Revisiting The $100M+ Economic Blueprint Of Elijah Muhammad And Malcolm X

Jamarlin Martin
Written by Jamarlin Martin

Economic Blueprint
Muslims interview Peruvian Ambassador. Photo: Accomplishments of the Muslims

A brother recently responded to something I shared on Twitter about Malcolm X building more than 50 mosques in a relatively short time in the ’50s and ’60s.  

I mentioned that these efforts had sprouted thousands of businesses and jobs for Black America. I also mentioned that nothing can stop a united people from using our own capital to do for self and build our own institutions. Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X were a great team and were both institution-focused.

The brother on Twitter dismissively mentioned that these were small “ghetto businesses.”

First, restaurants, barber shops, and bookstores may appear to be small-time now, but the economics were connected into a mothership institution and it was thoughtfully scaled up.

Economic Blueprint
Fish-laden ships, like the vessel above, docked in major U.S. ports delivering whiting H and G for Muhammad Imported fish program. Photo: Accomplishments of the Muslims

The brother left out farmland and agriculture, residential and commercial real estate, grocery stores, banks, and 
international trade. Elijah’s organization — and the inspired, connected satellites — traded millions of dollars of fish with the government of Peru, creating jobs and opportunities for his people.

The major point here is that the Negro elites and the churches couldn’t produce anything comparable to Elijah’s economic blueprint. The Negro establishment consensus had no answer to this economic machine. There was all talk but no walk from the Negro establishment. Elijah scaled this up without begging America for anything. He and Malcolm thought the aggregate Black wallet was sufficient to build up a nation.

Economic Blueprint
Stevedore above works feverishly emptying trawler of wholesome economical seafood that represents a welcome relief for many Blacks during traumatic U.S. economic ills. Photo: Accomplishments of the Muslims

This economic machine may have faded over time, but so did Pan Am Airways, Blockbuster Video, Lehman Brothers, and Washington Mutual. It’s on the younger generation to take this blueprint, connect it to technology, and improve it.


We have agency and are in control of our rise.

We can’t sit back and wait for white folks to change in Silicon Valley, the modern mecca of white supremacy.

Economic Blueprint
FILE – In this Feb. 26, 1961 file photo, Elijah Muhammad, founder and head of the Nation of Islam, right, introduces Malcolm X in Chicago. A Smithsonian Channel series, “The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X,” examining the life of civil right leader Malcolm X, follows the advocate’s changing philosophy using his own words as a Nation of Islam surrogate to a figure seeking to build coalitions during the tumultuous 1960s civil rights era. (AP Photo/Paul Cannon, File)

Let’s properly honor our ancestors and elders who actually built something, scaled it, and inspired millions of people to acquire a knowledge of self and do for self. A lot of their success can be a foundation to be built upon today.


About Jamarlin Martin

Jamarlin Martin is the founder and CEO of Nubai Ventures. A pioneer and thought leader in digital media, he grew his prior venture into a multiple-brand digital media and entertainment platform before selling three brands (Bossip, MadameNoire, and HipHopWired) to Urban One. Dubbed a "digital powerhouse" by Jet Magazine, Mr. Martin has been listed in the Ebony 100 list of most influential African-Americans. His insight and acumen have been hailed in the press, including Inc. Magazine; OZY Media, which described him as an "Emperor of Digital Media"; Advertising Age; Digiday; and Fortune's "David and Goliath" column. Highly respected in the digital media industry, Mr. Martin received the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015, amongst other noteworthy awards. He is often cited as a subject-matter expert in paid discovery marketing, which he considers an essential element to grow multimillion dollar digital brands in the shortest time possible. Jamarlin Martin's media career began with blogging on financial markets, where he founded The Detached Trader. He attended Syracuse University College of Law and earned his political science degree from Morehouse College.