Yesterday marked an historic moment in Black American life. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, gave his final speech at the annual Saviorâ€™s Day Event. â€œMy time is up,” the 73-year-old leader told the crowd at Ford Field, “I believe â€¦ that my time to be with my spiritual father and his sender has come. And your time to go through serious trial has come.”
Despite his reportedly ailing condition, Minister Farrakhan spent nearly two hours offering the type of oratorical fire that has made him a hero to Blacks of all religions. Controversial as ever, Farrakhan called for Bushâ€™s impeachment, criticized the invasion of Iraq, and defended Iranâ€™s right to have nuclear technology. On a conciliatory note, Farrakhan also called for religious unity among all believers, and demanded peace efforts among the nations.
Unfortunately, contrary to many rumors, Farrakhan did not name his successor at the event. While this doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that a successorship plan is not in place, it is nonetheless important that Farrakhan names and grooms his successor in full public view. Otherwise, the post-Farrakhan era will be inevitably marked by multiple claims to authority and destructive infighting.
Although I have not always agreed with Minister Farrakhan, I have a profound respect for his love and sustained commitment to the struggles of Black people and his loyalty to the mission of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I also have a deep admiration for his willingness to admit mistakes, apologize for missteps, and sincerely attempt to heal wounds. Regardless of our differences with Farrakhan, it is difficult to deny that his growth and development are a testament to his faith and character.
At multiple moments yesterday, Farrakhan suggested that he has not only reached the end of his professional tenure, but that he was also nearing the end of his time on Earth. While it is my sincerest hope that he is wrong on both accounts, I wish him continued peace, love, and joy on his journey.
May Peace Be With Him