; (2) participant observation involving hundreds of hours at Muslim temples, homes, lectures, etc.; (3) reports from interested persons and institutions across the country; (4) newspaper and magazine articles by and about Muslims; (5) tape recordings of Muslim speeches and addresses; (6) Muslim pamphlets, booklets, brochures, etc.; (7) Muslim dramatic productions, pageants and phonograph records. There are probably 100,000 Black Muslims in the United States, and the Movement is growing. There is a good deal of sympathy in the general Negro community for the Muslims, but only a relatively small number of Negroes are willing to abandon Christianity to become Muslims. Non-Muslims sympathetic to the Movement tend to concur in the belief that the white man is incapable of justice toward non-whites, and that he will never of his own accord live in a situation of equality with non-whites. Again, there is wide agreement that the white man has deliberately "written the Negro out of history"--refusing to recognize his contributions to Afro-Asian civilization and to the development of America. Negro intellectuals are least sympathetic to the Movement, and tend to discount it as a social force of any importance. Muslims are ambivalent toward the intellectuals. believing them to be most vulnerable to the white man's blandishments. The Movements is essentially an expression of the Negro lower class. A few college students are Muslims, and some Muslim ministers were formerly Christian pastors. Temples are located in the large industrial cities from Boston to San Diego and from San Francisco to Miami. Converts come from a wide variety of religious backgrounds--the Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist and Congregational churches are all represented, as are various sects and cults. Many ex-Garveyites are Muslims. There is no apparent delinquency problem among Muslim children. The father is restored as head of the family. Notable success in rehabilitating ex-convicts, alcoholics and narcotic addicts is reported. Parochial schools are maintained by some temples. The Muslims anticipate the eventual destruction of the white man, and the re-establishment of the Black Man's civilization. They advocate non-violence except in self-defense, when the lex talionis is held to apply. Complete separation of the races--and a "United Front of Black Men" are fundamental precepts. The Black Muslims probably constitute a Moslem sect in spit of their doctrinal deviations. Some Muslim leaders have made the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University Includes bibliographical references (leaves 384-390). Abstract: leaves [1-4]. Vita. Microfilm. s
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