Black supremacy or black supremacism is a racial supremacist belief which maintains that black people are superior to people of other races. The term has been used by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an American civil rights advocacy group, to describe several fringe religious groups in the United States. However, in October 2020, the SPLC announced that they would no longer use the category of "black supremacy" going forward, since in their view it created a false equivalency between white supremacy and black activism against that supremacy, and encouraged over-criminalization and over-policing of black activist communities; they would continue to track some of the groups previously in their "black supremacist" category, but only for antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ and male supremacist views.
Black supremacy was advocated by Jamaican preacher Leonard Howell in the 1935 Rastafari movement tract The Promised Key. Howell's use of "Black Supremacy" had both religious and political implications. Politically, as a direct counterpoint to white supremacy, and the failure of white governments to protect black people, he advocated the destruction of white governments. Howell had drawn upon as an influence the work of the earlier proto-Rastafari preacher Fitz Balintine Pettersburg, in particular the later's book The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy.
The Associated Press described the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI) as having been black supremacist until 1975, when W. Deen Mohammed succeeded Elijah Muhammad (his father) as its leader. Elijah Muhammad's black-supremacist doctrine acted as a counter to the supremacist paradigm established and controlled by white supremacy. The SPLC described the group as having a "theology of innate black superiority over whites – a belief system vehemently and consistently rejected by mainstream Muslims".
Groups associated with black supremacist views
Several fringe groups have been described as either holding or promoting black supremacist beliefs. A source described by historian David Mark Chalmers as being "the most extensive source on right-wing extremism" is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an American nonprofit organization that monitors hate groups and extremists in the United States. Authors of the SPLC's quarterly Intelligence Reports have in the past described the following groups as holding black supremacist views:
- The Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (ICGJC), which is headquartered in New York City, was described in 2008 by the SPLC as an American "black supremacist sect" and part of the growing "black supremacist wing of the Hebrew Israelite movement". The ICGJC accepts the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha as inspired Scripture and has an apocalyptic view of the end of the world.
- The Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK), based in the Upper Darby Township of Philadelphia.
- The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a religious organization founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad in the United States in 1930. They have been described by the SPLC as "one of the wealthiest and best-known organizations in black America with a theology of innate black superiority over whites". SPLC cites the NOI leaders' "deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric" as reasons for the organization being categorized as a hate group.
- The Nation of Yahweh is a religious group based in the United States described as black supremacist by the SPLC. It is an offshoot of the Black Hebrew Israelite line of thought. It was founded by American Yahweh ben Yahweh (born Hulon Mitchell Jr.), whose name means "God the Son of God" in Hebrew. The Nation of Yahweh grew rapidly throughout the 1980s and at its height had headquarters in Miami, Florida, and temples in 22 states.
- The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors was founded by the American Dwight York, who has been described by the SPLC as advocating the belief that black people are superior to white people. The SPLC reported that York's teachings included the belief that "whites are 'devils', devoid of both heart and soul, their color the result of leprosy and genetic inferiority". The SPLC described the Nuwaubianism belief system as "mix[ing] black supremacist ideas with worship of the Egyptians and their pyramids, a belief in UFOs and various conspiracy theories related to the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers".
During speeches given at the Freedom Rally in Cobo Hall on June 23, 1963, at Oberlin College in June 1965, and at the Southern Methodist University on March 17, 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. called black supremacy "as dangerous as" white supremacy:
A doctrine of black supremacy is as dangerous as a doctrine of white supremacy. God is not interested in the freedom of black men or brown men or yellow men. God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race, the creation of a society where every man will respect the dignity and worth of personality.— Martin Luther King Jr., Speech at the Southern Methodist University, March 17, 1966.
- Black nationalism
- Black separatism
- Melanin theory
- Racial formation theory
- White supremacy
- Hodges, Raven (October 8, 2020). "Equity Through Accuracy: Changes to Our Hate Map". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
- Sellers, Allison Paige (2015). "The 'Black Man's Bible': The Holy Piby, Garveyism, and Black Supremacy in the Interwar Years". Journal of Africana Religions. 3 (3): 325. doi:10.5325/jafrireli.3.3.0325 – via JSTOR.
- Bogues, Anthony (2003). Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals. Psychology Press. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-415-94325-3. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- Charles Price (2009). Becoming Rasta: Origins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica. NYU Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-8147-6768-9.
- "Former Nation of Islam leader dies at 74". MSNBC. Associated Press. September 9, 2008. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
- Vincent, Rickey (2013). Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers' Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music. Chicago Review Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-61374-495-6. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- Perry, Theresa (1996). Teaching Malcolm X. Psychology Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-415-91155-9. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- "Nation of Islam". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- David Mark Chalmers (2003). Backfire: How the Ku Klux Klan Helped the Civil Rights Movement. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 188. ISBN 0-7425-2311-X.
- Brett A. Barnett (2007). Untangling the web of hate: are online "hate sites" deserving of First Amendment Protection?. Cambria Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-934043-91-2.
- "Racist Black Hebrew Israelites Becoming More Militant". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. August 29, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
- "'General Yahanna' Discusses Black Supremacist Hebrew Israelites". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. August 29, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Nation Of Islam | Southern Poverty Law Center". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on March 31, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
- Mark Potok (November 29, 2001). "Popularity and Populism". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- Bob Moser (September 20, 2002). "United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors Meets Its Match in Georgia". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
- "Nuwaubian Nation of Moors". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "Address at the Freedom Rally in Cobo Hall". King Papers Project. Stanford University | Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. January 13, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Electronic Oberlin Group. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Transcript of Dr. Martin Luther King's speech at SMU on March 17, 1966". Southern Methodist University. Retrieved June 15, 2020.