Islam among Urban Blacks examines the evolution of Muslim community development in our nation's third oldest city, Newark, New Jersey. It is an historical account of the efforts of a diverse community that over several decades grappled with the challenge of establishing a respected place for their Islamic lifestyle within the United States of America. Further, it is a story linked closely to the experience of African Americans who have claimed Islam as their religion and struggled to create and to maintain an identity in the social fabric of Newark's twentieth-century Black religious culture.Few historians have acknowledged that Newark's Muslim community contributed to the enrichment of the city's urban culture. However, the community was also impacted by the industrial Newark of the early twentieth-century and the promise of American freedom just as other ethnic and religious communities in the area. The complexities of race, identity, inter-religious and intra-religious relations are the four central themes explored within this scholarly work.
Islam is now a part of the American experience. Muslims are now living in all the states of the Union and in most large cities. New Jersey provides an interesting case study and Michael Nash has researched the subject and within his book are many jewels for students of Islam in America as well as students of the black experience. One finds much to think about and discuss in this book. In his narrative Nash identifies many aspects of the development of Islam in this part of the eastern seaboard... Building on the researches of pioneering scholars such as C. Eric Lincoln and Essien Udom, he has put together valuable materials to shed ample light on the evolution of groups Lincoln called proto-Islamic as they negotiated their way into the final affirmation of Islamic orthodoxy among African Americans living in New Jersey. The book is rich with insights and the author demonstrated beyond any doubt that he likes his subject and is willing to do everything to make it readable as a guide to the perplexed about Islam among urban African Americans in New Jersey. -- Sulayman S. Nyang, Ph.D., Howard University Professor Nash has performed a tremendous service to all of us by writing a book that explores and documents the rich, living tradition of the Muslim African American community living in the urban centers of the greater Newark, New Jersey area. As the Holy Qur'an reveals, "...your creation and your resurrection is as a single soul." In the case of the resurrection of our own humanity, it could apply to G-d's gift bestowed upon a community rising out of our urban societies. -- Wahy ud-Deen Shareef, Imam of Masjid Waarith ud Deen at Waris CRDC, Irvington, NJ This new and important study of Newark's African American Muslim community sheds light on a heretofore unknown narrative of religious faith and survival. Professor Nash is among all too few historians who have taken seriously the unique experience, and indeed the contributions, of Black American Muslims in cities where they labored, sustained their community and laid the foundation for modern African American urban life. Such a story, incredible in many ways, is near the center of the larger history of Black religious life in urban America. -- Clement A. Price, Ph.D., Rutgers University-Newark A largely descriptive work that...adds to the history of black religious heterogeneity in the United States. The subject is fascinating. The Journal of African American History
About the Author
Michael Nash is a native Newarker and a pioneering researcher on the history of Islam in the Greater Newark, NJ community. He is a faculty member in the Division of Humanities/Department of History at Essex County College and a part-time lecturer in the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. In 2005D2006, he was a participant in the American Cities and Public Spaces Project, a research institute at the Library of Congress sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association and funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.