In the 1930s, Wallace D. Fard opened the first NOI mosque in Detroit. Three years after he began teaching, he disappeared, passing the leadership of the NOI to Elijah Mohammad, who then proceeded to deify Mr. Fard, claiming he was God's physical return to the earth from Mecca.
It was under Elijah Mohammad that the Nation of Islam fully realized its distinctly non-Sunni Isalm beliefs. Under his leadership, the Nation of Islam became primarily a socio-political black activist and separatist group, guided and informed by the new religion. Elijah Mohammad taught that blacks were the first people, and were the original Muslims.
One of the most famous African American leaders (Malcom X) began his religious teachings as a Nation of Islam convert. He was responsible for popularizing the NOI in the 1950s. However, after visiting Mecca, Malcolm learned that the NOI had nothing to do with actual Islam and began practicing a mainstream version of the faith. He was later murdered by NOI members for speaking out against Elijah Mohammed in 1965.
After Elijah Mohammad's death in 1975, his son, Warith Deen Mohammad, brought the organization to a more mainstream Islamic position, which came to be known as the American Society of Muslims. Much later, Louis Farrakhan led a group of supporters who returned the Nation of Islam to more extremist positions, including extreme racism, and antisemitism.
|Malcolm X Collecting Money for the Black Muslims, 1960|
In "Sweetheart of The Song Tra Bong", a soldier brings his girlfriend to Vietnam, and as the story progresses, she undergoes drastic personality changes. This passage is an excellent character study, because as Rat Kiley describes the story, numerous details are left out, in favor of maintaining the linear progression. It is clear to see that the woman's change in demeanor and action are the sole focus here.