[Editor’s note: The following article contains excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Historic National Press Club message which he delivered on July 30, 1984 in Washington, D.C. in the midst of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s groundbreaking presidential run. As the Democratic and Republican parties press forward in the 2020 national presidential campaign, wisdom, issues, principles, and guidance from the Minister remain important. We offer these words in the hope that readers and leaders will consider their value, the time, the ongoing plight of Black people and the future of America as the political season unfolds and voters cast their ballots for who will lead the United States. To order this message in its entirety on DVD, CD or MP3—which includes the Press Q&A session that followed—please call 1.866.602.1230, ext. 200, or visit store.finalcall.com.]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful, and, in the Name of His True Servant, our beloved Leader, Teacher and Guide, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I greet you with the greeting words of peace in the Arabic language: As-Salaam Alaikum.
I represent the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, a Messenger and Warner from Almighty God Allah to Black people, to America and the world. I do not speak to you from mere “personal” desire, but I speak in the name of The God Who raised up the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I am backed by them both. This statement that I just made should be given careful study and weight, because whenever Warners or Messengers appear, this represents God’s Intervention in the affairs of that nation because in God’s sight, neither the people, nor their affairs, are in a right state.
The gravity of the situation and God’s own integrity demands His Intervention to warn us of the consequences of our deeds, that we may take a better course. This course of action demonstrates God’s Great Mercy, and His desire to redeem over His right to punish and destroy. In the case of the United States of America, God’s Warning must be sounded regardless to how painful it is to the ears, and no matter what the consequences to the Warner.
The Spirit of The Warner is not that of “hate” or “malice,” his spirit is The Spirit of Allah, which is divine love. The Warning of The Warner is given out of a deep concern and compassion for human life; he works, that the life of his people and others may be saved or spared by his urging the people to act on the principles of truth and justice. However, if we mistreat The Warner, and discard The Warning as a “lie”—sticking our fingers in our ears as though we heard nothing—then the consequences of the rejection of good counsel is violence and bloodshed. In this case, it will lead to the destruction and death of this republic, and the tremendous loss of life which could have been spared if only the leaders had listened.
America’s 400-year-old Problem
The responsibility of the well-being of the people of this nation rests primarily on the shoulders of the leadership. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us that neither justice nor peace shall come to the nations of the earth until the 400-year-old problem of Black people in America has been solved with justice.
The reason why no other nation can have justice or peace until the problem of the Black people in America is properly solved is because Almighty God Himself is championing our Cause.
No solution to this grave problem can be considered “proper,” nor will any solution work unless that solution is in accord with the nature of the problem; and then harmony with the demands of the time. That solution, and the time, is given by the prophets and is found written in the Bible and in the Holy Qur’an.
I repeat: America can have no peace, no joy in liberty; and the deprived nations can have no justice until the Black man’s problem is solved with justice as the nations are tied to America in such a way that her problems make problems for them. So what truly helps America helps the nations of the earth.
Little did those who brought our fathers and mothers into slavery realize that they were creating a problem that it would take The Almighty God and His Guidance to the nations to solve.
And little did those who brought us into slavery realize that out of this wretched people, Almighty God would lift up a Criterion to measure the worthiness of the nations to escape the fall and destruction of this world, and qualify them to enter into His New World Order.
Arabs, Jews, Africans, Europeans and Americans were involved in bringing the Black people in this country to this wretched and shameful condition and position at the foot of the nations of the Earth. So it is natural that these people, particularly, are being offered the wonderful and merciful chance to escape the chastisement that each is justly due by their being asked to help in solving the problem of the Black people of America.
They that brought Black people into slavery or participated in the slave trade were not aware of the prophets’ predictions. Nevertheless, their actions, and our suffering, are well documented in the writings of the Bible and Holy Qur’an, and in the written history of the nations.
This country’s past, present failures of trying to find a ‘solution’
The history of our suffering and fall, written in symbols, signs and parables, form the basis of the “secret societies” in America, particularly the Masons and Shriners who are studying “33 degrees” of The Circle of The Wisdom of Islam.
The first president of these United States, George Washington, said, and I quote: “I fear that before too many years have passed over our heads, the Negro will become a most troublesome species of property.” President Thomas Jefferson said: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is Just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Abraham Lincoln addressed a contingent of Black leaders in the first White House conference attended by Black leaders.
And that conference was on the propriety of “separation between White and Black,” and “Honest Abe” said in part: “You and we are different races. We have a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ I need not discuss. …” He continued: “I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason, at least, why we should be separated.”
Abraham Lincoln wanted “separation.” These Black intellectuals disagreed. Mr. Lincoln regarded their rejection as “extremely selfish.”
And so in recent years, government-sponsored integration, bussing and affirmative action have all been advanced and tried half-heartedly as “solutions.” We must be honest: “social integration” is not a serious attempt to solve the problems of the masses of Black people. In fact, at its root were insecure government officials, and others who knew better. And now the Supreme Court, in effect, has rejected affirmative action, bussing is a failure, and integration as a “solution” is causing Blacks to be further and further behind Whites.
These meager, improper and insecure attempts at a “solution” have failed miserably. And at best, they have only satisfied the longing of a certain class of Black people who have always wanted to be included in the mainstream of American life—but the masses of Black people remain unaffected, disillusioned, dissatisfied, distraught, angry and impatient. The light of hope in America’s ability and will to do justice by us is flickering and dying.
So in 1984, the problem of giving justice to 30 or more million children of slaves is still with us. The problem will not vanish! It will not go away! “Genocide” is not the answer! A few token Blacks in positions of responsibility is not yet the answer!
We need a solution that considers “the masses.” We need a solution that considers the unborn generations. We need a solution that will allow all of our people to bring forth their genius, and justify their existence on this Earth.
Rev. Jackson’s campaign and the ‘unwritten law’ in politics
Jesse Jackson’s bid for the presidency was not “the solution,” but it gave hope to millions whose hope had died. It gave time to America to think and re-think her position.
Almighty God used Jesse Jackson to create movement again in the masses of Black people. Rev. Jackson’s call was not to “violence” and “extremism,” his was a call not to “hate” and “intolerance.” His was a call to the unregistered Blacks to register to vote to make a difference. His was a call to “use the ballot and not the bullet” to bring about meaningful change in this society. His was a call to organize to gain power politically to change the conditions under which we live.
Jesse Jackson was rebuffed and mistreated at the [1984 Democratic National] Convention; and all that he and others concern for the suffering masses or the locked-out advanced in the form of planks in the Democratic platform was rejected.
Reverend Jackson is still seeking a “signal” from Mr. [Walter] Mondale [the Democratic nominee] that will increase his enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of the masses of Black Democratic voters to work hard for Mr. Mondale’s election in the fall.
In my judgment, Mr. Mondale has already sent his signal. … We must not be oblivious to the signal that Mr. Mondale has already given, and that is that he does not intend to honor his debt to Black people who helped him get the nomination, and whom he needs to get elected to the presidency of the United States. When Mr. Mondale’s campaign was floundering and he was about to be written off as the nominee of his party, on “Super Tuesday” it was Blacks in Georgia, Alabama and Florida that gave him the margin of victory to keep his campaign afloat.
The “unwritten law” in politics is that “those who give should get.” How much more should we give before we get what we are justly due? Mr. Mondale “slapped” Jesse Jackson and all Black people in the face, because he feels that Black people, beleaguered and withered under Mr. Reagan and Reaganomics, have no other alternative but to go along with Mondale and the Democratic Party. However, there is another way: God’s Way.
And only through His Way can all of us get out of this dilemma.
The National Election and what we must do
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, during the election of 1968, because of the critical internal condition of America, and the external condition of the world, asked Black people to use their vote wisely. My advice to Black people is the same today: Black people, if we vote at all, must use our vote carefully, cautiously and judiciously.
This election is so important, because it is not just deciding “who shall sit as president,” for the next four years whoever is president must have the vision, the wisdom and the will to save this country from The Wrath of God and the nations. And in my humble judgment, after listening to the words of both Mr. Reagan and Mr. Mondale, at this time neither of them [has] displayed the vision necessary to take America safely through these next four years.
America does need a change of direction, and that change of direction cannot come unless there is a change of vision! It is written in the scripture: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
We, The Nation of Islam, are here today with that Vision from Almighty God Allah through the Honorable Elijah Muhammad which includes the welfare of America.
The government of America and the heads of both political parties who say they want Black people included in the mainstream of this society must realize that if Blacks are going to be successful within this society, Blacks must organize to achieve unity and power. … It is time that Black people go free. We cannot ever again tolerate a master-slave relationship. If this is not recognized, there will be constant and increasing clashing between the two people.
The Republicans and Democratic parties are saying to Black people that they don’t care for us. You don’t want us. You do not care that we who helped to build your country, who fought, bled and died to keep it free for you, get no justice within your social, economic and political system.
So if you will not give us justice then you must let us go, that we may do something for ourselves in a state or territory of our own. And you should help us to maintain ourselves in a separate territory either here or elsewhere for the next 20 or 25 years. And as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said: “If we are unable to be self-independent after 20 or 25 years of your help, then you can bring your armies and shoot us down.”
You can take this advice, if you will; and God will have mercy upon you and save your country, but you say: “How can we do this? This is impossible!” However, you found a way to aid in taking land away from the Palestinians, and giving it to the Jewish people contrary to God’s Will. You have found a way to subsidize Israel for [over] 40 years, and [to this day] Israel is not able to go for herself—nor does she even seem willing to become a self -independent nation! But she is becoming an increasing burden on the taxpayers of America.
If the American economy continues to falter, how can America continue to subsidize Israel at this rate? If Israel is trying as hard as she can to develop herself to the point where she is economically independent, and is yet unable, then this should cause you to see that God is against her.
But here we are, The Real Israel of your Bible; The Real Chosen People of The Almighty God suffering in your midst for 400 years: We have no land that we can call “our own.” And the acreage that we have owned is quickly being taken away from us by fraudulent schemes, and, tax schemes, and neglect due to our own ignorance of the value of the land! At the rate that we are losing land, by the year 2000 we will be completely landless!
You refuse to give us justice. You refuse to create jobs to ease the burden of unemployment. Black people live in fear of tomorrow because we have no security today.
America’s curses and plagues from not heeding God’s Warner
It seems to me that America is in The Valley of Decision: 1) Allah God is now lashing America with the same 10 Plagues that Egypt was lashed with; 2) the neighboring nations are turning against America because of her wicked policies in central and south America, even as was done against Babylon; 3) the corruption in the legions of Rome’s armies is now seen in the armed forces of America; and 4) the unwillingness of the real American citizens to fight for this country is evident for it is the foreigners coming to these shores who see the benefits of this nation, and who are the most willing to defend “the values” of America.
In my conclusion I say that Reverend Jackson and other Black leaders should pay no attention whatsoever to the attempts of the wicked to divide us! Reverend Jackson: Come on with your brother, and let us seek justice for our people in America! And if America refuses to give us justice, since you have experience in negotiating the release of captured persons, then let us negotiate the release of this captured nation, that we may go free to build a nation for ourselves!
Abraham Lincoln was faced with the problem of saving this union which was his paramount concern; and at the root of that problem was the question of “slavery” and “What to do with us?” President Reagan, or whoever will be elected president, will have on his shoulders the awesome responsibility of saving this nation. And again, at the root of the problem, is: What to do with 30 million Black people?
President Reagan once said that within the covers of that single book, the Bible, are “all the answers to the problems that face us today, if we’d only look there.” If the president truly believes this, then we urge the president to look at this that has been offered by Almighty God through the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for it fulfills all that is written as guidance in the book as the solution to this grave problem. America should act to correct the wrong while she has time—and do so before judgment is taken out of her hands, and her ability to rectify the problem is taken away from her by The Supreme Judge.
It is written in the scripture that “All who bless Israel, God will bless. All who curse Israel, God will curse.”
We say to all who work to bless this Black people in America: God will bless you. … And all who continue to curse the Black man are already cursed by God.