[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address at the “Challenging The Genius Conference” held at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Chicago, Illinois on September 17, 2005.]

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

The learned of our people are disconnected from the unlearned. As a result of that disconnect, the learned, though they suffer where they are, are not able to lift the masses of our people from where the masses are.

That is not the fault of the learned, but it is a clever scheme of the former slave master and his children that the masses should never connect with the learned of our people, for in the learning of the learned, there is the solution to 95 percent of all of our problems. So as long as that disconnect remains, then the learned can only touch a few with their knowledge and their experience.



We are attempting to create a movement that will answer the critical needs of our people. What we hope to do is to create a movement programmatically that ties the learned to the masses of our people so that we can solve the many problems of our people that can never be solved by just one organization, or one leader. It is going to take all of us being together, recognizing the value of each other and what each of us bring to the table.


Just like this body of ours has many different systems, many different organs; however, they all function for one common cause, which is the keeping up of the life of this organism. We have to be like that as a people. Those of you who are “educators”: The educators cannot be separated from other disciplines of science, medicine, law and economic development because in every area ignorance is what keeps our people from functioning as we should. Knowledge, and the transmission of knowledge, is central to the rise of our people.

The right ‘to know’ is a human right

The Bible teaches, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge,” so the acquisition of knowledge, and the proper requisite knowledge for a people who are enslaved mentally, has to be acquired by us and transmitted by us to those who are suffering because they don’t have that knowledge.

When people are steeped in ignorance, you can’t blame them for their behavior. But the wise man knows that they are acting out of their ignorance. We can blame them if they have been given knowledge and refuse to act on the principles of what they know; then they are really guilty. However, our people are not guilty. It’s just that they have never been given the requisite knowledge to make us a free and independent people.


It is always good to stop and recognize the greatness in our teachers, like my dear big brother, Maulana Karenga, who has shown us that he is a brilliant scholar; one to be honored and respected not after death, but while he is alive. We should thank God for him, for all the good work that he has done and continues to do to elevate not only our people, but I think Maulana has seen that he is a universal man. In other words, even though he is first and foremost a member of our family, yet he recognizes that the wisdom that comes up out of our family is not just for our family, it is for the whole family of man and mankind.

That is what brings me to what I wanted to say to us: When Abraham Lincoln signed The Emancipation Proclamation and “let our people go”—and I put that in “” because we were only let go from their hands, but not from their control—there was never the transmission of knowledge, or a “beginning step” to make our people independent of their former slave master. So, our people had to turn right back around and go back to the slave master and ask him if we could stay on the plantation. Then, this whole share-cropping thing began.

But here we are, nearly 150 years later… I believe that our being in America is not an accident. I believe that it is divine providence that our fathers were brought out of Africa at the time that we were brought out. I believe it was an act of divine providence that we have suffered what we have suffered. Suffering shapes people for greatness. There is no such thing as a human being attaining greatness without struggle. The greater the struggle of the human being, the greater he or she will manifest greatness. And even though you can still manifest greatness with less of a struggle, it is not equal to what you can do with the greatest of all struggles.

God has put us in a struggle because the slave master and his children deprived us of so much which a human being needs to have in order to function. To deprive us for 300 years of the human right “to know” is a tremendous deprivation! To sell a people for 300 years as chattel is great, great suffering! Then, to deceive this people and make them believe that they were in fact free, when they were only being put into a new kind of slavery that would continue the same process that began when our fathers were brought out of Africa in chains.

Manifesting excellence puts to death White Supremacy, Black inferiority

So here we are, present-day: Our people are dying out in the streets. Our Black scholars are in pain no matter where they are because the ugly face of racism is present in academia. The ugly face of racism is present in politics, in jurisprudence, in religion. There is nothing that racism has not poisoned: Christianity, Islam and Judaism is poisoned by racism; Socialism and Communism is poisoned by racism—and always in these areas, the Blacks are always subservient to Whites who lead in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Socialism, Communism, education, jurisprudence, wherever it is. That is the reality. But look at what God says in this scripture: “Behold I make all things new, there will be a new heaven and a new earth and the former things will pass away.”

Brother and sister educators: When it comes to “education,” most everything that we hold dear has failed in the cultivation of the human being. It is so sad to see people who claim education and yet lack cultivation. So the enemy will give you a degree, but it is not a necessary degree that qualifies us in terms of cultivating the best that God has put within us; that we can mine it out of us and put it into the service of ourselves and others.

The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said one day, “It is one thing to know that iron ore is in the earth. It is another thing entirely to mine it out of the earth and put it into the service of self and others.” It’s one thing to know that we are the possessors of the excellence of The Creator, and there is no human being that is without possession of the excellence of The Creator, for there is no such thing with The Creator as “mediocrity.”

There is no mediocre creation. From the tiniest insect to the far planets, these creations are excellent. And the human being is the greatest of God’s creation, yet we suffer from mediocrity and less, not to think of our inability to manifest excellence. It is not our fault; it is a systemic thing that deprives Black people, Brown people, Red people, White people, and common people of the means to express excellence. We go to school to learn so we can manifest excellence. Well, isn’t it sad that you can come out of the best schools that they have with the finest and best degree that they can offer, and yet we are unable to manifest that kind of excellence that makes us stand above and reflect The Creator?

Think about this: “Racism” cannot exist in the field of excellence. No man can say that “I am better than you are” if you are manifesting excellence, especially if they are saying it because of color, or because of class, or because of some privilege that one may have. The manifestation of excellence is the destruction of White Supremacy and Black Inferiority.


I personally believe that God has allowed us into this situation so that greatness would emerge out of it to set up a whole new paradigm.

We are mistaken to follow the Western paradigm of education, science and religion because it all has been poisoned by the wicked idea of White Supremacy. That is a poison that is not good for White people, and it certainly is not good for us.

White people cannot fit into the New World Order supposing that they are “better” because they are White, and we cannot fit into the New World Order supposing that we are inferior because we are Black. Both of these mentalities must be destroyed, and the only way they can be destroyed is through the process that we call “education.”

The building blocks of any civilization: ‘math’ and ‘science’

The word education comes from two Latin words, “e” (the prefix) which means “out” or “out from”; duco or ducara which means “to lead out.” When a person is educated, they are lead out from darkness into light, from ignorance into light, from ignorance into wisdom, from powerlessness into power, from weakness into strength.

Education is the thing that sets the human being apart from the lower animals. This is why in The Holy Qur’an, Surah 2, Allah (God) introduces Himself to Muhammad with these words that they translate as: “I Allah am The Best Knower”—that is what separates God from man; it is that He is supreme in knowledge. This does not mean that we cannot approach God because He is a Master Teacher and is calling on the human to approach Him. That is why the Bible teaches He created man and woman in “His image and after His likeness,” so do not think that it is a sin to approach God.

In the acquisition of knowledge, which empowers us to master the forces of nature, the forces of our own being, self-mastery is the key to the mastery of the universe, for we are the “microcosm,” and the universe is the “macrocosm.” However, the way education is taught, it disconnects us from mathematics and science. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that it is proficiency in mathematics that makes one a builder of civilization. All other disciplines are embellishment, but math and science build civilization.

So when we talk about Africa, and the African being the “father of civilization” and “master builders,” we just weren’t musicians; we weren’t architects alone; we weren’t sculpturers alone! We were the masters of the two great sciences upon which civilization is built: Math and Science (Engineering)! We can’t return to Africa with just a cursory view of Africa as the great spiritual force and great civilizing force for the world without understanding that force is rooted not in “mythology,” but that force is rooted in the highest manifestation of mathematics and science.

That is why what we have built is called “the wonder” of the world (The Great Pyramid of Giza). Scholars and scientists for centuries have wondered how we did it. Therefore, if they wonder about what was done then, they do not have the mathematics that would show them how it was done; otherwise, they could do it again. But they can’t do it because they don’t know what our fathers knew, and God has kept that back from them.

Why did He keep it? Because White Supremacy is such a poison, that if you give a person poison like that, the very base upon which life and the Universe is constructed they will use it according to the sick mentality. So that mentality has to be corrected. God can’t give it even to you if you are sick with this mind of Black inferiority, that “I have to get back when White people come around,” and we are bitter and angry over the condition that a Creator permitted—not that White people did.

They had somebody above them that said, “I am going to let this happen because I have a purpose for these people.”

If we come up out of slavery angry, that is natural. If we come up out of oppression bitter, that is natural. But the greatest wisdom can never be put on a heart that is angry, bitter and filled with hatred because we don’t understand why The Creator allowed what He allowed. And at the end of that process, here we come now; like the scripture teaches Joseph was sold into bondage by his brothers and he became a master in the land where he was sold as a slave.

The Torchlight of Civilization

Can’t you see that the leaders of this nation who are the leaders of the world are bankrupt? Spiritually, they are bankrupt; their ideas do not work anymore. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us that “education” is the torchlight of civilization. When you see the decline in education, the civilization is coming down behind the decline in education.

Now if you look at America today, every child no matter what their color is, is being left behind. There is a scheme to dumb down the American people so that a greedy few could live from sucking the blood of the masses of Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and White who are ignorant.

Over the years, statistics have shown that an alarming, horrific number of those who graduated from high school are unable to read at a high school level. If this is true in a global economy where manufacturing has been ceded to Third World cheap labor markets, then those persons who cannot read at a high school level are unfit to go to college. Where will they fit if the jobs are not available? What are they going to do? So America is crushing her greatest resource which is her people.

Now here is where we as educators come in: We cannot allow our children to die in the killing fields of an educational system that has run its course. Education can never and must never be stagnant because nothing that we have been taught is absolute. If we have a doctorate in psychology that only says that we have accomplished what this world has to offer, but there is yet more to be accomplished. So once, we arrogate to ourselves that we “know,” then we reach a plateau of learning, and then we start the decline.

America is very arrogant; and in that arrogance we have reached the plateau of learning, so her civilization is now in decline. The fall of this civilization is going to continue, but out of it must come something new, something better.

That is why I am honored to address you on this subject, because I believe that among the children of slaves there is The Genius that can wash itself of the old paradigm based in White Supremacy and Black Inferiority, and evolve out it a new paradigm that can educate our children from pre-school through the university.