There has long been a Prophecy in the black nationalist movement of a “black messiah,” who would come to liberate blacks and the non-white world from white oppression. This is a short comparison of several versions of this Prophesy made in the literature of black identity theology. A couple of examples of the black nationalist concept of the messiah are given below.
Many references have been made to Obama being the messiah or God and Obama has never tried to squelch such references. One should consider that Obama may in some sense feel himself to be the embodiment of this prophecy of a black messiah, who is to be a normal man of flesh and bones and who is expected to rule a real physical government.
Black Identity cult doctrine is expressed under the cover of Islam, Hebrew-ism and Christianity, but these doctrines have more in common with each other than their nominal religious affiliation. Various related branches of the black nationalist movement are represented by the Black Hebrew Israelites, the Nation of Islam, the Nuwaubians, Nation of Gods and Earths and the Black Liberation Theology of Obama’s own Trinity Church in Chicago.
The basic belief is that white man is the cause of suffering in the world. The black race is the chosen people or divine. Non-white races are seen as related groups. A black messiah or messiahs, who will be a real man of flesh and blood, will arise to liberate the world from white domination via a real, revolution. The white man can only be redeemed by submission to the black race. After destruction of white society, a millennial kingdom will be established on Earth which will be a real, physical government, a black theocracy.
The black nationalist movement has produced a number of violence-prone racist cults and some of the most notorious serial killings in US history. It is not widely known, because the media avoids reporting such occurrences.
The religious concepts of black nationalism have existed for a couple hundred years, but have only been formalized in about the last century. Marcus Garvey was the Founder of black nationalism as a mass movement in the 1910’s and is considered to be a first prophet of black nationalism. A famous quote by Garvey is:
Look to the East for the crowning of a Black King, he is the redeemer for the days of deliverance are near.
This quote is credited with starting Rastafarianism, whose members identified the Emperor of Ethiopia, Halie Selassie as the King prophesied by Garvey. The Rastafaris worship Halie Selassie as the black messiah, God in the flesh.
In the introduction to the Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey, the editor, Bob Blaisdell, writes the following in the introduction. (Dover Publications, 2004, paperback edition, page x)
His hard, long-standing, and narrow adherence to, and belief in, nationalism now led him to identify and sympathize with such European tyrants as Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy, and Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, of Germany. In March 1934, in Garvey’s magazine, The Black Man, he recommended that his readers peruse Mein Kampf expressing his hope that one day the black race would produce its own Hitler: “Hitler has a lesson to teach and he is teaching it well. To a long-time U.N.I.A. supporter in 1937, Garvey boasted, “We were the ﬁrst Fascists. We had disciplined men, women and children in training for the liberation of Africa. The black masses saw that in this extreme nationalism lay their only hope and readily supported it. Mussolini copied fascism from
me, but the Negro reactionaries sabotaged it.
Elijah Muhammad was a co-founder and head of the Nation of Islam. He was the mentor of Louis Farrakhan as well as Malcolm X. In The Theology of Time, (Secretarius Memps Publications, First edition. Muhammad writes the following passages about the return of a Messiah. The parenthesis are the blogger’s.
The Son of Man is that man Who is given authority and power by God to carry out His judgement upon the people. That’s what Son of Man is. Then, it goes also for the Mahdi (Arabic for messiah) being born out of His nation by a woman that was not of his nation (white mother). The man that produced the child, who she gave birth to, was of us, the Black nation (black father). He married her to get an unalike child, so that he could send that child among our people, and his people, to produce a ruler from us. We who were lost among the unalike people. The man Who had been made from part of his people and the enemy (whites), was and is the God of the judgement and of the destruction of the unalike, who has attracted the black man for these last 6,000 years to follow. The unalike is the White people. They are unalike us. We are not like them and they’re not like us, only in the nature of a man. That’s why they call him man-kind, because he’s just kind of like the real man, but he’s not the real man. (pages 43-44)
From A Black Theology of Liberation” by James H. Cone (1970)
Black theology must realize that the white Jesus has no place in the black community, and it is our task to destroy him. We must replace him with the black messiah, as Albert Cleage would say, a messiah who sees his existence as inseparable from black liberation and the destruction of white racism. (page 38)
Blackness is a manifestation of the being of God in that it reveals that neither divinity nor humanity reside in white definitions but in liberation from captivity. The black Christ is he who threatens the structure of evil as seen in white society, rebelling against it, thereby becoming the embodiment of what the black community knows that it must become. (page 121)
To be a disciple of the black Christ is to become black with him. Looting, burning, or the destruction of white property are not primary concerns. Such matters can only be decided by the oppressed themselves who are seeking to develop their images of the black Christ. (page 123)
The Kingdom of God and the Black Christ – The appearance of Jesus as the black Christ also means that the black revolution is God’s kingdom becoming a reality in America. According to the New Testament, the kingdom is a historical event. It is what happens to persons when their being is confronted with the reality of God’s historical liberation of the oppressed. To see the kingdom is to see a happening, and we are thus placed in a situation of decision-we say either yes or no to the liberation struggle. (page 124)
From “Black Theology and Black Power” by James H. Cone (1969)
It (the black church) is revolutionary in that it seeks to meet the needs of the neighbor amid crumbling structures of society. It is revolutionary because love may mean joining a violent rebellion. (Page 113)
Because Black Theology is biblical theology seeking to create new value-perspectives for the oppressed, it is revolutionary theology. It is a theology which confronts white society as the racist Antichrist, communicating to the oppressor that nothing will be spared in the fight for freedom. It is this attitude which distinguishes it from white American theology and identifies it with the religionists of the Third World. (page 135)