In 1913, Prophet Noble Drew Ali founded the Canaanite Temple in Newark, New Jersey. The Canaanite Temple was an early indication that the so-called Negroes were of Asiatic origin from the Holy Land of Canaan. The Movement spread across the country during the 1920’s as the Moorish Holy Temple of Science, as Prophet Noble Drew Ali pioneered in attempts to instill racial pride. Before he came to Chicago in 1925, the movement proliferated to Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and some southern cities. During his lifetime, membership may have risen as high as thirty thousand members.
In 1925, Noble Drew Ali wearing a flaming red fez appeared on the streets of Chicago, proclaiming to the people of the colored race that they were not Negroes, Colored Folks, Black People or Ethiopians. People began to gather to hear this young man speak. He stated that the fallen sons and daughters of the Asiatic Nation of North America need to learn to love instead of hate, and know of their higher self. His words were impressive because it wasn’t long before he established himself in a sizeable meeting hall on Clayborne Avenue on the north side of Chicago.
Finally by 1928, The Moorish Science Temple of America was an established fact. It is believed that this procedure of elevating the movement to the Moorish Science Temple of America, from the Canaanite Temple in phases was to prepare the people for this great “new thought” movement; entirely different from the churches they had been used to. With the incorporation came a new charter, Divine Constitution and By Laws consisting of seven acts. There also follows seven additional laws to strengthen the guidelines for better cohesion in the organization. The object of our organization is to help in the great program of uplifting fallen humanity and teach those things necessary to make our members better citizens. The Moorish Movement is still alive today. There are many small temples all over America still following the great teachings of Prophet Noble Drew Ali. The star and crescent, fezzes, turban, membership card, button, Moorish Flag, and the correction of “El” or “Bey” to the surname signify Moorish identity.