Farrakhan, Louis

Farrakhan, Louis

(fâr`əkăn', fär`əkän'), 1933–, African-American religious leader, b. New York City, as Louis Eugene Walcott. A former calypso singer known as "The Charmer," he joined the Nation of Islam (Black MuslimsBlack Muslims,
African-American religious movement in the United States, split since the late 1970s into the American Society of Muslims and the Nation of Islam. The original group was founded (1930) in Detroit by Wali Farad (or W. D.
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) in 1955, eventually becoming minister of the Harlem Temple after Malcolm XMalcolm X,
1925–65, militant black leader in the United States, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, b. Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. A petty criminal in Boston and Harlem, he was convicted of burglary (1946) and sent to prison, where he read widely and was introduced
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 broke with the religious group. After Elijah MuhammadMuhammad, Elijah,
1897–1975, American black-nationalist and religious leader, b. near Sandersville, Ga. Originally named Elijah Poole, he left home at 16 and worked at various jobs. In 1923 he settled in Detroit and became an automobile assembly-line worker.
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 died and his son steered the Black Muslims toward SunniSunni
[Arab. Sunna,=tradition], from ahl al-sunnah wa-l-jamaa [Arab.,=the people of the custom of the Prophet and community], the largest division of Islam. Sunni Islam is the heir to the early central Islamic state, in its ackowledgement of the legitimacy of the order of
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 Islamic practice, Farrakhan founded (1977) a reorganized Nation of Islam that adhered to the elder Muhammad's teachings. Often denounced as anti-Semitic and antiwhite, Farrakhan has stridently criticized white Americans while emphasizing African-American self-improvement. In 1995 he was one of the chief organizers of the Million Man March, a day of renewal for African-American men in Washington, D.C. In 2000, Farrakhan publicly reconciled with W. Deen Mohammed, Elijah's son. In 2006, Farrakhan, suffering from illness, gave the day-to-day responsibilities for running the Nation of Islam to its executive board.

Farrakhan, Louis (b. Louis Eugene Walcott)

(1933–  ) Black Muslim leader; born in the Bronx, N.Y. He grew up in Roxbury, Mass., and was converted to the Nation of Islam by Malcolm X. Following Malcolm X's defection (1963–64), Farrakhan became the national representative for Elijah Muhammad. When Elijah Muhammad's son allowed whites to join the movement (after 1975), Farrakhan split away and formed a revitalized movement, Final Call to the Nation of Islam. An eloquent and persuasive speaker, he continued to work for black separatism and black economic power. Although he denied being antiwhite or anti-Semitic, he often employed an abrasive rhetoric that alienated such groups, as when he made derogatory statements about Jews during the 1984 presidential primaries on behalf of Reverend Jesse Jackson. In the 1990s, however, Farrakhan began to soften his message and image, and, reviving a talent he had as a young man, even began to play the violin in classical concerts to show that he was not totally opposed to whites and their culture.
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