Louis Farrakhan, the black Muslim leader whose anti-Semitic rhetoric and advocacy of black independence have made him a controversial figure, drew deafening applause Friday night as he urged a throng at N.C. A&T State University to seize their destiny from white rulers.
Speaking in the packed Corbett Sports Center, Farrakhan challenged the crowd of 10,000 to resist white people's efforts to control and direct their lives.Devoted followers as well as the curious stood in a cold rain outside the arena for half an hour or more because Farrakhan's bodyguards, dressed in suits and bow ties, were frisking everybody.
Farrakhan, founder of the Nation of Islam, a religious sect of U.S. blacks, thanked them for their patience and apologized for the ``difficult and unusual' search procedures.
But, he said: ``We live in a society where people who don't like your ideology will kill you.'
Farrakhan, whose visit was sponsored by A&T's chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, acknowledged his critics. But he told the crowd that his detractors do not hate him so much because of his anti-Semitic remarks or racist comments, but because he arouses unrest in black people.
``They hate me because of what you see right here,' he said, referring to the crowd of blacks who had turned out despite bad weather.
``You can't free black people with what you were taught in white-controlled institutions,' he said, referring to N.C. A&T and other black colleges and universities that he said were erected by white people.
``We have been subjected more to miseducation than quality education,' he continued.
Farrakhan preached against white exploitation of black minds and bodies and told his audience that their only hope for economic and political parity was to chart their own course and not allow their talents to be exploited.
``We spend a lot of time in sport and play,' he said. ``There's nothing wrong with sports and play if you keep it in perspective. As long as you're a basketball player you're under someone else's control. After you get out of college you can do nothing for yourself, nothing for your people.'
Farrakhan, who sermonized throughout his talk, predicted that white power over blacks would end because it was out of sync with God. White rule, he said, has denied blacks freedom, justice and equality.
``So there is a limit of time for their rule,' he assured his audience.
He said whites are worried about what they see happening in the black colleges and universities that they established.
``They were set up by white people to train black people to serve the interest of white people,' he said. ``Now they don't like you being here together. White people feel they are lord and they can take it away.'
While Farrakhan criticized the education blacks get in schools set up by whites, he said the colleges have been a valuable tool in the black community.
``They didn't want this to happen, but these institutions have been the breeding ground of every great black leader,' he said.
He charged that worried whites are taking steps to dilute the educational offerings at predominantly black institutions so that they can slow the pace of black liberation and delay the grooming of new leaders.
``Since the authority of Caucasians over us has been an unjust rule, God says their rule will be judged,' Farrakhan said.