Noble Drew Ali (1886-1929)
Noble Drew Ali, who was born Timothy Drew of North Carolina, was the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America in Newark, N.J., in 1923. Soon after there were branches in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and other major industrial cities of the Northeast.
Ali saw Black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey as the inspiration for his own efforts. He wanted to present to Black people a message of pride, self-determination, personal transformation and self-sufficiency. Ali also intended to provide African-Americans with a sense of identity in the West, and promote civic involvement.
His movement inspired other leaders such as Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad, leading to the creation of the Nation of Islam.