Ques. Did you know that the city of Chicago honored "The Messenger" with Elijah Muhammad Day? How did He go from being Public Enemy #1 to having the city honor Him?
ans. Yes (1974).
1st from where i stand (on the square of truth), i disagree with your last question.
I don't "think" THEM ever went from PE#1 and then that subsided at all. He (or whoever was gonna be the Black Messiah) remained PE#1.
I believe there are multiple factors to this and two or so i will expound on.
THEM being honored by Mayor Daly in Chicago is more of a sociological feat if you will that surrounds many of the cultural more's of Chicago. What do i mean?
In Chicago there's a long (more than 100 year) history of something that for lack of a better term i would call "Irish Justice." Some (that are educated) would know it to just be "American Justice." What that is… It's using the same tactics that people use to commit unjust acts on you to bring about justice. It's literally the political Culture of Chicago. The famed Attorney Clarence Darrow (of Chicago) and many others have written on this.
So in a sociological sense the Irish & Polish communities have a great RESPECT (not "like") for people who do not complain, cry or beg and fix their own problems. And TMHEM had earned that respect by that establishment.
You have to understand The Immigrant Mind too. The Irish and Polish immigrant mind was still fresh in the City. The immigrant mentality always recognizes itself in others. By 1974 that's what the "Black Muslims" could best be defined as and definitely appeared as; "Immigrants." The Muslims (and others in the Black Community) had reached a point/place where they/we had nothing so therefore had nothing to lose and were using what they/we had to make something for itself. That's the classic immigrant mind. And many authors wrote into this regarding THEM.
If i was not a Muslim i would have to say that's one of the most profound feats that THEM did with our people is take a people that were placed in the "red"/ in a hole. And brought us up to zero/ put us in the "black." And if you are a Muslim you know that's Islam. The removal of guilt and debt. And that is what the immigrant mind comes to America with. The remaking of his/herself with no apologies and no guilt.
And although the small number of people who post on this "group" would tend to jump up and down and bash Imam WD Momhammed if you put him in context to time and place this is something he never strayed from although he articulated it differently. And that is that WE (Black People in America) are a "new" people, kind of a "tafsir" based on English Lesson C01. We have parts and pieces of things but after that "60 years" that is in that lesson we find that the 60 years from the date being referred to in that lesson is when THEM said that we are no longer those same people that were placed on those ships and brought over here. And he proved we are so much more…
At that time there were many conflicts regarding "security" and economy. You'd be surprised how having a controlled, clean, quiet people benefit aspects of policing and the economy. Now this would not "fly" today for the cause it's moved to a Jail Economy. But at that time THEM was increasing the betterment of the City which makes the City look better because He did not rub their noses in it. And the Muslims helped Blacks become more self-policing.
Politically it also was sending a message to the establishment to wake up and pay attention to the intelligence and articulation of a population that they already feared of rising.
I could go on here but i will digress that point for now.
2. The other aspect is Polarization. The idea(s) of that era were to appease Blacks with jobs or programs to keep Blacks from gaining the respect and admiration and moreso the ability or desire to want to create for self or duplicate successful models from other Blacks. This would be a public show of a Black intelligence base that would even impress the common (non jewish) white man.
A modern view is like say, the Hip Hop MC COMMON. Right the more revolutionary, deep and introspective he became the more he was moving toward leadership (like Wyclef in Haiti) so it was appeased not with punishment or debasement but with promotion. This is WISE and tactical. So your popularity may rise but your power decreases. So we also see an attempt at this. And no doubt History proved that. In the end THEM was made to look like another leader that when he rose his people rose and when he "fell" the people would fall around his personality. And so it did. Allah is the Best Knower.
So we see in the arena of Politics & Security a rivalry to a degree or a Local view vs a National agenda (by security) and they clearly had opposed one another on a certain degree.
Lastly i would like to emphasize the Respect Issue. Whenever a person completely relies on what they believe they will no doubt be successful and gain even the respect of their enemies. Bilal's (radi Allahu anum) own slave master 1400 years ago as history reads was more enamored at his unwillingness to cowtow over choosing to submit to the master's orders.
Respect is a very powerful thing. Also is… We have the lessons. To Allah the "white man" is no threat. So to his Messenger it would be the same. THEM was not competing with the white people for racial equality. He was holding white people to their own words meanwhile building something in the society and in the people that was not competing with white people but building for the favor of Allah. And many internalized that and carry that and act on that today. Some are in organizations, some created organizations. Some are overt leaders some more intertwined in appearance to the "system."
But in the end it was Respect on a personal level that Mayor Daly had for THEM. Segregation was in their best interest then.
Today Chicago is changing. Chicago's then Jewish population didn't use media the way New York's did. Nowadays that's the same all over. The systematic criminalization of the image of the Black Male. That's just standard modus operandi. To kill the image of respect. Not to necessarily kill the image itself or even the polarization, just make the people not have respect for the individual. Better to follow the people like "repeaters" than respect them and internalize their words and make something or duplicate something good with it that would gain the respect of the community and abroad. So it did not attack THEM in that way. Also is… those politicians was "gangster." And this man THEM didn't even move for the President of the US. That garners respect right there.
I have to close with this. Our people collectively just had more familial wisdom then. And THEM's Wisdom well, i can't speak for how far that goes but greater than the rest. So in that day the people could see that putting someone on a pedestal didn't always mean honor it was often used as patronization. Today that's why it's so easy to control our people. We think/believe that television appearances represent power, so the producer's use this in a skillful way. With the NOI common press historically backfired but not as much today. People believe what ever you show them. Especially if they've been kind of beaten over the head with certain info or are from particular sects or generations.
But that "clanish" mind respected other "Clans." And the NOI appeared to be the Family of THEM.
Respect Garners Much. "Like" not so much. "Like" is based on emotion and the less culture one has the easier it is to use "Like" to gain their attention and move them in any direction.
Today many of the heroes and enemies you see through media are made by the same people. Let Wisdom tell it.
I'll leave the "how did we go from…" for another writing.
These questions are worthy of at least one chapter of a book to deal with it properly and show the workings of the answers to them.