Educational Conference Address: Part 2
Imam W. D. Muhammad
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate.
By and rewritten by Emam Wallace D. Muhammad
for Bilalian News
October 28, 1977
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate.
I know that many people are wondering—can we keep America, that is the American life. They are wondering, they are seriously wondering. Is it possible for us to retain the American life? It is possible! This community's efforts— formerly known by the name Lost-Found Nation of Islam in America — our efforts to remove the effects of slavery through the learning process, or the educational process, began with the founder, the first teacher, the one we call Master Fard Muhammad. He was doing his own thing, that's true, but to do his own thing he had to face the problem that we are facing right now. He realized that he could not give help to the minds of the ignorant masses of Bilalian people that he found in Detroit—poorer parts of Detroit and Chicago—without first separating them or taking them out of one learning environment and putting them in another So what he did was isolate us; he isolated us from the American life. Don't go to their places of entertainment, don't listen to their radio programs—T.V. wasn't around at that time. Don't read their literature, their publications, their books, their educational books. A complete separation from the American life: don't speak their language—that is don't identify with their likes and dislikes. Don't observe their holidays. Don't even eat like they do; eat different, walk different, dress different. "They eat three meals a day, you eat one." So he changed, he took the people that he was trying to remake for his own work, he took them out of a learning environment so that that learning environment wouldn't affect their lives anymore. And he put them into his own unique learning environment.
I think we can learn something from his learning environment. We don't have to go to that extreme to separate ourselves from the American life. But there is a need to take yourself out of the old learning mold. If the people have little intelligence, then we can't give them great responsibility, can we? Master Fard Muhammad—we call him Master because that was the term he used. He was professor of a school in what we call the "Old Country." Over there they still call professors "Master," Headmaster, etc. He played on the mystical name, "Master" that is the Bible name for Christ Jesus: It means a master teacher. His students were a whole community then called the Lost-Found Nation of Islam. We have lessons right today where he referred to all the believers as students. "Ask your teacher, learn all about yourself." The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was a Minister, but he called himself "teacher." When Fard first came, he preferred to call himself "Professor Fard." This man had an interest in the re-development of education. He established the University of Islam.
University. You know, "university" is a big word: it means a group of schools—of colleges, right? He called the elementary school that he established, the University of Al-Islam. The man was very wise. When you separate people from identifying with one value system or system of values, you have to be careful to make them feel sure they are not stepping down. He knew that! Professor Fard (Doctor Fard) called the elementary schools—university. Knowing that some of his students were going to run into students from the "enemy" learning environment and they were going to challenge some of the things that he was teaching his new "world," Fard gave his students a mystical and real sense of superiority He knew some of his students wouldn't be able to match challengers from the enemy environment But the feeling of superiority makes you feel victorious even when you are defeated. So if some students should challenge one of his students from the other world and should defeat Fard students, his students would never admit defeat. They would not see the defeat, they are too superior. "This is a university. What school do you go to?" He was a very wise man; he knew the problem. He knew how to correct problems, he knew how to save the people from problems by putting them in a completely new learning environment.
We don't have to go to that extreme, but we do need to take our roots up out of the old learning environment mold and plant those roots in a fresh learning environment mold. Try to save all of its true values, all of its real lasting values, all of its gems of knowledge, history. etc., and experience. Save it, but make 1t conform to that "new" that will give new life to old America. The new should give life to the old. The raw, bitter motivation to kill or destroy old America is suicidal. America must turn from the role of the blinded Samson.
There are people who look way ahead in the future. We are in 1977, there're policy-makers right now, educators right now looking to the year 2000. We are trying to deal with the problems this week, right? There are people right now looking ahead to see how will the problems look for us in the year 2000. What will the positive things produce for us in the year 2000? What burden will the negative things leave on us in the year 2000? There are persons doing that. How come we don't come into the mind to do the same? Why do we have to sit back and wait for a season to come to do the things we know need to be done out of season? The little squirrel, he's harvesting in fall for next spring or for winter days. The squirrel is looking at survival. He knows that there's a sting of cold coming in the air. He's going to have to eat while the earth is covered with snow and ice, or in early spring before food comes on the trees. That little squirrel starts collecting acorns and buries them, hides them away. So when the time of scarcity comes, he can eat.
Now here is an animal thinking months ahead into the snow and ice and beyond. Bilalians sit around, don't even anticipate the season. I'm not criticizing all of you; I'm talking about the general mind that's in our people—the mind that is characteristic of our people. We go on acting like we don't know whether it's winter coming or spring. We are not in touch with the revolving cycle of life, of social life and social needs. If we would watch the seasons, the revolving cycle of social life, political life, the total life of the human being, we would by experience, by the mere knowledge of observation—we would be educated. We would get an education. When you are not observing, the mind is not in tune with the realities. I remember the courses I had my greatest problems with in school —elementary school, high school here in the community and with a couple of college courses I took. My greatest problem was seeing the thing in its completeness. I was trying to get a good score, working, trying to work the problem, but just working with the information and the assignment the instructor gave me. Wasn't able to see that "Wallace D. Muhammad" is missing much in this area that these other students in the class have already. Elementary knowledge is needed to justify and explain higher knowledge.
We don't put much importance on elementary knowledge once we get into higher knowledge, but those who are really well grounded in higher knowledge, they know that really the key was the elementary knowledge. And it's the elementary knowledge that helps you correct the higher knowledge when it gets off track. We have to go into education not as students of a system that are sit-in protesters. That's how many of us go into it. "I have the right, the freedom, equal opportunity, to get a high school education, to get a college education, to go to this exclusive school." And we go in there with that mind. We should forget about civil rights movements, about being shut out, and now I'm in. All of this hurts our ability to get the best of what's there for us. We should go in just like the Caucasian boy or girl who senses full rights and power of citizenship without raw, sore hang ups They go in with a feeling of dignity and superiority. That's the way you have to go in. You can go in that way if you see yourself in a position to make contributions to the society equal to and better than theirs. So you don't have to look back in the past to derive faith, strength, dignity. Look in the future!
Some people look in the past for inspiration. Those people who have advanced the world more than any other people, their look was more significantly into the future for inspiration. Those persons who look behind them for inspiration, they never did as much to advance the world as those persons who looked into the future for inspiration. The people who built the Egyptian pyramids, what do you think they had to look behind to for inspiration? Those who built the "hanging" towers of Babylon, what do you think they had to look behind to for inspiration? Those who built Paris and Rome, what did they have to look behind to for inspiration? We have more working for us than the look behind.
Look ahead also. The opportunity should inspire you. Who has any greater opportunity now in this world than the Bilalian people, than the Afro-American? People who don't have a share in the mess-up of the world; people who have maintained their human motivation over a longer period of plantation animal existence —haven't become mechanical in their hearts. We still have soul, we still have sympathy for suffering life. We still have charity. The most charitable people in America are still the Bilalian people. This is power for astounding future achievements both socially and industrially.
Many people right now will volunteer to aid suffering humanity? Among that number that will volunteer, you will be the majority. And it's because you haven't been involved directly in the mess-up. A man who spends his energy, his mental energy, his moral energy in building something for a long time, and pays much in time and in mental energy on that thing he's building, when the handwriting comes on the wall saying, "this is obsolete," he doesn't want to accept it. He fights with the reality that says it's dead now, it's obsolete.
Those who didn't put all that energy and labor into the building of that thing, they don't have that particular burden on them. You would be surprised—I'm not a psychologist, but I understand something about human nature from the study of religion.
You would be surprised of just how much you've got going for you. We should assume the responsibility for the life of America, the educational system, the religious system, even industry. We don't have the technical experience and knowledge to really accept responsibility to direct the industrial development of America. But if we would accept the call to get involved, and responsibility for it, we could begin with our limited knowledge of it. If we just accept the challenge to get involved, to begin qualifying ourselves to take responsibility in that field, that will be a strong factor of influence to in reasonable time place us in high positions in the field of industry.
We saw the ruins of a great court that was built for a Queen by the name Hatchipsu. The etched man's picture into the stone is typical Bilalian, typical Bilalian—a lot of us are not "typical" Bilalian. We have Caucasian noses; some of us have Caucasian lips. Some of us have the sharp bones in the face like Caucasians; some of us have straight hair like the Caucasian. Many of us are not typical Bilalians or typical Africans. This man who did this work of building this woman's court thousands of years ago, the chief architect, a typical Bilalian, his name was Sinmut Sin. Dr. Shabazz was with me; we were all together. They have photos of Sinmut Sin etching. You see him a typical African or Bilalian person.
We can look back there for inspiration, but the source of inspiration is not near as potent or as powerful as a motivating power as the opportunity that lies ahead in the future, and the opportunities that are present right now. I believe that this university will be able to start and do the work that will bring us into the mind to accept responsibility and leadership in all the vital avenues and fields of human endeavor in America. We have to share in the leadership for the economic development of America. You can't jump over a two-foot barrier looking one-foot high. You're going to jump right into that barrier and be knocked back on the side you're trying to jump from. But if your sights rise a little bit over two feet, you have the answer for jumping over that barrier.
We are not going to make improvements on American life by thinking our opportunities are restricted to certain fields of limited authority. We have to see the total life of America. We have to see everything from George Washington Carver to the big machinery they have now for doing the farming, and the big chemical plants they have now for discovering what's in the beans or the peas, etc. We have to see the whole, total life, and we have to be prepared to- challenge, to go and deal with the problems in the total life.
You have to think as big as the President, as big as United States Steel, as big as Wall Street. Don't let big life over-fascinate you and frighten you away from title to big shares. Realize the present leadership is unfairly burdened with people problems —in trouble. Society, a diseased body. You're on the ground floor.
This is a new day, the opportunities are opened for all. Your plight has built up rare muscles. The horrible afflictions of the past have worked also as a blacksmith's fire to refine tribal aspirations and tool social spirit for a productive and astounding involvement in the building of city and national life.
Allow your mind to have America for its home, and all America will come within your reach.
Slave Servant of Allah,
Wallace D. Muhammad