Interview with Herbert Muhammad

Tell me, Mr. Muhammad, members of the, when people joined the Nation they had to change their name--what was the reason behind that?


Uh well, before the, we was carrying the names of our slave masters and, ah, we felt that if we was free we shouldn't be identified with our slave master in our names, that if I marry a young lady and her name is Bogatonga and I, and my name Suana, then her name should be, ah, from a free person. And I'm, and, ah, wh- and the Black person is supposed to have been free, so they went back into their own names, and not identify them with the o- oppressors, or the White slave masters or any derivative from them. Ah, you have to realize in this context now, this was in the context of the 60s. Ah, a lot of the things that we know is not going on in our society, they wouldn't go on then, and now we don't call White folks devils, there was a, just because they're our oppressors still, in some form.