Interview with Herbert Muhammad
QUESTION 5
SAM POLLARD:

OK, tell me about, ah, why members of the Nation changed your name, then you father telling you that you should have Ali, he gave Ali a new name.

HERBERT MUHAMMAD:

Ah yes, because first a, the, ah, Nation of Islam, under the leadership of my father, Elijah Muhammad, it had a great attraction for the down un- for the downtrodden people, those people that feel that they was oppressed from a White supremacist society. That's why most of the people was, ah, of the Blacks, and was of the, more or less the unlettered man, at first. Ali personally was attracted by it because the philosophy and the teaching itself. The philosophy was that he saw that this was a Black, Black group, calling, ah, Black man calling all White people devils, and then he say he went back home and he looked on his, ah, the picture on his wall where he had Jesus and, ah, all of the twelve disciples of Jesus, The Last Supper, and he noticed everybody was White. And so, so then he started having a conflict in his self about what, what effect would this, would be on the White society if it was reversed, if these people was all Black and they had to live with a Black Jesus, and a Black, ah, ah, what we called disciples. What kind of effect would it be on thei- their mind. And he come to the conclusion that this would definitely have a bad effect on any society u- using racism in, in, in divinity. So then he saw that this wasn't right, and he joined, ah, my father because that this little Black man was, has bold enough to tell the world that they was, all Whites was devils. Then he got bold enough to tell everybody he was the greatest and he can beat any man on the, on, alive. So this promoted him and to saying he was the greatest, 'cause my father, philosopher of the Blacks, was the greatest. And they was the, the greater, you know, human beings, than the physically and then, ah, and mentally, if they was given the chance to express themselves.

SAM POLLARD:

Great, great, let's cut. That's good, that was a good answer. Now what I want to ask you is--