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Messenger of Allah
|Leader of the Nation of Islam|
1934 – February 25, 1975
|Preceded by||Wallace Fard Muhammad|
|Succeeded by||Warith Deen Mohammad|
|Born||Elijah Robert Poole
October 7, 1897
|Died||February 25, 1975
|Occupation||Leader of the Nation of Islam|
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was born on or about Oct. 7, 1897 in Sandersville, Georgia. The exact date of his birth remains unknown because record keeping in rural Georgia for the descendants of slaves was not kept current, according to historians and family members. Nevertheless, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said his birth took place some time in the first or second week of October in 1897 and set forth Oct. 7th as the anniversary date of his birth. 
Born Elijah (or Robert) Poole on October 7, 1897, near Sandersville, Georgia. His parents were ex-slaves who worked as sharecroppers on a cotton plantation; his father was also a Baptist preacher. As a youngster Elijah worked in the fields and on the railroad, but he left home at age 16 to travel and work at odd jobs. He settled in Detroit in 1923, working on a Chevrolet assembly line. Elijah Pool met his future wife, Clara Evans. The couple eventually left the south, settling in Hamtramck, Michigan.
In around 1931, Elijah Pool was introduced to the teachings of a newly arrived man by the name of Wallace Fard Muhammad and at his first lecture, he immediately accepted it. Soon thereafter, he invited and convinced his entire family to accept the religion of Islam. Because he was such a good helper, W. Fard Muhammad gave him the name of Karreim(helper). Later he was promoted to the position of "Supreme Minister" of the then called "Temple of Islam" and his name was changed to Muhammad. Muhammad would later say of his former family name, "The name 'Poole' was never my name," he would later write, "nor was it my father's name. It was the name the white slave-master of my grandfather after the so-called freedom of my fathers."
Mr. Muhammad quickly became an integral part of the Temple of Islam. For the next three and one-half years, Mr. Muhammad was personally taught by his Teacher non-stop. The Muslim community, in addition to establishing religious centers of worship, began to start businesses under the aegis of economic development that focuses on buying and selling between and among Black companies. Mr. Muhammad establishes a newspaper, "The Final Call to Islam," in 1934. This would be the first of many publications he would produce.
Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammad helped establish schools for the proper education of his children and the community. Indeed, the Muslim parents felt that the educational system of the State of Michigan was wholely inadequate for their children, and they established their own schools. By 1934, the Michigan State Board of Education disagreed with the Muslim's right to pursue their own educational agenda, and the Muslim Teachers and Temple Secretary were jailed on the false charge of contributing to the delinquency of minors. Mr Muhammad said he committed himself to jail after learning what had happened. Ultimately, the charges were later dropped, and the officials were freed and Mr. Muhammad received six months' probation to take the Muslim children out of the Islamic school and put them under white Christian teachers. "This I did not do," he said. He moved to the city of Chicago in September of that same year. His Teacher, Master W. Fard Muhammad, was also harassed by the police and was forced out of Detroit and moved to Chicago where he continued to face imprisonment and harassment by the police. In 1934 Master W. Fard Muhammad departed the scene and left the Honorable Elijah Muhammad with the mission of resurrecting the Black man and woman. 
The name of the movement was changed from "Temple of Islam" to "Nation of Islam". Muhammad also revised the theology of the movement. Under his system, Fard was proclaimed the earthly incarnation of Allah, the Muslim name for God; (Elijah) Muhammad was his divinely-appointed prophet. Muhammad also taught that blacks constituted the original human beings, but that a mad black scientist named Yakub had created a white beast through genetic manipulation and that whites had been given a temporary dispensation to govern the world. That period, however, was due to end soon; now the time was at hand for blacks to resume their former dominant role. It was understood that violent war would be likely before the transition could be completed. In the meantime, Muhammad advocated an independent nation for African Americans.
In 1942 Muhammad was one of a group of militant African American leaders arrested on charges of sedition, conspiracy, and violation of the draft laws. He was accused of sympathizing with the Japanese during World War II and of encouraging his members to resist the military draft. He had, indeed, argued that all nonwhites are oppressed by whites, and that it made no sense for African Americans to fight those who were victims of white racism as much as they themselves were. Muhammad was certainly no pacifist, but he argued that the only war in which African Americans should participate would be the coming "Battle of Armageddon," in which blacks would reassert their rightful superiority. For his words and actions Muhammad spent four years, from 1942 to 1946, in federal prison at Milan, Michigan.
|←Authors without initials||Elijah Muhammad
|Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam during their period of greatest growth in the mid-20th century. He was a major advocate of independent, black-operated businesses, institutions, and religion.|
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad published many books, hundreds of articles, and made hundreds of lectures in his life.