Elijah Muhammad, formerly known as Elijah Robert Poole, was born in Sandersville, Georgia on 7th October, 1897. He was one of the thirteen children of William Poole Sr. and Mariah Hall. He was an author, leader of black-oriented organizations and institutions and a leader of the Nation of Islam(NOI). He was the mentor of Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali, and his own son, Warith Deen Mohammed. His father was a Baptist preacher and sharecropper and his mother was a homemaker and sharecropper. Mr and Mrs Poole were once slaves who worked in the plantation.
Lamentably, Elijah worked in sawmills and a brick factory after dropping out of school in the fourth grade at the age of nine. Yet, he did not lazy around but he courageously and industriously supported his family and worked as a tenant with his parents. He actually and confidently ran away from his parents’ home and began working in companies and factories when he was exactly 16 years of age.
He got married to Clara Evans on March 7, 1917. The Poole family were noted to be one of the hundreds of thousands of black families that formed the First Great Migration in 1923. They left the tyrannous and economically difficult South for safety security and employment. Elijah later recalled that he had witnessed the lynching of three blacks by whites before he was 20 years old. Tearfully I may say, he said: “I saw the brutality of white people enough to last me for 26,000 years.”
In 1930, Elijah decided to become a Muslim, it was through the preachings and teachings of Fard Muhammad. Fard went to Detroit to sell silk goods, through that he told the African-American who were there about African us their homeland. He preached a lot about Islamic, describing it as the best religion for the African people and anything from that is a slave way of punishing them. Going forward, Fard started organizing homes and rented halls meetings proclaiming Islamic and denouncing Christianity. The meetings saw a lot of achievements for his denunciations of the white race. While doing this, Elijah began getting the motivation and before the sun could set and gone, he had joined the Muslim community and finally changed his name to Elijah Muhammad from Elijah Robert Poole.
Not long, Fard had opened the Temple of Islam. The temple saw the like of anti-white vilification and possessing unorthodox form of Islam. Not only that but it stressed African-American education and that of their self-reliance and self-help. Many thought that Elijah’s changed of mind to become a Muslim was a joke until when Fard enigmatically varnished in his arrival from summer in 1934 and he became the real and functional leader of the Muslim community and the Temple of Islam.
After moving away from his siblings, parents, and family, later, Elijah and the Poole family settled in the northern part of the industrial area in Hamtramck located in Michigan. As a hardworking man, he struggled to find and keep a job due to the severe economic damage after the First World War and the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s. While they were in Detroit in 1923 for so many years working at car assembly line, he and his wife Clara had eight children of which six were boys and two were girls.
Many are people who suffered a lot on this earth, yet they made it in life. Wherever our wishes settle, may we all be great.