BY STUDENT MINISTER ISHMAEL MUHAMMAD | LAST UPDATED: OCT 29, 2013 – 8:12:01 AM
‘The time and what must be done’—2013 Lecture Series, part 42
[Editor’s note: On Sunday, October 20, 2013, The Nation of Islam commemorated the 18th anniversary of The Historic Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement in the great city of Tuskegee, Alabama. Though the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was expected to deliver the keynote address, he experienced a health condition that prevented him from attending. In his stead, Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan, was commissioned to deliver the address, wherein the meaning and purpose of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint to End Poverty and Want was taught, and the website (EconomicBlueprint.org) was unveiled to the world. The following article contains a distillation of the keynote address, which serves as Part 42 of Minister Farrakhan’s 52-week Lecture Series on “The Time and What Must Be Done” that aired on Saturday, October 26th. ]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
First, let’s look back 18 years ago at “The Million Man March” (Monday, October 16, 1995): Almighty God Allah, through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, called Black men from around this country to present themselves before their families, communities, the nation and the world. We demonstrated, 18 years ago, our willingness 1.) to atone for our failure, and 2.) to be the kind of men that God intended for us to be; the kind of men that our women and families would be proud of! And on that day, nearly 2 million Black men, in The Spirit of Atonement, asked God to forgive us.
It was the first time Black folks went to D.C., and didn’t ask their former slave masters for anything. It was the first time that we [collectively] went to the U.S. Capitol, and we did not make a demand on government, but, we made a demand on ourselves.
Now, by making a “demand on ourselves” and “accepting the responsibility to make the change needed for ourselves,” God blessed that day. And it was a day such that the world has never seen before: Brothers, we stood together, shoulder-to-shoulder, like soldiers in ranks! We came together as leaders, as organizations and churches, and activists from all groups. We came as “Bloods” and “Crips”; we came as “Disciples” and “Stones.” We came as Baptists and Methodists; we came as Hebrew and Muslim. We came as “Alphas” and “Omegas”; we came as “Deltas.” But on that day, all of the “labels” were peeled off of us, and we saw our nakedness in the nature in which God had created us. That day, the world saw what the scriptures teach: “We can tell that they have passed from death into life, because they love the brotherhood.”
We went to D.C., but “The Call” was bigger than all of us; and, it allowed us to focus on something bigger than “ourselves,” bigger than “our organizations,” bigger than “our agendas.” We were focusing, 18 years ago, on “The Salvation of The Black Male” and “Restoring The Black Man”; because at that time, forces in this country were moving to extinguish us entirely!
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan exposed “the plan” of The Enemy: He went across this country organizing and mobilizing Black men in “Men-Only Meetings” and “Stop The Killing Tours”; and all of that led to The Million Man March. Through The Million Man March, we gave the world a vastly different picture of “The Black Male.” The world didn’t see us as “criminals” that day! They didn’t see us as “thugs” that day! They didn’t see us as “gang bangers” that day! They saw us as men in the image and reflection of God.
How effective was the spirit of “Atonement, Reconciliation, and Our Accepting Responsibility for our failures”; and the accepting of our responsibility to make a change that would be beneficial to us, to our families, to our communities, and to our nation? That’s what made The Million Man March so effective all over the world: That day was produced from God, through a man who loves his people, and wants to see his people free; a man who wants to see his people rise above ignorance, and rise above the condition that the world has created and placed us in.
How can looking back on that day and reflecting on the beauty of that day help us today, and help us to move forward? How can looking back on the spirit of “Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility” help us, dear brothers and sisters, accept the burden of responsibility to make the change that we need to bring benefit to our families and community and nation? These three words, “atonement,” “reconciliation” and “responsibility,” are great principles: If we acted upon these principles, if we built upon these principles, we could create that kind of peace, tranquility and love in our communities throughout this country that we saw 18 years ago at The Million Man March! It would create a spirit of love and unity that is so basic and necessary for the type of Progress that could, would, and must be made, if only we atoned and reconciled—first, in our families, and then in our communities; and then, accept the responsibility to make the change that we hoped others would make for us. But now, we recognize in our worsening condition that we must be “the change” that we are hoping and looking for.
Why Tuskegee, Alabama as the chosen place for The Holy Day of Atonement?
Well, why are we here in Tuskegee? Why did The Minister choose this humble, blessed, beloved city of Tuskegee; that gave us and America the brave and courageous Tuskegee Airmen who secured America a victory in World War II; allowing America to become stronger as a nation, and even wealthier? But what did these Black men come back to—did their courageous bravery on the battlefield make the Black community stronger and wealthier? Or did we, through our sacrifices, give help to another people, to another nation, to become strong, wealthy and mightier? Yet, we became weaker as a community.
Why did The Minister bring us to Tuskegee, the home of Rosa Parks; the land of Booker T. Washington and Dr. George Washington Carver? It was Dr. Carver who took peanuts from the land, and developed over 100 products—just from the peanut! That has allowed for wealth to be created in various industries, just from his discovery of what God put in a peanut; think about that! Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an that there is “a treasure in everything,” and what George Washington Carver showed us is that God’s magnificent, wonderful, beautiful creation is not for us to “look at,” but it is for us to go into God’s creation and extract the utility, the usefulness, that is in His creation for the benefit of the human being!
Allah (God) has guided us to be here this day, at this time, in this city of Tuskegee, for a very special reason and purpose. The little humble city of Tuskegee has given us, and a people, and even to America and the world, so much to be grateful for … We are here to pay honor to this little city that gave to America, to Black people and the world, so much in terms of “Black progress,” “economic development,” and “high levels of civilization” advanced by Dr. Booker T. Washington.
We must revisit the principles that Tuskegee University was founded upon, and revisit and ingrain those principles into our very being, for our future is at stake!
Booker T. Washington, just a few years born out from slavery, was a man who is not fully appreciated by those who struggle to see our people free. Many of our young people don’t know Booker T. Washington; they know him “by name,” but they don’t know the vision and the principles of Dr. Booker T. Washington—and the schools are not instilling those principles in our young people. Otherwise, we would not be looking for a job! Tuskegee Institute was set up by a visionary to lay the base for economic development, acquisition of real wealth, leading to political strength and improved race relations. The principles envisioned and upon which Dr. Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute, now “Tuskegee University,” are immutable principles that every human being, of every race, creed or color, any people who are down and in “the mud of civilization,” or non-productive, could become producers for self, and producers of a great community; and become a people that produce and build a great civilization.
Did you know that Dr. Washington was not just interested in “agriculture” and “animal husbandry,” but he was interested in our growth into “science” and “civilization”—the manners and behaviors of civilized people? He recognized the need of our people to be properly educated, and reformed after our total destruction through the institution of “slavery.” He recognized that in order for us to gain our dignity and respect we had to be taught “civilization,” i.e. “how to respect self” and “how to respect others.” He taught even the women at Tuskegee Institute! He taught them “how to stand,” “how to walk,” “how to sit”; he taught the woman how she should carry herself, and how she should act in the public.
And because of these principles, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was attracted to Dr. Booker T. Washington; the Honorable Elijah Muhammad used those very same principles which are found and taught in The Nation of Islam in our training of men and women! So when you see your brother and sister from The Nation of Islam, and you admire and marvel at the good manners, the discipline, the courteousness, the hospitality, that is because of these principles that Dr. Booker T. Washington taught, that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teach!
It is a shame that we are deprived of our history (as Black people in America). This is why our young people appear to be out here like “rebels without a cause”: They have become “self-destructors” of themselves and their community because their roots have been severed! And when you deprive a people of their history; when you rob them of the knowledge of self, and take from them their history, you have committed the worst crime that can ever be done to a people. It is a crime of immeasurable dimension!
So how can our young people grow, how can we grow, if we don’t know our History? How can “a tree” survive if it is cut from “the roots”? It has no chance of surviving! It has no chance of growing! So the aim of The Enemy has always been to sever and cut your roots: Disconnect you from your past, wherein great men and women, such as Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Booker T. Washington, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Noble Drew Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would never be remembered (for their role in “Black liberation”)—but remembered only “in name.” All of these beautiful men and women that were just named: They’re hardly mentioned in the history books in grammar schools … They tell our children nothing about these great men who sacrificed so that we could have dignity as a people, and be better respected in this land!
‘A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw’: Washington’s success story of ‘determination and sacrificing for Black economic independence’
Booker T. Washington recognized that if we were ever to be respected and accepted by others, we had to be civilized, we had to be reformed, we had to be rehabilitated. And so, we are in Tuskegee to honor him as well.
Booker T. Washington instilled in his students a deep appreciation for the land, and the value of the land. He was also a strong proponent of “Black self-development.” Dr. Washington had his young students in architecture lay out the plans for Tuskegee Institute: They took the clay land and made bricks, and built the buildings that made up Tuskegee Institute. They built the benches, the cables, the chairs and they opened the restaurants … and they didn’t ask anybody else to build it for them! They put their hands to work, and they built it themselves! He was showing us what we needed to learn then, and what we need to learn today in order to secure a future for ourselves. And, how to even earn the respect of our former slave master—how to earn real respect from White people. Brothers and sisters, you will never get respect from them as long as you try to appease them, and be a “good boy,” or a “good n—a.” You have got to stand up and be a man in order for men to respect you and your people—and you become a “man” when you take care of yourself!
So if we want the respect of America, the respect of White people, then Booker T. Washington showed us through how his students built Tuskegee Institute” and “the importance of brick making”! In his book Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, in Chapter 10 titled “A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw,” Booker T. Washington said: “We tried several locations before we opened up a pit that furnished brick clay. I had always supposed that brick making was very simple, but I soon found out by bitter experience that it required special skill and knowledge, particularly in the burning of the bricks … The failure of this last kiln”—(a “kiln” is a furnace or oven for burning, baking or drying)—“left me without a single dollar with which to make another experiment. Most of the teachers advised the abandoning of the effort to make bricks. …”
There is always somebody discouraging you from doing what is of value and for you to realize and fulfill your dream or whatever idea God blesses you to come up with in your mind. There is always going to be resistance and opposition. But if you are steadfast, if you are determined—like Booker T. Washington: This man put his “last dollar” to the efforts he began, because he believed in what God had shown him! So, he said that he pawned his watch in Montgomery, Alabama for “$15, with which to renew the brick making experiment.” He was not discouraged! He continued, writing: “I returned to Tuskegee, and, with the help of the fifteen dollars, rallied our rather demoralized and discouraged forces and began a fourth attempt to make bricks. This time, I am glad to say, we were successful. …”
In that sacrifice, this shows us that he was willing to take whatever he had that was dear to him. And that is what “sacrifice” really is; it’s “giving up” something that you like, giving up something that you love; that “something” that has a much greater value or calling for your life! Brothers and sisters: How much are we willing to sacrifice for our freedom?
Dr. Washington continued: “Brick making has now become such an important industry at the school that last season our students manufactured twelve hundred thousand of first-class bricks, of a quality suitable to be sold in any market. Aside from this, scores of young men have mastered the brick making trade—both the making of bricks by hand and by machinery—and are now engaged in this industry in many parts of the South. The making of these bricks taught me an important lesson in regard to the relations”—take a look at this; listen—“of the two races in the South. Many White people who had had no contact with the school, and perhaps no sympathy with it, came to us to buy bricks because they found out that ours were good bricks. They discovered that we were supplying a real want in the community. The making of these bricks caused many of the White residents of the neighborhood to begin to feel that the education of the Negro was not making him worthless, but that in educating our students we were adding something to the wealth and comfort of the community. As the people of the neighborhood came to us to buy bricks, we got acquainted with them; they traded with us and we with them. Our business interests became intermingled. We had something which they wanted; they had something which we wanted. This, in a large measure, helped to lay the foundation for the pleasant relations that have continued to exist between us and the White people in that section, and which now extend throughout the South.”
Allah (God) guided the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to bring us to Tuskegee because, whether we realize it or not, this is our “genesis”—from Tuskegee! Minister Farrakhan described it in his March 22, 2013 address as “The Seminal Fluid of The Kingdom of God”…
We are here, because we have got to drop our buckets down and pick ourselves up by our own bootstraps! And if we do that, we will secure a future for ourselves, and we will earn the respect of others!
Changing our own condition through action, self-reliance, vision of self and vision of the future
It is something (unnatural) about being “non-productive”—because no one likes a lazy, nonproductive people. It’s not in “the nature of things”; it is not in the nature of the human being to be unproductive, nonproductive. Do you know why there’s so much frustration in the Black community throughout the country? Because we’re being unproductive, nonproductive. We’re not doing anything; we’re just “hanging around,” because we don’t have anything to do!
Who wants a lazy man? You can’t even tolerate a lazy son in your house, sitting around, feeding off of you; you would throw that lazy boy out of the house! Well, if that is “the nature and order of things,” according to God, then how do you think the world, and a people, look at us when we appear to them to have no willingness and desire to do something for ourselves? Have you ever had an experience with a “beggar”? When you see the beggar, you have sympathy on the beggar, right? You put a little change in his hand … Then you see him the next day, and, you may throw something else in. But the next thing you know, he’s still there, day after day and week after week; and you were charitable at first, but all of a sudden your “charitable heart” starts shrinking up, and something in you says, “Man, I wish this dude would go find him something to do instead of being out here on the corner!”
Well guess what? That is just how people are looking at us: “Why don’t these Negros go and do something for themselves?” At a certain point, we’ve got to have some dignity and pride in ourselves. And Booker T. Washington was showing us what we can do: He gathered the young people of his day, and he put them to work. And they went from Tuskegee, throughout the state, and started brick-making companies, selling bricks; and trading, and entering into commerce that would allow them to earn a living for themselves! What are we doing with our young people today? Begging a government to do for us what we should, and must, do for ourselves? The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “We do not believe that America will ever be able to furnish enough jobs for her millions of unemployed, and give jobs to Black people as well.”
Here we are, begging another people for that which we should be giving ourselves at some point. We have to study “Booker T. Washington,” study “Marcus Garvey,” study “Elijah Muhammad”; study these men and women mentioned above—and not honor them “in name” in some annual birthday celebration, but carry into practice the principles that they laid down, and we would see a better condition among our people throughout the world.
It was the Honorable Marcus Garvey who once said: “Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.” See, brothers and sisters, we are “wishing upon a star,” hoping, praying; singing, “We shall overcome someday”? Well, if it’s “someday,” then the question is “What day?” After all, there has to be something that we are not doing if we have not secured “the victory” that we have fought for, died for! There is something required of us in order for God to bless us—and that’s why 18 years ago, that scripture: “If my people which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.”
Allah does not change the condition of a people until the people change themselves: If we want The Help of God, we’re going to have to do something in order for God to do what He already wants to do for us—but we have to be willing to meet some “minimal requirements.”
“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people”: So you can’t play “The Lotto”—you have to stop that; you can’t “gamble your way to wealth.” Every time you take a dollar from your pocket, hoping that you’ll win: This way has never satisfied a suffering people, a broke people; a people in poverty. By “hoping” and “praying” to God, and not knowing and understanding The Principle out of which God answers “a people’s cry,” then consider Marcus Garvey when he said: “Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom.” “Self-Reliance,” “Action,” “Vision of Self” and “Vision of The Future”: This reminds us of the scripture in the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 29, verse 18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish. …”
Farrakhan is giving to us a “vision” for ourselves that comes directly from God! And a “Program,” that if we support it, we will secure a better future for ourselves!
A key point of this message: What you should see in all of those leaders that have been mentioned is that all of us are a “great puzzle,” and “the puzzle” is called “Black Liberation.” We are going to have to put all of the pieces together; and the one that “makes the pieces come together” to secure the total liberation of a suffering people is “The Messiah” Himself! The Messiah is in the world to synthesize all of these “pieces of The Puzzle.”
When the pieces come together, we’re able to see “the entire picture,” and we can frame our future properly once we connect “Malcolm X” with “Rosa Parks,” “Malcolm X” with “W.E.B. DuBois,” etc. It was Malcolm X who said: “Whites can help us, but they can’t join us. There can be no ‘Black-White Unity’ until there is, first, some ‘Black Unity’”—he was speaking the same language of Booker T. Washington, see? For example, when Dr. Washington was building Tuskegee Institute, the Whites didn’t pay him any attention; he said they didn’t even show sympathy. But once he started building something, their collective unity and work attracted Whites to them; and Whites, then, respected them.
Malcolm X also said, “We can’t think of uniting with others until we first unite with ourselves.” Well, he got that from his Teacher, Elijah Muhammad! “And until after we are first united among ourselves, we cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” And it was W.E.B. DuBois who said: “… it is our duty to conserve our physical powers, our intellectual endowments, our spiritual ideals; as a race, we must strive by race organization, by race solidarity, by race unity to the realization of that broader humanity which freely recognizes differences in men, but sternly deprecates inequality in their opportunities of development.” See, all of these leaders spoke the same language; but they spoke it in a different “melody”—a “different track.” But they all were evolving: They all were on an evolutionary course! And they all shared The Common Goal, which was to see “a people united,” and see “a people free.”
Do you know who Farrakhan represents? He represents all of these beautiful, wonderful, brilliant men, women, teachers, educators, leaders. Farrakhan is “The Last Man Standing”: He is the one that synthesizes the greatness, the philosophy, and the ideas of all of these men and women; so that a people can go free.
How you can support Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint
On page 194 of Message To The Blackman in America, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad introduced to us in his “Economic Blueprint” the following: “Our knowledge of self, others and the time should force us to become more prudent in our spending. Unnecessary spending by trying to keep pace with the rich and wealthy of this country has done more to put us on the path of The Prodigal Son than anything else. Let us be taught how to spend and save by those of us who desire to see us out of poverty and want.” He also said in advancing his Program: “You are too proud to meet together as leaders and teachers to discuss the solution of how to stop this reckless downhill fall of our people.”
In 1966, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad sent a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a copy to other Black leaders of that time (Roy Wilkins, the Executive Secretary of the NAACP; Whitney Young, Executive Director of the National Urban League; Floyd B. McKissick of the Congress of Racial Equality, “CORE”; and Mr. Stokely Carmichael—named later Kwame Ture—Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, “SNCC”), stating: Dear Sir: We have reached a crucial crossroad in the life of our people here in America. Since all of us who love our people are walking toward one goal: freedom, justice and equality from the common enemy—let us realize that in unity there is strength. Let us come together in a meeting to discuss the future plans and programs needed to achieve these goals for our people. If we have any love and respect for each other, let us be intelligent about the matter and present to America and all the world a united black front. The destiny of 22 million is too important to allow disunity among us to prevent our achievement of a united front of Black Americans. …” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted nothing more than the unity of our organizations, the unity of our leaders; and to form a “Black United Front,” similar to our dear brother W.E.B. DuBois who wanted to bring together, and gather “The Talented Tenth.” It is going to take the brilliance that is already among us to come together—and we don’t have as many differences as we think!
But if we allow these differences to further divide us or keep us from one another, then we are sentencing ourselves to death, and there will be no future for our people! We have got to stop the childish behavior! If The Enemy can sit down with his enemy, and they have real differences, and are at odds with each other, then there is no reason why a group of people, who have a common root, a common ancestry, a common struggle and a common goal, cannot sit down; and let us work together to plan The Future of Our People.
In 1968, before he was murdered, Dr. King was preaching about “land,” wherein he said: “At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant it was willing to undergird its White peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give them land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in”—guess what!—”farming.” “Farming” is The Engine of The Nation! It’s The Engine of The Life of The People! If you and I abandon the land and abandon farming, it is like saying we want to commit “suicide”! Dr. King continued, stating: “Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm, and they are the very people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And this is what we are faced with, and this is the reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.”
[A good source for more on this quote by Dr. King in this context can be found in Michael Eric Dyson’s book “‘I May Not Get There With You’: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.,” in Chapter 1 titled “‘I Saw That Dream Turn Into a Nightmare’: From Color-Blindness to Black Compensation.”]
Well, what kind of check? A check to be used to purchase land! From the land: To cultivate the land! From the land: To produce for our people the basic needs that a people need in order to survive! Dr. King was not a “dreamer,” Dr. King was wide awake! And when he organized “The Poor People’s Campaign,” and spoke out against America’s involvement in Vietnam, that’s when they saw Dr. King as a “threat”—and that’s when they said “he has to go.”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “We need land”; he said that we need “100 million acres of land just as a start.” That’s about the size of California! Think about that … So when the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was talking about the need for “100 million acres of land,” he is still speaking to “the unfulfilled promise of this government,” which is “40 acres and a mule.” They didn’t even give us “40 acres and a mule”! These people never intended for you to be free, for if they wanted us to be free, they would have given us land, and the tools, and they would have given us a proper education that we could exercise the principle and the right of “freedom”! Consider the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s words in Message To The Blackman on page 37 under the section “What The So-Called Negro Must Do For Himself”:
“The worst kind of crime has been committed against us, for we were robbed of our desire to even want to think and do for ourselves. We are often pictured by the slave-master as a lazy and trifling people who are without thoughts of advancement. I say, this is a condition which the slave-master very cleverly wanted and created within and among the so-called Negroes.” Then he quotes from the book by Robert Kinzer and Edward Sagarin “The Negro in American Business: The Conflict Between Separatism and Integration”: “(page 81), states that the history of America would be different today if the slaves freed from bondage had been given in addition to the three amendments to the Constitution, the famous ‘forty acres and a mule. The slaves instead started not only without land and the money to purchase it but with few avenues open to earn and save money. Ownership of producing land is a prime and necessary part of freedom. A people cannot exist freely without land, and the so-called Negro in America is evidence of that fact. The slave-master passed laws limiting the so-called Negro in land ownership or limiting the areas in which such purchases or even rentals could be made. Are you not left restricted to the poorer sections the slave-master is abandoning throughout America?”
He’s in all of the major cities: He’s moving us out; gentrification”—he goes in, and creates “conditions” that cause the property value to fall! Then he comes right behind, after he puts in place his wicked schemes, and purchases the land dirt cheap; builds upon the land, and the value of the land goes up … And all of a sudden, what looked to be “blight” in the city has been transformed, looking “fresh” and “new!”
Well, what is wrong with us? You mean to tell me we can’t build up the ghettoes of America, and rebuild the wasted cities that Prophet Isaiah spoke of? We are an intellectual, smart people! When we have vision, we can turn things around; we just have to have the “right idea,” because as the Bible teaches, “Be ye no longer conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind!” There won’t be a “change” in Black life, there won’t be a “change” in Black economics, there won’t be a “change” in Black social and cultural life, there won’t be a “change” in Black religion, there won’t be a “change” in Black politics … There won’t be a “change” unless there is the renewal of the mind!
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan also wrote a letter to our national leadership; in part, he said: “More importantly I am desirous that we meet to discuss the worsening condition of our people, and form a united front to develop a plan to move our people forward. To develop ways to create jobs, so we might lift our people from the valley of poverty and want.”
So, my dear brothers and sisters, that “Economic Blueprint” of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad “to end poverty and want” requires that we take, painlessly, “a nickel a day.”
But, some of us are so sick: We distrust each other so much, that we are not even willing to give a nickel, to a Proven Man and a Worthy Cause. We’d rather spend our money on dope and crack and alcohol and gambling, and in foolishness, when all we have to do is take “a nickel a day”—“35 cents a week,” “$1.40 a month,” “$18.20 a year”—which is what “The Economic Blueprint” is asking us to do. And with 16 million wage earners contributing $18.20 per year, then in one year we would have $291.2 million in a National Savings Treasury! By beginning to contribute those nickels, pennies, dimes and quarters, then the first thing we do is “buy land”—buy plenty of land!
But consider what 46 million of us can do? Now, that’s everybody: Your mama, your daddy, your grandpa, your grandma; that’s your daughter, that’s your baby—no one’s going to “miss a nickel”! If you gave a nickel to your baby right now, they’d throw it back at you (smile); so, you might as well “throw it” in a receptacle that can capture that, while at the same time, we will be teaching our children “how to invest” and “how to save.” This is how we teach our children “The Value” and “The Science” of “Money and Economics.”
With 46 million contributing “five cents a day” means that in one year we would have amassed $839.5 million. That’s nearly a billion dollars! And that’s painless—We Can Do It! (¡Si Se Puede!)
We will do it: All we need to do is act on that (our will), and we will pull ourselves up by our own pennies, nickels dimes and quarters! And within a short amount of time we will see improvement in our communities; we will fund our Black colleges and institutions. We will make sure that the schools that we need to remain open in our cities remain open—because we won’t be dependent on a bankrupt city budget, we will be depending on ourselves! And once you control the dollars, you put yourself in a position to determine what will be taught from these institutions, and we won’t be dependent on them to design a curriculum that is unfit for today’s minds; unfit for the American children, and unfit for Black children in this country!