Back In Black: Noble Dru Ali

The story of Noble Dru Ali wonderfully illustrates the possibilities of fiction and fantasy. Real situations initiated by white supremacy mixed with dreams of a better life are what make for an incredible recipe that soothes authentic pain.

During the Great Migration, 1910-1930, approximately two million black people ran from the so-called curse of the South to the promise of the North without looking back. Unfortunately, an insufficient number of jobs, poor race relations and bad living conditions confronted them on their arrival. Blacks, again, needed a psychological guide. Timothy Drew’s Moorish Science Temple did just that.

Speculation suggest that Drew’s knowledge of Islam is rooted in his sea travels and/or his childhood in the south. He took parts of several religious platforms and claimed to be the last prophet. He took his message to the new black migrants of New Jersey and the message caught fire. These people grabbed hold of it because it gave them something they never had before: affirmation for life experiences and most important- a history.  The message served as a cane for a people struggling to walk.

The religion grew on an account of its ability to grab people seeking something they could hold on to. The newly self-ordained Noble Dru Ali expanded his growing congregation in 1925. Believers even had something physical to embrace: a dress code, a strict diet and ritualistic traditions.

Internal strife began to cause self-destruction within the organization. The rift eventually turned violent, Ali went to jail and died mysteriously sometime

later. The problems did not end there, but only increased at the death of its founding leader. People disagreed on who should gain control. Time passed and the organization split into its individual temples.

Although the movement ended in the death of its leader, it spoke volumes about the immeasurable potential and the infinite power and presence of a black man.

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