Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North

By Arthur Huff Fauset | Go to book overview

V
MOORISH SCIENCE TEMPLE OF AMERICA

TESTIMONY OF H. R.1

H. R. WAS born in Louisiana. From the age of seven years he could not believe in Christianity. At a church meeting one day he saw his mother fall out. All about her they said, “Loosen her corset!” He thought she was dying. But she recovered all right. A year or so later he asked her, “What was the matter?” She said she was just happy, that’s all. He hated all that foolishness. Worst of all he hated the hypocrisy of the Christians. He wanted to be with his own and he never was satisfied until he became a Moslem. Then he learned there was no Negro, black or colored, and he’s been happy ever since.


ORIGIN

This cult was founded about 1913 by Timothy Drew, who came from North Carolina where he was born in 1886.2 Somewhere in his life he came upon two facts which radically influenced his thinking:

He encountered some forms of oriental philosophy and was impressed with its racial catholicity. The fruits of his research have been compressed into the Holy Koran of the Moorish Holy Temple of Science, which is not to be confused with the orthodox Mohammedan Koran.

He became obsessed with the idea that salvation for the Negro people lay in the discovery by them of their national origin, i. e., they must know whence they came, and refuse longer to be called Negroes, black folk, colored people, or Ethiopians. They must henceforth call themselves Asiatics, to use the generic term, or, more specifically, Moors or Moorish Americans.

Drew would harangue small groups of Negroes on street cor-

1 See also Appendix A.

2 In addition to information received from members and ex-members of the Moorish Science Temple of America, I am indebted to Arna Bontemps, noted author and historian, who made it possible for me to consult the files of the WPA Negro History Division in Chicago, where an historical study of this cult has been made.

-41-

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Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction xvii
  • Author’s Note to the Paperback Edition xxiii
  • I - Negro Religious Cults in the Urban North 1
  • II - Mt. Sinai Holy Church of America, Inc 13
  • III - United House of Prayer for All People 22
  • IV - Church of God (Black Jews) 31
  • V - Moorish Science Temple of America 41
  • VI - Father Divine Peace Mission Movement 52
  • VII - Comparative Study 68
  • VIII - Why the Cults Attract 76
  • IX - The Cult as a Functional Institution 87
  • X - The Negro and His Religion 96
  • XI - Summary of Findings 107
  • Appendix A - Selected Case Materials 111
  • Bibliography 123
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