“In 1899 Leon Richlieu established the Moorish Zionist Temple in Brooklyn. Rabbi Richlieu, as he was called, maintained that he was of Ethiopian origin and that his congregation was composed of black Jews from Palestine and norther Africa.”
“Some were isolated and orthodox, such as Rabbi Leon Richlieu’s Moorish Zionist Temple. Others counted mainstream movements. “Ethiopian Hebrew” Arnold J. Ford tried in vain to have his Beth B’nai Abraham congregation and its emigrationist ideology declared the official religion of Marcus Garvey’s back to Africa Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).”
Source: Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 1
“Mr. M. Shapiro, a mild mannered Jewish businessman, stopped to chat a few moments with his kosher butcher. The butcher was chuckling: “Funny thing,” he explained, “Some colored people came in this morning and wanted some kosher meat. Real negro people from up in Harlem. They say they are Jews!” He laughed.”
Source: The New York Sun January 29, 1929
“Rabbi W.M. Matthew is celebrating his sixteenth year as head of the Commandment Keepers, the Harlem Jewish sect….In defense of his program, Rabbi Matthews explains that the philosophy of the Jews is to acquire wealth and command respect….Rabbi Matthew is certain that the sooner the black man is imbued with this philosophy, the sooner will come the race’s forward movement.”
Source: The Afro-American February 8, 1936
In the early decades of the twentieth century, there appeared in New York and other American cities a set of unusual religious congregations which came to be known as the Black Jews. African in ancestry, Jewish in faith, these groups claimed to be the direct and true heirs of ancient Israel. Although they did not forge strong ties with the wider African American or Jewish communities, they drew steady interest from both…
“A possible genealogical connection to African American Islam can also be seen, especially in the advent of the black Jewish congregations that were called “Moorish,” similar to the immediate forerunner of the Nation of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple, a black Islamic sect founded in Newark, New Jersey, in 1913. In 1899 Rabbi Leon Richlieu established the Moorish Zionist Temple in Brooklyn, and in 1921 Mordecai Herman or Mordecai Joseph reformed the Moorish Zionist Temple in Harlem, with affiliate branches in Newark and Philadelphia. See Shapiro, “Factors in the Development of Black Judaism,” p. 266, and Landes, “The Negro Jews of Harlem,” p. 181.”
“A similar group, the Moorish Zionist Temple, which was more exclusively Judaic in its beliefs, was founded by Rabbi Leon Richlieu of Brooklyn, New York, in 1899. Richlieu claimed to be of Ethiopian origin, to have been ordained by three rabbis, and to have studied in an Orthodox yeshiva. The group later reformed under the leadership of Mordechai Herman, who set up branches in Philadelphia and in Newark, New Jersey.”
“The History of African Jews, one of the most understudied chapters in African history, would extend back to the days of king Solomon…. By the eighth century there were communities of Jews in most major oases on the desert edge such as Sijilmasa, Tu’at, Gurara, Ghadamis, Sus, and Wadi Nun ” (Lydon, Ghislaine, 2009, p. 66). ‘” The so-called Maghreb jews were the WaKore and Wa’Kara/Wa’n’Gara. Beriberi, Soninke, “El-Berabir” or the ancient Berbers, and the earliest Jews in Africa were but one people.”
Dana Reynolds Marniche commented in a post on Andalusia that certain groups claimed descent from the Jews and in particular Aaron and Jethro in Tarikh el-Fattach
“The Tuareg Inaden blacksmiths caste who are mostly Soninke in fact claims descent from the Jews of Wargla. Similarly the Wangara/Garawan (Soninke) related groups further west and south had traditions of Jewish origin.
‘In today’s Mauretania, endogamous groups of blacksmiths claim Jewish descent and some oral traditions maintain that it’s early inhabitants, the Bafur, were Jews from Wadi Nun…. Other traditions from Mali document the prevalence of Jews in the pre-Islamic period, some claiming that Maghribi Jews from the Dra’a and the Sus regions shared with the Mande their knowledge of blacksmithing.
The History of African Jews, one of the most understudied chapters in African history, would extend back to the days of king Solomon…. By the eighth century there were communities of Jews in most major oases on the desert edge such as Sijilmasa, Tu’at, Gurara, Ghadamis, Sus, and Wadi Nun ” (Lydon, Ghislaine, 2009, p. 66). ‘”
The so-called Maghreb jews were the WaKore and Wa’Kara/Wa’n’Gara. Beriberi, Soninke, “El-Berabir” or the ancient Berbers, and the earliest Jews in Africa were but one people. They were the people of the Niger bend, and many parts of West Africa, i.e. the Negro. Believe it, – or do not!”