[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from a special keynote address delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Saturday, April 16, 2016, live via webcast, during the Black United Summit International’s two-day Leadership Conference held on the campus of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.]


In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.


Min. Farrakhan called for students to establish a new civilization. Photo: Lens of Ansar

Who are you, Tennessee State? Each one of you is a god. Now wait, I don’t want anyone to think I’m stretching things; because you have been turned backwards—so instead of saying “God” you say, “Yo dog.” You are a young god, fulfilling what the scripture teaches, “Ye are all gods, children of the Most High God” (Psalms 82:6). So when we greet each other, as we are taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I know “who” I am greeting when I greet you. And I never feel, no matter what I’ve attained by God’s grace in this life, like I am better than any one of the least of my brothers and sisters, because I know who they are.


The whole object today of God is to resurrect you and me from mental, moral, spiritual, economic and political death.

Now I know you’re in college, and you’re getting an education. I pray that you are not playing with knowledge, because that is the password to open the door to your discovery of yourself. When you discover you, you’ll be so happy to know that you are—not like Jesse Jackson says “you are somebody.” Of course, you are somebody; but you are more than “some body,” you are that body that God said He would search the Earth for His sheep that was lost. And nobody on this Earth can fit that description of a “lost sheep” more than the Black man and woman of America and the Western Hemisphere. “Lost”… Some of the prophets, when they saw us and referred to us as “lost”: The meaning of that is incorrigible [“a person or their tendencies not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed]. Nobody has power to correct our condition; we are absolutely destroyed. So a “problem” for man is a Mission for God.

Students and audience listen to Min. Farrakhan’s words at Tenesseee State University. Photo: Erick Muhammad

So God says, “I will come.” He is not leaving it to a “prophet.” In fact, the time of prophets is finished. You that are reverends: Don’t call yourself a “prophet”—not if you’re following Jesus Christ. I understand; “prophet” is a “big name” (if you don’t know “who” you are), but we are out of the time of prophets. We are into The Time of The Presence of God. And Christ is not a prophet: He is the master of prophets. So when you see Jesus, you see The Father; because when Phillip asked him, “Master, when are we going to see The Father?” Jesus said: “Have I been among you this long and you have not seen him? When you see me, you see The Father, for I am in The Father and The Father is in me. Me and my Father are one.” (John 14:8-9) So what God has come to do today for the sheep that was lost is to resurrect you mentally, and put His Mind in you. The scripture teaches in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, the same that was in Christ Jesus.”


That’s some heavy stuff . That is your inheritance for 460 years of oppression under your enemies. The time for you to serve them is finished. It’s time now that you come up out of them because God wants to use you as the cornerstone of a brand new world and a brand new civilization. As the scripture teaches (1 Corinthians 1:25-28), He would choose “the despised and rejected.” Who is more despised than us? Who is more rejected than we are? And I mean, most of you hold your head down, especially when you’re in the company of White folk; you know, you sort of act like they are your master and you are their servant. That has been the case—but not today. Not today …

They are going to have to deal with us as men and women, when we are enlivened mentally.

‘The first warfare’: How moral correctness (or lack of it) affects our economic condition

“Business is Warfare”… When you think of “warfare,” you think of shedding blood. And of course, you are such a tenderhearted sweet people, except when you deal with yourself. You are very hard with each other … But you seem a little weak in the face of your 400-year old enemy. So, let us begin where “warfare” starts.

Did you know that when God created this beautiful body, He created things in it to fight for it? So you can’t get a fever or you can’t get an infection, or something disturbing your equilibrium, and something inside just lays down and says, “Wow. I’ve got a fever.” No. War starts: The white blood cells start attacking what is attacking you. See, your body has more sense than you: Your cell will fight the enemy of its life—but we lay down in the face of the enemy who wants to take our life. So if this (our body) is a busy body, and everything in here is actively working to preserve and maintain this life in this body, then the first warfare that goes on, goes on within The Self.And you can’t go to war with outside forces until you wake up to see that the only enemy you have got is the enemy of your self—once we wake up what is called the “self-accusing spirit” in you.

Min. Farrakhan with a students, who presented him with a proclamation. Photo: Lens of Ansar

Now some people say, “It’s terrible that people have killed the prophets of God.” Well, I ask you: “If a messenger of God came to you and showed you a way to improve your life, and make you a better human being in the eyes of God, would you kill such a person?” Would you? No? Are you really sure? Brothers and sisters, we kill “The Messenger of God” every day. Do you know that inside you, God has put Himself? How could you be made in His image and after His likeness and He not be in you? You may ask, “Well, how is God in me?” If you notice whenever you get ready to do something that is wrong, you don’t need to open a book called Bible, and read, and say, “Oh, I did something wrong!”—something inside you starts talking to you about what you’re doing to hurt you and others.


That is The God within; they call it “conscience.” It’s that inner voice of The Creator that is in us.When we silence The Messenger of God within, then we can do evil and don’t feel anything with the evil that we do. How did that happen? We let desire overcome us.

Brothers: Have you seen that pretty sister that’s married? She lives right next door to you, and she’s really fine. … When (you watch her) take the garbage out, that’s attracting the garbage in you. Now, you know that’s a married sister— and sisters, you know that’s a married man. But that doesn’t mean anything today; everybody is “fair game.” Brother, you can be married, yet the sister will want to know “how married” are you? She’ll tell her other fellow sisters, “I like that brother! Ain’t he fine? I’m gonna see if I could get him”—even though The Messenger of God within will say, “I wouldn’t do that.” You know you talk like that sometimes. But when you are awakened morally, something inside will say, “Don’t do that”; and, if you listen to the still small voice within, that voice will keep you going on a right path.

M. G.T. and audience at the event. Photos: Erick Muhammad


But consider this: Sometimes you know what you are doing is wrong. … We’ve got to get it together. Because no “greatness” is really great unless it’s rooted in moral character and righteous conduct. You are not great. No liar, no thief, no whoremonger, no pimp, no dope seller can say, “I’m all right”—you know you’re not right. So when somebody points it out to you, you say (angrily): “Aww man, I don’t want to hear that. … Farrakhan is getting in my business!”—but before I can get wisdom in you to do business, that will make war on the sorry economic condition of our people, you have to understand how moral correctness will affect your economic condition.


Read the life of J.C. Penney, founder of J.C. Penney store chain. Did you know that Mr. Penney had a lot of sense … so Mr. Penney made a lot of dollars? J.C. Penney looked at his workers: If the worker had an affair outside of his family, he would fire him. Because, affairs cost money. …


A brother applauds a point made by Min. Farrakhan. Photo: Lens of Ansar

Those of you who play a lot, you have to learn to pay a lot—and that might stop you from playing a lot. A man has to go home to his family. You shortchanged your wife. Your children need shoes, your wife needs something—but you’ve given the money for your family to somebody else, for a moment of pleasure. Understand that “conscience,” when you are awakened, tells you, “Man, I could have some money in my pocket if I didn’t have so many outside interests.”


The activity of life— business—can be better understood by studying Nature

Now, what does that have to do with “Business is Warfare”? The Activity of Life—this is what “business” is. Look at the first four letters, b-u-s-i: The “i” is interchangeable with “y,” forming the word “busy.” When you are doing nothing, you are not alive. A busy person has to be busy doing something that Nature requires.

Nature requires every living thing to do something for itself. It may be a worm, but that worm isn’t looking to another worm, begging “Hey, you’ve got anything for me?” Look how silly you look, a big grown man or woman at Tennessee State, working on a degree, and then going out begging somebody, “You’ve got a job for me?” Suppose he told you, “No! I don’t have any job for you!” What are you going to do then? How are you going to make a job for yourself?

See, if this is what you come to Tennessee State for, to get education to go out and beg the White man for a job, then you are in bad shape, brother and sister, because he doesn’t have enough jobs for his own millions of unemployed, and history says he will look out for himself first—if you get a shake at all. So college has to prepare you for the reality of life, or these are plantations.

Beloved brothers and sisters, when you start realizing the value of knowledge, and how knowledge separates man from beast, then the search for and the acquisition of knowledge is what the battle of life is all about. When you come into this world, you come in knowing nothing; but, there is an insatiable curiosity to know about this thing (“Life”) that we were given birth into: It’s a Huge Book that you were born into! As students, you come to college and you buy books … and I know your professors, or whoever wrote the books, they are considered “scholars”; so You learn to quote what some scholar said. But you are not trained to think and look deeply into what people say—so when you come out to hear Farrakhan, you know you’re looking deep, now.

I wish you had questioned White folk like that because you would not have been made the fool that we may have been made into today, if you learn how to question what people tell you. Where did you come from? Who found you? Were you swinging in Africa with a bone in your nose? What kind of people were you before John Hawkins tricked us out of Africa and brought us on a westerly course? What kind of people were you? If you don’t know “what was,” you can’t appreciate “what is,” and you are not prepared for what is yet to come. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “When you go out in search for knowledge you are in the path of God until you return.” Because when you go out in search of knowledge, you never come back; because there is so much knowledge out here in this vast creation of The Almighty and Wise God, that when you start searching, you keep finding, “peeling it back” more and more and more.

Students pay rapt attention to Min. Farrakhan’s words at Tenesseee State University. Photo: Andrea Muhammad


In the Holy Qur’an, the book of scripture of Muslims, Surah 31 (“Luqman”), verse 27 states: “If all the trees were as pens, and all of the seas with seven more seas added to it were ink, you could never exhaust the words of Allah (God).” Everything that He created is a “word.” How many words do you know? When you just look at your own vocabulary, we know you are short on words; that’s why every (other) word there is a cuss somewhere … because you can’t describe what you’re really feeling. You’re expressing yourself. However, knowledge is supposed to inform you of the things that God has created.

Now look at this: Throughout the Holy Qur’an, Allah (God) says in everything that He created there is a lesson for man and woman “if they would be mindful.” How many of you have seen a worm, look at it, and either walk around it, step on it, or keep going? You didn’t know what was in that worm. It’s crawling—but it’s your teacher. It’s wiser than the professor that you’re listening to, because that worm is a creature from God with a lesson in it for man, if man would understand. But we’re too busy “looking up” and we miss what’s on the ground. So the Bible teaches, “O thou sluggard, study the way of the ant and become wise.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

“You mean if I studied an ant, I could become wise?” The Jewish people are wise—I have never met a foolish Jew. I’m sure there are some, but I have never met one. Why are they wise? Because they study what the prophets opened their eyes to. Do you know that the ant is such a tremendous creature, that it is on every continent except the North Pole and South Pole? How did the ants get there? They crossed the ocean! How did they do that? Check them out. See, you’re living in Nashville or whatever little “burg” you live in, and you hardly leave your city; but, you can’t go in any continent and not find an ant. How did they get there?

And, you can’t go anywhere on the Earth and you will not find a Jewish presence.


“Too many unlearned words”: If you look at the ant, they say the ant is “mimetic.” I had to check that word out because I had never heard the term. Whenever you want knowledge, you have to have a dictionary close by; because people will say things—and you know you didn’t understand; so, you start looking stupid right away.

Every student should always have a dictionary, and as you read and you come across a word that you don’t understand, stop, get the meaning of that word; then your interest is raised in the sentence and in the paragraph that you were reading. But when you miss a word and keep going, you can’t even remember what you read because it didn’t make too much sense. There are too many unlearned words. …

“Mimetic,” by definition, means “characterized by, exhibiting, or of the nature of imitation or mimicry.” Jewish people are very wise; in every society, they are present. But you say, “Oh, no, this one is Mexican”—yeah right, a Mexican Jew. They have adapted, like the ant, to the culture, to the language. Is that bad?

Well, brothers and sisters, you are from all over the world; you’ll find people of color everywhere—but you can’t fit, because all you speak is English and it’s more Ebonics. But Jewish people study. So you find them in France, in England, in Belgium, in Italy, in Germany; you’ll find them in Poland, you’ll find them in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, in Ukraine; you’ll find them in Russia. But what they have in common is their Jewishness. So when you see them, you see how they work together for the common good of the Jewish people. …

In America, Jews raise money for the Jews in Russia, and they raise billions of dollars, because they’re connected to their fellow brothers and sisters. What’s your connection? You can’t move from one neighborhood to another. Look how crazy this thing has become. You’re a “Crip” over here, a “Blood” over here; a “Vice Lord” over here, a “Black Gangster Disciple” over here, and you have a little territory, so small in size, and you function in that narrow part. But when you move into the next block, your life is in danger? White folk move all over the world. So, there’s something wrong with your knowledge if it limits you to “Nashville,” or some little town.

Business is really Warfare— but, it’s the activity of life itself. You say, “Well, ‘business’ means I need to open up a business.” Okay. Yes, that’s right. But real activity of life has to deal with all the essentials of life that we must provide for ourselves, our families and our future.

‘War is profitable’: The gold standard and 9/11

In 1961, I was sitting with Elijah Muhammad, and he took out of his pocket a gold coin, and put it on the table. He said, “One day soon this gold coin will be the new medium of exchange.” White people are moving into the inner city, some of them knocking on doors, and they are coming to you with money, asking you for your gold. Because what they are giving you in exchange, paper money, this is not real “money.”

I recently purchased an ounce of pure gold. … Gold is real money. Silver? That’s real money. Some of you young people may not be aware, but elders like myself: This paper money we use today used to be called a “silver certificate.” It would say on the bottom, “Pay to the bearer on demand $50 insilver.” The real money. This currency of today is what you call “monopoly money.” What’s about to happen? It recently came out in the news that in 2016, all the major banks are in trouble. It started with J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. … What makes a bank in trouble? When the value of the paper that they have begins to lose its value, then the bank is in serious trouble—and so are we who have our money in the bank.

Now these White people that are in your neighborhood, they’re in the pawn shop telling you through the window, “Bring the gold! We’ve got cash for you!” They know you don’t know that this paper money is losing its value every day. But gold will increase in value. One ounce of gold, today, costs $1,237. At one point, the price went up to $1,800, but it began to fall; but when Elijah Muhammad put that gold coin on the table (in 1961), an ounce of gold you could buy for $35 an ounce.

Well, it’s been reported recently that Saudi Arabia is upset with the U.S. Congress, because they have bought $750 billion of U.S. bonds or assets (in paper); and, it is Saudi money, Chinese money, Japanese money that keeps America afloat. So the Congress is upset with Osama bin Laden, and the family of Osama bin Laden, because when the Twin Towers went down, a lot of Osama’s family were here and the government under George W. Bush put them on a plane and flew them back to Saudi Arabia. Now, the government doesn’t tell you the real truth—and many in Congress, they’re just a bunch of silly people—yes they are— that have been tricked and deceived. When they found Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, they were able to capture him; and they could have brought him back to America and extracted from him all the socalled “secrets” of Al-Qaeda and whatnot. But instead, they shot him dead.

Why did they kill him? Because then they could tell you he was “the mastermind” of the fall of the Twin Towers. Some of the Arabs were in flight school: They hadn’t graduated flying ab Cessna—ut they’re going to tell you that with box cutters, they got in an airplane and gained control of the plane, and flew a plane—at 500 and some-odd miles per hour— dropped the altitude down, and then turned the plane and ran it into the World Trade Center?

Guess what: There never has been a building made with the type of steel that skyscrapers are made with that you could fly a plane into it and the gas in the plane create enough heat to melt that steel. When you saw the World Trade Tower come down, it came down right in its own footprint, like “controlled” demolition. Then the Second Tower fell, in its footprint. Six hours later, the Third Tower, 47 floors, went down in its own footprint— but no plane attacked that. And people said they heard explosions in the First Tower, in the Second Tower, and in the Third Tower; and, they found thermite. … The whole idea of the government was to give America a reason to go to war, because war is profitable.