Born Louis Eugene Wolcott. Controversial leader and charismatic preacher of the Nation of Islam. Preaches black unity, self-knowledge, independence, and black nationalist and separatist doctrines central to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Concentrates on establishing a strong economic system for the African-American community, particularly through small-business ownership, in which members can be free of dominant white structures. Allows members to participate by voting and running for elected office. Has sharply criticized the role of Jews and whites in the oppression of black people. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 1999, has worked to bring the Nation of Islam into closer adherence to mainstream Sunni Islam and has eased antiwhite rhetoric.
See also Nation of Islam
Subjects: Islam — United States History.