One of Black America’s last, real, unapologetic voices who survived the COINTELPRO strategies of the 1960s and 1970s to become one of the most prolific figures in U.S. history, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, turns 91 today.

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Born Louis Eugene Walcott in New York in 1933, Minister Farrakhan moved to Boston at a very young age, where he became a very accomplished violinist and later went to Winston-Salem Teachers College on a track scholarship. The Minister married a woman he met in college named Betsy Ross, who later became known as Khadijah Farrakhan. He dropped out of college to care for his new family and pursued his career as a professional calypso.

When Farrakhan first joined the NOI, he was asked by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad to put aside his musical career as a calypso singer. On April 17, 1993, Farrakhan debuted his return concert with performances of the Violin Concerto in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn. Farrakhan intimated that a Jewish composer’s performance of a concerto was part of an effort to heal a rift between him and the Jewish community. The New York Times music critic Bernard Holland reported that Farrakhan’s performance was somewhat flawed due to years of neglect, but “nonetheless Mr. Farrakhan’s sound is that of the authentic player. It is wide, deep and full of the energy that makes the violin gleam.”


In July 1955, still known by the name Walcott, The Minister became a registered member of the Nation of Islam and took on the name Louis X, but was soon given the name Farrakhan by Mr. Muhammad, who told all musicians in the NOI they had to choose between music and the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan became the Assistant Minister at the Muhammad Mosque in Boston under Minister Malcolm X less than a year after becoming a member. Farrakhan was mentored by Malcolm X until he was assassinated in 1965. After Malcolm X’s death, Elijah Muhammad appointed Farrakhan to the two prominent positions that Malcolm held before being dismissed from the NOI.

In an interview with 60 Minutes in 2000, Farrakhan stated that some of the things he said may have led to the assassination of Malcolm X. Works I spoke may have helped to create an environment for BRother to be assassinated, he said. But the Messenger told us all to leave him alone.”

The Minister has denied having any hand in the death and has repeatedly referenced his love for Malcom yet his loyalty and love to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

After working under the leadership of Elijah’s son, Warith Deen Muhammad, from 1975 to 1978, Farrakhan founded a weekly newspaper entitled The Final Call, which was intended to be similar to the original Muhammad Speaks newspaper that Malcolm X claimed to have started. Farrakhan criticized Warith Deen for allegedly deviating from the teachings of his father, giving some white people X’s, and he extended efforts at inter-religious cooperation and outreach to Christians and Jews.

From the early 80s until the present, The Minister is still one of the most prominent voices of reason and justice in the Black community in America. Farrakhan was dropped by several Hip Hop giants, including Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Gangstarr, Common, Flavor Unit’s Lakim Shabazz, and numerous others. The Minister has also been known as the go-to elder to resolve several kinds of beef in the Hip Hop community, including the beef between Wreckz-N-Effect and A Tribe Called Quest, Common and Ice Cube, and was even called to mediate the beef between Ja Rule and 50 Cent, but was unsuccessful in the latter.

THE Minister will continue to be celebrated by the Hip Hop community. The Source Magazine/Northstar Group would like to wish the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan a happy birthday today and many more hereafter!

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