Liberation Pedagogy: Elijah Muhammad and the Art of Soul Crafting places the work of Elijah Muhammad in an educational context. Drawing from concepts in critical educational theory and Black liberation theology, it introduces to readers the contributions that Elijah Muhammad made to the education of oppressed people. It includes a comparative analysis of Paulo Freire’s work and its similarities to Elijah Muhammad’s teachings.A highlight of this book is that it explores the lives of Elijah Muhammad’s students—Minister Malcolm X, Imam Warith D. Mohammed, Minister Muhammad Ali, and Minister Louis Farrakhan—to demonstrate how his teachings touched the souls of these unlettered personalities. This book offers a liberation pedagogy that educators can use to inspire students to become life-long learners, enabling them to see the acquisition of knowledge as the vehicle to discover their unique gifts and talents.
Abul Pitre is professor and department chair of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University. He was appointed Edinboro University’s first named professor for his outstanding work in African-American education and held the distinguished title of the Carter G. Woodson Professor of Education.
Chapter 1: Spirituality, Education, and Black Liberation Theology
Chapter 2: The Writers, Islam, and Social Justice
Chapter 3: Humble Beginnings
Chapter 4: The Teachings
Chapter 5: Soul Crafting
Pitre offers a new perspective on Elijah Muhammad. With only a fourth-grade education and espousing a new religion (a blend of Christianity and Islam), he was perceived by the dominant white culture as both ill-informed and a threat to social stability. He built a movement, however, the Nation of Islam, which had great success in rehabilitating criminals, drug addicts, and derelicts. Pitre offers a short biography of Muhammad and a chapter on the teachings of the Nation of Islam, focusing on the transformative power of Muhammad’s message through the lens of pedagogy. Pitre notes that current educational pedagogy focuses on learning facts; Muhammad created a pedagogy that empowers people to regain a sense of dignity and self-worth—the first step is finding one’s true self while breaking the bonds of the socially imposed self. Borrowing "from Cornel West's position that education is soul crafting," Pitre labels Muhammad's pedagogy “soul crafting” (p. xv) and claims it was based on five principles: love, wisdom, freedom, justice, and equality. The author then traces the impact of Muhammad’s influence on other Black activists, scholars, and movements, including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Black theology, and the Black Power movement. Highly recommended. All levels.
Finally, a book crafted to acknowledge the wisdom and intellect of Elijah Muhammad’s teachings, which should be the cornerstone of Educator Preparation and Black Studies programs. The powerful message rooted in the book’s pages speaks to the liberation of Black people and their communities. Abul Pitre eloquently unpacks the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, presenting how his teachings can touch the souls of students in classrooms throughout the world.
Pitre brilliantly captures Elijah Muhammad’s teachings as a forerunner to critical race theory, social justice, whiteness studies, and critical pedagogy. Liberation Pedagogy: Elijah Muhammad and the Art of Soul Crafting takes us beyond the technocracy of education to the soul of what it means to educate.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad provided generations of students with teachings that turned us inward: a self-reflection that nurtured an awakening, a knowledge base that reckoned with the stronghold of white supremacy, and a commitment to Black power that revolutionized generations. What Abul Pitre has accomplished is exemplar scholarship—carefully documenting Muhammad’s influence on critical pedagogy, critical race theory, and critical whiteness studies. This book needs to be read by anyone committed to the radical transformation of education and the dismantling of whiteness in our lives and schools of thought.