Quantcast George Lincoln Rockwell Meets Elijah Muhammad


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Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X


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American Nazi Party Commander George Lincoln Rockwell (center) at a Nation of Islam (NOI) rally, Uline Arena, Washington, DC, June 25, 1961. 


Malcolm X, NOI rally, 1960


From William H. Schmaltz, Hate: George Lincoln Rockwell & the American Nazi Party, Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1999.  The section on June 25, 1961 is from Chapter 6, “1961: This Time the World,” 119-21; the section on February 25, 1962 is from Chapter 7, “1962: A World Union of National Socialists,” 133-35.  The title of this pair of excerpts from Schmaltz is mine, not Schmaltz's.  Warning: strong language.—A.F.


When George Lincoln Rockwell, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X Shared the Same Stage

William H. Schmaltz 

June 25, 1961

One of the most important missions the ANP undertook in the summer of 1961 was an attempt to form an alliance with the Black Muslims and their leader, Elijah Muhammad.  From its inception the ANP [American Nazi Party] had referred to African Americans as “niggers” and had affirmed the premise that they were mentally inferior to whites, but Rockwell became enchanted with the idea of a coalition; Nazis and Black Muslims could be allies, since they both sought the same goal—separation of the races.  Rockwell told his followers that Muhammad

has gathered millions of the dirty, immoral, drunken, filthy-mouthed, lazy and repulsive people sneeringly called ‘niggers’ and inspired them to the point where they are clean, sober, honest, hard working, dignified, dedicated and admirable human beings in spite of their color. . . . Muhammad knows that mixing is a Jewish fraud and leads only to aggravation of the problems that it is supposed to solve. . . . I have talked to the Muslim leaders and am certain that a workable plan for separation of the races could be effected to the satisfaction of all concerned—except the communist-Jew agitators.29

Black Muslim cooperation with Rockwell and the Ku Klux Klan went beyond ideology and rhetoric. There were practical implications.  Like his white racist counterparts, Elijah Muhammad believed that interracial sexual relations were morally depraved and genetically destructive, for interracial sex “ruins and destroys a people.”  Rhetoric aside, he wanted to establish a truce between racists and his Southern mosques.  To this end he sent Malcolm X to Atlanta to accompany Jeremiah X, the local Muslim minister of Atlanta, to a secret meeting with members of the Klan.  Both sides discussed race relations.  Malcolm described the integration movement as a Jewish conspiracy carried out by black stooges.  The parties eventually hammered out the main issue: a nonaggression pact.  If the Muslims did not aid the civil rights movement in the South, the mosques would be undisturbed.30

On Sunday, June 25, 1961, Rockwell and ten troopers attended a Black Muslim rally at Uline Arena in Washington.  They watched in awe as convoys of chartered buses unloaded hundreds of passengers outside the arena and the Muslim vendors made a killing on official souvenirs and literature.  The Nazis were frisked at the door of the arena by several well-dressed but stern-looking Fruit of Islam guards—the Gestapo of the Nation of Islam.  A special guard greeted Rockwell, said into his walkie-talkie that the “big man was coming now,” and escorted them to seats near the stage in the center, surrounded by eight thousand Black Muslims.  They were encircled by black journalists, who wanted to know Rockwell’s thoughts.  He told reporters he considered the Muslims “black Nazis.”  “I am fully in concert with their program and I have the highest respect for Mr. Elijah Muhammad.”  Rockwell pointed out his only disagreement with the Muslims was over territory. ‘‘They want a chunk of America and I prefer that they go to Africa.”

The Nazis were very impressed with the professionalism and stagecraft of the event, especially the Fruit of Islam guards, who maintained their positions throughout the lengthy program despite stifling heat in the auditorium.  Eight thousand faithful followers of Elijah Muhammad waited six hours to hear him speak.  After several introductory speakers, Malcolm X stepped to the microphone to deliver a talk entitled “Separation or Death.”

 “Muslims are not for integration and not for segregation.”  Looking up at the audience as if to beg the question, he asked what they “were for.”  The audience shouted, “SEPARATION.”  Rockwell and the troopers vigorously applauded.  Malcolm told the audience, now quite restless in the ninety-degree heat, that before the climax of the program a collection would be taken.  He told the two hundred white people sitting segregated in the center of the auditorium to chip in “and give us back some of that money they didn’t give our ancestors. . . . I don’t want to hear clinking, I want to hear that soft rustle.”

Malcolm asked the audience for donations of one hundred dollars and got three.  As Malcolm dropped his request to fifty dollars and then to twenty dollars, Rockwell pulled out his wallet and handed a twenty-dollar bill to the usher to be sent up to Malcolm. Malcolm asked who had given the money; a trooper shouted at the top of his lungs, “George I.incoln Rockwell!”  This brought scattered applause and a covey of supporters and cameramen to Rockwell’s side.  At Malcolm’s request, Rockwell stood up for applause, to which Malcolm said, “You got the biggest hand you ever got.”31 Rockwell was not amused, but he cracked a grin for the cameras.

Another speaker took the podium and announced that Elijah Muhammad would not speak because of illness.  The audience began leaving the building, but the Nazis remained for the final speaker when they heard him begin to lash out at Jews.  Outside the arena Rockwell lied to a TV reporter, telling him that many of the Muslims had urged him to speak.  He would get his chance to address the Muslims the following year.  Rockwell kept in contact with Malcolm X, “with occasional telegrams and stormtrooper couriers when Malcolm was in the Washington area.32 . . .

29 The Rockwell Report, 1 January 1962, 4.

30 Claude A. Clegg, An Original Man (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), 152-53.

31 Washington Daily News, 25 June 1961

32 Allen and [Matt] Koehl interviews


February 25, 1962

On February 25, [1962] Rockwell and a contingent of ten stormtroopers walked into the Chicago International Amphitheater, where more than twelve thousand Black Muslims were gathered for the Savior’s Day convention.  The Nazis were searched by the Fruit of Islam guards and escorted to the front row.  Malcolm X spoke to the audience before introducing Elijah Muhammad.  When Muhammad finished his talk, Rockwell was invited to speak. Dressed in full Nazi uniform, flanked by two stormtrooper bodyguards, he told the audience he was proud to stand before them and that he considered Elijah Muhammad the Adolf Hitler of the black man.  He told the audience they had been getting a raw deal in America and that it was the fault of the Jews for “exploiting your people and my people.”  He asked the audience if Negro organizations needed Jewish leadership; the throngs of Muslims shouted “No!”

You know that we call you niggers. But wouldn’t you rather be confronted by honest white men who tell you to your face what the others all say behind your back?  Can you really gain anything dealing with a bunch of cowardly white sneaks?  The yellow-liberals who tell you they love you, privately exclude you every way they know how.  I am not afraid to stand here and tell you I hate race-mixing and will fight it to the death.  But at the same time, I will do everything in my power to help the Honorable Elijah Muhammad carry out his inspired plan for land of your own in Africa. Elijah Muhammad is right--separation!”5

During his talk some members of the audience grumbled and booed, but Elijah Muhammad and his top aides applauded enthusiastically.6 His thoughts were encapsulated in the April 1962 issue of Muhammad Speaks:

Mr. Rockwell (American Nazi Party) has spoken well.  He has lived up to his name.   He is not asking you and me to follow him.  He endorsed the stand for self that you and I are taking. Why should not you applaud?  No other white people want you to do such a thing.  His own people will hurt him or try to hurt him, you heard what he said, just because they have taken a stand to see that you be separated to get justice and freedom. . . . What right have you to sit there and hold your hand when you know he is telling the truth.  No, the trouble of it is you are scared to death!  You don’t want the white slave master to say “I heard that you were there listening and enjoying the German Nazis or the White Circle leader.” What do we care if they are white?  If they are speaking the truth for us, what do we care? We’ll stand on our heads and applaud!7

5 The Stormtrooper, March-August 1964 and February 1962, 6/11; Chicago Sun-Times, 26 February 1962.

6 ADL, FACTS, vol. 15, no. 2 (October 1963), 278-79.

7 Muhammad Speaks, April 1962; The Stormtrooper, February 1962. 

Posted July 24, 2007


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