The Greatest Story Never Told
The Nation Of Gods And Earths
Today there are thousands of young black men and women who are members of The Nation of Gods and Earths. There are even thousands more who are not members but whose lives have been affected in some positive way from learning the knowledge of themselves at an early age. Why isn't the man who is responsible for awakening so many black youth known to the masses of our people? Why has this man never been honored? Perhaps it's because his full greatness won't be realized until the world beholds the greatness of the masses of black youth whose lives he touched. Let's take the time now to look back at the life of Allah: the man history has yet to remember. Allah was born Clarence Smith on Friday, February 22, 1928 in Danville, Virginia. He was the fifth son of Louis and Mary Smith. His sister Bernice and younger brother Harry A (A Allah) were born after him to complete the family of seven; six boys and one girl. As a baby his mother nicknamed him 'Put' and this is what he was called throughout his early childhood years. Allah's early childhood experience was characterized by the Jim Crow laws of segregation in the south which meant that blacks were separated from whites in housing, schools, theaters, etc.... Allah and his brothers and sisters never minded not being with "whitey" as they referred to them as. They enjoyed life amongst their own people and never were interested in going where they weren't welcomed. The Smith family lived at 834 Valley Street. It was a six block walk into the heart of town where the movie theaters were located at. The blacks had a choice of going to the "colored" theater or sitting in the balcony of the whites theater. Allah and his siblings carried memories of looking down at "whitey" from he balcony of the theater and remarking how silly and trivial they were. Summers were spent by the Smith children in St. Petersburg, Florida with relatives. There, they would swim in a river behind a slaughter house where cows were prepared for market. There was a landing in the middle of the river at the base of a train trestle where they would swim to in order to catch candy thrown by "whitey" from the windows of passing by trains. Allah was a very strong swimmer. His brothers would joke that Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) didn't have anything on him. One day they were out swimming. Allah and one of his friends had reached the landing at the trestle when they spotted A Allah going down in the water. Allah dove back into the river, reached his brother quickly and pulled him to safety. He had saved his brother's life. His father, Louis, was a tall man, he wasn't very built, kind of lanky but he was a helluva man, strong in sense of convictions. An event that must have heavily influenced Allah's attitude towards life in general and whites in particular occurred in at their house in Danville while he was still a young boy. On this occasion, Allah witnessed his father fight a burly whiteman in front of their house. His father ended up knocking this man over the banister of the house an they had to beat the man's son and daughter who tried to come to their father's aid. All this had taken place because the whiteman had cursed in front of Allah's mother! Perhaps more so than anything else, these were the kind of experiences that developed and made Allah, the man. He had instilled in him a "down home" sense of values, convictions, street wisdom, and awareness. In the 1940's, Allah's mother, Mary moved to New York for employment. She rented an apartment in Harlem. In 1946, Allah came north to join his mother and older brothers. Once in New York, his nickname, 'Put' that his mother had coined for him when he was a boy was mistaken for 'Puddin' and this is what he became known as. Allah performed a number of odd jobs to keep money in his pockets. Among them was a fruit stand that he opened up in a little hole-in- the-wall in Harlem. It was also in Harlem in the 1940's that he developed a love for gambling which remained with him throughout his life. He played a lot of pool in Harlem these days and got a reputation as a pool shark. In 1946 he met Willeen Jowers and grew to love her very much. He wanted to marry her but because she was only seventeen years old at the time and didn't have her mother's permission, she couldn't marry him. Allah Willeen had two sons together. A-Allah and B-Allah, born in 1949 and 1951 respectively. However in order to prove to Willeen's mother that he wasn't dependent on her to marry he married another woman whom he loved very much by the name of Dora. He and Dora also had two children, Clarence and Christine. In 1950, Allah joined the Army and went to fight in the Korean War. This experience required a new set of principles of him other than anything he had thus far encountered. In war, he learned not to befriend anyone because of the uncertainty of who was the next to be killed. However even being half a world away and at war didn't deter him from the loves of his life. He would send home money regularly to his families. Money which he had won.... gambling. In Korea, Allah just missed being killed on many occasions. One such incident occurred while he was walking through a field flanked by men in his unit. Gunfire broke out and the men on the sides of him were picked off and killed. It was as though he had a calling that he had to fulfill back in the states. He endured the time in Korea, completed his bid, and returned to the United States with a high and prestigious award for his outstanding service record. While he was away, his wife Dora, had become a Muslim and entered the Nation of Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. When he returned he too accepted the teachings of Islam and he joined her at Temple No. 7 under Minister Malcolm X. It was in the Temple that he met Justice, then named Akbar, who would become his closest associate for many years to come. His years at Temple No. 7 began inauspiciously enough, his initial duty was elevator operator for the temple. However, he was to rise through the ranks quickly. Soon he was promoted to the position of lieutenant with the responsibility of training the Fruit of Islam (FOI) in karate which he had learned while he was in Korea. The FOI is the military training of men in the Nation of Islam. He studied his lessons hard and soon became very proficient at them. The lessons developed in him a fiery wisdom. And he had a speaking style that was unique to him, a slow methodical cadence stressing syllables that normally aren't. It was hypnotic. He was again promoted, this time to the position of student minister. Elijah Muhammad had received word of this fiery young student minister and traveled to New York to meet him, and bestow him with the name Abdullah. It was at this point that turmoil began to develop with him in the temple. Allah had been a man who always thought for himself, he was no follower. At this point in time, the teachings of the Nation of Islam was that W.D. Fard, the man who came to North America and taught Elijah Muhammad, was the Supreme Being, Allah. At the same time, however, the lessons that the Muslims studied, which were written by Elijah Muhammad and W.D. Fard, clearly stated throughout that "the original man is Allah, The Supreme Being, the Blackman." The lessons also state that "there is no mystery god" and that we should "lose no time searching for that which does not exist." One day in 1963, Allah was addressing the student ministers class. He was speaking about one of the lessons which dealt with what makes rain, hail, snow and earthquakes? He was manifesting his self style, literal interpretation that "all the above is cause by... man." The head of the FOI, Captain Joseph, walked into the room and heard what Allah was teaching. He stopped the meeting, dismissed the men, and spoke with Allah. He told Allah that he couldn't teach what he was teaching there. It is also at this point where there is disagreement as to exactly what happened. Muslims who were in the temple with Allah say that he had marital problems or that it was his love of gambling that caused his leaving the temple. Those outside the temple point out that this couldn't be the case because these were acts that call for a hearing and at most a suspension for a period of time from the temple, not lifetime expulsion. They assert that it was something much more deeply rooted than either of these reasons. At any rate and for whatever reasons, the differences that had developed between Allah and the Muslims were irreconcilable. It was a time of turmoil in general for the Nation of Islam. Minister Malcolm X himself was given a never ending suspension from the temple. And so Allah left the temple, he took with him Justice and other brothers who understood the reality of his teachings. He brought with him his lessons that had so much to do with him developing into a fiery orator. He left the temple and was back on the streets of Harlem. This time to teach Islam to the masses of black youth who had not been reached by Muslims.
Birth of a Nation
1963, Allah left temple number 7. He had come into a realization that would have far reaching implications. A realization that would shake New York City and be felt around the world forever. He knew from his lessons while in the temple that the Original Man (Blackman) was the Supreme Being, God. Supreme means the most high, being means to exist. God, therefore is the name given to the highest form of existence: the Blackman. This supreme form of life is the vehicle through which Allah's will is made manifest. There is no substance in the Universe or world that the Original Blackman's body does not consist of. Even the forces we see around us, above us and below us have their beginning with us. He also knew from his lessons that 85% of the people were mentally blind, deaf and dumb, while 10% of the people were devils who kept the 85% ignorant and that 5% were the righteous people who would lead the people from certain destruction. What he now realized was that this was applied to him individually. That he, as an individual, was God and therefore could not sit by idle and depend on a "mystery God" to do what he himself was blessed with the innate abilities to do. He changed his name from Clarence 13X to Allah and went to the streets of Harlem to do God's job. God's job as he saw it would be to reach his blind, deaf and dumb people and from them raise the 5% Nation.
Teach the Babies
Allah began teaching Islam to the people in the community. The message he carried to them was that they had to clean themselves up in order to regain their long lost stature of prominence in this world. That they should abstain from smoking cigarettes, drink alcohol, and eating pork. However, it was not long before he recognized their reluctance to change their way of life and thinking. Allah decided to focus his attention on the youth. He developed the science of Supreme Mathematics as the basis of his teachings and the key to unlock the minds of black youth. Supreme Mathematics are the ten principles which correspond to the nine basic units and the zero in our number system. Using the Supreme Mathematics and the Supreme Alphabets, which are principles that correspond to the twenty six letters that Allah and Justice created together, he taught the young how to break down and form profound relationships between significant experiences within life. Allah took his message to poor, delinquent and hard core street youth. Many of them were drug addicts, drop outs, and incorrigible black youth that society had long since failed and given up on. Using the Supreme Mathematics and Alphabets, Allah taught them the meaning of their names, age (degree), why life was so hard and cold for the Blackman and other significant facts of life.
The First Born
His first student he named Karriem, later to become Black Messiah. Allah chose him to be the first black youth with this knowledge because of his ability to attract the youth in the community and because he was a black seed (meaning a dark complexion). Fundamentally to Allah's teachings was that the black seed was the first seed and most dominant. Since the number 'one' represents the principle of knowledge in the Supreme Mathematics, the black seed being the first seed, was referred to as the "knowledge seed". Therefore Allah understood that Messiah's nature was to be a source of knowledge. Messiah brought other black youth to be taught by Allah. Allah began by teaching nine black youth. The number nine represents the principle of 'born' in the Supreme Mathematics. Nine is the highest number in the numerical system, thus it means to be complete, just as it take nine months for a baby to be birthed into this world. Thus, these nine black youth came to be known as the "First Born". They were Karriem or Black Messiah, Niheem or Bisme Allah, Uhuru, Kihiem, Al-Jabbar or Prince Allah, Al Jamel, Bilal or Jihad or ABG7, Akbar, and Al Salam They called Allah, "The Father" because many of them were the products of broken homes and this was the only father they knew. Thus the Father taught his First Nine Born.
The Father taught them that they were of the Most High even though they would be considered by some to be the most low in the wilderness of North America. That they should not be anti-white nor pro-black, but they should be anti-devilishment and pro-righteousness. And that they should fear nothing in this world, that even the devil did not fear death. His only fear was of Allah, because he knew not when or how he would come. That if they were one with Allah, there should be no reason to fear anything in this world. He told them that they did not need guns unless they had the legal paper for them because their tongue was their sword and that they could take more heads with the word than any army with machine guns could ever do. And that he who must live by the gun shall surely die by the gun! He didn't teach them to fight fire with a tulip, but he taught them not to try to put out a fire with gasoline. The First Born were each required to teach 10 children or people younger than themselves and they shall be their fruit. Like farmers, they would be held responsible for the development of their crops and that they should do all within their power to keep the snakes out of their gardens. They should watch and see what kind of things tried to infect or poison their fruits and then weed them out. This would ensure them of a righteous harvest. He taught them that some of them or their fruit may have to die to show the rest that everything is real, and that they should hold fast and pray to Allah that is within, and that each of them would be rewarded according to his individual works. He said that future of all the human families of the planet and mankind in general depends on the success of Allah's Nation of the Five Percent.
Allah's First Born became very powerful and dynamic young men and brought hundreds of black youth into the knowledge of self. They became known as Allah's Five Percent or the Five Percenters. It was in December of 1964 that the first assassination attempt was made on the life of Allah by a Negro named Carlos, who shot him with a high-powered rifle in a basement on 127th Street. The wound was serious enough for Allah to have to be hospitalized but it was not fatal.
On May 31, 1965 Allah was speaking at a rally in front of the Hotel Theresa, located at 2098 7th Avenue, when two police officers attempted to break up the rally. As a result a disturbance was brought about. Allah along with several other men were arrested for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. At the arraignment in criminal court before Judge Francis X O'Brien, he told the judge that he was wrong for accusing the righteous people and that the city would blow up. When offered a lawyer, he told the judge that he was Allah and that he would represent himself. The judge then ordered that he be taken and held in custody on a $9,500 bond. That September the judge in Supreme Court part thirty ordered him to be placed in the custody of the Psychiatric Unit at Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric treatment. This was the result of him proclaiming himself to be God (Allah). While at Bellevue he continued to teach the youth and authorities transferred him to Mattawan as a means of separating him from his growing nation. Notwithstanding, the nation continued to grow. Allah's Five Percent traveled to see him in Mattawan Hospital in Beacon, N.Y. and the nation spread to Beacon and neighboring Newburg as Five Percenters from New York City frequented these communities.
Upon returning to New York City in 1967 the Five Percent held their first Universal Parliament in Mount Morris Park to welcome Allah home. Thousands of Five Percenters turned out to welcome Allah's return. Allah spoke to them and there was a thunderous response that reciprocated his greeting of Peace! Allah thanked them for being strong and continuing to grow in his physical absence. He knew they had been building because of all the young he saw. "You are all pace setters of the world, you are Guardian Angels. Keep teaching and you will take over the world." At one point in the parliament there was a disturbance caused by some Muslim followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who were members of Temple No. 7 when Allah was there. They had come to question him as to why he was teaching the youth of the nation that he was Allah. Allah responded that "the Muslims of the Nation of Islam have never seen W.D. Fard and they worship him as Allah. But they say that they don't worship a mystery god. So you are worshipping in blind faith. Elijah said we had to stand up on our own two feet. You can bring Elijah, and any of his ministers to Rockland Palace and he will tell you that I am Allah. You or any Muslims can't judge me or my sons and your lessons say that anything made weak and wicked from the Original Man is devil, and you are running around worshipping a Half Original Man and not the Blackman." The Muslims departed as the Five Percenters celebrated a moral victory with thunderous cries of "All praises are due to Allah!" The Mayor's Man in Harlem It was also in 1967 that John V. Lindsay term in office saw the eruption of Crown Heights, Brooklyn in racial turmoil between the Black and Jews. In his efforts to influence and settle the situation in Crown Heights, Mayor Lindsay realized that the city administration was not in touch with the true leaders of the people in the communities. This prompted Mayor Lindsay to create a Task Force that could develop ties with the community leaders. High on the Mayor's list of priorities was Allah. A meeting took place on May 11th between Allah and Barry Gotherer, one of Lindsay's aides. At this meeting Allah requested the city to provide buses to the Five Percenters for a picnic and a building for a school for him to teach them. On the last Sunday of May, Barry Gotherer attended the Five Percenters Parliament. He told them that the Mayor was interested in working with them, that the city would provide buses for them to go to the beach in Long Island, and that they had plans to secure a building for them at Seventh and 126th Street. The following Sunday, the Five Percenters filled six buses and went to a Long Island State Park. Allah later told Barry that he wasn't as much interested in the buses as he was in his word. That on the street was all that mattered. That your word is your bond. Early that summer Allah's street academy opened at 2122 7th Avenue where it remains to this very day. One of the Five Percenters named Universal Shaamguadd presented Allah with an emblem that he designed and it was ordained as the Universal Flag of the Five Percenters. The emblem was painted on the window of the street academy and put on pins that they wore on their lapels.
City on the Eve of Destruction
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. This sent shock waves throughout black communities across the country. The immediate reaction of the masses of black people was to riot and loot the stores within their communities. In Harlem that night large crowds of people gathered on the streets. The Five Percenters were also out in force. Recognizing the tendency of the 85% to react violently without any consideration of who, where, what or how to execute their desire for justice, the Five Percent moved throughout the crowds of Harlem reinforcing peace. This helped avert a riot which would have left Harlem in a shamble and the black community holding the bag. Allah received public and media praises for his participation in maintaining peace and order. He also received a commendation from Mayor Lindsay for the outstanding job he was doing in providing motivation for educational and vocational growth in and with youth. On the morning of June 12, 1969, Allah awoke at the home of his mother. He told her that it was the best rest that he had ever had. She asked the Father if he could get out of where he had to go. The Father replied "when they are ready they will kill you." He hugged and kissed his mother good-bye and departed. His mother had the feeling when he had left that day, that he would never come back.
In the two previous years from June of 1969, Allah had risen to become a very powerful figure within New York City. He had achieved a kind of international celebrity status; Canadian television did a story on him; a sociologist from Sweden interviewed him and he had plans to meet with Chinese representatives on June 20, 1969. The young Five Percenters were fast presenting a growing problem among the City's black youth. They defied authority and taught other black youth that they didn't need a whiteman's education or job. The Police Department and the Board of Education had difficulties in finding people who were both street-wise and sufficiently schooled in Black nationalist philosophy to establish relationships with these youth to redirect their activities and thinking. They were aware of the controversial racial questions involved. The controversial means of dealing with rebellious black youth with pacification programs of recreation, job recruitment, remedial education, and traditional social work wasn't enough. Within the white power structure Allah was being viewed as a dangerous man. In 1967, Allah began to teach the brothers that they were Gods also, as he had realized in himself. He had them change their names from Muslim names to come in the name of Allah as their family name and take a name from their mathematics or alphabets to go with it. Thus, for example, a Five Percenter with a name like I Islam was renamed Um Allah, Hakiem was renamed Born Allah, Dihoo was renamed Knowledge Allah, and so on. Allah was very particular at distinguishing his nation from the Muslims. He taught the sisters that the earth is the Blackwoman's twin in nature. Thus Five Percenter women are called Earths. The Black woman is symbolic to the earth in many ways the earth is the only planet in our solar system that is capable of reproducing life the moon, the earth's counterpart, reflects the light of the sun in much the same way that the woman reflects the teachings of her man. Five Percenter women wear long dresses so that they are clothed with three fourths of their body covered symbolic of the earth being three fourths covered with water. Earths were encouraged to study nutrition so that they could provide a healthy environment for their family. He taught all of his Nation, Gods and Earths that the way for the black nation to regain its position of greatness in the world again was to take care of and teach the babies. In 1968, Allah started giving indications to his Five Percenters that he would be departing. He would tell them things like, "After this year there won't be any Five Percenters anymore. You will be the Nation of Gods and Earths, not the Nation of Islam... If I die I don't want you standing over me crying because if I could I'd reach up and slap you." Or he would say to a friend while gesturing to one of his Five Percenters, "If I die tomorrow and he keeps teaching, how can I be dead?" In 1969, Allah began to prepare his Five Percenters for life on their own without him. He spoke with all of them in the Street Academy and one by one told them what their qualities were and left each of them responsible for a function for the Nation. He told them that he had to leave them because "the only way to attract the killer is to give blood" and that if they ever needed him all they had to do was come together. On the night of June 12, 1969, Allah was at his Street Academy speaking with his Five Percenters. He spoke with them well into the night about male-female relationships. Those who were present still remember to this day the euphoric feeling that he left them with. A feeling so good that they didn't notice that the yellow cab drive whose taxi that Allah got into wasn't the cab of A-Allah that he usually left with. Shortly after Allah had left, word came back that he had been brutally gunned down in the Elevator of Martin Luther King Towers on 112 Street in East Harlem. He was hit with seven or eight powerful blasts fired by his assailants. The Five Percenters rushed down to where their "father" was stricken. Many of them stood around crying. At least one of them had remembered what Allah had told them and didn't shed a tear. On Saturday, June 14th, Mayor Lindsay and his aide Barry Gotherer met with the Gods at their Street Academy. He told them of the sorrow that he felt also at the death of Allah. One by one the Gods spoke about the reasons that they loved Allah and pledged to continue his work. One God said that "the only way we can show we loved Allah is to build to become our own carpenters, doctors lawyers, painters and electricians." The funeral was held on Monday afternoon at Unity Funeral Chapel on 8th Avenue and 126 Street. It was a massive event as Harlem bid farewell to the man they affectionately called "Puddin". Four hundred people packed the chapel. Gods and Earths repeated the sentence "Allah cannot die! Allah is God, and God lives forever!" - as they passed the walnut casket bearing the earthly remains of the man who had reached out to them and taught them. The funeral procession through Harlem to Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hansdale, New York, where he was cremated, included seven bus loads of black youth. Who killed Allah? At that time Seventh Avenue was bustling with all types of shady activities from varied sorts. There was gamblers, dope peddlers, con-men, pimps, prostitutes, Muslims, powerful black church ministers, political activists, all coexisting amongst each other. The operators in Allah's assassination could have been any number of the street people found along Seventh Avenue. However, like Jesus, he could even have been betrayed from amongst one of his own; those who are closest to you can hurt you the most. Allah always said that the only one that can ever hurt me is a Five Percenter. The Daily News had ran a story that quoted an unidentified police spokesman as alleging that the Black Muslims were behind the death of Allah because they wanted to do away with so-called "splinter groups." Louis Farrakhan, who was minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem, emphatically denied this account pointing out that "the police and the white power structure are tired of the Muslims and the Black militants, and would like to rid themselves of both by instigating, provoking and inciting black people to fight and kill each other." The one who killed Allah is the one who feared his power the most. The one who would stand to gain the most by black youth not being awakened to the knowledge of themselves. The one who enters our communities with the expressed purpose of concern for those in need and offering programs but with hidden motives of identifying, monitoring, and sabotaging. And now I ask you, Who killed Allah? Many people from outside the Nation thought that Allah's longtime friend, Justice, would fill the rule that Allah had left. Those within the Nation felt that Knowledge Allah had been groomed by Allah well enough to do the job. However, Allah had told his Five Percenters before he left them that his death would born the Nation of Gods and Earths. That they did not need a leader because they were all leaders of themselves and their family, and when black people have leaders the devil can easily execute them to derail the movement. After the death of Allah the Gods were, as Allah had predicted, dead for a year. They were devastated by his loss. For a year there was increased drinking and drug use. However, at the end of 1970 there was two events that indicated to the Gods that they were on their way to recovery. The first was a party that the Gods from the Bronx and Queens who attended Harlem Prep School together, gave in Hollis, Queens in December 1970. The second occurred that same New Year's Eve when the Gods from all four boroughs brought in the new year together at the Street Academy. As Allah had told them, if they ever needed him all they had to do was come together. In 1971, the Gods and Earths came alive as a Nation. They selected representatives to attend International events at the United Nations; they started teaching black youth in other states; they started math, science, sewing, and first aid classes in may parts of the city; Gods began teaching at Harlem Prep and representing the school at science seminars; they instituted the Nation's annual "Show and Prove", which is an educational and scientific display of their progress in continuing Allah's work [held each year in the month of June, to commemorate the date that he was killed]; they instituted an economic program called "Build the Builders." There were several Gods who were responsible for teaching in the Bronx. Among them was Born Allah, a very powerful and articulate God who was in the Nation since the early days. [Years before this, in 1968, while Allah was attending a Christmas party at City Hall he had a discussion with Burt Roberts who was then, District Attorney in the Bronx. Roberts told Allah, although supposedly joking at the time, that "I have no problem with your being Allah. You can be Allah all you want in Manhattan, in Queens, in Kings County but you come up to the Bronx county and tell people you're Allah and I'll have your black ass in jail."] Born Allah taught young Gods in the Bronx that they were responsible for defending and maintaining their own neighborhoods. They did not view the police as being protectors of their neighborhoods but rather as their oppressors. An incident occurred in Sept. of 1973 in which a man was killed on the street by a large group of people from the community for firing a gun savagely on the street. Born Allah was singled out and railroaded for his crime because the white authorities identified him as the "ring leader" of the Gods. He was given a twenty-five year to life sentence and to this day sits in a jail cell, not for the crime of which he is accused, but for the crime of teaching black youth to be sovereign over themselves and community. This is analogous to the case of Nelson Mandela in South Africa who also taught his people that they should not denounce violence as long as the white authorities continued to perpetrate violence against them. Both of them have sat in jail for the better part of the last twenty-five years for their views. Another event that further illustrates that the forces that killed Allah were alive and active in the Bronx took place in 1976. A very sincere God by the name of Kyleek had acquired use of the local manpower office for use of the Gods and Earths in the community to hold classes in martial arts, sewing, etc.... He had the keys to the building and was responsible for opening it up everyday which he did faithfully. One day he didn't show up to open the building and he hasn't been heard from since. The Nation began to grow in epic numbers among black youth. Gods and Earths were teaching and multiplying in all black neighborhoods within the City and in many neighboring states. Now it was more than just youth who were predominantly from the same socio-economic background; low income, broken families, with histories of run-ins with the authorities, but also included bright, middle class youth from working family backgrounds. So, the Nation reached across all class divisions. And most importantly, unlike other organizations that falter under when their leader is taken from them, the Nation of Gods and Earths grew prolifically after Allah was taken from them