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In celebration of Black History Month, ING honors more than 400 years of Muslim history in America. The first major group of Muslims to arrive in America were enslaved West Africans in the 16th century.
Who were these Muslims in early American history? The historical record is clear that the Muslim population of West Africa had been growing since the 10th century. Some of them were enslaved and brought to the Americas during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the 16th to 19th centuries. While Muslims did not comprise a majority of the enslaved Africans, they were a significant minority, estimated at between twenty and thirty percent with large concentrations of Muslims in places like South Carolina, the Georgia Sea Islands, and Louisiana. Anthropologists still study latent Islamic influence in these communities.
Many of their stories, and the stories of their descendants, appear in our curriculum A History of Muslims in America.
Teachers can also request a live presentation or webinar by an ING speaker on the topic.