Woman Leader of Black Muslims Dies

March 31, 2005

Source: Detroit Free Press


On March 31, 2005 the Detroit Free Press reported, "Mary Almanza died in February at the age of 109, having lived to see her faith grow from a marginalized anomaly to one of the most influential movements in African-American history. Born in 1895 in South Carolina, Almanza, the daughter of a former slave, eventually migrated to Detroit. She was working in Eastern Market in 1930 when she heard the radical philosophy of an itinerant preacher named Wallace Fard. Fard encouraged blacks to eschew Christianity and embrace Islam as the original religion of blacks. While his rhetoric vehemently denounced the white race, it also spoke of black economic and political empowerment, a message that resonated among Detroit's African Americans."