Archive of Muslim American History and Life
In collaboration with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, this digital archive collects and preserves documents related to Muslim American history from the colonial era to the present. It includes memoirs, newspapers, books, reports, speeches and other documents that reveal the place of Muslims in American social, political, religious, cultural, and economic life.
“Islam has always been a part of America,” said President Barack Obama in a June 4, 2009, speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt. “Since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.” This digital archive is the first effort to collect and preserve the documents that chart Muslim American contributions to the thirteen colonies and the United States. It includes the primary sources necessary to understanding the vital place of Muslims in the United States during each period of U.S. history.
Presently the collection contains a limited amount of content but will focus its growth on collecting material that documents the presence of Muslim slaves, who represented the first major Muslim population in British North America and the United States. Thousands of Muslim slaves, some of whom were among the most educated Americans of the nineteenth century, contributed to their labor, knowledge, and in some cases, their military service to the creation of the American republic and its development in the nineteenth century.
During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, Southeastern Europe, South Asia, and other parts of the globe came to the United States in search of opportunity. They busted sod on the Dakota plains, worked on New England docks, and were among the first automobile workers for Henry Ford’s famous plant in Dearborn, Michigan. Indigenous white and black Americans also began to convert to Islam during this period.
From the 1920s until today, Muslim Americans have subscribed to a number of political philosophies and religious schools of thought, contributed their talents to a number of industries and fields, and changed the course of American history. As President Obama remarked, “they have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.”
The Archive of Muslim American History and Life's goal is to bring to light those accomplishments and more.