During the 1960s James Baldwin, a famous literary author and social commentator, once observed and questioned how a contemporary and great leader was
able to do what generations of welfare workers and committees and resolutions and reports and housing projects and playgrounds have failed to do: to heal and redeem drunkards and junkies, to convert people who have come out of prison and to keep them out, to make men chaste and women virtuous, and to invest both the male and the female with a pride and a serenity that hang about them like an unfailing light. He has done all these things, which our Christian church has spectacularly failed to do. 
The leader was the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
For over forty years Muhammad’s life was an expression of unflinching devotion to the improvement of the lives of African Americans.
The seventh of a poor Baptist preacher’s thirteen children, Muhammad shared with other leading African American leaders (before and during his time) this broad commitment. His work and mission was rooted in Islam. Propelled by a desire to “preach” and with guidance from W.F. Muhammad, a Muslim teacher in Detroit, Muhammad led the Nation of Islam (NOI) until his death in 1975. For over four decades, Muhammad’s invitation to Islam and his call for freedom, justice and equality for African American men and women in America attracted thousands of followers and sympathizers from all walks of life in the United States and abroad. Nearly all of today's African American Muslims can trace their initial conversions to Islam to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his Nation of Islam. During this time when African Americans faced systemic hatred, discrimination and violence, Muhammad emphasized self-love, self-knowledge, self-pride, self-reliance and self-discipline and offered a program that was at once economic, social and political. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad, teacher of Muhammad Ali, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) and his son, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and countless men and women was described as “the single most powerful Black man in this country”. 
HEMCC invites you to learn more about the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, a 20th-century leader “whose life has been so profoundly unexamined”. 
 Savior's Day 1975 – Courtesy of Seventhfam.com [video]. www.seventhfam.net (accessed December 5, 2011).
 Jill Nelson, "Allah's Messenger: A Biography of Elijah Muhammad, Who Led the Nation of Islam for Half a Century," review of An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad, by Claude Andrew Clegg III, The New York Times Book Review, February 23, 1997, 19.