Fruit of Islam uniform ca. 1960

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since its inception, in the spirit of Carter G. Woodson, Sapelo Square has commemorated Black History Month with daily Black Muslim History facts. This year, Sapelo Square is exploring the Muslim collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). During Black History Month, we will display a different object each day from the collection, showing how the objects help tell the rich histories of Muslims of African descent in the United States. View the entire series at our dedicated Black History Month 2021 page.

This Fruit of Islam (FOI) uniform was worn by a male member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) in the 1960s. FOI was the name given to the training received by all the NOI’s male members, who were charged with protecting the community, upholding its laws and regulations, carrying out dawah (missionary) activity, and providing for their families. Atop each shoulder of the jacket is a representation of the NOI’s flag — a white star and crescent moon against a red background — and the “WFM” on the jacket lapel stands for “W. Fard Muhammad,” the NOI’s founder. The uniform reflects the military organizational culture of the NOI and the ways Black masculinity has been central to its mission.

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  • Love reading every edition of Sapelo Square! This one was great!

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