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Islam in Black America

This week, I decided to get creative with my logo-making skills. I spent a lot of time for the Office of Student Life and for the Harvard Black Men’s Forum employing my visual creativity skills to create logos for different events, organizations, partnerships, and more. I decided that for this post, I would take a stab at what an alternative logo for the Nation of Islam might look like.

Today’s lecture about Islam in the black community brought me back to a class I’d taken with Professor Marla Friedrick called “Islam in Black America”. As one might expect, much of this class included discussions about the Nation of Islam and its most prominent figure – Malcolm X. Much of what was discussed during professor Asani’s lecture was already quite familiar to me. For example, I’d known much about the original Muslims that’d first arrived to the United States from Africa by way of the slave trade. I found the discussion about the nature of the Islam that the Nation of Islam was teaching to be most interesting. Elijah Muhammad, the head of the Nation of Islam for a time, taught his followers to live strict lifestyles. The goals of the organization were certainly more fixated on ethnic empowerment. When Malcolm X joined, he ended up rising up in the ranks of the organization and became a spokesmen. It wasn’t until Malcolm went on hisĀ Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca – that he learned of what was described to him at times as “true Islam” (Malcolm X 325). Reading as Malcolm questions his own conceptions of his faith to a religion which he believes he may not fully know is incredibly engaging. His decision to free himself to learn more about Islam is also liberating textually as we now get an opportunity to experience Malcolm’s first interactions with true Islam with him.

X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove Press, 1965. Print.

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