Louis Abdul Farrakhan

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<BR>American religious leader, head of the Nation of Islam, a black religious <br>organization in the United States that combines some of the practices and beliefs of Islam <br>with a philosophy of black separatism. <br> Farrakhan preaches the virtues of personal responsibility, especially for black men, <br>and advocates black self-sufficiency. Farrakhan's message has appealed primarily to urban <br>blacks and draws on a long history of black nationalists who have called for black <br>self-reliance in the face of economic injustice and white racism. His more inflammatory <br>remarks have caused critics to claim that he has appealed to black racism and <br>anti-Semitism to promote his views. Born Louis Eugene Wolcott in New York City, <br>Farrakhan grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Winston-Salem Teacher's <br>College in North Carolina, and worked as a nightclub singer in the early 1950s. In 1955 <br>Malcolm X, a minister for the Nation of Islam, convinced Wolcott to join the organization. <br> Wolcott dropped his last name and became known as Minister Louis X. The <br>practice of dropping surnames is common among black Muslims, who often view them as <br>names that were imposed on slaves and handed down over the years by white society. He <br>later adopted the name Abdul Haleem Farrakhan and came to be known as Louis <br>Farrakhan. <br> Farrakhan's speaking and singing abilities helped him to rise to prominence within <br>the Nation of Islam, and he led the group's mosque in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1963 a <br>split developed between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of <br>Islam, and Malcolm X was suspended as a minister. Malcolm X had become increasingly <br>dissatisfied with the group's failure to participate in the growing Civil Rights Movement, <br>and Muhammad seemed

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