Interview with Betty Shabazz

Now, what kinds of philosophies did he have in the Nation of Islam? Can you give me a story that illustrates, what, how you learned from him, here?


Well, at that particular time, ah, it was, ah, he was talking about togetherness, and he was talking about Elijah Muhammad, ah, who my parents knew in Detroit, Michigan, ah, the terms were not so favorable. But of course, ah, I just interpreted that as the lack of understanding of my parents. But, ah, he was involved in raising funds to take Elijah Muhammad's sons from their various jobs, non-professional jobs, to have them, work with the father. So that he spearheaded a drive that, ah, would provide enough money, for their salaries. And, ah, of course he, his whole philosophy was rooted in history, Malcolm was the son of a Baptist minister, and his father was a Garveyite. And of course you know, at that particular time, it was, ah, not the thing to do, to be a Garveyite. And so that, he would use to explain not only, ah, the religious sense, but a historical sense, of our people to explain the need for this or that. So that he explained in not only religious terms, but historical terms, of why it was necessary for Elijah Muhammad's sons to leave those menial jobs and work with the father. To be more helpful because the nation was growing. And I might add, that Malcolm was directly responsible for that growth. When my husband got out of prison, Elijah Muhammad had six mosques, and populated by older members, and even Elijah Muhammad said in Philadelphia, before my husband was expelled from the movement. That he was, he single-handedly was responsible for the growth, and at that particular time, that, ah, the Nation of Islam had mosques in every major city in the United States. So that he explained, ah, his explanation to me was, ah, new because usually people dealt with the Bible and kind of left it at that level, you know.