Moorish Science Temple of America photograph collection

Collection Data

Depictions of some of the spiritual leaders, followers, and activities of the Moorish Science Temple of America, from the 1920s to the 1960s, consisting of studio portraits and candid shots of temple leaders; group portraits of temple members attending services, official functions, and annual conventions; group portraits of children; views of funeral rites; a view of an office; snapshots of out-of-town visitors; reproductions of newspaper articles; and a view of a mausoleum.Among the individuals depicted are group founder Noble Drew Ali; his selected successor C. Kirkman-Bey; J. Givens-El, also known as Prophet Noble Drew Ali Reincarnated; Brother Allah-El, said to head of the Moorish Science Temple in Philadelphia; Allah-El's son George Bey; and United States Congressman Oscar De Priest of Illinois.
Moorish Science Temple of America (Compiler)
Ganaway, K. D. (Photographer)
Jones, R. D. (Photographer)
Patton, J. C. (Photographer)
L. L. Foster Photo (Chicago, Ill.) (Photographer)
Quality Photo Studio (Newark, N.J.) (Photographer)
Woodard & Jones Photos (Chicago, Ill.) (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1925 - 1992 (Approximate)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Moorish Science Temple of America Collection
Ali, Drew, 1886-1929
Kirkman-Bey, Charles
Givens-El, John
De Priest, Oscar, 1871-1951
Moorish Science Temple of America
African Americans -- Religion
Muslims, Black -- United States
Congresses and conventions -- Illinois -- Chicago (Ill.)
Religious gatherings -- Illinois -- Chicago (Ill.)
Funeral rites and ceremonies
Mausoleums -- Illinois -- Chicago (Ill.)
Portrait photographs
Statement of responsibility: Moorish Science Temple of America.
Content: Title taken from Moorish Science Temple of America Collection.
Content: Some photographs bear photography studio's hand stamp on verso; some items bear photographer's or photography studio's name on recto. Some items bear handwritten captions on verso; some items bear printed captions on recto.
Content: One item consists of three separate prints taped together to form a panoramic group portrait.
Content: Collection contains work by L. L. Foster, K. D. Ganaway, R. D. Jones, and Quality Photo Studio, among others.
Biographical/historical: The Moorish Science Temple of America, a religion based on the teachings from the Christian and Islamic faiths, was founded in 1913 by Nobel Drew Ali (1886-1929). The central tenet of the temple was that all Black people were of Moorish (African) origin, therefore Muslim, and that a "return" to Islam was the way to redemption. Initially started in Newark, New Jersey, the movement spread throughout the United States during the 1920s, to the Midwest, the Northeast, and parts of the American South. However, upon Ali's death in 1929, infighting within the movement split it into factions.
Content: Forms part of the Moorish Science Temple of America Collection, 1926-1967.
Physical Description
Extent: 30 items (.3 cubic ft., one box)
Extent: 25 photographic prints :gelatin silver, black and white ;21 x 26 cm and smaller.
Extent: 3 photostats :black and white ;26 x 22 cm and smaller.
Extent: 1 photographic print :gelatin silver, black and white ;19 x 31 cm
Extent: 1 photographic print :gelatin silver, black and white ;15 x 33 cm (folded), 15 x 69 cm (unfolded)
Type of Resource
Still image
RLIN/OCLC: 1285326339
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b22639279
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 56453fc0-8634-013b-7ddc-0242ac110003
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