[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from the Thursday, June 11, 2015 interview with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan conducted by Cliff Kelley, host of WVON 1690’s The Talk of Chicago program, at WVON Studios in Chicago, Illinois.]


Cliff Kelley (CK):  Good afternoon!  Good afternoon!  This is The Talk of Chicago 1690 WVON.  I’m Cliff Kelley, and it is a beautiful day, primarily because it’s just a beautiful day, but also because the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of The Nation of Islam, is in our studio.  …  First, let me say “hello” to the wonderful Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.  How are you, sir?

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan (HMLF):   I’m fine, Cliff, and I’m honored, very honored, to be back with you once again.

CK:  Well, it’s a pleasure to have you.  …  We’ve got so many things to talk about.  The first thing I’d like to ask, because I know you have a lot to say, is about what is happening, Brother Minister, with the situation here throughout the nation; we can talk about Baltimore, what’s happened there. But “the police in the community”—I mean, you’ve addressed this, obviously, but tell our audience, “Where are we going now?”

HMLF:  In the early 1950s, maybe the latter 1950s, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was in a controversial debate, but with pen and paper rather than over spoken words, with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, J.B. Stoner.  And the latter part of this “debate,” if you will, J.B. Stoner made this statement, “we are going to give up wearing the hood and the garment of the Ku Klux Klan, but soon we will be in the police departments of America, we will be judges, we will be bankers…”—everywhere you look you will see the attitude of the Ku Klux Klan.  When Thurgood Marshall was the first Black Supreme Court justice, before he left the Supreme Court, he said, “The Ku Klux Klan used to wear white robes and hoods.  Today they wear black robes.” 

And so 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, and marches, 50 years after Selma, here we are facing what we are seeing is a multiplicity of evils handed down to us—not just from the police.  The police are the lowest on the socio-economic rung of the tyranny that Black people face.  As Paul said in the Bible, “We war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.”  So we’ve come to a turning point now, Brother Cliff:  “How long can a people suffer under tyranny and oppression and not give that tyranny and oppression an appropriate response?”  And that’s why the theme of the 20th anniversary of The Million Man March is “Justice … Or Else!” 

If we are denied what rightfully belongs to us, then there has to be a unified action that we take that will force the justice that we seek to finally come to us.


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan discusses issues effecting Blacks at WVON 1690 with the “Governor of Talk Radio” Cliff Kelley. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

CK:  That, sir, is a response to what many people, Brother Minister, have been talking about.  We have seen that in the past, of course, with African American organizations that have suggested the same thing.  The Million Man March, which you just mentioned—and we’ll be talking more about the anniversary; but, there are so many people that went various ways and did the things that actually the march brought about.  … But what you wanted was people to go to their respective communities, and to build on the things that we talked about at the Million Man March, which, of course, many people did.  But this situation now seems to be even worse, so that’s why you’re saying we have to stand up to this.


HMLF:  We went to Washington not to petition government.  We went to Washington, as Black men, to petition our Creator:  To atone for our lack of acceptance of responsibility to our women and children, and to ourselves.  And we were successful, yes, but now we’re at the point where we have to go to our government; because the government is failing to give minimum justice to those of us who hurt and cry out for it.  So this time is a very serious hour, and we have to make a decision today as to “which way we want to go.”

Do we want to pass on to another generation the legacy of our cowardice, and our unwillingness to make a sacrifice for freedom, for justice, for equity?  We’ve waded in, we’ve kneeled in, we’ve cried in, we’ve prayed in, we’ve done all the things that a civilized people could do short of anarchy and revolution to gain our desires.  But what do we have to show for it?  Nothing.  So there has to be a different approach.  And that’s why [the theme for “10.10.15” – The 20th Anniversary of The Million Man March] is “Justice … Or Else!”

CK:  It’s a serious problem, because as you said the [Supreme Court] justice said:  “They’re not in white sheets, they’re in black robes.”  Now, let’s talk about Baltimore for a moment.  One of the things that bothers me is the fact that we had an African American woman who was a state’s attorney, who did a good job, I thought, at the time; but then when we look at the police who were indicted—six of them, right?  Three African American …  The ranking member is a sergeant who is a Black woman.  So when you’re fighting, in many instances like this, it’s just your own people that are involved.  How do we deal with that?

HMLF:  We have to deal with it as one would deal with it.  You know, many of us in police stations, the Black officers:  They know that evil happens to our people.  Some of them will speak out; in fact, I got a word that some want to meet with me to discuss with me what they see going on daily with Black and White policemen.  Now, if we don’t wish The Wrath of God and the wrath of the community to fall on us as Black people who are on the force, then we have to speak up against the evil that is happening to our people.  More than that: We have to disengage from being evil and wicked to our own people to prove to White people that “we are with you” against the rise of our own people; because, the future is not good for that uniform if that evil continues. 

Remember in Ferguson, when they came out with their tanks and whatnot, their armored personnel carriers, their machine guns:  But, the Black man that they called in (Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson), who walked among the brothers and sisters who were protesting, he was on television. He said he was ashamed of the uniform that he wears.  Now when a Black policeman is conscious and ashamed of his uniform—because that uniform is now the symbol of tyranny and oppression—then what do we do?  How do we combat that?  Either we leave the force, or we work within the force to correct it.

You know, the wicked thing about what’s going on is there are good policemen.  There are police men and women that want to do a good job.  But when evil is done to us, and the ranking authorities become apologists, or lie and do wicked things to hide the criminality of a so-called “peace officer,” when police unions don’t give a damn about the rightness or wrongness of what is going on, but they take the side of the police, then where do we go?  If you cannot give us a redress of our grievances within the department, then what shall the people do?  What do you want us to do?  How do you want us to act and react?

We have witnessed all over the world:  When they are tired of oppression and tyranny, people don’t give a damn anymore about their lives; they are ready to lose their life—and cause the loss of much life.  Because until we are ready to give up our lives to make life better for those that come from us, and those that will come behind us, then we’re not ready for the freedom and the justice that we seek.



Imagine every time something like this happens, we get on the media, and the media says:  “Is this going to be a ‘peaceful’ march?”  Should it be?  How long should it be “peaceful” that we suffer?  Remember White folks, and Black folks:  We’ve been here over 450 years living under tyranny!  There has to come an end to that.  And we are at that time, a Time of Decision, whether we are going to continue to suffer like this, or pay the price to be free. 

CK:  Minister, we’re talking about the lack of justice; and we see that, time and time again, as you have so eloquently stated.  What about the situation where we have African Americans bringing about crime to their own people?  How do we address that?

HMLF:  We have to address it!  Our war is not on one front; our war is on two fronts.  Former [New York] mayor [Rudolph] Giuliani said that 75 percent of Blacks that are being killed are being killed by Black people.  Well, it’s a truth that he is speaking.  Those of us who are so quick to shed the blood of our own brother, our own sister, shooting indiscriminately:  That has to stop!  We can’t go to Washington to address the government’s evil toward us and not address the evil that we are doing to one another.  And this demands all of us, as stakeholders, to come back into our community and address what needs to be addressed to curb the violence that’s not only going on inside our communities, but it is going on throughout the United States of America:  Fratricidal conflict.

What are we preaching?  You mean to tell me we could preach “love your neighbor” when Whites were inflicting pain on us, we fought them back with love—but we have no love to give to one another?  Something is wrong with that picture. 

Every time a Black man kills another Black man, you’re giving license to our 450-year-old murderer to continue to do that to us.  But when we stop the murder of self and kind then we’re in a stronger position to unify against the killers who were our killers from the day that we arrived in America on a slave ship—and they are the supreme killers of the Black man and woman today, with insidious means of death:  Death by vaccination!  Death by poor food!  Death by all of the means that are at their disposal to deliver death to us!  So in truth, brothers and sisters, we’re living in The Valley of The Shadow of Death.  And if The Lord is not your shepherd, you have no knowledge of how to fight the forces of death that are taking us down. 

I represent The Lord that is that “good shepherd”:  He will give us the knowledge of how to come through this Valley of The Shadow of Death; that we can say “Yea, though we walk through The Valley of The Shadow of Death, we fear no evil for God is with us.”  You can’t say that in your present state of mind; you don’t know The Lord that will take you through this Valley, and deliver you safely.  Well, I represent that. 

We are at that time now where God Himself is taking up the fight.  And I’m telling America:  You can’t win.  Not even a war on your level, you can’t win, not to think of waging a war against God and The People of God.


CK:  Again, thank you, thank you, thank you, for being here.  You were saying that this “Black-on-Black crime” that I brought up has got to stop.  I want you to finish that, but also, to talk about what you’ve been putting out there for the women and young girls.

HMLF:  You know, Cliff, I don’t want us to think that we are the architects of this criminal behavior that’s in our communities.  We are really the victims of criminal behavior toward us.  A lot of us are grateful to God for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and grateful for the Civil Rights Movement and what it accomplished, but many of us don’t know a lot about what Dr. King was saying that led him to be assassinated.  Every time we talk about Dr. King, they say the man that “dreamed”—but I heard something (recently):  It was Dr. King speaking, and he said [paraphrasing] “I am not without hope,” he said, “but the dream I have awakened from, and find it to be a nightmare.”  These are the words of Dr. King [spoken to veteran NBC News correspondent Sander Vanocur on May 8, 1967]. 

[To view the clip of this NBC interview, visit].

On August 15, 1967, Dr. King was speaking to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and this is what he said in his speech “The Crisis in America’s Cities: An Analysis of Social Disorder and a Plan of Action Against Poverty, Discrimination and Racism in Urban America,” quoting Victor Hugo:  “If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed.  The guilty is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”  Dr. King went on from that quote and said this:  “The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they created discrimination; they created slums; they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty.  It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes.  They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. …  Let us say boldly, that if the total slum violations of law by the white man over the years were calculated and were compared with the law breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man.”  That’s Dr. King, 14 months before he was assassinated. 

Now, is that true?  Or is it false?  What did Dr. King come to the realization of, that he would speak these words 14 months before he was assassinated?  He wasn’t assassinated, brother, because he had a dream.  They love for us to be dreamers of “Black and White together”; living together, holding hands together. “Oh, for the day that we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.”  That’s a utopian vision.  That man wanted to see heaven on earth where people related to people as human beings should relate.

Did you see the movie American Sniper?  Who sent that boy (Chris Kyle) to Iraq?  What was he doing there?  The country was occupied by America.  Listen to him as he was about to put a bullet in the head of an Iraqi; he said “these savages”…  Once you dehumanize a human being and call them “savages,” then what you do to them is what you would do to an animal that had gone wild.  This woman, Mrs. Pamela Gellar:  She places an ad on the buses that, paraphrasing, “civilized people should stick together against the savages.”  And of course, the Muslims are “the savages.”  Now, Elijah Muhammad taught us that a “savage’ is a person that has lost the knowledge of themselves and is living a beast life.  The Black man and woman of America were deprived of self-knowledge, and the only life they know is the life of a beast who taught and trained them. 

What I said on The Breakfast Club (June 4, 2015):  This man is going to tell the football player (Adrian Peterson) “you shouldn’t discipline your child like you did.”  There was a welt or two on his behind, and on his legs … Come on and let me show you the picture of Black men and women being beaten near to death because they didn’t pick enough cotton!  How dare a White man tell us that we should not discipline our children—but we grew up under the whip and the lash for 310 long years, and since then we’ve been under Jim Crow, Black Codes, and all of that, and beaten down by the police in every city in America.  So you want to tell us now how to treat our children?  No, no, no—no.  See, this is the Day of Justice and Judgment! 

Yes, my people have been made savage because they were deprived of self-knowledge; and the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, said they had the “mark of the beast in their forehead and in their hands.”  Who taught us?  Who trained us?  Who deprived us of our humanity and sold us at auction like we were pieces of property?  The same man that wants to tell us how to rear our children?  To Hell With You!  You go rear your children, and leave us alone!  We will rear ours under the Guidance of God, and the intelligent, civilized wisdom of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad! Yes, you are the criminal …  And to our brother president—I want to talk to him! 

My brother, you get up on television and call those young people in Baltimore “thugs” and “criminals.”  Mr. President, unwittingly you sentenced those children, and those like them, to death by the forces that are engaged to fight “thugs” and “criminals.”  But let me tell you Mr. President who the real “thugs” are, who the real “criminals” are.  What are you doing in Iraq?  What are you doing in Afghanistan?  Tell the truth:  How many governments have you overthrown?  How many cities have you destroyed?  How many nations have you cut down with the power of your military might?  You want to tell us about “thugs and criminals”?  We are “babies”; little thieves on the corner, with your little dope bag, robbing people, old people of their groceries and their wallets … 

Who the hell are you to tell us who the “thug” is; that we are thugs?  We grew up under the biggest thug that the world has ever known.  Who killed the Indians, and drove them off of their land and have them on reservations?  Is not kidnapping a crime?   Did you come and offer us a way out of Africa; we weren’t looking to become citizens of this new world.  You tricked us, and kidnapped us, and brought us here!  Did you bring us here in a nice boat, with nice accommodations?  Hell no!  You brought us here in the holes of ships and ever since we’ve been here we’ve been under this kind of tyranny. 

But the time has arrived that the tyranny must end—and those who want to end it must rise up today, with strength; and then put these things beneath us, these petty divisions, and come together in unity!  And when we fire the cannon of our unity, we will put our enemies to flight.  Elijah Muhammad said there is no power of a hydrogen or atom bomb that is more deadly to the enemy than the unity of the oppressed—the Black, the Brown, the Red!  And even the poor Whites:  It’s time for you to unite with the Blacks.

And by the way:  When you come to unite with us, don’t try to change our language.  “Black Lives do matter”; and when you come, you say “All lives matter.”  Sure they do, but “all lives” will only matter if you think that Black lives matter.  Because we are The Problem today that God Himself has come to solve.


And you know, you have to pardon me, brother, because, when you invite me on the show, you know:  I’m in that kind of spirit. 

CK:  That’s why we invite you, Brother Minister. 

HMLF:  I can’t help it, you know?  But it’s time.  “Play time” is over!  “Frolic time” is over!  It’s time for us to consider life or death:  Which one do you want?  If you want life, maybe then death would be sweeter than living under tyranny all the days of our lives.

CK:  You’ve done so much in reference to women and young girls.  Tell us more about what The Nation is doing.

HMLF:  You know, Brother Cliff, thank you for giving me a chance to calm down; when I talk about our women and girls, I get “soft” again—because they are the love of our lives. 

No man is worth anything if you don’t honor, respect and love the woman, the girls, in your life!  How could a man stand by and let another man beat up a young child, beat a woman down on the highway; [another] who is pregnant, right here in Chicago, and then take his fist and punch her in the side or in her stomach?  See, that’s a man that hates Black; but he hates the fact that a new Black child is coming out of that woman! 

Oh, but the days that you’ve been free to do that is just about coming to an end.  Yes, America:  If you want to live, seek justice!  And Black men:  If you want to be honored and respected, you fight to the death to protect your woman!  But if you are an abuser of your women, if you are a raper and a ravisher of your women; if you don’t respect the woman that brought you into this world as your mother, and honor her with the honor that she is due, then you’ll never stand up for your woman, and you are not worthy to have one.  But we are trying to change that, Cliff, in The F.O.I. of The Nation of Islam, and in churches that we talk to the pastors. 

We are men:  All of us came through the womb of a woman!  All of us were nurtured to strengthen life from the breast of a woman.  She is our first teacher, she is our first nurse; she is either “health” or “death” in the kitchen.  And not teaching women how to cook, how to sew, how to take care of their husbands, how to rear their children, we leave them alone in savagery, where a woman is more concerned with how beautiful she looks than how beautiful she thinks.  So yes, we are concerned about our women and girls, and we want to clean ourselves up, clean our community up, and make our communities a decent place to live.


If you think that this can continue, this evil toward us, I want to say this to you:  Don’t come to us with this lie that you’re going to “re-train the police” (“they need re-training”).  No, you train them to do exactly what they are doing.  All this mess about “Oh, you know, well, they’ve been trained to serve and protect.”  Serve and protect who?  You have never been a policeman to serve and protect Black people!  Let’s get down to the truth …  They used Irish people on what they call “the watchdog” (surveillance); these were the beginnings of “the police,” to catch Black slaves, runaway slaves, and return them to their master.  You have never been no “good” person to us!  That’s why the patrol wagon was called the “paddy wagon,” because the Irish were the “top cops,” and as “top cops,” you did not treat Black people fairly.  You know this.  So don’t tell me you’re going to “re-train” the police. 

What are you going to re-train them with?  You can’t train a racist mind that has an attitude that we are “animals,” that the Black community is a “jungle” (“Let’s go down to the jungle”).  No—hell no!  In the future, we will ask you to step out of our community …  Because if that’s the way you think, you can’t come in here!  We will police our own community, teach and train Black men how to love and respect each other—and you should back us up in that.  Because if you can’t train yours, we will train ours; and you step back, and let us police our own community.  And we’ll do a better a job of it then sending murderers in to exact pain and retribution on us for being the children of slaves, and being put in a savage state.

CK:  Well stated, Brother Minister!  …  And we’re going to be talking about something a little later that we certainly want you to know:  The 20th Anniversary of The Million Man March gathering will be October 10, 2015.  Thank you again so much, Brother Minister, for being here with us.

HMLF:  Oh, thank you, Cliff, for being you!   Many of us would know so little if we didn’t have WVON and the kind of talk radio that comes forth from this radio station.  And I know that they are trying to close down Black talk radio because they want no avenue of knowledge or light to come to our poor and suffering people.  They want to keep us in music—which is fine; but, we need people like Cliff Kelley, and others like him who will speak truth in the time that they have on the air, so that we who listen to radio may be fed by them, and use the knowledge that we receive to improve the quality of our lives.

So I’m honored, Cliff, to be here with you.  And I, like so many, thank God for a man like you, and for a station like WVON.