Malcolm X's Letter to Elijah Muhammad

March 11, 1964 Mr. Elijah Muhammed 4847 Woodlawn Avenue Chicago 15, Illinois The National Officials there at the Chicago Headquarters know that I never left the Nation of Islam of my own free will. It was they who conspired with Captain Joseph here in New York to pressure me out of the Nation. In order to save the National Officials and Captain Joseph the the disgrace of having to explain their [unreadable] reason for forcing me out, I announced through the press that it was my own decision to leave. I did not take the blame to protect those National Officials, but to preserve the faith your followers have in you and the Nation of Islam. Despite what has been said by the press, I've never spoken one word of criticizm to them about your family. I will always be a Muslim, teaching what you have taught me, and giving you full credit for what I know and what I am. You are still my leader and teacher, even though those around you wont let me be one of your active followers or helpers. The present course I am taking is the only way I can circumvent their obstacles and still expedite your program. The tears you shed in Arizona gave the public the impression that you also are of the opinion that I left of my own free will, so I'm giving a copy of this wire to the press. May Allah bless you with health and success. I am still your brother and servant. Malcolm X

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is Kay Fellow in Islamic Studies and Women's Studies at Brandeis University.

is associate professor of Islamic Studies at Colgate University, co-chair of the Study of Islam Section at the American Academy of Religion, and editor of Progressive Muslims.

is a columnist, filmmaker, and editor of Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith.

Precious Rasheeda Muhammad

is founder and president of the Journal of Islam in America Press and founder of the Islam in America conferences at Harvard Divinity School