Louis Farrakhan Biography

Louis Farrakhan is an active leader of the African-American religious movement, Nation of Islam. With this article, know more about his childhood, life, works and achievements.

Quick Facts

Birthday: May 11, 1933

Nationality: American

Famous: African American Men Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Age: 86 Years, 86 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Taurus

Also Known As: Louis Eugene Wolcott, Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr., Louis X

Born in: The Bronx

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Spouse/Ex-: Khadijah Farrakhan (m. 1953)

father: Percival Clark

mother: Sarah Mae Manning

children: Abnar Farrakhan, Betsy-Jean Farrakhan, Donna Farrakhan Muhammad, Fatimah Farrakhan, Joshua Farrakhan, Khallada Farrakhan, Louis Farrakhan Jr., Maria Farrakhan, Mustapha Farrakhan

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Winston-Salem State University, English High School of Boston, Boston Latin School

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Louis Farrakhan Muhammad is one of the most famous and renowned leaders of the African-American religious movement - the Nation of Islam. Once a music aficionado and a devotee, his life underwent a major change when he was introduced to Elijah Muhammad, then leader of Nation of Islam. The meeting served as the turning point in the life of this budding musician who gave up on his love for music to thoroughly dedicate himself to the Nation of Islam organization. In his newly found life mission, he worked whole heartedly and contributed much to the organization. No sooner, he rose to become the minister of major mosques and national spokesperson for the group. However, his life incurred another major turning point when he withdrew his support from the Warith Deen Muhammad led NOI to form his own NOI. Upon acquiring leadership, he remained outspoken on various social and political issues that caused a stir among the people and brought in wrath for his racial and religious commentary by other racial and ethnic groups. Till date, he remains as an active figure in the organization. Read the following lines to know more about his life and works.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Louis Farrakhan was born as Louis Eugene Wolcott to Sarah Mae Manning and Percival Clark in The Bronx, New York. However, his parents separated even before he was born.
  • He did not know his biological dad and was mostly brought up by his stepfather, Louis Wolcott. However, the death of senior Wolcott in 1936 led to a relocation of his family to Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Since an early age, he received a rigorous training in violin so much so that by the time he turned thirteen he had mastered the instrument and was playing along with the Boston College Orchestra and Boston Civic Symphony.
  • In his first year as a teenage, he became one of the first black performers to appear on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. Furthermore, the next year, he had to his credit two national level victories.
  • Academically, he attended the prestigious Boston Latin School after which he was admitted to the English High School. Graduating from the same, he enrolled for a three-year course at the Winston-Salem Teachers College on a track scholarship.
  • Starting 1950s, he went on to pursue a career in music. He recorded several calypso albums by the name, ‘The Charmer’. Having toured frequently since his first release, in 1955, he organized a show in Chicago by the name ‘Calypso Follies’.
  • Interestingly one of the songs remained a chartbuster and on top of the Billboard Chart for five years in a row.
  • It was while pursuing his professional music career that he first was exposed to the teachings of Nation of Islam, through his friend and saxophonist, Rodney Smith.
  • Later on, Elijah Muhammad invited him to attend the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviour’s Day address. Inspired by the discourse, in 1955, he resolved to be a member of Nation of Islam (NOI)
  • He fulfilled all the requirements to become a registered Muslim/ registered believer/ registered labourer of NOI and received an approval by the NOI headquarter in July 1955.
  • Initially known by the name Louis X, which denoted Nation of Islam members, his name was later changed to the ‘holy name’ Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan in Arabic means ‘The Criterion’.
  • A major changeover in his life came when he was asked to choose between music and the Nation of Islam. Giving up on music completely, he dedicated himself to working for the Nation of Islam.
  • Within a span of nine months, he rose up the ranks to serve as the assistant minister to Malcolm X, who was then heading the Muhammad’s Temple of Islam in Boston.
  • He did not have to wait for the ministership for long as Malcom X was soon shifted to the Temple of Muhammad in Harlem, New York and he was promoted in the latter’s place at the Boston Temple.
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  • Malcolm X was assassinated on 21 February 1965 and Farrakhan profited from it as he was appointed to two important and prominent positions in NOI.
  • He was appointed to the chair of the minister of the influential Harlem Mosque in 1965 a position which he continued to serve until 1975. Furthermore, he became the national spokesman and representative of NOI which he served until Muhammad death.
  • Though Farrakhan remained a loyalist of the Muhammad clan for some time, he soon withdrew his support from the organization and rebuilt the original Nation of Islam that was established by its founders
  • Soon after foundation, he started a weekly newspaper by the name, The Final Call, Inc. The main aim behind the initiation was to communicate his views and thoughts to supporters and members.
  • Furthermore, two years later, along with his supporters, he organized the first Saviours’ Day convention in Chicago and resumed the group name to Nation of Islam, which promised to walk by the principles of Elijah Muhammad.
  • Throughout his leadership, he blamed the Jewish community and other ethnic and racial groups for the sufferings endured by African-Americans.
  • Following a vision which he experienced and received from Muhammad, he held a press conference in Washington DC in which he stated that Muhammad informed him of President Reagan’s intention of planning a war. His words were proven when the headline on the New York Times’ Sunday magazine read, ‘President Reagan Planned War Against Libya’.
  • In the October of 1995, he planned a broad coalition intending to draw about one million men in Washington DC for the Million Man March. However, only, 44,000 men seemed to have joined the march.
  • At the convention, he was the keynote speaker along with distinguished African American intellectuals such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King III, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson and Benjamin Chavis.
  • A decade later, he celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March by calling for a second convention which was named, Millions More Movement. The same was held for three days from October 14, 2005 to October 17, 2005.
  • In 2008, he rendered his support for the Barack Obama campaign but his backing was not solicited by Obama. However, he turned against the President after the latter’s support for the 2011 military intervention in Libya.
  • In 2010, he publicly announced his support for and embracement of Dianetics. He even encouraged NOI members to undergo auditing from the Church of Scientology. Since then, NOI has hosted its own dianetics courses and its own graduation ceremonies
  • During the Saviors’ Day celebrations of 2013, it was announced that 8500 members of NOI have undergone dianetics auditing. Furthermore, it was also announced that 1055 auditors graduated and 82424 hours of auditing was delivered.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He went into the wedlock early in his life with Betsy Ross (Khardijah Farrakhan). Due to complications in pregnancy, he dropped out of college right after the junior year to take care of her and their first-born.
  • In 2006, he informed NOI members and supporters of his ill health and sufferance from peptic ulcer. He again underwent bad health in 2007 due to which he underwent a major abdominal surgery.
  • He recently suffered from heart attack in October 2013 which restricted his public appearance for two months.
  • He is the leader of the African American religious movement, the Nation of Islam.

See the events in life of Louis Farrakhan in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Louis Farrakhan Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- September 25, 2017
Louis Farrakhan

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