Religious leader Timothy Drew, more commonly known as the Noble Drew Ali, was born in Simpsonbuck County, North Carolina. It is not clear when Ali migrated north or when he came into contact with Eastern philosophy. Although he received no formal education, Ali developed an appreciation for Asian religions. Deeply moved by their racial inclusivity, particularly that of Islam, he saw an opportunity for African Americans to be influenced by its thinking. In 1913, at the age of twenty-seven, he established the first Moorish Science Temple of America in Newark, New Jersey.
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