After he saw Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of The Christ, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan told me that, “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad did not go through that kind of treatment.” He said he “did not expect to go through all of that either.” “But,” (he continued) “our people have and still do.”
So what does our suffering have to do with the suffering of the Jesus of the Gospels? What does it have to do with what Master Fard Muhammad suffered; what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad suffers; what Minister Farrakhan suffers and will suffer? What is the relationship between their suffering and the absolute cure of our ills—spiritual and otherwise?
There is no way to understand why Black people have been so emotionally attached to what they have been taught of Jesus without going back into history. Much of this can be read in books to be found in America’s libraries and bookstores. Certain facts, however, have been concealed in whole or in part.
This history is not pleasant to read. Nevertheless, Black people should know it. Too many of us, however, have not given this the attention it deserves. Therefore, most Black people do not know, nor understand why our ancestors accepted what the White slavemasters taught them of Jesus. Furthermore, the majority–or all–of our people have accepted Christianity on face value.
So, they do not see the importance of this history, in relation to the kind of beliefs we now have of God; our miserable state of condition; nor its connection to the present fall of this world.
It’s impossible to adequately describe the horrors, impact and significance of slavery–nor the full context in which it developed–in a few articles. There are two points, though, that must be remembered as we try to see why Black people believe as we do, despite what we’ve learned of the truth.
First, when introduced to the White man’s teachings of Jesus, our ancestors had already gone through the worst kind of enslavement the mind can conceive.
The crushing weight of slavery produced in our people a yearning for deliverance. Although the slavemaster directed this longing for relief to that which did not exist, this prayerful longing for deliverance had much to do with the answer God was to (from His foreknowledge), and now has, provided.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches that our enslavement began in 1555, not 1619. The wisest White scholars know the bearing this fact has on today’s situation. The time Black people were to serve White people in America was 400 years. They also know that he is right when he says that the White Christian slave trader, John Hawkins, or Hopkins, first brought our people to America, in 1555, on a ship named “Jesus.”
In June 1956, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote:
“This ship, when on its way back for another boat load of our people, our foreparents stared at the old slave ship, as it departed and begged to be carried back; but to no avail. And they said that, ‘You can have this new Western World, but give us the ship Jesus back to our people and country’, which has now become a song among our people and goes something like this:
‘You can have all the world but give me Jesus.'”
Some historians report that Christian Queen Elizabeth reacted to learning of John Hawkins’ voyage by saying that it would call down the anger of God.
But when he showed her his profit sheet, she not only forgave him, but became a shareholder in his next voyage.
For over three centuries, millions of Black people were forced from their homes and people. They were never to see their loved ones again. They resisted and were murdered.
The victims were tied together, usually in chains. They were forced to make that long, awful march from a few hundred to a thousand or more miles to the seashore. Many never made it. Some took their own lives, preferring death to slavery.
The survivors who arrived to the seashore left behind them a trail of the bleaching bones of their Brothers and Sisters. Penned up like cattle in buildings called factories, they remained dejected and fearful.
Their captors wanted their prisoners in as good condition as possible. A sickly, cripple Brother or Sister would bring no money. Still, all kinds of outrageous acts were done to these innocent victims of this ghastly trade, while they awaited the slave ships. This included the continuous rape of Black women and girls by White men.
When a ship arrived, the victims were subjected to further humiliation. They were forced to undergo inspections as though they were animals. The White Christians treated them like merchandise. Those who passed were purchased. The rejected ones were left to die.
Often those who were heeded onto the ships were first branded. Then began another stage in their nightmare–the one-way trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Such trips might take six to eight weeks or more.
In chains, the poor victims were packed close in the dark holds of the ships. There was hardly any standing, lying or sitting room. The crowded conditions on the vessels greatly increased the incidence of disease, death and epidemics during the voyage to America. The stench and filth caused by these conditions were unbearable.
Many historians report that perhaps not more than half of the Black people shipped from Africa ever became effective workers in the “new” world. Many of those who did not die from disease or suicide were permanently crippled by disease, beatings or from their struggles against their chains.
Sometimes, they were made to dance and sing songs on the top deck for exercise. If they did not please the White man, they were beaten.
When it rained they were kept below. This meant–among other things–breathing stale, extremely bad smelling and humid air. The combination of heat, foul-smelling air, cramped quarters and sick ones all about, produced conditions that have been described as worst than a slaughterhouse, with blood, mucous and excrement on the floor. Some who lived during those days said that it was not in their power to describe a situation more dreadful or more disgusting.
There are many instances when half or two-thirds of the slaves per boatload arrived to this country dead–having been thrown into the ocean.
Those who tried to starve themselves to death had their mouths smashed through with a funnel-like tool. They were force-fed or killed. Rape was common. So were beatings. Millions were thrown overboard.
Some report that if you could look beneath the waters of the ocean, you would see what course the slave ships took by the bones of the dead who went over the sides of ships. Sharks were plentiful. Yet, many preferred them rather than slavery to the White man.
This went on for centuries. Estimates numbering those brought to the West run to 50,000,000 and more. This does not count those killed in Africa or during the voyages. This would run the count to well over 100,000,000 stolen or murdered. However, others number the count of the slaves who were brought to America alive to be at least 100,000,000 excluding the others who were killed in Africa or died during the transatlantic voyages.
GET BOTH PARTS OF MINISTER FARRAKHAN’S SAVIOURS’ DAY SPEECHES.
More next issue, Allah willing.