Louis Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan

American public figure.
Date of Birth: 11.05.1933
Country: USA

Biography of Louis Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan is an American public figure and leader of the radical organization "Nation of Islam". He was born as Louis Eugene Walcott on May 11, 1933, in the Bronx, New York, USA. As of 2008, he resides in Kenwood, on the south side of Chicago, and spends time at the "Nation of Islam" farm in New Buffalo, Michigan. Farrakhan is widely recognized as a charismatic speaker and is sometimes referred to as a controversial figure due to his rhetoric.

Louis Farrakhan

Farrakhan grew up in the West Indian community in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His mother, Sarah Mae Manning, immigrated from St. Kitts and Nevis in the 1920s, and his father, Percival Clarke, was a Jamaican taxi driver from New York, but was not involved in raising him. As a child, he received a musical education as a violinist. He received his first violin at the age of six, and at thirteen, he was already performing with the Boston College Orchestra and the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. By the age of fourteen, he was winning national competitions, becoming one of the first African-American performers to participate in the American program "The Original Amateur Hour" with Ted Mack, where he won another prize.

Louis Farrakhan

A pivotal event in his youth was his visit to the St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church in Roxbury. Walcott attended the prestigious Boston Latin School and English High School, graduating from the latter. He attended Winston-Salem State Teachers College for two years to pursue track, but left to marry Betsy Ross in Boston, who was already expecting their child. Due to complications during his wife's pregnancy, he decided not to continue his education and dedicate his time to her.

Louis Farrakhan

By the late 1950s, Walcott had emerged as a promising singer. He recorded several calypso albums under the name "The Charmer". In 1955, while headlining the Chicago show "Calypso Follies", he was introduced to the teachings of the "Nation of Islam" by his friend Rodney Smith, a former saxophonist. He embraced this new doctrine and in July 1955, changed his name to Louis X (the replacement of the letter "X" was adopted by the "Nation of Islam" as a way for members to renounce their "slave name"). Louis X also became friends with Malcolm X. Elijah Muhammad stated that within 30 days, all musicians joining the "Nation of Islam" had to completely sever ties with the world of music. After a few years, Elijah Muhammad bestowed upon Louis X a new name - Abdul Halem Farrakhan.

From 1965 to 1975, Farrakhan served as a minister in the "Temple of Islam" in Harlem, quickly rising to become the head of the "Nation of Islam" Boston mosque and the influential Harlem mosque. In 1977, after struggling against changes and subsequent destruction of the structure of the "Nation of Islam" by Warith Deen Muhammad, Farrakhan made the decision to leave the organization. In a 1990 interview with Emerge magazine, he spoke about his disillusionment and his decision to "quietly leave" without causing a split among members.

In 1978, Farrakhan and a small group of supporters confidentially reestablished the former organization of the "Nation of Islam". In 1981, Farrakhan and his associates held the first annual Saviours' Day of the "Nation of Islam" in Chicago. In his keynote address, Farrakhan announced the reestablishment of the "Nation of Islam" and their adherence to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. In 1984, he supported the Reverend Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign, providing him with security.

Farrakhan was one of the organizers of the "Million Man March" in Washington, D.C. in 1995. In 1997, he visited Russia upon the invitation of Nadir Khachilaev. Farrakhan visited Dagestan but was unable to visit the Chechen Republic.

He served as a spiritual advisor to Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Michael Jackson. Farrakhan is married and has 11 children, some of whom are members of the "Nation of Islam". In October 2005, Farrakhan held a rally, accusing the U.S. government of genocide against the African-American population in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Farrakhan has faced criticism for some of his statements. The Anti-Defamation League accused him of antisemitism, citing excerpts from his speeches regarding Jews, the "Jewish conspiracy", and the role of Jews in the slave trade. He also made controversial statements about the Holocaust. Despite the criticism, Farrakhan continued to lead the "Nation of Islam" and remain its leader.

After a period of illness, Farrakhan left the hospital on January 28, 2007, after undergoing complex abdominal surgery. It was revealed that the surgery was performed to correct damage caused by the side effects of a radioactive procedure that successfully cured Farrakhan of prostate cancer. After 42 years of silence as a musician (following Elijah Muhammad's command to sever all ties with the world of music), Farrakhan decided to pick up the violin again, encouraged by renowned classical musician Sylvia Olden Lee.

On April 17, 1993, Farrakhan made his concert debut with his performance in the Felix Mendelssohn concert. He stated that his work with the musical material of a Jewish composer was partly an attempt to heal the alienation between himself and the Jewish community. Music critic Bernard Holland of The New York Times said that after years of neglecting music, Farrakhan's performance had deteriorated, but "Farrakhan's style is the style of a true musician. Free, deep, and energetic, it makes the violin radiate light." Farrakhan continued with Beethoven's "Violin Concerto" and stated that his repertoire would include Tchaikovsky and Brahms.