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From Barnes & NobleLouis 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.