Fact #26 of 28
E Eugenics had gotten very popular here in America by the turn of the century, as there were many people looking to Eugenics to advance their social agendas. Eugenics was being used in the United States to support a variety of social agendas long before the Nazi’s use it to justify their subjugation of Jews. Eugenics was the belief that it’s possible to improve the genetic pool of people through the selective breeding of certain individuals with the genes that you wanted more of and forcibly sterilizing the people who had genes that you wanted to see less of. You could think of Eugenics as Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution applied to social theory. Eugenicists believed that once a trained eye was acquired, one could point out specific physical traits responsible for the superior and inferior elements in a gene pool. By the early 20th century, most people in America were familiar with its general concepts.
The funny thing about Eugenics was that you could always tell who was doing the “research” just by looking at the findings. If the findings concluded that blue eyes were responsible for high intelligence then you knew someone white, probably with blue eyes had conducted the research. For example, no one short ever came upon irrefutable proof that a man’s character, for example, is directly proportionate to height.
Well around 1930, rumors began circulating around Detroit that there was a man selling elegant coats, beautiful silks and fancy trinkets that was teaching an esoteric truth about the history of the Black man in America. This “white” man was going go door-to-door, mostly in predominately-black neighborhoods in Detroit, and he was telling his customers that the coats, silks and trinkets he was selling were remarkably similar to the type of items that Blacks wore when they ruled the world.
Ruled the world? Huh?
This man would say that there is a reason why Whites enslaved Blacks. There is a reason they went to war to keep them enslaved. There is a reason they then lynched them and left their bodies to hang in trees for days to scare them into staying subservient. There was a reason they segregated them, denied them basic Civil rights like the right to vote, lured them into coming up north to work in their factories then discriminated against them up here as well, using them as pawns in labor negotiations with European immigrants. There was a reason for all of this.
The reason was — they couldn’t help themselves because Whites are evil.
The reason Whites were evil, he explained, could be all be pointed to this little thing in our skin called melanin, or in the case of Whites, a lack of in melanin their skin. Melanin is natural pigmentation that is found in most organisms. What melanin does in the skin is protect the organism from the harmful UV rays from the Sun so that the organism doesn’t get skin cancer.
What this former restaurateur turned bootlegger, convicted felon and now door to door garment salesman insisted was that Melanin was much more than that, much more. In fact, he attributed melanin to everything positive from intelligence to morality. It was a lack of melanin in Whites, he argued was why the behaved the way that they do.
He even had a whole story about how this came about.
He told them that 6,000 years ago, when there was nothing but Black people all over the Earth there was a scientist named Dr. Yakub who discovered, quite by accident, that Black people had both a black and a brown gene within them. Dr. Yakub was genuinely interested, as one would expect most mad scientists to be, as to what would happen if you separated the black genes from the brown genes. What he found was that as he bred the black gene out of them (Eugenics), the lighter his test subjects got the more corrupt they became. His research was shunned by the darker skinned blacks who were understandably appalled by all of these wanton brown-skinned heathens running amuck in their once peaceful planet. They collected and banished Dr. Yakub along with all of his light-skinned miscreants to their own little island where Dr. Yakub continued his experiments until he finally came up with white people. Eventually these cave dwelling white savages cut off from the rest of the civilized world, at some point made their way off the island and here we are today.
Well, it all sounds good but where is the proof? The “proof”, he would say, was in the pudding.
One of this garment salesmen’s first converts was a man named Elijah Poole, the son of a sharecropper, and part of the generation of grandchildren of slaves who had fled the south and the lynching campaign of terror down there and came north looking for work. In fact, by the time Elijah was 20 years old, he had already seen three, not one, not two, but three black men lynched. Elijah Poole, who was already receptive to Marcus Garvey’s message of “F#ck ‘em” just added the pseudo-science.
This garment salesman renamed him Elijah Muhammad and then mysteriously disappeared without a trace, leaving Elijah Muhammad in sole control of what became known as The Nation of Islam. Under Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam soon had collected 400 members.
It became clear, as more and more specifics started to come out, that the brand of Islam taught by Elijah Muhammad had little in common with the brand of Islam that the rest of the world observed. Among other things, it included teachings about civilizations on other planets.
Elijah Muhammad wrote of the teachings of this garment salesman mentor, who he later claims to have been God incarnate on Earth,
“He came alone. He began teaching us the knowledge of ourselves, of God and the devil, of the measurement of the earth, of other planets, and of the civilizations of some of the planets other than earth.”
Other than the Earth. Did you catch that part?
Part of the mythos of the Nation of Islam’s brand of Islam also included discussion of a spaceship called the Mother Plane that orbits the Earth filled with all of the famous Negro historical figures of the past on it, still alive and well, just biding their time until the White man is overthrown and they can return to the Earth in peace.
Elijah also claimed that the Earth is 76 Trillion years old. Yeah, that is Trillion with a T.
The genius of Elijah Muhammad wasn’t in his L. Ron Hubbard esque science fiction religious views, but rather from the pages he took from Marcus Garvey’s book. Instead of raising money to buy old dilapidated ships, Elijah Muhammad took that money and invested in a sound financial strategy where he purchased businesses and supplied jobs to his followers. He started the largest black newspaper in America called “The Final Call” to spread his message. His investment continued to pay off because when you joined the Nation you didn’t just join a religion, often times you also got a much-needed job. Before long the Nation of Islam owned bakeries, barber shops, coffee shops, grocery stores, Laundromats, a printing plant, a fleet of tractor trailers, plus farmland in Michigan, Alabama, and Georgia where they grew their own food. Hell, the Nation of Islam even bought a bank.
Elijah Muhammad’s message appealed to men much like he once was; young, poor, disenfranchised black men, who, for whatever reasons, didn’t feel any real strong ties to the Black church. Soon Elijah Muhammad’s message had attracted what would become by far his most famous pupil and the man whom forever his legacy would be tied to, Malcolm Little.
Malcolm was himself no stranger to the violence of the South. In fact, three of his uncles had been murdered by White supremacist including his own father. He heard of Elijah Muhammad’s teachings while in prison for burglary by way of his older brother who had already changed his life by following the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. What Malcolm had heard from his brother about Elijah Muhammad’s explanation as to why Whites treated blacks the way that they did resonated within Malcolm. He started writing letters to Elijah Muhammad from prison, gave up pork, cigarettes, and started reading everything he could get his hands on in the prison library. Malcolm even read the dictionary, word for word to improve his vocabulary. He joined the debate club in prison to hone his oratory skills and sharpen his mind for debate.
When Malcolm got out of prison, Elijah Muhammad had him change his name from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X, and before long, appointed him his top lieutenant. Membership in the Nation of Islam under Malcolm X acting as National spokesperson went from 500 to 25,000. Simply put, no single person was more responsible for putting the Nation of Islam on the map than Malcolm X.
If Elijah Muhammad had taken a page from Booker T. Washington’s book in terms of seeing the future of Black Americans being rooted in Black entrepreneurship and education, Malcolm had taken a page from W.E.B. Du Bois.
Like Du Bois, Malcolm never minced words about anything or anyone. When asked if Whites were devils, Malcolm responded, “History proves the white man is a devil. Anybody who rapes, and plunders, and enslaves, and steals, and drops hell bombs on people…Anybody who does these things is nothing but a devil.”
Something else Malcolm took from Du Bois was being uncompromising on the issue of Blacks being protected by the exact same rights that protected everyone else. Malcolm would say that every American has the constitutional right to defend themselves if threatened, by any means necessary. Malcolm dared anyone to make a convincing argument that Black people had done themselves any service by letting themselves be systematically killed by the type of violence that had been taking place in the South, where not a single person was ever punished.
To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”
Malcolm X was the living embodiment of the consequence of that silence.
And it was deafening.