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(born Oct. 7, 1897, Sandersville, Ga., U.S.died Feb. 25, 1975, Chicago, Ill.) U.S. black separatist and leader of the Nation of Islam. The son of sharecroppers and former slaves, he moved to Detroit in 1923. He joined the Nation of Islam and established its second temple, in Chicago; on the disappearance of its founder, Wallace D. Fard, in 1934, he became head of the movement. He was jailed for advocating draft evasion during World War II, but he continued to build membership of the Black Muslims in the postwar era. His relentless call for a separate nation for African Americans, whom he declared to be Allah's chosen people, prompted his most famous disciple, Malcolm X, to break with the group in 1964. He moderated his views in his later years.
Variants of MUHAMMAD, ELIJAH
Muhammad, Elijah orig. Elijah Poole
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