Minister Louis Farrakhan with Cliff Kelly

[Editor’s note: The following article is an edited excerpt from an on-air conversation between Minister Farrakhan with radio talk show host Cliff Kelly on WVON 1450 AM in Chicago, Illinois on May 2, 2006.]


CLIFF KELLY (CK): We are always honored to have our wonderful Brother, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan. Good morning, sir.

MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN (MLF): Good morning, Cliff, and peace to you and peace to all of your listeners. I am happy to be here with you this morning. With me this morning is, of course, Dr. Conrad Worrill of the National Black United Front, my International Representative Akbar Muhammad, and our regional minister and my assistant minister, Ishmael Muhammad. We are honored to be in the same studio with you.

CK: I am so pleased to have the four of you here. We are going to Ghana for the 50th Anniversary of their independence. We were there for the 40th and that was the time Ghana Airways could not get us back home; and your glorious international representative helped us a lot, took us to his home and took us various places.

We are going to talk about a number of things, obviously immigration and the rally that took place, your visit to Cuba and the situation with The Covenant. I thought you were wonderful. When you started speaking, people were trying to get away. It was the funniest thing. You were speaking the truth and a lot of people can’t handle the truth. Brother Minister, the things you said at the symposium with Tavis Smiley, I thought was fantastic.


Ten thousand immigrants marched through downtown Chicago on July 19 and held a rally in Grant Park for immigrant rights. Speakers called for a moratorium on raids and deportations. Photos: Kenneth Muhammad
Although America likes to call them–aliens–maybe they do not see themselves as aliens. Maybe, they see themselves as coming home to what was once theirs, which by clever design was taken from them. Arizona, Texas, California

MLF: Thank you, my Brother. I am glad first to be here to discuss it because there was some misunderstanding and I did not want anyone to think that Minister Farrakhan would disrespect the sincere, committed work of Brother Tavis and all those who worked with him to produce The Covenant. Naturally, it’s a working document. It’s not a perfect document, but it is a wonderful base to launch from; and so I thought that today we might discuss the misunderstanding and give it clarity and then go on to whatever you would like to discuss at the international scene, Cuba or the wonderful, wonderful demonstration yesterday of our Latino family.


I was so very proud of them, to see them standing as they have never stood before, to shake America and let America know that we are here—no matter how we got here, we are here. Although America likes to call them “aliens,” maybe they do not see themselves as aliens. Maybe, they see themselves as coming home to what was once theirs, which by clever design was taken from them. Arizona, Texas, California…

CK: …was part of Mexico.

MLF: Right.

CK: When we look at that, Brother Minister, I see so many more people who are represented in that group that certainly would not fit into what you’re saying—all of the Koreans, all the other Asians, Chinese, Eastern Europeans who are working here. One of the major problems I have, quite frankly, particularly with the Eastern Europeans in my community, they are doing jobs that the Brothers ought to be doing and would be doing except that they are not union and these developers and construction companies can hire them at a lesser cost. I’m talking about carpenters.

In fact, we had one gentleman there who was speaking and he’s from England. He certainly does not fit into that group you’re talking about. What is he doing? He’s a carpenter. We have all these Black folks out here who can do all of this work and they are being excluded because of many of these people, and I have a major problem with that.

MLF: Cliff, I know that what you’re saying is absolutely true. Pharaoh has really let the Black man go. It is “we” who have not let him go. The Mexicans that are coming into the country, they say illegally, many are doing jobs that we would not do, but there are many that are doing jobs that we would be happy to do, mainly in the building trades, in the road and construction business. But the powers that are controlling this want cheap labor to build their bottom line, but they do not want Black people because we are union. They forced us so we became union. Now, they don’t want us because they would have to pay us.

Then the racial thing is deep. I went to the movies to see “The Sentinel.” In rich homes, when you open the door, it would usually be a Hattie McDaniel-type. If you saw the butler, it would be one of us. If you peeped in the kitchen, it would be one of us. But in “The Sentinel,” when the door opened, it was a Latino woman. The cook was Latino and the butler was Latino.

So actually Pharaoh has let us go. The job opportunities that are there for us are the highly skilled jobs, and even there we are suffering. But the masses are being herded into criminal activity that we might fill the jails and the institutions of this country.

CK: They’re highly skilled jobs again and you’re absolutely correct, Brother Minister. But then, when you have the educational break down that we have, we have fewer, particularly Black men, who get the opportunity to be trained for those highly skilled jobs. Recently headlines say that 6.5 out of 100 students that go into the public schools as freshmen in high school finish college; that’s including Whites. So when you talk about African Americans, it’s horrible. We had a caller yesterday that said, “Latinos aren’t taking our jobs, they’re being given our jobs.”

MLF: That’s correct.

CK: It’s not that Blacks don’t want to do those jobs. Vicente Fox is totally wrong. It’s that they cannot afford to do those jobs at that cost because these people would do it for half of what an African American would have to do to even live under the poverty level. Mr. Fox, of course, does not want to see this happen because, if those people who send all this money home, which is greater than the Mexican Gross National Product (GNP), then they are going to ask him: “Why don’t you create jobs in your own country so everybody is not trying to get out?”

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