The Moorish Science Temple of America collection consists of letters, certificates, legal documents, illustrations, pamphlets, programs, newspapers, posters, and other printed material. Accompanying the collection is an itemized list, compiled by the donor, of the contents of the collection.
Biographical/historical: The Moorish Science Temple of America was founded by Noble Drew Ali in 1913. The organization was based on a combination of black nationalism and a religious philosophy which blended Christianity and Islam. Noble Drew Ali, born Timothy Drew, was among the first people to introduce Islam to African Americans through his movement.
Content: The Moorish Science Temple of America Collection (1926-67) contains a variety of original items connected with the organization. Accompanying the collection is an itemized list, made by the donor, of the contents of the collection.
The collection contains several legal documents regarding the official registration of the Moorish Science Temple of America as a corporation. There are three original examples of the “Divine Constitution,” and two original seals. Blank examples of a marriage certificate and an identification card are also included. The “Nationality and Identification” cards were essential as they symbolized a member's new ethnic identity. In 1928, Ali had to warn members against accosting white people and flashing their cards. Members felt so empowered by the cards that they believed they were free from oppression.
There are pamphlets and printed material which include writings by Ali, copies of the magazine: “The Moorish Voice,” and clippings related to the Moorish Science Temple of America. There are several issues of “The Moorish Guide” and “The Moorish Review” (1928-56), both originals and photocopies, along with programs from annual conventions (1930-65). The collection includes two original posters publicizing the movement's First Annual Convention (1928), and a message from Ali.
Content: Photographs transferred to Photographs and Prints Division