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Muhammad, Elijah - Timeline Biography

Time Period

10-07-1897 - 02-25-1975

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)

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Religious Groups

Timeline Entries for the same religious group: Islamic
Islamic: Other ARDA Links
Islamic: Religious Family Tree

Movements

Black Muslim Movement

Related Dictionary Terms

Nation of Islam

Photographs

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

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

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

Elijah Muhammed portrait- Federal Bureau of Investigation photo
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)

https://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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