During the first half of the 20th century, a small number of African Americans established groups based on Islamic and Black supremacist teachings. The first of such groups created was the Moorish Science Temple of America, founded by Timothy Drew (Drew Ali) in 1913. Drew taught that Black people were of Moorish origin but their Muslim identity was taken away through slavery and racial segregation, advocating the return to Islam of their Moorish ancestry.
The Nation of Islam (NOI) was the largest organization, created in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. It however taught a different form of Islam, promoting Black supremacy and labeling white people as "devils". Fard drew inspiration for NOI doctrines from those of Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple of America. He provided three main principles which serve as the foundation of the NOI: "Allah is God, the white man is the devil and the so called Negroes are the Asiatic Black People, the cream of the planet earth". In 1934 Elijah Muhammad became the leader of the NOI, he deified Wallace Fard, saying that he was an incarnation of God, and taught that he was a prophet who had been taught directly by God in the form of Wallace Fard. Although Elijah's message caused great concern among White Americans, it was effective among Blacks attracting mainly poor people including students and professionals. One of the famous people to join the NOI was Malcolm X, who was the face of the NOI in the media. Also boxing world champion, Muhammad Ali. Malcolm X was one of the most influential leaders of the NOI, he advocated complete separation of blacks between whites. He left the NOI after being silenced for 90 days, he then formed his own black nationalist movement, and made the pilgrimage to Mecca, converting to Sunni Islam. He is viewed as the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards Sunni Islam.
After the death of Elijah Muhammad, he was succeeded by his son, Warith Deen Mohammed. Mohammed rejected many teachings of his father, such as the divinity of Fard Muhammad and saw a white person as also a worshipper. As he took control of the organization, he quickly brought in new reforms. He renamed it as the World Community of al-Islam in the West, later it became the American Society of Muslims. It was estimated that there were 200,000 followers of WD Mohammed at the time.
WD Mohammed introduced teachings which were based on orthodox Sunni Islam. He removed the chairs in temples, with mosques, teaching how to pray the salah, to observe the fasting of Ramadan, and to attend the pilgrimage to Mecca. It was the largest mass religious conversion in the 21st century, with thousands who had converted to orthodox Islam.
A small number of Black Muslims however rejected these new reforms brought by Imam Mohammed, Louis Farrakhan who broke away from the organization, re-established the Nation of Islam under the original Fardian doctrines, and remains its leader. As of today it is estimated there are at least 20,000 members. However, today the group has a wide influence in the African American community. The first Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C. 1995 and was followed later by another one in 2000 which was smaller in size but more inclusive welcoming individuals other than just African American men. The group sponsors cultural and academic education, economic independence, and personal and social responsibility. The Nation of Islam has received a great deal of criticism for its anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-semitic teachings, and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.