Some Key Nation of Islam Dates

The Associated Press/October 1, 2006

The Nation of Islam formed in the early 20th century as a separatist movement to help blacks overcome racism and poverty. Its teachings promoted economic self-sufficiency, but also demonized whites - a belief considered heretical by mainstream Muslims:

1930: Wallace D. Fard, a traveling salesman, makes his first appearance in Detroit, saying he came from the holy Muslim city of Mecca to tell American blacks they were the lost ancient tribe of Shabazz. He founds the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in the Wilderness of North America.

1932: Fard's student, Elijah Muhammad, moves to Chicago and establishes Temple Number Two. Soon after, he opens Nation of Islam headquarters in the city.

1934: Fard, who had been expelled from Detroit after authorities accused him of inciting violence for racist teachings, disappears.

1947: Malcolm X joins the Nation of Islam and eventually becomes the national representative of Elijah Muhammad.

1964: Muhammad Ali joins the Nation of Islam. He converts to mainstream Islam a decade later.

1964: Malcolm X makes a pilgrimage to Mecca, embraces mainstream Islam and breaks with the Nation.

1965: Malcom X shot and killed in New York City.

1975: Elijah Muhammad dies. His son, Wallace Muhammad, becomes supreme minister of the Nation of Islam. He changes his name to Warith Deen Mohammed, and also is known as Imam W.D. Mohammed.

1978: Imam W.D. Mohammed moves the Nation toward mainstream Islam, proclaiming whites are fully human, abolishing the Nation militia, known as the Fruit of Islam, and renaming his group the American Muslim Mission.

1978: Louis Farrakhan cuts all ties with W.D. Mohammed and pledges to rebuild the old Nation of Islam, with the separatist goal of establishing an independent black nation.

1984: Farrakhan is criticized for saying that Hitler was "wickedly great" on a Chicago radio show.

1995: Hundreds of thousands of black men attend Farrakhan's Million Man March in Washington, which aimed to encourage spiritual renewal and personal responsibility among black men.

1999: Farrakhan says will spend the rest of his life working to uplift "lost and fallen humanity, regardless of their color, their race or their creed."

2000: Farrakhan and W.D. Mohammed embrace before thousands of followers at a Chicago meeting, calling for unity among members of their rival groups. Farrakhan undergoes surgery for prostate cancer. Experts question whether the reunion has any lasting impact.

2006: Farrakhan, 73, cedes management of the Nation of Islam to an executive board as he recuperates from complications related to an ulcer.

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