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Elijah Muhammad was born Elijah Robert Poole in Sandersville, Georgia, the sixth of thirteen children to William Poole, Sr. (1868–1942), a Baptist lay preacher and sharecropper, and Mariah Hall (1873–1958), a homemaker and sharecropper.
Poole's education ended at the fourth grade. To support the family, he worked with his parents as a sharecropper. When he was sixteen years old, he left home and began working in factories and at other businesses.
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