by Master Elijah Muhammad
I want to say this without saying one false word: I have the world backing me. They
want me to chop up this country for you and me. I’m not biting my lip or tongue. We want
this country for you and they are offering me help. Sometime when you have fine property
and people keep on asking you to sell and you don’t sell, they start another way to get your
property. I think we should meet with the salesman and not with the other fellow.
What do we look like, here there’s millions of black people in America, walking around
begging, begging for a good house to live in, begging for a store, begging for a little old place
to put up a supermarket? If you’re super enough, there already is a market.
I’ve been running around here for years looking for my educated people; all types of
educated people. We have millions of people in America that want to see the nation of the
black man up doing something for himself and building his own jobs. We can build them for
ourselves and we’re just a small group. We will build our own jobs. We’re not thinking about
unemployment, we are thinking about over-employment. Did you know that we have some
lazy people? You go give him a job and he lays down and go to sleep on it.
I wish you professors will join me and help me put this nation to work. We can make
jobs on top of jobs. Where would the money come from? Us! Where did the money come
from when the white man built jobs for himself and us? We are the original people of the
earth, why cannot we do a better job that he?
We’ve been free for the last one hundred years or more; what have we made for
ourselves? Nothing but trouble in trying to force the white man to build jobs for us. We go to
war with him if he doesn’t make a job for us. If he has freed you, make your own jobs, but if
you think you are not free and you want to continually be a slave for him, then you go and
tell him that, “I am still a slave, make me a job.” I don’t believe in being a slave forever. Let
me loose. I’m going to run and get away from your slave house, and see if I can build one for
You business men and great educators, all we need to do is get together and agree on
what we shall do first, because you know how to do these things. We know we can agree,
because we have the same idea; therefore, we got to agree. You may be saying, “This is a
little fellow popping off around here. We want to go to Mr. Ford, we want to go over to
General Motors. Let us get started over there with them and make them richer.”
My beloved brothers, what is coming on us now is going to drive you to the bread wagon
if you don’t get up and do something for yourself. The uniting of Japan, China and their other
allies are uniting together to deal with self, not with white people. If white people want to
come in, they must come in by what they offer them. This is something the East has not been
doing. By now, they are ready to push the West out of the East, so that they can do business
with each other and they have plenty of “each other” over there. They have hundreds of
millions of people. They are sick of the West and they are going to push the West out so that
the East can be. Believe it or not, this is a direction as you call it in slang, “from the horses
brow.” If you want to do business, get together and do business on a wholesale way and not
on no little piece retail way.
Why do you want to run to your enemies hospital when you have good trained nurses and
doctors. You have nurses throughout the world who would be willing to come here and take
care of you, even at no pay. Some of them love you just that much, to try seeing that you
are cared for right. You have a lot of them working in other hospitals here before your face
and mine. There’s hardly a little clinic wherein you don’t find a foreign nurse, if not a doctor.
They want to see you taken care of. I know all of this going on and I have the key to it.
They are sitting around watching and waiting for us to do something of the kind, so they can
get in there and take care of you to keep you from falling into the hands of the enemy. What
do you look like fighting your enemy out there and then ask him to heal you and nurse your
If you and me are fighting and you wound me, you could continue wounding me if I fall in
your arms to be healed. You know we are silly people, an extremely silly people. I’d rather
raise up a tent and put some logs down there, put some mattress on top of them and let my
own brother wash clean the wound and pour in his medicine than ask the same man that I’m
fighting to do so. Have you ever thought of this? You’re fighting the enemy then run to him
to heal your wounds, this is really ignorant. Shall not we get together and build us up some
kind of shelter to heal our wounds? Certainly we shall do so. I feel so cheap talking with the
devil and he has all the places to be cared for. Why furnish us doctors when we have black
doctors right behind us. He will make us feel better if he’s waiting on us. A black nurse will
make us feel better. Let her wait on us.
Do you not see how dumb we are? We are pretty ignorant in this big old wide U.S.A.,
and in every corner we look or on every square foot we find the enemy, he’s against us; yet,
we won’t build up a hospital for self. Try to do these things or wait around and it will be too
late, then you will cry, “Oh, woe is me. I let such an opportunity that Elijah Muhammad was
teaching go by. I fooled around and didn’t do nothing, but depend on the white man.” Build
up something for ourselves and then the nations of the earth will recognize you as they are
recognized themselves for doing for self. No need to say you don’t have a chance, Oh yes, we
can break the chains brother and come on out of it. We don’t have nothing that’s binding us
which we cannot destroy and free ourselves.
I want you to remember this, you are a little too happy to do temporary things. We
don’t want any temporary things; we want permanent things. The professional people, we
can take these people and build the finest nation there is on Earth. But we cleave our
tongues to the roof of our mouths and won’t let it speak for ourselves. If we tie our own
hands behind us so the hands won’t do for self, you can expect to suffer.
We certainly need you that know something about airplanes. We’ve got to have these
planes that rolls on the air instead of the ground. We do have this in mind about getting
some planes that will take us around. We hope to find you ready for that job of flying them.
Oh yes, we have one poor pitiful plane and we want it to get some mates for itself. We want
you to learn how to fly. If you don’t know, learn. I have a grandson. I’m trying my best to
make him learn to be a great flyer; he’s flying planes now, but I want more of it. We want
flyers that will train to fly planes over sea, not just around here over the city. We want to
get in it and go all over the world like other nations. The worst thing that you can do is set
up unions, labor unions and leaders among yourself. This brings the other fellow in and he
knows how to set the trigger for you to fall all the time. We have no rights to have a union if
we’re going to deal with each other on the basis of freedom, justice and equality.
I have a lot of untrained people with me who want to learn these jobs. If you will look
down on the poor little brother and say, “He was not as fortunate as I was. Come on here in
this old barn or anywhere here, let us get together and fix up something and go for self.” I
know it looks hard educators, professional people for you to drop down among uneducated
people trying to build them up, but they are your brothers as well as mine. I’m making them
grow up. I just need your help and your learning. We will have a nation prepared and fitted
for the world of national recognition. It’s just that you don’t want to go into the job of
associating with little poor brothers, because you have your degrees from high educated
centers of this people and you don’t want to drop back to make some for yourself. These
people I have learned, professors and educators, to be your best friend, if you will take a
little time in training them. You really have yourself something when you train one of these.
But if you look for your equal all the time or your match, then you’re going to run into
arguments, disagreements, and breaking up the unity and whatnot. If you train him for what
you need, he’s yours and he’ll love you. You got someone that you can depend on.
[Excerpt from Theology of Time lecture series]