Louis Farrakhan at 70: His impact
At the end of April 2003, I returned to America from Africa and a few days later I found myself on a plane bound for the island of Jamaica. As my plane landed in Montego Bay, my mind went back 32 years when I made my first trip to this most beautiful island.
The occasion for that trip was to make arrangements for Minister Louis Farrakhan to take a long needed and well-deserved vacation. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told Min. Farrakhan that there were two places where the sun was best for his chest condition, which was Mexico and Jamaica.
Min. Farrakhan was not sure that he would be permitted to land and stay in Jamaica because a few years earlier the government of Prime Minister Hugh Sheare rejected the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his delegation after his plane landed in Jamaica. Under this government, Nation of Islam meetings and our newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, were banned. However, Min. Farrakhan was allowed to enter the country, the land of his father’s birth.
In 1972, when Michael Manley was elected prime minister, the doors of Jamaica were opened to the Nation of Islam, our newspaper and the leadership. When Min. Farrakhan made his first trip to Jamaica, it was after six years of extremely hard work of rebuilding the Nation of Islam in New York City.
After the assassination of Malcolm X, Muhammad Mosque No. 7 had a credibility problem. At the end of his fifth year in New York, Minister Farrakhan had beat back most of the lies and half-truths. His address to the Congress of African people in September of 1970, through a strange twist of fate, turned out to be the keynote speech of the conference.
This one speech by our champion restored the Nation of Islam’s credibility in the liberation community. There was no denying Min. Farrakhan after this. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad praised this speech highly.
The three weeks in Jamaica helped him to sharpen his focus and return to America to face the most trying period of his life thus far, 1972-1976. Prime Minister Michael Manley hosted a Muhammad Ali Day, December 1974. Again, Min. Farrakhan carried the day with his address to over 25,000 people in the national stadium.
The word went out that a brother from North America was delivering a message that liberated the minds, hearts and souls of Black people. Min. Farrakhan’s message not only impacted all of Jamaica, but the whole Caribbean and beyond.
Who would have pictured the son of Caribbean parents who at 22 joined the Nation of Islam (1955); at 32, was moved from Boston to New York (1965); at 42, watched the Nation fall (1975); at 52, was pushed in the national spotlight, trying to help Reverend Jesse Jackson in his run for president (1985); and at 62, led the historic Million Man March where nearly two million men responded to his call (1995).
The Honorable Louis Farrakhan at 70–the life of this noble son of Africa and his impact on America, the Caribbean, Africa and the world must be told and recorded in the volume of books.