Were My African American Ancestors Muslims?
By Nathan W. Murphy
Family Search/Blog/Genealogy Resources
July 8, 2013
“Ever wondered what religious practices your African ancestors followed before arriving in America? While many observed indigenous tribal beliefs, it has been estimated that between 7 and 30 percent of African slaves were Muslims. Handwritten verses from the Koran found in frontier Kentucky, portrayals of Alex Haley’s black immigrant ancestor as a follower of Muhammad in the television series Roots, locations of slave kidnapping grounds, and Muslim given names amongst American slaves all hint at this hidden past. At the time Columbus discovered America, Islamic Empires held greater power in the Western World than European kingdoms. They controlled the overland trading routes that transported oriental goods from the Far East to Europe, ruling from India to Western Africa. According to Allan D. Austin in African Muslims in Antebellum America, Islam had penetrated areas such as Senegal, Timbuktu, and the Lake Chad area in Africa by 1100 A.D. From these localities westward to the Atlantic Ocean, slave traders kidnapped the majority of their victims. The rise of European maritime trade in the 16th and 17th centuries triggered the decline of Islamic political supremacy and introduced new nations as world leaders.” Continue reading here.
Photo Credit: Movie Fone