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After Malcolm: Islam and the Black Freedom Struggle

After Malcolm: Islam and the Black Freedom Struggle

Author Asma Elhuni by

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The Center for Civil and Human Rights has a new exhibit – one that celebrates a rich and untold history of African American Muslims in Atlanta during the Civil Rights era. Led by professors Abbas Barzegar of Georgia State University and Bilal King of Morehouse College, the After Malcolm Project is a multi-media exhibit that lends new credence to the American Muslim contribution to the black freedom movement, which too often has been cut out of history.

Working with a group of students, volunteers, and community members, the After Malcolm team has collected oral histories, photos, letters, and other artifacts to help shed light on a neglected aspect of Atlanta’s religious and social history. Most of the artifacts have been digitized online to allow the public access.

Earlier this month, Muslim scholar and professor Sherman Jackson toured the exhibit, sharing why it should be a part of every African American's history.

"When people have a sense of who they are based on an incomplete story of their collective existence then they can end up with prejudices or likes that do somebody else’s bidding. Islam has a long history in America that began much earlier than the civil rights era,” he added, “but those who have written history seem to leave that out.”

The exhibit has already displayed on the Georgia State and Kennesaw State campuses and will run through the end of February. Barzegar hopes area schools, mosques and organizations interested in learning more about Atlanta’s diverse Muslim history will visit the exhibit and offer feedback to the center. Jackson, who toured the exhibit with his daughters, said the project not only points the Atlanta Muslim community to its past but can also serve as a catalyst for ongoing public dialogue. "America has to come to terms with its race relations, the whole question of who we are as a country, what kinds of possibilities exist not just racially, but religiously as well,” Jackson said. “I hope it can change the conversation about America, about Muslims, and about who we really are."

For more information, call the Center for Civil and Human Rights at 678-999-8990.

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