BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN | LAST UPDATED: MAY 31, 2016 – 10:09:57 AM
(Editor’s note: The following excerpt is taken from a message delivered May 21, 2016 in Winston Salem. N.C., during the Dudley Group Mastermind Meeting, which was part of a weekend devoted to strengthening Black entrepreneurship and honoring the legacy of Samuel B. Fuller (1905-1988), a Black millionaire during segregation, the founder and president of the Fuller Products Company and his student Joe L. Dudley, Sr., founder of Dudley Products Inc., Dudley Cosmetology University and the Dudley Beauty School System and fundraising for a museum in their honor and to inspire Black entrepreneurs.)
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. I thank Mr. Tony Guevara and our wonderful patriarch, Mr. Joseph Dudley, Sr. As I was a little boy, I heard of S.B. Fuller. I heard of the work that he did and people that sold his products throughout the nation who became independent and he made them entrepreneurs.
So for our great brother, Mr. Dudley, Jr., on his 79th birth anniversary to be celebrated for continuing the great work of his teacher and predecessor, I’m honored to be in his company, and I am honored to stand in front of nearly a thousand entrepreneurs that really are the backbone of the economic development and salvation of our people.
The enemy has never wanted to see us economically powerful and every effort that we have made to become economically strong, the architect of that economic strength was always labeled as anti-Semitic. Booker T. Washington wanted us to be economically free. The great Marcus Garvey came from Jamaica to meet Mr. Washington. He so admired Booker T. Washington that Mr. Washington’s book, which he read, started Mr. Garvey in his consciousness to raise the consciousness of Black people in America and throughout the world.
All of us are standing on the shoulders of somebody else, and none of us will live long enough to completely solve the problem but each of us in our time has a function to perform and a mission bigger than just being an entrepreneur. That’s the start of it but what is the mission of the entrepreneur?
It is not just to make money to fatten the pockets of an individual or a family but the entrepreneur is the bell weather. They are the ones who signal to the people “we are present to supply our people’s needs.”
The sad thing about our meeting today is we don’t realize that we are still colonized. May I speak very frankly, please? Many of you would not like to think that we are in a colony but a colony is an entity that the land that it’s on really is taken over by somebody else. They work in the colony to feed the colonizer. And at some point in this great nation, the 13 Colonies decided enough is enough and they rose up against the King of England and today we have the United States of America. …
Whatever city you live in to do business, look at how many more people are in our community doing business that don’t look like us. You can’t go down into Chinatown and setup an Egg Foo Young business. They wouldn’t permit that but here we are a colony—the education controlled from the outside, the politics controlled from the outside. The spiritual teachers, preachers are controlled from the outside, and all the colony agents have to go downtown seeking support from the benevolent master.
If you don’t see yourself as being colonized, then you will never make the move to really become free.
The Koreans have setup 9,000 stores in the Black community and they will not bank with any Black bank in the Black community. They take the money out and bring it back to their community, and we are the ones building immigrants into power economically, while we remain weak and impoverished.
The NAACP was established by Black people and White people along with them that did not want that organization to deal with economics. The theme was “Non-Economic Liberalism,” the first part is really clear, “non-economic.” You could fight to change a law. You could fight to clean up Black and White fountains and where Blacks were buried. We could make that kind of fight. But the fight for economic strength would lead to war with them and when we get to a certain point in our economic development, it appears that they give us an offer that we can’t refuse.
All the great businesses that our giants established for us gave us pride. The entrepreneurial skill of George E. Johnson in Chicago, with Johnson Products, 750 people he employed. But who has the building now? Who’s running it now? Someone else is fixing our hair now. Even when we were frying it, we made the product that we used to give ourselves a little straightening out. Smile.
But there’s another product in town for Mr. S.B. Fuller and Mr. Joe Dudley, and Mr. Elijah Muhammad and Mr. Garvey to straighten out what’s under the hair.
BET cable television was ours, now, it’s gone. Essence magazine was ours. John H. Johnson worked hard with Ebony, Jet and other magazines to put a building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago that we as Black people could come to Chicago and be proud of what Black people did. Now, White people have the building and we have Ebony.
They’re coming after the funeral directors. We used to be the ones that buried our dead but now since we’re killing each other in such great numbers, the White man said, “that’s a lot of money.” So he comes in town and now we have a White person burying us with a smile. This is serious, brothers and sisters. But there’s a new spirit among our people. They really want to buy from their own.
We studied the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when the garbage men in Memphis went on strike and Dr. King went to see about them. The night before he was assassinated, he started talking about redistributing pain. He thought, and rightly so, that when we’re in pain, we have to inflict pain on those who inflict pain on us. “Now, oh, Farrakhan, wait just a minute. This sounds like revenge.” No. It’s called “Retaliation for Injustice.”
Dr. King said, “We should go by these big White companies and tell them that the Lord sent us by here to talk to you about the mistreatment of His people. Now, if justice for us is not on your agenda, we have something on our agenda. We’re going to withdraw our dollars from your company.” Then he told them, take your money out of the White man’s bank and put it in your own bank. He said, “Don’t buy Wonder Bread. Don’t buy some of the products sold by Whites to Blacks in Memphis.”
This year we said boycott Christmas. I didn’t say boycott Jesus. In fact, Christmas has become nothing more than a mockery of Jesus—using our love for Jesus to make it into a commercial enterprise. You go and spend money that you don’t even have with big White business, passing by Black struggling business, and spending your money with those who don’t care for you.
We decided to have Christmas by honoring Jesus, instead of getting drunk in his name. I don’t know how many of you own liquor stores, not too many but all in our community are liquor stores. The Arabs are there. They know how to greet me, As-Salaam Alaikum, and they greet me. But some of them are selling food to our people that even a hungry dog would walk by.
How are you going to tell me that you deserve to be in our community feeding us less than good food, mistreating our women and girls and selling us drugs on the side? Colony, that’s what it is. White police, they’re not protecting your business. They protect the White business in our community. …
So this is war. And if you’re not a soldier in the economic battle for justice and freedom, then we’re going to lose.
We boycotted from Thanksgiving all the way to the first of the year.
I didn’t realize how successful it was as we toured the country telling Black people, “Up with Jesus, Down with Santa.” Guess what? Several Walmart’s closed. Forty Macys stores closed down. All the big stores, including Target, were in bad shape.
The money that comes through our hands, $1.1 trillion last year, is enough to make us the ninth richest country on earth. Other nations that don’t have that kind of economic strength use less than we get to support schools, hospitals, farms, factories. We are looking at this and it doesn’t seem to inspire us to want to get up and really do business. The theme of this session was “Capitalism” is the real path. I don’t totally agree with that but I do agree with our exercising the will to set up our own businesses. That is a way to get to freedom. … Doing something for yourself is the way to respect and recognition as a people.
You know, dear brothers and sisters, S.B. Fuller showed us a way at a time when maybe we didn’t know that there was a way. Mr. Fuller was a creative genius. His products gave Black people without jobs, jobs.
How many of you are producers of a product that you would like to get sold in your store or in the community? How many of you have a product that you made? You need an outlet for your product.
Mr. Johnson, bless his heart, Libya loaned us $5 million to create personal care products. We were going to follow Mr. Fuller. We went to Mr. Johnson and we went to the Black bank and had the money sent from Libya to a Black bank, $5 million. It never touched our hands. It went from Libya to a Black bank.
I sat down with Mr. Johnson. We were going to make products. And when members of the Jewish community heard that he was going to make products for me and the Nation of Islam, they told Mr. Johnson, “if you do anything for him (Min. Louis Farrakhan), we will not distribute your product and we will close you down.” I said to Mr. Johnson, “circle the wagons and let’s fight this.” He said, no. And he stopped making any advancement in the products that were being designed by his company for us. And then as the chairman of the board of Independence Bank, he and the president of the bank came to my office and asked us to take the money out of their bank.
I was so hurt because we look up to our economic giants; but in reality most are midgets. Now, I’m not putting us down. We are midgets in the eyes of the business world that takes our money and they don’t look favorably at us. Now, of course, when you’re doing business, you go to a bank, you get loans and you try to make your business successful. Some of us have stores. One on this corner, one on the next corner, but we don’t have unity.
The Greeks, they’re in the community. When they buy, they go to the market as a unit, buy cheaper, sell cheaper, capture the market. We’ve got to know how capitalism works. It can work for us but we are not working it as we could if we learned how to as, George Frazer, if you listen to him, he’s telling you about linkage, about networking. We don’t think like that, brothers and sisters—so we lose. We’re so individualistic in our capitalistic mentality. We’re always competing with each other instead of uniting, pooling resources and expanding good for each other. …
How can we make it better? First, every product that you sell, every product that you create has a base. And if you don’t control the base of the ingredients that make your product, if somebody that you go to denies you that base, they put you out of business. Elijah Muhammad had the Muhammad Speaks newspaper. You all remember that great news organ of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but I sat with him and he was telling me how we have to control the root of what we produce.
He said, “Now, we’ve got to buy timberland up in the Northwest and turn it into paper.” Because what if the White man says, “I don’t like what you’re saying to Black people, got them all stirred up. So we’re not going to sell you paper.” … What are we going to do to make our own, supply our own needs and create an economic base and floor for everything that we sell? Elijah Muhammad said, “The root is always land.” You don’t have land; you don’t have the basis for real economic development.
Look at all of the great athletes, the great multi-millionaires. Some of us are now billionaires and scared. How could you be a free man as a capitalist and have a billion dollars and you can’t talk to Farrakhan because the White man doesn’t like him?
If a billion dollars doesn’t make you free enough to sit down with your brother then that is no path to freedom. You’re a slave and a scared-to-death Negro. We can’t be free with that. We’ll never be free with scared to death people trying to lead us. …
We really need to sit down together as brothers and sisters and plan an effective economic strategy to pull our people up out of this poverty and want that is rooted in ignorance. …
I watch how the Jewish people do it. They are wonderful to study.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “Study the White man.” Don’t be ashamed to study him. When he was in the caves of Europe, he studied Black wisdom and became a giant. We shouldn’t be too proud to study them but don’t study them with a worshipping mind.
I had a talk with a great Jewish billionaire. It was arranged by Mike Wallace and Rock Newman. And I met this man in his penthouse apartment, Edgar Bronfman is his name. He owned Seagram’s. I was in his penthouse and when he walked in the room. He comes in and says, “How are you, Mr. Farrakhan. Would you like a drink”? I said, “Oh, Mr. Bronfman, I don’t drink.”
He said, “You drink orange juice, don’t you”? I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “Well, that’s me.” He said, “You listen to music”? I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “That’s me.” “Do you go to the movies”? I said, “Occasionally.” He said, “That’s me.” …
I said, “I know you’re a very powerful, influential man. But when the God I serve gets ready to bring you in, all your power and your influence can’t keep you here one fraction of a second when your time is up.” So who’s the real power?
When you know God, now you’re able to do real business because there’s not a businessman greater than the God who created all of this and made every creature to be able to find food and build a little nest, or home, or hole for itself. But here we are made in the image and likeness of God and we’ve become a nation of beggars. That’s disgraceful. … When you know who you are, and when you know whose you are, you don’t let any human make you feel less than what God made you. God didn’t make n—–s. N—–s are a product made in America. God makes man and woman. And as a man and a woman, we must stand up like men and women and command our future.