This chapter argues that between mid-1959 and late 1963 the Nation of Islam underwent a number of significant changes. Most notable among these was the group’s growth, as during this period the Nation’s numbers of members and temples increased dramatically, making it the largest African American Muslim group in history. A major factor in this expansion was the significant media attention given to the organization from both the public press and through the Nation’s own extremely popular newspaper. As the Nation’s leading spokesman, Malcolm X became a nationally recognized figure, whose importance for some people was eclipsing that of Elijah Muhammad. At the same time, there was a growing sentiment among many Muslim and non-Muslim African Americans that there should be more assertive and even revolutionary activities in the name of black liberation, a belief with which Malcolm increasingly aligned himself. By late 1963 Malcolm was regarded as the leading representative of the revolutionary perspective.

A History of Conversion to Islam in the United States, Volume 2

The African American Islamic Renaissance, 1920-1975