But some black folks celebrated the attack. Namely, Elijah Muhammad and his followers in the Nation of Islam.
In his 1999 book, “The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad,” Karl Evanzz wrote:
“The War of Armageddon that Elijah Muhammad had believed in since Bible school, the race war that he had feared as a young man in Macon... moved nightmarishly close to reality....”
As early as the mid-1930s, Elijah Muhammad taught his disciples that “The Japanese will slaughter the white man” and “It is Japan’s duty to save you.”
A rumored financial backer of the Nation of Islam was Satokata Takahashi, a foreign agent who formed alliances with black nationalists on behalf of Imperial Japan.
Here is more from Karl Evanzz’s book:
While America trembled in fear of another Japanese attack, the NOI celebrated the bombing of Pearl Harbor as the beginning of the hellfire. Many Muslims wondered how soon the ships would come to take them to their promised new homes in Hawaii, and when they would get their first glimpse of the Mother Plane.
Others wrote letters urging their families to join the NOI before it was too late. On December 9, two days after the attack, Milwaukee minister Sultan Muhammad wrote an effusive letter to the Messenger:
“The end of the enemy truly has come.... All Praise is due to Allah; [Armageddon] truly has come, my Loving and most Faithful Apostle. Oh, how happy am I to see what I am seeing! ...”
In a follow-up letter on December 16, Sultan, who was the Messenger’s cousin, beamed proudly as Black Milwaukeeans were suddenly beating down the door to join the NOI. His weekly report of February 3 was equally euphoric:
“Old Satan is really silent in his Hell. They are just as quiet and never have anything to say concerning his war in our presence.... All Praise is due Allah alone, the Great God of the Universe. What is the matter with the Devils? Why are they carrying such long faces? Ha! Ha! ... Blessed be the name of Allah, Who promised through His prophets that He would overtake the Devil and his host!”
... At Temple No. 4 in Washington, D.C., Muhammad and his followers reveled in newspaper accounts of Japan’s exploits, though not for long.
As the war entered its sixth month, the FBI’s intelligence reports forced [J. Edgar] Hoover to take a closer look at the NOI, as they indicated that the Muslims and other black nationalist organizations were receiving carbine rifles and sophisticated military weaponry from Japanese espionage agents. These weapons, several field offices reported, were stockpiled in black ghettos in nearly every major American city.