Protestors and counter protestors face off Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Stone Mountain Village, Ga. Several dozen people waving Confederate flags, many of them wearing military gear, gathered in downtown Stone Mountain where they faced off against a few hundred counterprotesters, many of whom wore shirts or carried signs expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. (Jenni Girtman/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

At a time when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing and Black people in America were attempting to integrate with the larger, White society, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, taught a different solution: separation. 

“We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves, to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own—either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally rich.

We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years—until we are able to produce and supply our own needs,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated.

That may have seemed like a radical solution yesterday, but America remains fractured, divided and dysfunctional for White Americans with extreme politics and violence. Can Blacks keep hoping Whites will change as dire conditions get worse for Black people?

Ronald Greene beaten and shackled by Louisiana state troopers

The toxic relationship between Black and White can be seen in the deprivations Blacks face in economics, health care, housing segregation and opportunity, police brutality and inferior education. Pick an area and Blacks generally get less, lag behind or lose their rights.

Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.), the chair of the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, authored a report titled “The Economic State of Black America in 2020.” Under key points in the report, he notes that “historically, the unemployment rate for Black Americans has been approximately twice the rate for Whites. That is the case today—6.0% for Black workers and 3.1% for Whites.” 

He goes on: Black households earn 59 cents to every dollar that White households earn; Black Americans are over twice as likely to live in poverty as White Americans; 42 percent of Black families own their homes, compared to 73 percent of Whites.

“Persistent segregation leads to large disparities in the quality of secondary education, leading to worse economic outcomes,” Mr. Beyer wrote.

A summer 2020 Gallup poll revealed Blacks are becoming increasingly dissatisfied. The poll found 21 percent of Black adults in the U.S. are satisfied with the way Black people have been treated. Seventy-nine percent are dissatisfied.

Demonstrators confront Oakland police officers during a protest against police brutality in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

Blacks are becoming more dissatisfied with the Senate and more dissatisfied with Black and White relations, said one activist. “More people are wanting to see the facts right now, meaning that a lot of people say reparations. Instead of passing Juneteenth, give us reparations,” Yafeuh Balogun Shamsid-Deen, cofounder of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, told The Final Call.

He said if Juneteenth, the traditionally Black celebration of the last group of slaves being told they were free on June 19, 1865, became a federal holiday 10 years ago, Black people would have been more excited.

“But from the people that I can see, the people that I’m connected with, yeah, it’s symbolism at best, but we need more material benefit, more material wealth collectively, in order to really bring about some effective change. Having Juneteenth as a holiday doesn’t put food on the table. Having Juneteenth as a holiday doesn’t put pampers on the backs of babies. Having Juneteenth as a holiday doesn’t buy land,” he expressed.

Mr. Shamsid-Deen believes Black people are becoming more aggressive about their rights and are also buying more weapons to protect themselves.

The desire for self-protection is natural, but the Hon. Elijah Muhammad taught that unity was the most potent weapon Blacks can have and more powerful than carnal weapons. The solution to the plight of Black people is a Divine Solution backed by the power of God Himself, said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Memphis Norman, 21, sit-in demonstrator, is pulled from the Woolworth store lunch counter and beaten on floor by Benny Oliver, former Jackson city policeman, May 28, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. Norman and two female students from Tougaloo Southern Christian College were refused service. Police were unable to break up the white crowd is because the store manager would not file a complaint. (AP Photo)

God Himself has the means to destroy America and the Hon. Elijah Muhammad taught of deadly, fearsome advanced technology carried on a Mother Plane and 1,500 smaller baby planes that the Caucasian calls UFOs. But these God-made weapons produced by my teacher, the Great Mahdi Master Fard Muhammad, will destroy America when they attack my followers said the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.

He also writes in The Muslim Program, “Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality, after giving them 400 years of our sweat and blood and receiving in return some of the worst treatment human beings have ever experienced, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by White America, justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own.”

His words on separation are published on the back page of every edition of The Final Call newspaper, under Point No. 4 of “What the Muslims Want.”

“Now, I’m asking you to reason with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; I want us to look at what Elijah Muhammad put on the back page of our newspaper, The Final Call,” Minister Farrakhan said in his address “Separation or Death” at the 22nd anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March.

“So I want to say to the government: We are not just somebody that’s desirous of separating from you on our own. The Program of ‘separation’ is given by God, and backed by God as the only solution to the toxic relationship between Black and White,” the Minister said.

Dr. Ava Muhammad, the National Spokesperson for Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, told The Final Call via email that the essential relationship between Black and White has never changed.

Saved earlier from a mob by national guardsmen and a judge, Lint Shaw, a 45 year old African American, was taken from jail in Royston, Georgia, April 28, 1936, and lynched a short time before he was to have gone on trial for attacking a white girl. (AP Photo)

“It remains that of a slavemaster and slave. We have no power in this country, which operates on a doctrine of White supremacy. Whether it’s religion, education, law, agriculture, politics, economics, language or culture, we require the approval of White people in all that we do. Our life is spent reacting to their policies and practices. We do little or nothing that is proactive,” she said.

“In the view of the Creator, we have unlimited capacity and potential to achieve His purpose, which is to become a god, or one who exerts force and power. We can be anything and there is only One above us, which is Him. But in this framework there is a ceiling over us. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us, ‘As long as we live with White people, we will live under White people,’ ” she continued.

Zaki Baruti, president general of the Universal African People’s Organization, told The Final Call institutionalized racism impacts Black people on every level, from the educational system to economic institutions and the process of redlining. 

“By and large, the masses of our people suffer from the redlining of the economic system that denies us equal access to capital. And then, as an extension of that, they create the social conditions for what they call crime,” he said.

Many have taken to Twitter to voice their dissatisfaction. 

“Let’s be honest. We tried to coexist with them and it’s been a failure. I understand more than ever that separation is the best approach for the safety of Black people,” tweeted the African Diaspora News Channel.

“A separation between Whites/Non Blacks and Black people is needed, but they won’t leave us alone, because their savage barbarism requires SOMEONE to abuse as they see fit. We have been too nice about our deprivation, impoverishment, subjugation, and oppression for far too long,” tweeted @AJNash10.

“Every time black people talk about mobilizing and separation from other races here comes the ‘oh if another race said this all hell would break lose’ and ‘oh that’s racist’ like B**** SHUT UP!! It’s time for us to put us and our needs FIRST!” tweeted @konciousky___.

In June 2018, Dr. Ava Muhammad embarked on a series of town hall meetings in response to Minister Farrakhan’s expressed desire for meetings and discussions around the country on separation. She visited 21 cities before the Covid-19 pandemic prevented physical gatherings.

“I plan to resume them soon, be it the Will of Allah. All of the meetings were in places owned and operated by Black people: churches, mosques, bookstores, community centers, art galleries, school auditoriums, etc. They were filled with hundreds of enthusiastic original people of all ages and walks of life. The youngest person to take to the microphone during open discussion was 7 years old,” she said.

Black people are not only ready to separate, but that they are anxious to get away from their tormentors and be free and independent, she argued.

At the beginning of May, Dr. Muhammad launched an online series, “Project Separation: Building Our Promised Land.” She unveiled and shared the concept via her Elevated Places online radio show. She said the next phase of Project Separation is purchasing tracts of land for farming and residential communities as Black people all over the country have already started to do.

Dr. Muhammad also explained how the separation between two unalike people or things is natural to the creative process.

“In the Book of Genesis we read that in order to create the Universe as we know it, the Creator separated night from day and land from sea. In the creation of Woman, He studied Himself and brought out from Himself (separated from Himself) a different being He called ‘she.’ In order for us to live we had to be separated from our Mother’s womb and the umbilical cord cut,” she said.

Black people don’t have to worry if separation from White people will work or not, Dr. Muhammad continued. “What is killing us is our effort to rebel against it. It is integration that is killing us, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad sets forth in Point No. 9 of “What the Muslims Believe.”

The point she referenced states: “WE BELIEVE that the offer of integration is hypocritical and is made by those who are trying to deceive the black peoples into believing that their 400-year-old open enemies of freedom, justice and equality are, all of a sudden, their ‘friends.’ Furthermore, we believe that such deception is intended to prevent black people from realizing that the time in history has arrived for the separation from the whites of this nation.”

It continues: “If the white people are truthful about their professed friendship toward the so-called Negro, they can prove it by dividing up America with their slaves. We do not believe that America will ever be able to furnish enough jobs for her own millions of unemployed, in addition to jobs for the 20,000,000 black people as well.”

Dr. Muhammad also quoted Point No. 5 of “What the Muslims Want,” which says: “We want every black man and woman to have the freedom to accept or reject being separated from the slave master’s children and establish a land of their own.”

Separation between Black and White is a solution that has been acknowledged by former U.S. presidents. President Thomas Jefferson wrote in his autobiography published in 1821, “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government.”

In “Notes on The State of Virginia” published in 1782, Mr. Jefferson said Black people should be colonized and sent out with arms, household items, handicraft arts, seeds and pairs of the useful domestic animals “to declare them a free and independent people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they [shall] have acquired strength.”

In his “Address on Colonization to a Deputation of Negroes” on August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln said to a group of Black pastors, “Your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If this be admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.”

Even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose work was pivotal to the integration of Black and White, had an evolution in his thought process towards the latter years of his life before he was assassinated. “There are some situations where separation may serve as a temporary way-station to the ultimate goal which we seek, which I think is the only answer in the final analysis to the problem of a truly integrated society,” he said on March 25, 1968, a little over a week before his death, according to page 292 of “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.” by Clayborne Carson.

Online talk show host Vicki Dillard told The Final Call that she believes separation is an absolute necessity.

“When you find out that there’s an illness or sickness, disease, and you find out that there’s damaging cancerous cells in your body, you don’t try to unify with those things. Your goal is to eradicate it because you understand the damage that it could do throughout your body; it could kill you,” she said. “And so unless and until we start to see our open enemies as they really are and that we are in fact in war and at war, we will never really understand the concept of separation.”

Mr. Baruti was very involved in the 2014 uprising that occurred after 18-year-old Mike Brown was shot and killed by former officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. During that time, several concepts dominated the front page of the publication the organization runs, The African News World: police violence, “America on trial,” and moving forward. 

“We put out what we considered three viable options. One is reform, trying to make some changes within this system. The second we said is separation. And the third we said, revolution,” Mr. Baruti said.

For him, separation looks like either Blacks finding Southern states to inhabit and then later secede from the United States, or a total movement back to Africa as the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey taught. If Black people mass migrate to the South, the only person the masses may follow is Minister Farrakhan, he said.

“If we mass migrate and become majority numbers in those states, then we can seize the state legislatures as well as the executive offices such as governors and lieutenant governors, and then we can enact laws ourselves that can enhance our people,” Mr. Baruti explained. “Then we will be able to be oversee, like the national security guard, the international security guard, and some on down in the future. Once we control those apparatuses of state government in a collective manner, then hell, we can secede away from these folks, just like the White folks tried to secede during the Civil War.”

“Use the Arabs. Use the Asians. Use the Jews as current examples. There’s not a major town or city you can go into where there’s not a Chinatown,” said Ms. Dillard. “And I think if we start with the smaller concept of Chinatown and having our people to understand, look, these people operate almost autonomously. Their voting numbers are nowhere near as high as you guys, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats solicit their votes like they do you guys. But they have businesses, many of them are teaching their own children, they have their own credit unions or banks, they do business with each other and there’s not a major town right now that you can go into where there’s not a Chinatown. 

“I think if we start to put them in those kinds of concepts to say let’s start here. And the Minister has said this: first make your neighborhoods safe and decent places to live. Start doing your own, some of your own policing. Let’s bring back this concept of the Dope Busters, the Nation of Islam was legendary in terms of doing,” she continued. The Dope Busters was an unarmed patrol that shut down one of the largest open air drug markets on the East Coast in the late 1980s.

Ms. Dilliard called today Black people’s finest hour.

“ ‘Vicki, how can you say this is our finest hour?’ Well, when a woman is getting ready to bring a child to birth, sometimes there’s moaning and screaming and bloodshed and other sicknesses. If you didn’t know the process of birthing, if you were totally ignorant to the process of birth, you would think something is going to go real wrong, when you see someone having those types of responses and reactions, only to find out they’re getting ready to give birth,” she said.

“So, yes, there’s bloodshed, there’s moaning, our people are crying out with dissatisfaction. But I want us to know that we’re getting ready to give birth. We’re pregnant, and in the same way that there are other unfavorable things that attend a woman that is getting ready to give birth, so it is with us. So the difficulty, the bloodshed, the crying out that we’re experiencing, it’s a sign that we’re getting ready to give birth.”