Origins of African American Islam
After the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans found themselves in a very difficult situation: their essence had been stripped away through generations of slavery and they were trying to regain a sense of belonging and an identity that separated them from White oppression. Some, like Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), advocated a return to the African motherland. Others, having been influenced by Garvey’s desire to uplift African Americans, took a different approach. Two such movements arose in the early decades of the twentieth century, each with a desire to achieve equality, a focus on cultural history, and a need for land as a sign of power.