Muhammad, Elijah 
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Time Period
10/7/1897  - 2/25/1975
Description
Elijah Poole (1897-1975) was born in Georgia to a family of former slaves and sharecroppers. In 1931, after moving to Detroit, he began attending lectures at the Nation of Islam (NOI), a black nationalist movement founded in Michigan by W. Fard Muhammad. Poole converted to Islam, became the assistant minister and changed his name to Elijah Muhammad.

The NOI advocated a combination of Islam and political and economic action to improve the plight of America’s downtrodden black community. Elijah Muhammad became its leader in 1934 and established a second temple in Chicago, where his pronouncements became increasingly fiery. He advocated a separate black nation, referred to white people as "blue-eyed devils" and said blacks were the chosen people. He was jailed during World War II for advocating draft evasion.

Muhammad oversaw widespread growth among the black Muslim movement in America, expanding to 70 temples and more than 100,000 followers.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Islamic

Movements
Black Muslim Movement
Photographs

Elijah Muhammad- Flickr- photo by Mary Harrsch (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Elijah Muhammad speaking- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-116389

Elijah Muhammad addressing an assembly of Muslim followers- Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-116384

Elijah Muhammed portrait- Federal Bureau of Investigation photo
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Lippy, Charles, and Peter Williams, 2010. Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Benedict, Gerald , 2008. The Watkins Dictionary of Religions and Secular Faiths. London: Watkins Publishing.
Web Source(s)
http://www.britannica.com/biography/Elijah-Muhammad
Encyclopedia Britannica
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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