An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad

Front Cover
Macmillan, Jan 15, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 377 pages
Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975), born Elijah Poole, dreamed of living a better life than his slave ancestors. However, by the time he arrived in Detroit in 1923, the bitter hatred and lynchings of the South had become a part of his consciousness, and the urban poverty and rank discrimination he encountered in the North further ignited his ire and indignation. In An Original Man, historian Claude Clegg reveals the motivations of this charismatic preacher whose life has been ignored for decades by scholars and biographers. With access to previously classified F.B.I. documents and the opportunity to interview two of Elijah Muhammad's surviving sons and members of the Poole clan in Georgia, Clegg demonstrates that Elijah Muhammad was indeed one of the most influential African-Americans of this century. In this illuminating biography, Clegg not only recounts Elijah Muhammad's early years in Detroit as one of the original members of the Nation of Islam, but also tells of Muhammad's decision to bring the movement first to Chicago and then to the East Coast, his decision to resist the draft during World War II (for which he spent time in prison), the growth of the movement after the war, and the historical schism that erupted between Muhammad and Malcolm X, a break that ultimately defined two major directions of black political consciousness. Particularly valuable is Clegg's outstanding and original examination of the philosophical roots of the Nation of Islam, which are heavily influenced by the writings of Marcus Garvey, Noble Drew Ali, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Freemasons.
 

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AN ORIGINAL MAN: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad

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A meticulous, absorbing reconstruction of the life of the ``Messenger of Allah'' who led the Nation of Islam for more than four decades, until his death in 1975. Clegg (History/North Carolina A&T ... Read full review

An original man: the life and times of Elijah Muhammad

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Head of the Nation of Islam for 40 years, Muhammad was a charismatic leader. In this portrait, historian Clegg reveals how this visionary figure relied on religious ideals and political action to shape African American history in this century. Read full review

Contents

GENESIS
3
AN ORIGINAL MAN LOST AND FOUND
14
THE KNOWLEDGE OF SELF AND OTHERS
41
THE WILDERNESS
77
PUBLIC ENEMY
88
MESSENGER OF ALLAH
109
THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM
149
RUMORS OF WAR
190
A NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS
235
JUDGMENT
269
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD IN AMERICAN MEMORY
285
TERMINOLOGY OF THE NATION OF ISLAM
289
NOTES
291
BIBLIOGRAPHY
345
INDEX
367
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Claude Andrew Clegg III is a professor of history at North Carolina A&T University. He lives in North Carolina.

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