Forgotten Fruit of the City: Chicago and the Moorish Science Temple of America

By Mubashshir, Debra Washington | Cross Currents, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Forgotten Fruit of the City: Chicago and the Moorish Science Temple of America


Mubashshir, Debra Washington, Cross Currents


My heightened interest in the Moorish Science Temple of America began in the fall of 1999 as I searched for visible evidence of female activism among Muslim women in metropolitan Chicago. Through my studies, I was aware of the MSTA and its founder, Noble Drew Ali, but so little research was available on them that I thought perhaps the organization no longer existed. Then I came across, for the second time, the obituary of an African American physician who died in December of 1997. Dr. Edward Page-El was born to Moorish parents and remained a faithful member of the MSTA. [1] Active at Temple #1 on Hoyne Street in Chicago, [2] he taught the "Koran Class," was a Divine Minister and Mufti, the organ ization's male security and assistance wing. According to the obituary, Dr. Page-El was survived by his wife, Ann. Ann Page-El was listed in the Chicago telephone directory. When I called--to my delight and surprise--she invited me to her home for breakfast. I did not expect her to be so open and inviting; after all, few researchers have been able to break the self-imposed code of silence that seemed to shield those associated with the MSTA. Yet, from the living room of her high-rise condo on Chicago's South Side, Ann Page-El spoke affectionately about her husband, his work, his religion, and, surprisingly, their interfaith marriage. [3]

Ann was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. When her preaching and teaching scheduled allowed, she accompanied her husband to worship services at the Temple and participated in other events. Conversely, Edward went to congregational services with her. I initially contacted Ann because I was hopeful that she had in her possession some of his books, mementos, or other artifacts. She said I was about a week late, for she had recently removed her husband's numerous plaques from the hallway walls and given all of his MSTA-related items to a woman by the name of Delores Warner-Bey, who was working on a history of the organization. She could not give me Warner-Bey's number, but referred me to someone who could.

Henry Reese-Bey and his wife, Princess, are also an interfaith couple. Like his best friend Edward Page-El, Henry is a Divine Minister, who serves Temple #9, which also meets at the Hoyne Street headquarters. Princess is a Christian, though she doesn't attend any single congregation regularly. "Our different faith journeys have never been a problem," Princess said. "Like Ann, I have never felt left out within the Moorish community nor pressured to identify myself as a Moor." [4] During a visit to their Villa Park home, they telephoned Warner-Bey and shared with her my research interest. Warner-Bey agreed to meet with me at her home in Lockport, an hour's drive from the downtown civic center. Since then, I have become immersed in the worldview, culture, challenges, and joys of the Chicago Moorish American community. In many ways, MSTA members see themselves as part of the worldwide Muslim community, in other ways very distinct from it. Like their counterparts in other Muslim organizations, they struggle with defections, recruitment, leadership controversies, survival, and finding ways to encourage their children to embrace and promote their religion.

This essay is the result of numerous conversations with members and officials of the Moorish Science Temple, access to MSTA documents, recently released FBI files, as well as archival research. By no means do I claim to present an exhaustive history, but I do hope that a consideration of the Moorish Science Temple of America against the backdrop of metropolitan Chicago is an informing portrait of the least familiar of the three American Muslim movements through which the majority of African Americans have embraced Islam. [5] Not only does a local history of the Moorish Science Temple of America demonstrate the broad range of interpretations of Islam in the U.S., it draws attention to the real but all-too-often suppressed presence and contribution of Muslim women to the life of Muslim communities in Chicago. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Forgotten Fruit of the City: Chicago and the Moorish Science Temple of America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.