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Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam (NOI) was founded in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. NOI sought to reorient the spiritual and political consciousness of black Americans toward a worldview not dominated by euro-centrism but rooted in their African heritage. The NOI encouraged economic, political and social empowerment and espoused a black separatism that contrasted with the nonviolent philosophy and integration efforts of Dr. King. NOI leaders condoned armed resistance and regarded white Americans as untrustworthy and incapable of genuine partnership. Dr. King was in correspondence with the honorable Elijah Muhammad, NOI’s principal leader and Malcolm X, NOI’s national spokesman. Dr. King denounced some NOI positions and rhetoric as hateful, considering them a misguided response to the same white supremacy that he also worked against.

Associated Archive Content : 3 results

Letter from A. S. Young to MLK

Mr. Young criticizes Dr. King and the black community for their support of heavyweight champion Cassius Clay's refusal to be drafted into the military. He also expresses worry about the quality of black leadership and urges a move from a selfish focus on Negroes only to concern for all people.

Telegram from Malcolm X to MLK

Malcolm X offers Dr. King assistance with the situation in St. Augustine, including the organization of self-defense units.

Telegram from MLK to Elijah Muhammed

Dr. King commends Muhammad Ali's conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. He encourages Elijah Muhammed to convince Ali to speak at the upcoming Tenth Annual Convention of SCLC.