The term Afrodescendant

My name is Silis Muhammad and I am the CEO of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam and the Spiritual Son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH). I have been fighting for my people’s right to self-determination for many years. I would spend many years out in the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 1998 until 2002 working to establish our identity.

Having been a member of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, I sought to classify us as Lost-Found Peoples and establish that name as our collective identity. I learned from several forums in the United Nations that a large contingency of our people mainly Latin Americans from the slavery diaspora were calling themselves Afrodescendant. As early as 2000 in Santiago Chile, the term was first heard at a United Nation forum.

In Durban, South Africa in 2001, we were still working on our identity; we were not working to define it yet. We did not have a clear-cut identity although the term, Afrodescendant was in the air. We had not decided collectively on an identity.

In 2002, at a United Nations Conference for the Rights of Minorities in La Ceiba, Honduras, nineteen (19) countries from North America, South America, Central America and throughout the slavery diaspora gathered. Most Latin American countries had already accepted this global identity and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam objected to it. During the Conference, a representative from Brazil, who has the largest Afrodescendant population in the slavery diaspora, stated that they too did not agree with the name Afrodescendant, but acquiesced to establish unity with the many descendants of the slavery diaspora that had already accepted and were using the term.

Feeling the weight of the term Afrodescendant in the atmosphere among the Latin American delegates, then we, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam decided to concur and use the term like the Brazilians had done. WE, Silis Muhammad, Misshaki Muhammad and the delegates of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, quickly sketched out a rough definition of Afrodescendant before having a meeting with the Cuban Chairperson and the other Latin American delegates. At that meeting, we shared the definition of Afrodescendant: The term, Afrodescendant, refers to the descendants of peoples who:

  • were forcibly disposed of their homeland, Africa;
  • were transported to the Americas and Slavery Diaspora for the purpose of enslavement;
  • were subjected to slavery;
  • were subjected to forced mixed breeding and rape;
  • have experienced, through force, the loss of mother tongue, culture, and religion;
  • and/or have experienced racial discrimination due to lost ties or partially loss ties from their original identity.

Defining the term gave power to the name, Afrodescendant. We offer to you, African-Americans, Black people, a just people, the global identity, Afrodescendant. Photo of Silis Muhammad

Do you self identify as Afrodescendant?

I am Afrodescendant