capable of being read or deciphered
After about a year, I guess, I could write a decent and
teaching pupils individually
tutelage, too, I had gotten myself some little cellblock swindles going.
offering something to gain an illicit advantage
In place of the atmosphere of malicious gossip, perversion,
grafting, hateful guards, there was more relative “culture,” as “culture” is interpreted in prisons.
The visiting rules, far more
lenient than other prisons’, permitted visitors almost every day, and allowed them to stay two hours.
a broad range of related objects or values or qualities
I never will forget: my mind was involuntarily flashing across the entire
spectrum of white people I had ever known; and for some reason it stopped upon Hymie, the Jew, who had been so good to me.
steal goods; take as spoils
“The devil white man,” down through history, out of his devilish nature, had
pillaged, murdered, raped, and exploited every race of man not white.
a person who does not acknowledge your god
This “Negro” was taught of his native Africa that it was peopled by
heathen, black savages, swinging like monkeys from trees.
marked by a state of extreme poverty
The black prisoner, he said, symbolized white society’s crime of keeping black men oppressed and
deprived and ignorant, and unable to get decent jobs, turning them into criminals.
call upon in supplication
For evil to bend its knees, admitting its guilt, to
implore the forgiveness of God, is the hardest thing in the world.
strive to equal or match, especially by imitating
Bimbi had always taken charge of any conversation he was in, and I had tried to
an act of shocking cruelty
I read descriptions of
atrocities, saw those illustrations of black slave women tied up and flogged with whips; of black mothers watching their babies being dragged off, never to be seen by their mothers again; of dogs after slaves, and of the fugitive slave catchers, evil white men with whips and clubs and chains and guns.
the state of being confederated
We can see in the United Nations a new world order being shaped, along color lines—an
alliance among the non-white nations.
a person who comes to a country in order to settle there
Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America, and the white man still has the black man begging for what every
immigrant fresh off the ship can take for granted the minute he walks down the gangplank.
an adherent of right-wing authoritarian views
These three, it’s said, laid the groundwork on which the
Fascist and Nazi philosophy was built.
recover through digging
Below the Sahara, in the places where most of America’s Negroes’ foreparents were kidnapped, there is being
unearthed some of the finest craftsmanship, sculpture and other objects, that has ever been seen by modern man.
a secret agreement to perform an unlawful act
I’d explain to them that the real truth was known to some white men, the scholars; but there had been a
conspiracy down through the generations to keep the truth from black men.
having a strong desire for success or achievement
You let this caged-up black man start thinking, the same way I did when I first heard Elijah Muhammad’s teachings: let him start thinking how, with better breaks when he was young and
ambitious he might have been a lawyer, a doctor, a scientist, anything.
openly distrustful and unwilling to confide
I had never dreamed of anything like that atmosphere among black people who had learned to be proud they were black, who had learned to love other black people instead of being jealous and
regard something as probable or likely
And for me to be patient was made easier by the fact that I could
anticipate soon seeing and perhaps meeting the man who was called “The Messenger,” Elijah Muhammad himself.
the quality of being open and truthful
And even when events produced a crisis between Elijah Muhammad and me, I told him at the beginning of the crisis, with all the
sincerity I had in me, that I still believed in him more strongly than he believed in himself.
with little or no preparation or forethought
Soon after that, Minister Lemuel Hassan urged me to address the brothers and sisters with an
reject outright and bluntly
Time and again Mr. Muhammad’s teachings were
rebuffed and even ridiculed.
the trait of being rude and impertinent
“Turn around and look at each other, brothers and sisters, and think of this! You and me, polluted all these colors—and this devil has the arrogance and the
gall to think we, his victims, should love him!”
make amends for
“Every white man in America, when he looks into a black man’s eyes, should fall to his knees and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry—my kind has committed history’s greatest crime against your kind; will you give me the chance to
make subservient; force to submit or subdue
I want you, when you leave this room, to start to see all this whenever you see this devil white man. Oh, yes, he’s a devil! I just want you to start watching him, in his places where he doesn’t want you around; watch him reveling in his preciousness, and his exclusiveness, and his vanity, while he continues to
subjugate you and me.
a confused multitude of things
I can’t start to describe for you my
welter of emotions.
the act of giving a false appearance
We by-passed the larger churches with their higher ratio of so-called “middle-class” Negroes who were so full of
pretense and “status” that they wouldn’t be caught in our little storefront.
defiance of authority
No lying or stealing, and no
insubordination to civil authority, except on the grounds of religious obligation.
the particular occupation for which you are trained
We began now getting those with some education, both academic, and
vocations and trades, and even some with “positions” in the white world, and all of this was starting to bring us closer to the desired fast car for Mr. Muhammad to drive.
They deal with the responsibilities of a husband and father; what to expect of women; the rights of women which are not to be
abrogated by the husband; the importance of the father-male image in the strong household; current events; why honesty, and chastity, are vital in a person, a home, a community, a nation, and a civilization; why one should bathe at least once each twenty-four hours; business principles; and things of that nature.
dedicated exclusively to a purpose or use
devoted to Civilization Night, when classes are held for brothers and sisters in the area of the domestic relations, emphasizing how both husbands and wives must understand and respect each other’s true natures.
avoid speaking to or dealing with
Every Muslim minister is always hearing the problems of young people whose parents have
ostracized them for becoming Muslims.
be greater in scope or size than some standard
transcends just the physical.
a natural or acquired habit or characteristic tendency
disposition, behavior, attitude, thoughts, likes, dislikes—these things make a beautiful woman, a beautiful wife.
consider in a comprehensive way
But the police department, to be sure, pulled out and carefully studied the files on the Nation of Islam, and
appraised us with new eyes.