Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
See L. E. Lomax, When the Word Is Given (1964, repr. 1979); C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (1973, repr. 1982); C. E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims (1984).
black Muslimsa number of BLACK American-I slamic religious, social and cultural movements and their adherents. During the 20th century a number of SECTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS grew up within the American black community based loosely on Islamic principles and drawing on the Koran. The most influential of these sects was the Nation of Islam, led, from the early 1950s through to 1975, by Elijah Muhammad.
The Nation of Islam held the belief that ‘white’ society was the cause of evil and that American blacks should strive to create a separate and self-sufficient state exclusively for blacks. Black Muslims believed that no accommodation could be reached with the white power structure. The Nation of Islam encouraged the creation of separate shops, schools, hospitals, industries and financial institutions in an attempt to free blacks from the economic and cultural power of white society in the US.
Many black Muslims were at the centre of the American BLACK POWER MOVEMENT in the 1960s and early 1970s. The widespread influence of the Nation of Islam was enhanced by the adherence of well-known figures such as Malcolm X, the black radical, and Muhammad Ali, the boxing champion first known as Cassius Clay. After Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975, the Nation of Islam, and indeed the black Muslim movements in general, became more fragmented and less influential.
Black Muslims(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) was one of the most influential Muslim leaders among Americans of African descent. During the tumultuous 1960s, the black community throughout the United States became a scene of missionary activity and was mobilized as never before. Although the Nation of Islam, developed by Elijah Muhammad, was often accused of preaching unorthodox doctrine compared to Islamic tradition, its teachings concerning the separation of black and white America and the dignity of African descent touched a chord that resonated throughout the black community. Since then the movement has moved closer to traditional Islam, and its best-known adherent, Malcolm X (1925-1965), supported this trend, especially toward the end of his life. Today the mainstream of African-American Islam strives to be associated with Islam, rather than to be known as a protest to white America. But splinter Black Muslim groups carry on. Perhaps the best-known spokesman of the Nation of Islam is the controversial minister Louis Farrakhan (b. 1933), whose Million Man March on Washington mobilized much of the black community around the issue of the father's role in the family. Minister Farrakhan is noted for his call for unity and the need for African Americans to separate themselves from what he sees as continued white oppression in the wake of so many centuries of slavery. He is also, however, widely criticized for what are seen as racist, sexist, bigoted, and anti-Semitic views.