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[Editor’s note: The following excerpts are from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s address to youth organization (gang) leaders held July 17, 1993 at Mount Olivet Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. This article originally appeared in FCN Vol. 12, No. 20, August 11, 1993.]


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

There is fear in America over our young people coming together. I was told a few minutes ago that some members of the Minneapolis/St. Paul community offered money to some of the organizers of this summit if they would not let Farrakhan come. What is it about Farrakhan that you would offer my brothers money to keep me from talking to my own family?

Jesus said it best: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” You, our young people, are the strongest, most powerful generation that we have ever produced since our fathers were brought to these shores as slaves. You are greatly misunderstood, not only by your elders but oftentimes by your parents. We produced this generation and we cannot deny what we have produced. They are different from us. They are not hope, they are fulfillment. But when the thing that is hoped for comes along, sometimes we are not prepared for what we hoped for.

You have always hoped for a generation that would not bow down to Baal. You have always hoped for a generation that would stand up to the forces of injustice and oppression that we in former years bowed down to.

We sold out our future generations for fried chicken and a biscuit at the back door of White politicians and big money men in White society. We sold out the future of our people for positions that have high sounding names but no actual substance or power. We sold out the future of these young people so that now they have nothing to build on because, in past generations, we wanted to integrate a lunch counter, a toilet, a hotel or motel, that we could spend our money with our oppressor and close down Black hotels, Black motels, Black gas stations, Black bus companies, Black insurance companies. Integration made us want to spend our money with our oppressor rather than keep our money revolving in our own community that we might become strong.

While we were happy romancing the slave master’s daughter or being romanced by the slave master’s son, our children were growing up without a real knowledge of the history of our struggle, so there was no continuity in struggle. We took our eyes off the prize, and in bedrooms and boardrooms pimping and whoring was going on while our children were growing up going to schools that were designed to destroy their minds rather than educate them. They were growing up in cities where the tax base was being eroded because Whites and businesses were fleeing, causing services to diminish. They had to grow up in the streets because fathers had no jobs and their mothers had to work, leaving the children with no supervision. They grew up hard. They grew up cold. They were the fruit of our wombs but the hand of God was riding above the conditions.



It was calculated by the government to destroy the educational system. You mean to tell me that the government can send somebody to the moon, and they are now planning to send somebody to Mars, put telescopes in space to look at stars that are billions of light years away, but they can’t teach young Black boys and young White boys how to read? Our youth are graduating from high schools functional illiterates? Something is wrong, brothers and sisters. You are being programmed for self-destruction.


Mothers have had babies that they did not want, hating the fact that they had a child that interfered with their agenda. We lost moral strength, moral values, that we now sleep with anybody, anytime, anywhere, under any conditions. So who wants the fruit of that relationship? When a baby was produced, the baby was left unguarded, unprotected.

When you didn’t want the fruit of your womb the government made it easy to kill the fruit of the womb. And now we wonder why our young people are cold killers, but we do not take responsibility for the cold killing that goes on in abortion clinics all over America. If you can kill the fruit of the womb, why do you condemn the young who kill their enemies who stand in the way of their agenda like you kill those who stand in the way of yours?

Mothers and fathers say they don’t know what this generation is coming to. They are coming to what you sentenced them to. You go to work or you stay at home and get a check from welfare. You sit in front of the TV all day long looking at programmed madness. You don’t have any time to rear your children, not like grandma tried to rear your mother. You don’t have time to go to the market and shop anymore, like grandma did, and come home and cook a decent meal for your children. So Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonalds, the pizza parlor and all these fast food joints feed your young.

These are wonderful young people. They just need a chance and right guidance. That’s the premium today: Right guidance.

Mothers, there was a time when the home was the number one influence in a child’s life, then came church, then came school, then came peers, followed by TV. Did you know that in 1993, neither home, nor school, nor church is the greatest influence on our young people? They are more influenced by their peers than by home, church and school.

What has happened in the home? What has happened in the church? What has happened in the school that neither teacher, nor parent, nor preacher, nor politician has any real effect in stewarding the lives of these precious young people? They have to get it now from their peers and they find more hope and more strength with their brothers and sisters on the corner than the siblings in the house that mother has produced from different fathers, and mother can’t seem to make them to love each other in the home. But in the street, in so-called gangs, they find what they can’t find in church, in the home, or at school. They find a brotherhood, they find a camaraderie, they find a security, but they do not find guidance.

There never was a time in our history where there has been so much cold-blooded murder committed by our young people on one another.

Go to the jails and see our young brothers and sisters and look at the crimes that they are there for. They have no fear and they don’t have any respect for the law because the law has no respect for itself. They don’t have any respect for church. …

I want you to listen to me because I am going to speak for them tonight, to a generation that has been lacking in our respect for life and our respect for the children that we have produced. Our children don’t have any respect for their teachers. The school is like a clown house and many public school teachers are trying to teach these young people the old archaic, corroded, corrupted knowledge of would be scholars whose knowledge is not absolute in any field; these young people are hungering and thirsting for the knowledge of self and a practical working knowledge of God and religion, but they don’t want to be a part of any slave making doctrine, whether it is educational, philosophical, or religious.

They see their parents as having sold out for the things of the world: a nice house, a nice car. You are angry with them because they want a gold chain and Nike shoes, but on another level you sold out for a Cadillac and a Mercedes Benz and a position with White folk downtown.

White folk told us that if you nurse your baby you will lose your form. Your breast, your buttocks, your hips, and your waistline mean more than the lifeline to your children. There is no cow, I don’t care how well fed the cow is.  There is no goat, I don’t care how well-fed the goat is, and there is no Similac or Enfamil that can be concocted by the chemist that can equal the milk from a mother’s breast. But the older men are on the woman’s breast and the baby can’t find a breast to suck on.

When a baby feeds from its mother’s breast, not only does it receive the strength of the milk but it receives the strength of the chemistry of the mother’s thoughts. What you think is real. Your thoughts produce a chemical reaction that the baby can suck through the nipples of the breast. When you’ve got a strong woman with a strong mind that really knows where she is going and takes care of her body, then she gives that baby a chance to become a giant—from her breast.

But the love and lust for money and greed has become more important than the health and well-being of our children. To see a baby with her or his little hand touching the mother’s breast as it is drawing strength from the mother, what you are doing is bonding a human life to a human life. But when you don’t have time for the little one and you put a plastic bottle in its mouth, you are bonding him to something immaterial—something that has no feeling and no soul.

I went to see a movie the other day called “Menace II Society.” As I looked at this film, I said to myself, “Father, what word could I give to my brothers and sisters to stop the madness that I see on the streets.” Some of you who are listening to me tonight, when I finish you all are going to bear witness that what I’ve taught is the truth, but when I leave here and get on a plane and go back to Chicago, of what benefit will my words be if they don’t touch your heart to make a change.

I’m not here as an entertainer. I love you and I am willing to give my life for you because I see you as greater than myself. I want to see you live and not die. The funeral business today is booming. The undertakers are having a field day and it is not old people dying of natural causes. It is the cream of our young Black men dying from gunshot wounds. Our little babies of promise are dying because of drive-by shootings.

Brothers and sisters, if we don’t stop killing one another, God is going to give you your own blood to drink because He has a killer that has been killing since he has been on the earth. The book of Revelation calls him the blood shedder. He sheds the blood of all life. He kills animals without reason and kills human beings the same way. That’s why instead of the picture being called Menace to Society (to) its Menace II Society (two). If you are John the second, there has to be a John the first. If you are Menace II, who is menace number one?

White folk have gone all over the world as a menace number one to all societies. The Native Americans met menace number one. Our fathers met menace number one. Africa met menace number one. Asia, the Isles of the Pacific, and the Caribbean and South America, they have met the violence of menace number one.

You grew up under a cold, heartless killer and you have become like your former slave masters. You are menace number two, but you are not a menace to him. You are a menace to yourself, your people, and to your own family. So what do you need? You need guidance and a new direction