Louis Farrakhan means many things to many different people. To many younger-generation African Americans, he is a fiery and charismatic orator. To many he is a mouthpiece for the rage of the marginalized. And to many he is merely an egotistical performer who craves the spotlight.
For the first time, African-American intellectuals and writers have come together to address the myths and realities surrounding the controversial Minister Louis Farrakhan, in The Farrakhan Factor. This timely anthology edited by Amy Alexander includes 16 different pieces from a wide range of authors, including academics, community activists, poets, journalists, and historians, among them some current and former members of the Nation of Islam.
The commentators gathered for this book place Farrakhan in context. Gwendolyn Brooks offers a lyrical and insightful reflection on Farrakhan the man, Stanley Crouch an uncompromising indictment of Farrakhan as overhyped and out of touch. Michael Eric Dyson examines the heritage that prepared Farrakhan for leadership, and Derrick Bell discusses the anguish and sense of unfulfillment that Farrakhan addresses in many black Americans.
We hear from Salim Muwakkil, longtime contributing editor of Muhammad Speaks, on the Nation of Islam's leadership from the 1960s to today; from economist Julianne Malveaux on the viability of the Nation's economic model; and from journalist Itabari Njeri on the rift the Farrakhan controversy has created within black families.
Constantly in the public eye, Minister Farrakhan has been portrayed as a demigod by his most ardent supporters and as a demagogue by his detractors. Love him or hate him, Farrakhan is a significant presence in American racial politics.
Black journalist Alexander has collected a series of essays on Farrakhan by African American writers ranging from famed New York culture critic Stanley Crouch to teacher and writer Derrick Bell and Harvard graduate student Irene Monroe. The essays vary in tone from qualified praise to unqualified condemnation. Editor Alexander, for example, argues that "the idea of Farrakhan as Dangerous...[is] a ridiculous proposition"; instead, she sees him as "a familiar and handy repository for all that we [blacks] cannot vocalize." Journalist Leonard Pitts says blacks must get beyond the rage Farrakhan symbolizes. All the essayists admit that Farrakhan's in-your-face rhetoric is appealing, especially to younger black males. Recommended for most libraries.Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
A collection of essays by African American intellectuals and writers responding to the myth and reality of Louis Farrakhan. The 16 contributions address the continuing evolution of the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan's economic rhetoric and reality, the misunderstood alliance between Farrakhan and the world community of Black Muslims, the divide between Blacks and Jews in America, Farrakhan and Malcolm X, and Farrakhan's Ministry of misogyny and homophobia. Concludes with an interview with Joseph Marshall, Jr., director of the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.