Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Poole) was the second leader of the Nation of Islam.
Born into a Christian pastor's family in the American South, after his family moved to Detroit and he experienced more open racism in the North than he had in the South, he quickly abandoned Christianity. He was discovered by NOI founder Wallace Fard Muhammad and quickly rose in the organization; Wallace Fard gave Elijah his new name. Eventually, the majority of Elijah's family – including his pastor father – converted to NOI.
Although married he openly kept several mistresses; this ultimately caused a split between him and Malcolm X (along with Malcolm's growing popularity and open antagonism toward the white race).
Upon his death, several people vied for control of the NOI and it split into various groups; ultimately Louis Farrakhan gained control.