The First Annual National Convention
The first Annual National Convention of the Moorish Science Temple of America was without doubt the greatest exhibition of any Convention that has been held in Chicago or maybe any city of that day particularly by people of Moorish descent being falsely called Negroes. There were Moorish American delegates from fifteen different states. The Prophet mandated every member be present however, many of the temples did not have all members represented in their respective numbers and still, the convention was a great success! The program, as was detailed and dictated by the Prophet in every aspect, was followed in detail and everything went as was expected. The opening of the session was the registration of delegates and visitors at the general headquarters, 3140 Indiana Ave. In spite of every member not attending, there were more than three thousand delegates and visitors from other cities and states. The main auditorium of the Temple was crowded to its capacity every night. The day sessions were given over largely to the business of the different Temples. The Moroccan, Arabian, and Egyptian garb worn by the members of the Moorish Science Temple of America, created a unique and striking scene during the convention and made everyone know that, the Prophet had introduced a new feature in the apparel of the organization that distinguished it to the public as nothing else could.
The Prophet would urge Moorish Americans to take their places in the affairs of the nation and his open endorsements and backing of many of Chicago’s top politicians proves such. The Prophet had the support of many of Chicago’s top business men as his message of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice resonated with these distinguished men. There was no teachings of “place the blame on the ‘white’ man” or “hate the white man” nor the demeaning of another people with hate speech to foster detestation in his followers which does nothing but cause resentment, but to the contrary, this movement was founded upon Love and was to this author, the greatest movement on this land and this dignified man, Prophet Noble Drew Ali, would carve the future of our people here in North America unbeknown to many.
The first Annual National Convention of the Moorish Science Temple of America was held from October 15th -20th, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois. The immense respect and admiration for Noble Drew Ali’s work was noted at the opening session of the Moorish Convention, when the dais of speakers included such distinguished city, state and national leaders as the Honorable Louis B. Anderson, Alderman, 2nd Ward (Chicago); Honorable Daniel M. Jackson, 2nd Ward Committeeman and Illinois Commerce Commissioner; Honorable Oscar DePriest (then a Republican Committeeman and Congressional candidate), Honorable Robert R. Jackson, Alderman, 3rd Ward; and Honorable George Blackwell, State Representative, Illinois Legislature. Additionally, representing the private sector, Mr. Jesse Binga, President of the Binga State Bank, also spoke in honor of the industrious acts of Noble Drew Ali. Moorish members from various states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Illinois were on hand to witness and participate in an event unlike any to which they had been exposed. Convention activities included an outstanding parade through Chicago’s residential district with Temple officials dressed in full Moorish regalia, a musical concert featuring the Moorish chorus, a grand celebration with entertainment for delegates and guests; along with discussions, reporting and the conducting of business among the membership. Unity Hall was the centripetal point of the convention and the main office for the organization. Unity Hall is now a Chicago historical land mark.
The Proceedings were recorded at Unity Hall (3140 Indiana Avenue, Chicago Ill, October 15th-20th, 1928) by Sister Sanifer-El, Reporter 1305 E. Fredrick Street:
Monday Night Session
The Temple was beautifully decorated in lovely roses of white and red: designed of the crescent and star. The chair of the Prophet was a mass of white roses.
Testimonial meeting talk by a sister from Ohio, Temple No. 5, subject, “I am glad I am not a negro.” She said, “Jesus passed this way before”, after which Governor Garner Bey of Temple No. 4, Detroit MI was introduced and proceeded with a most excellent speech.
Prophet Noble Drew Ali and a number of Governors and Grand Sheiks came in dressed in costumes representing the nations of the world, with Prophet Noble Drew Ali leading. The spirit of the Prophet filled all the Temple! For a long time, such rejoicing you never heard! After which Governor Garner Bey proceeded with his speech. He emphasized recognition. His speech was a masterpiece. Brother W. Smith Bey, Pittsburgh, PA was presented using for his subject “The spirit of unity.” How our hearts burned within while he talked! The song “Shine on me O Islam, shine on me” was sung and we were in the midst of a glorious meeting. Governor J. Lomax of Detroit Temple no. 4 was presented and said; “When the Prophet speaks through us we feel no fear.” He used for his subject “My father and I are one” and proceeded by saying “We cried for this message, prayed, bared the cross for this message, but we had to wait on our Prophet Noble Drew All who is shaking every government.” Governor J. Lomax was caught up in the spirit and he spoke as never before. He directed the song “Free at Last” and said “The spirit of resurrection is in the land and we are rising out of the grave one by one.” A song performed by Sister Mince Bey and two little girls of Milwaukee WI, subject of song: “Who is Noble Drew Ali?” The words were touching.
Prophet Noble Drew Ali came forward, he said: “The garment I have on represents power and if you obey my voice you will have power with me. I am going to free you though it’s hard because of your mixture which brings about many different spirits. When you fail to hear my voice you are lost. It is against the law to stand up in any audience intoxicated. The leader is not to stay out all night giving earnings away to someone else. You, who are heads of Temples, it is easy for you to destroy the influence of the Temple and me. Now lace up your shoes and get right!“ His talk was very sincere. Collection for the parade, realized $68.30.
Tuesday P.M. Session
Assembled at 3:00 P.M. Opening meeting conducted by Governor Mealy El, Chicago, IL, Temple No. 1, after which Governor Garner Bey Detroit, MI, Temple No. 4, made the opening address. At this period Governor J. Lomax, Detroit, MI, Temple No. 4, took charge, reporting the work of Temple No. 4’s commercial enterprises and the Sunday School was represented by Sister Sanifer El. The work was represented to its fullest extent. The Temple spiritually and financially was represented by Governor J. Lomax. The reports were a credit to the Temple and the Governor, after which Brother Trailor Bey and others gave short talks. Collection and adjournment.
Tuesday Night Session
Speaker said, “There was a time once when the Moors saved civilization. I am glad you have relit the lamp. Don’t let nobody turn you around. We will never be a Nation until we have all the rights of civilization and someone sitting in Congress. I see that these people have seen the light and walk in the light. Brother Payne Bey, Attorney of Chicago was presented, he said, “I don’t know a moment of my life that I have been more happier than now.” His speech was of the highest type. Honorable Anderson was introduced and said, “The growth of this movement has been marvelous.” He said many good things for the Moors. Honorable Oscar De Priest of Chicago was presented, he said “I feel encouraged knowing that with your prayers I will succeed. I wish more of my people would join the Temple. His talk was encouraging.
Tuesday Night Session, cont.
Honorable George W. Blackwell, Representative of the state of Chicago, IL said, “I am here to serve you. We all are Moorish Americans.” Governor Pilot Bey of NJ came forward using for his subject Let the Moors lead’ he said “Someday the Moors will lead the world back to love. One half of the wisdom of Noble Drew Ali has never been told. Nations are crying for peace, but our Prophet declares ‘There shall never be peace until the world has accepted Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice.’” The representative of the President of’ the Binga State Bank of Chicago was introduced and proceeded by saying, “I don’t want my job if I can’t serve you all. If I can’t serve you all it is not worthy of being open. I am the closest man to your Temple outside. We don’t need but one leader and there he is Prophet Noble Drew Ali and I am going to follow him too.” Prophet Noble Drew Ali came forward and made a good speech. He said: “Our Nationality in this government began with the parade.”
Collection and Dismissal.
Wednesday P.M. Session
Opening talks by different ones. A Brother from Pittsburgh gave a talk, he said “The world is worried now, worried because we are out of Egypt.”
The Prophet Noble Drew Ali was presented and said: “You stop figuring out your way how your salvation shall come, just follow me. You can say one thing Moors, you have made a start for the kingdom. If you want success you must follow the Prophet. Husbands, take care of your wives and families. Wives keep your homes and children clean.” His talk was wonderful! Governor Mealy-El Temple No. 1, Chicago. IL said, “There is just one way for the Asiatics, one Religion, Islamism, one God, Allah, and one destiny.” After, we were favored with a music number by the Chicago Brass Band. Prophet Noble Drew Ali came forward and said many good things. He said: “I have done more than you think. I want you all to help me by your good deeds of living at home and abroad. It is through your good not with lips, trying to be the front seat in everything always standing in my face. Moors be careful of your steps, leaders of Temples must be careful how they walk. They must be an example. I am not asleep, it will take you Moors a long time to find out what I did today. When you all go home don’t start no stuff, for I will be right there listening at you.”
Collection and Dismissal.
Wednesday Night Session
Reassembled: Governor Crumby Bey of Pittsburgh, PA presiding. A befitting program was rendered by members of Temple No. 5- Pittsburgh, PA which consisted of readings and Quarterly reports of Temples Collection and dismissal.
Thursday P.M. Session
Testimonial service. After, Brother Trailor Bey of Pittsburgh, PA came forward and said, “Be careful what you say how you say, when you say and where you say.” Next was Governor White Bey of Charleston, VA, he said “When I accepted my Nationality, people called me crazy. If Islamism would make you go crazy we all should go crazy”, he used for his subject. “For what cause are we here? To take our minds back to Islamism that we may be able to function under the five greatest principles that the world has ever known.” Sister Smith Bey of Baltimore, MD, made a very nice talk. Collection and dismissal.
Thursday Night Session
Musical program conducted by Brother Ross Bey. Talk by Sister Tompkins El of Detroit, MI Temple No. 4 which was very good. Talk by Brother Ross Bey who said Edison solved big problems giving a little bit to forty different men all coming together. Next was a short talk by Governor J. Lomax who spoke out of his soul. Solo from a little girl from Temple No. 1, Chicago, IL Quartette Pittsburgh, PA and reading from Sister Pearl Ali, Chicago, IL Temple No. 1. Sister Lomax preceded her solo with a befitting short talk. Her solo was of the highest type, which reflected much credit to her and Temple No. 4.
Thursday Night Session, cont.
Prophet Noble Drew Ali came forward and said, “This is not no social organization it is a Divine and National Movement.” He further said, “By you being born here don’t make you a citizen.” He said “Look what I have on, now this was handed to me by the government. It represents the Royal Prince.” He said many good things. He had the Supreme Laws read by Brother Claude D. Greene.
Members of the Supreme Grand Council:
- Prophet Noble Drew Ali.
- Brother George Blackwell Bey Chicago, Ill
- Brother Richard Ross Bey, Chicago, Ill
- Governor James Lomax Detroit, Mich., Temple No. 4
- Governor Edward Mealy El, Chicago, Ill, Temple No. 1
- Brother Claude D. Greene, Chicago, Ill, Temple No. 1
- Sister Pearl Drew Ali, Chicago, Ill, Temple No. 1
The Prophet said: “Follow me and you all shall be made happy.” The Prophet announced as followers: Governor Garner Bey, Governor of Temple No. 4, Detroit, MI and Governor J. Lomax, Grand Governor of the State of MI.
Sister Sanifer-El, Reporter
1305 E. Fredrick Street