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.”
Malcolm X set up more than 50 mosques in a relatively short amount of time. These sprouted several businesses and jobs in the 50's and 60's.
Nothing can stop a determined & united people from building institutions with their own capital.
Self-Help is the Best Help.
— Jamarlin Martin (@JamarlinMartin) August 8, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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