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*On this date in 1975, Elijah Muhammad died. He was an African American Black Muslim, who was leader of the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death.
Initially named Elijah Poole, he was born in 1897 near Sandersville, Georgia, one of 13 children of an itinerant Baptist preacher. His formal education ended when he was nine years old. In 1923 he settled in Detroit, where, eight years later, he met and became a disciple of Wallace D. Fard, founder of the Temple of Islam in Detroit. When Fard disappeared in 1934, Poole changed his own name to Muhammad and assumed leadership of the movement that later became known as the Black Muslims.
Muhammad spent the next eight years recruiting followers throughout the country. In 1942 he was imprisoned for urging Blacks to resist the military draft. After his release in 1946, the movement widened. It grew and prospered, especially in the 1960s, Muhammad advocated the establishment of an autonomous state for Black Muslims.
2,000 years of Extraordinary Achievement
by Jessie Carney Smith
Copyright 1994 Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI