Curiosity Doesn’t Always Kill the Cat

… and speaking of Islam …

Ethel Shariff was the Women's Corps leader and daughter of Elijah Muhammad; this image was part of a photographic essay on Malcolm X in LIFE magazine in 1963.

When I was in the seventh grade, my history teacher, Mr. Jackson, called my mother because he had a concern. We’d been studying Islam and I was fascinated. It was the first time I’d ever truly been exposed to a religion that wasn’t Christianity. I knew there were others, of course, but it was the first time I’d ever studied any one of them.

Mr. Jackson called my mother one night and told her he was concerned because I was showing a particular interest in the Nation of Islam.

You’re thinking, “Whoa, I don’t know about that, Mr. Jackson. You’re crossing some kind of line.”

He meant well; plus, Mr. Jackson was an ordained Methodist minister. My mother responded, “Thank you for your concern. I’ll bare that in mind, but she’s a curious girl, and I think she’ll be fine.”

I said all of that to say: This is one of my favorite Gordon Parks images. There’s something about it that, honestly, does make me want to be an NOI woman for a brief second. That’s a pretty shallow reason to join any organization, so I won’t but this picture is the hotness.

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~ by MsInklination on April 19, 2010.

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