Malcolm X: 'I found that nigger [Louis X] in a garbage-can.' --Malcolm X to Alex Haley, 1964.
The Midwest/N.O.I.Land--If you've ever been to Chicago, you'll have noticed the big Mosque. It's the Nation of Islam's largest temple, often ministered-to by the leader of the NOI, Louis Farrakhan. Once known in Boston as a violin-player in local Calypso bands, he was recruited by no-less than Malcolm X in the 1950s into-the-fold of the NOI.
Malcolm made Louis Farrakhan, and he would not exist in the NOI without this fact. But he's a Judas, he called-for the death of Malcolm in the pages of Muhammad Speaks up-to the assassination of the Black Nationalist leader in February of 1965. I grant that he was not alone, and could have merely been manipulated by moles within the NOI. One has to ponder how many current members are Special Agents in deep-cover.
The man in the center of the above photo's name was John Ali. A number of assassination researchers believe he was an undercover informant for the FBI, and was intimately-involved in Malcolm's death.
His (and other FBI moles) behind-the-scenes role in Malcolm's murder is unknown, but he's made several public statements that show he approved-of them. He must have--he helped exacerbate the rift between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm's coalescing faction with the Nation of Islam. I've seen his summer home in Northern Indiana, and it's swank.
It seems that 'Calypso Louie' has enriched himself since the restructuring of the NOI in the mid-1970s. Perhaps Louis is dying, as this comes to all men. He'll have better health-care than most Americans could ever dream of. He has been paid well for rendering the NOI useless. Read some of their recent literature, and you'll find some very peculiar ideas indeed.
There has been a guessing-game as to whether the NOI will survive Farrakhan, and I am sure it will, but it will be weakened. Their history is too checkered and specific for them to be of any use to Black Americans (or anyone else) in-general, but this has been obvious since the 1950s. They were always an anachronism within America, both Black and White, and their origins are shadowy in many areas.
More like a cult, the NOI is still seen as a heretical sect of Islam. The reality is, they are probably the remnants of a nomadic maroon community that once populated Indianapolis. As a matter of fact, they were the first permanent settlers of Indianapolis. A diaspora scattered many of them North into Chicago and the greater Detroit area, while some went to other parts of Illinois, Missouri and Michigan.
This multi-racial cultural group was called 'the Tribe of Ben Ishmael', or the 'Ishmaelites', but little is known of their story.
The truth probably resides in municipal records of Indianapolis from the early 19th century. They were some of the first victims of the inception of eugenics laws in Indiana 100-years-ago. By the 1920s-30s, the diaspora throughout the Midwest was complete, while the rest were sterilized or inhabiting Indiana's legendary State Mental Health Asylums. That's genocide.
It is thought that many of the Ishmaelites populated the early membership of the Nation of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple. But this is conjecture.
The Nation of Islam will likely survive, because there will always be racial outcasts in the Midwest with nowhere else to go. The Nation of Islam without Louis Farrakhan? It survived Wallace Fard (a man whose FBI file you should all read) and Elijah Muhammad (ditto), and even his son Wallace Muhammad (doubly-so).
The FBI would invent the NOI if it had to, but Louis and the FOI probably have an FBI paymaster anyway. What a lost opportunity. How shameful of them. Forget the lives of poor Blacks, we want our own fiefdom. It's been said that Malcolm X was one of the best orators of the 20th century, and I would agree. Louis ranks as its worst.
At 73, it's time to retire. Does it matter if they perpetuate as an organization? Nope.
Ed: revised version of an earlier piece.