African Americans

Where Can I Find A Reference Outside The Teachings of the Moorish Community That “Black Means Death According to Science?”

Identifying oneself as Black, Black American, or as an adherent of Black Islam is against the worldview of Moorish Americans and the Moorish Science Temple of America. For example, the following statement appears on the Moorish Science Temple of  America’s website:

Black according to science means death. Black is also a color, and colored means anything that has been painted, stained, varnished, or dyed; therefore a person cannot be black. Black and colored have all been used to name the olive hued person or their descendants. Colored, now somewhat old fashioned, is often offensive. However it is still used, such as in the title of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In the late 1950’s black began to replace Negro and is still widely used and accepted. Negro is a name given to a river in West Africa by Moors because it contains black water (the Negro river is located in what is today called Brazil in South America).”

Where Can I Find A Reference Outside The Teachings of the Moorish America Community That “Black Means Death According to Science?”

Human classification based on color is a social template that was borrowed from colonialism. In any event, many people who are not involved with Moorish American culture have asked for references that support the claim that “black” means death as promoted by the MSTA. In order to answer this question, we must first look into the life of the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America, Noble Drew Ali.

One thing that always comes up in regards to Noble Drew Ali’s upbringing is his connection to the Cherokee nation. Sheik Way-El provides an excellent account of some of the many theories surrounding Noble Drew Ali’s birth in his book. Noble Drew Ali & The Moorish Science Temple of America, where we read on page one:

“His ancestry is variously described as him being the son of two former slaves who was adopted by a tribe of Cherokees, or that his parents were actually living on the Cherokee reservation when he was born in the Smoky Mountains region of North Carolina, or that he was the son of a Moroccan Moslem father and a Cherokee mother who was of Moorish descent.”

Based on the information provided by Sheik Way-El we can determine that all stories which seek to describe Noble Drew Ali’s childhood make mention of his association with the Cherokee nation in some form or fashion. Noble Drew Ali’s youthful association with the Cherokee nation may have been where he learned that “black means death according to science.” Published in 1891, The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees by James Mooney, describes the formulas, practices and rituals of Cherokee shamans based on their own manuscripts. Under the chapter, titled, Color Symbolism, we find that “black means death.” On page 342 of the said work, we read:

“Color symbolism plays an important part in the shamanistic system of the Cherokees, no less than in that of other tribes. Each one of the cardinal points has its corresponding color and each color its symbolic meaning, so that each spirit invoked corresponds in color and local habitation with the characteristics imputed to him, and is connected with other spirits of the same name, but of other colors, living in other parts of the upper world and differing widely in their characteristics. Thus the Red Man, living in the east, is the spirit of power, triumph, and success, but the Black Man, in the West, is the spirit of death. The shaman therefore invokes the Red Man to the assistance of his client and consigns his enemy to the fatal influences of the Black Man.

The symbolic color system of the Cherokees, which will be explained more fully in connection with the formulas, is as follows:

East red success; triumph.
North blue defeat; trouble.
West black death.
South white peace; happiness.
Above? brown unascertained, but propitious.
——— yellow about the same as blue.

There is a great diversity in the color systems of the various tribes, both as to the location and significance of the colors, but for obvious reasons black was generally taken as the symbol of death, while white and red signified, respectively, peace and war. It is somewhat remarkable that red was the emblem of power and triumph among the ancient Oriental nations no less than among the modern Cherokees.”

While we do not possess all the details about the Prophet’s childhood, it seems more than reasonable to assume that since Noble Drew Ali had heavy involvement with the Cherokee nation as a youth. Since the shamans of this same nation, who were its leaders, viewed the “black man of the west” as symbolic of death, as seen in their own manuscripts, then it should be no surprise that the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America would later teach that black means death according to science. Do you know how many “African-Americans have Cherokee blood flowing through their veins? How can they honor their ancestors if they refuse to accept their forefather’s understanding of life?

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