Louis Eugene Walcott was born on May 17, 1933 in New York City. He was raised in Boston, MA and worked as a nightclub singer in the 1950s. In 1955, he met Malcolm X and was convinced to join the Nation of Islam. Louis Eugene Walcott was now Minister Louis X of Boston. Louis X steadily rose to prominence in the Nation and headed its Mosque in Boston. And when Malcolm X broke ties with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam in 1963, Louis X not only remained loyal to Elijah Muhammad, but was harshly critical in his condemnation of Malcolm. By his own admission, this rhetoric contributed to the atmosphere in which Malcolm was assassinated in 1965.Louis X became the principle spokesman for Elijah Muhammad after Malcolm's assassination. However, after Elijah's death in 1975, Wallace Muhammad, Elijah's son, became the head of the Nation. Wallace made many changes in the Nation and even allowed white members. In the late 1970s, Farrakhan split from Wallace's new organization and brought back the Nation's original politics, theology, and black nationalist outlook.Louis Farrakhan has been an outspoken advocate of black self-sufficiency and black pride. He has called on African Americans to take responsibility for their lives: to avoid drugs, to maintain familial responsibility, and to stay financially independent. This seemingly conservative outlook, as well as his occasional anti-Semitic remarks, have made Farrakhan a very controversial figure.In October 1995, Louis Farrakhan organized the Million Man March and while the exact number of participants is still up for debate, this event was largely seen as a success. At the event, thousands of African American men "vowed to renew their commitments to family, community, and personal responsibility."Louis Farrakhan is the most important black nationalist figure in contemporary America. Though controversial, his perspective is sought and respected by many marginalized African Americans living within a racist society.
Appiah and Gates, Africana