Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Akinyele Umoja - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Audrea Dunham - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Gayles - Committee Member


During Elijah Muhammad’s tenure as leader of the Nation of Islam, he launched an economic program that sought to empower black people in America. This study examines the perceptions and experiences of five individuals who were directly involved in Muhammad’s economic program using a phenomenological approach. The findings of this study revealed that this program helped them develop an identity, provided a way out of economic oppression, improved their work ethic, made them economically self-sufficient, and the pioneers believe that this program has current applications.