Birth Anniversary of Sister Clara Muhammad,
the wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
and the first lady of the Nation of Islam
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Commemorative Center takes time to recognize the birth anniversary of Sister Clara Muhammad, the wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the first lady of the Nation of Islam
Clara was born on November 2, 1899 in Cordele, Georgia to Quarters and Mary Lou Evans. Clara, her two brothers and two sisters, grew up on their parents’ ranch. They attended public school and worked in the fields. Clara's mother’s family the Thomas’s were known for their good Samaritan characteristics and their quest and support for education. These traits helped shape the great woman that Clara later became.
Migration from the southern states to the Midwest. They took up residence in Detroit, Michigan where they met a stranger known as W. Fard Muhammad. For three and a half years Master Fard taught and groomed Elijah to be the leader of the newly-formed Nation of Islam (N.O.I.). Clara was her husband’s first convert and his best follower. During the early stages of the development of the N.O.I., Clara and her family endured many trying events.
In 1931 Clara took a courageous stand for the right to educate her children in her home when home schooling was illegal. She refused to enroll her children in public school. As a result, she and her husband were charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors. Her brave stance against a truant officer paved the way for the establishment of the largest private elementary school system for African American children in the United States of America.
For many years Clara served as her husband’s liaison to the N.O.I, delivering both written and verbal instructions to the lead minister in Chicago while her husband and all able-bodied men were imprisoned for draft evasion. During his incarceration Elijah Muhammad was a model prisoner and was allowed to teach his fellow inmates about Islam. His request for a Qur’an was denied. Sister Clara copied on paper English translations of verses of the Qur’an and brought them to her husband! Thanks to her courageous devotion, the Nation of Islam survived and inmates enjoy access to the Qur’an. Clara Muhammad remained devoted to her husband, her family, and to the Muslim schools until her death on August 12, 1972. She was the strongest and most courageous and dedicated woman of her time. She upheld a posture of grace, righteousness, kindness, and dignity and her example was unparalleled by most women of her day. Her spirit lives on.