Museum Makes Space For Black Muslim Community

via Flickr

Brooke Brown
November 15, 2019

For 100 years, Black Muslims of Brooklyn, New York vanished without a trace.

At least, that’s what patrons of the 100-year-old Brooklyn Historical Society were led to believe.  

Desperate to broaden the scope of stories told, artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed and BHS’s resident oral historian Zaheer Ali set out to curate a collection called “An Opening” that would get the facts straight. 

50+ interviews resulted in a sound-and-art show that honors the collective experiences and important contributions of NYC’s most diversely populated religious community. 

Brooklynites from a range of Islamic faith traditions including Sunni, Shiite, and Nation Of Islam members shared proud, comical, and even tragic memories with the pair, including the grief and mistrust experienced in post-9/11. 

When archival institutions fail to include OUR history, it paints a biased, one-sided image of who existed and has contributed significantly to the community and political landscape of the world. 

However, once BHS visitors experience “An Opening” for themselves, a greater appreciation for a community with hopes and dreams, families and friends, just like any other, unfolds.

Enjoy stories from “An Opening” in person now through June 2020 or at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s website. 

It’s living proof that misinformation and bias will go unchecked unless we treasure the history within our own communities just waiting to be recorded. 

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