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A look back in the early years: 1952-1955

The Muslims began to hold meetings at 5 Wellington Street, the home of one of the believers. More and more people began to come to the meetings, often lasting well up into the night, to hear more about Elijah Muhammad, who was teaching them to be proud of themselves. As the crowds increased, larger quarters were sought.


Muslims searched for larger, but affordable meeting places, and one of these was a basement hallway in a building at 405 Massachusetts. Avenue. Part of the hall was directly beneath the sidewalk, and on rainy days this fact was very evident to the speaker, since the rain would pour down on to the rostrum. Despite the many inconveniences, the crowd was growing. Islam was on the march in Boston. Another search for quarters turned up a former fish market store located at 552 Columbus Avenue. Needless to say, much work had to be done to get this old fishy building in shape for meetings.

October 1955

In October of 1955, the Muslims were blessed with a visit from the great Leader and Teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This visit marked one of the turning points in the history of the Mosque #11. Many of the believers had never met nor even seen Mr. Muhammad before. After seeing and hearing him personally, they were truly inspired and reinvigorated. They continued to work diligently to see that the divine inspiration of The Messenger was carried into every Black neighborhood.


By the summer of 1957, the crowds were overflowing to the sidewalks, and the Muslims again began searching for larger quarters. Two buildings were located at 35 and 37 Intervale Street. These buildings had formerly been used as a recreation hall and a Jewish Synagogue. They were in a dilapidated condition, requiring complete renovation and restoration. Utilizing the many talents of the Brothers in the Mosque, they were able to accomplish most of this work themselves. There was still the problem of obtaining enough money for the down payment and repairs. An intensive thirty-day fund-raising drive raised enough money for the down payment and the repairs. Working day and night, they were able to get the building ready for public occupancy by November 1957. The building located at 35 Intervale Street served as the Mosque, with a large lecture hall, offices, and a kitchen. 37 Intervale Street served as the Ministers residence and office.


1958 Mr. Muhammad returned to Boston, and at a historic meeting at The John Hancock Hall, an overflow crowd turned out to greet him. At this meeting thousands of friends and followers were won over to Mr. Muhammad, for his uncompromising stands on behalf of the so-called Negro.


Minister Louis Farrakhan, then known as Boston's Min. Louis X, produced the play "Orgena." First introduced at John Hancock Hall early in 1959, it traveled across the country playing to sell-out audiences at places as prestigious as Carnegie Hall.

While the Muslims enjoyed the support of many in Boston, attacks were also endured. In 1959 the attacks turned from verbal to actual physical attacks against the lives and the property of the Muslims. A despicable attempt was made on the lives of Minister Farrakhan, his wife and his children. About 1:00 A.M. the Minister's residence was saturated with gasoline and set afire. Fortunately, the next door neighbor awakened and alerted the Minister's family. While the entire family was successfully evacuated, quite extensive damage was done to the home and its furnishings.