“Do for self or suffer the consequences,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad told Black America in his book Message to the Blackman in America, published in 1965.
It has been 55 years, and although Black America has been steadily heading into the direction of business ownership, the pace is not fast enough.
Perhaps looking at a historical record of economic self-sufficiency will inspire us to start, work for and/or support Black businesses.
The Nation of Islam has taught Black self-reliance since its founding on July 4, 1930 by Master Fard Muhammad. In 1934, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad established a newspaper, “The Final Call to Islam,” which was a predeccesor to “Muhammad Speaks” established in 1960 and today’s Final Call Newspaper.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad also established independent schooling, now known today as Muhammad University of Islam, which exists in cities around the country.
In the 60’s, he introduced to Black America the 3-Year Economic Plan. Under the economic system of the Nation, farmland and real estate were purchased, and believers in the Nation started owning businesses and doing for themselves.
Several businesses cropped up in Chicago under his leadership, including Your Supermarket, a Shabazz Grocery and Salaam Restaurant. The Nation participated in trade and commerce and had its own trucks and plane.
After the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s departure in 1975, the economic ventures of the Nation also fell, as many people left. When the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stood up to rebuild the Nation in 1977, he reestablished many of the businesses, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s work from 1934 to 1975 has since been replicated with success in cities all over the country.
Going a step forward in Black governance, the Minister established the 9 Ministries of the Nation in October 2005. The idea is to serve and help form out an independent existence for Black America through nine ministries (ten today): Spiritual development, agriculture, education, information, health, trade and commerce, defense, justice, arts and culture and science and technology.
Moreso than any Black organization, the Nation of Islam has been in America for 90 years, propelling Black people to do for self. If we as a people don’t start supporting, working for and starting Black businesses, then we will suffer the consequences.