Articles by Malcolm X from LA Herald-Dispatch/July 18, 1957

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Islam, the natural religion of Dark Mankind, is sweeping through Black America like a “flaming fire,” under the Divine Guidance of Messenger Elijah Muhammad.

Fools try to ignore facts, but wise men must face facts to remain wise. Fools refuse to change from their silly ways and beliefs, but the mental flexibility of the wise man permits him to keep an open mind and enables him to readjust himself whenever it becomes necessary for a change.

As fast as added “light” increases the wise man’s ability to understand, he then re-sets his “course” and his “pace” according to the newly revealed facts before him.

Fools just blunder on, blindly, heedless of the everchanging “conditions” of the “road” over which they must travel . . . thus, the blind drivers and their “cars” usually end up in the ditch.

In the past, the “religious roads” leading through Black America presented smooth sailing for the Old Touring Cars (churches) of Christianity. They met few obstacles and had little opposition or competition. The “drivers” (preachers) had it easy. Their “course” was never challenged. They ruled supreme on the religious roads of Black America.

However, today, time is producing a great change. The religious roads of Black America have suddenly become filled with a rocky barrier, and all the black and white preachers combined seem incapable teachings of the religion of Islam are now obstructing this parth [sic] over which was once easy sailing for these preachers of white man’s Christianity.

Islam poses a challenge and a threat. Thousands of so-called Negroes are beginning for the first time to think for themselves, and are turning daily, away from the segregated Christian church, and rejoining the ranks of our Darker Brothers and Sisters of the East, whose ancestral faith is the age-old religion of Islam, the true religion of Dark Mankind, the true religion of our foreparents.

The Spiritual Leader and Teacher of the many thousands of “new converts” here in Black America is Messenger Elijah Muhammad, one of the most feared and revered men in the Western Hemisphere.

In order to form a just appreciation of the religion that is being taught by Messenger Elijah Muhammad, it is necessary to understand the true significance of the Arabic word “Islam” . . . Salaam (salama) in its primary sense, means to be tranquil, at rest, to have done one’s duty, to have paid up, to be at perfect peace; in its secondary sense it means to surrender oneself to Him (the Supreme Being, Allah) with whom peace is made. The noun (salaam) which is derived from it means peace, greeting, salvation, safety, submission to righteousness. The Arabic word Muslim (Moslem) means, one who is submissive, obedient and at peace with Almighty God Allah . . . one who is striving (on earth) after righteousness (on earth).

Before we heard the teachings of Messenger Elijah Muhammad, we American so-called Negroes were in the grave of ignorance. We had been taught by our Christian Slavemaster, as well as by our own ignorant religious leaders, that God had cursed us black and sentenced us to a lifetime on earth of servitude to the Christian white race.

The same Slavemaster’s Christian religion taught us (or promised us) that we so-called Negroes would sprout wings after death and fly up into the sky where God would have a place especially prepared for us.

Since we poor “cursed” slaves weren’t to get anything on earth while we were alive, we soon learned to expect it only after death, “up in the sky.” Therefore, this earth and all its vast riches, which we ourselves originally owned, was left to the deceitful maneuverings of the white Christians, for them to build a heaven for themselves on earth while they yet live.

Such religious teachings were designed to make us feel inferior to the white Christian Slavemaster, and soon he was successful in making us fear him, obey him, and worship him, instead of the True Supreme Being, the God of our foreparents, Almighty Allah.

Messenger Muhammad has taught us how we so-called Negroes eventually became like the beggar, Lazarus, of the Bible (Luke 16:20): our condition became sickening (very sore). We sat here amid the rubbish of the Western World, at the feet (or gate) of the rich white Christians, begging for something (civil rights) to fall from their table . . . but from this same Slavemaster whom our foreparents had made rich (by giving him freely of their slave labor for nearly 400 years . . . Gen 15:13), we received only the hardest and dirtiest jobs at the lowest wages, the poorest houses in the slum areas at the highest rent, the poorest food and clothing at the highest prices. Our schools were like shacks, and were staffed by teachers who knew and could teach only what the Slavemaster dictated to them.