My Mission Is To Give Life
[Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from an article published in Message to the Blackman from an interview granted to the National Educational Television Network. The series of interviews took place in Phoenix, Arizona, and were conducted over a period of several days, by the staff of San Francisco station KQED.]
QUESTION: How would you describe your mission?
ANSWER: My mission is to give life to the dead. What I teach brings them out of death and into life. My mission, as the Messenger, is to bring the truth to the world before the world is destroyed. There will be no other Messenger. I am the last and after me will come God Himself. I do not say I will live so long as that, but when God comes, if it pleases Him, I may be with Him. However, if I am not with Him, this is the final. This truth I bring will give you the knowledge of yourself and of God. …
QUESTION: Mr. Muhammad, would you make some statements about Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement?
ANSWER: Yes, I think Rev. King has been doing a good job according to his knowledge. He has been trying to do his best to get our people some justice in the way of civil rights. I believe that he means well, and I believe he would have done better if he had known more about the time and the people and the history and what must be done in such times.
He has the desire to see his people dealt with according to justice and not according to injustice. But he does not know that he is living in the time when justice is bound to come to his people. However, it is only through Divine and not through civil government. And that goes for most of the groups who are trying to do something for the betterment of our people.
They, most of these leaders, have good intentions, but they just don’t have the right instruments to work with, and they do not know how to use the instruments, since they were not appointed to do the job.
But all of our people today have the desire to do something for themselves and, first of all, to see injustice removed from the whole.
We have suffered injustice at the hands of the White people for 400 years, and today some want to be called “Citizens of America,” but all of this without the qualities that go along with freedom. We are today, I repeat, imbued with the spirit of justice for our people, and something must be done. This oppression cannot go on forever.
What the civil rights movement is trying to do is just another effort to bring home to our people a better life. But this is the time when our people should and will get a better life on a permanent scale. NOT on a TEMPORARY scale.
The political administration may change every 4 years. The Constitution gives to the people of America. And if we understand it well, it was not written with the so-called Negro in mind. It was written for the white citizens of America and not the slaves.
The slave is not mentioned there and it was not in the mind of these lawmakers that he should share equal justice with the master. No, he was considered to be the property of the master. Therefore, the servant or the slave cannot get justice–equal justice–with the master unless the master wants to give up his position as master.
If the master gave up his position as master, the slave would soon become his equal, and the slave would probably vote for equal justice, go to the White House or become the ruler of the country, if the equal justice were obtained all the way through as it should be. But the Constitution was written by white people for white people and not for you and me.
We were under the slave-masters at that time, and again I would like to make clear: I am not fighting those leaders who are trying to do something good for our people, or get something better for them. But I do oppose them in their way of opposing that which is good and which would be just and permanent for our people. For we now have come to the time when we want justice and equality. We want freedom equal with other people. They have never made us citizens, and under their law we cannot be made citizens. We could never be citizens as stated in their first slavery courts.
If we want to go into the facts about it, we are not the equal of the American white man, nor are we citizens with him here. We are in alien country. We are aliens and not citizens.
And this is proof that we have to admit and not to try to hide to make some black brother feel good. To tell a black brother that he is a citizen and has equal rights is like telling a child to go to sleep on the 24th night of December and on the next morning awaken and Santa Claus will have left a present in your stocking when THAT is Santa Claus talking. And the child, when he grows up, learns that. Well it is the same thing with us. We have had a lot of Santa Claus teaching, and now we are growing up because we know that a lot of these Santa Claus teachings were nothing but a lot of pacifiers. We are no longer satisfied to be pacified. We want something permanent.
(Republished from “Message To The Blackman”, 1965.)