Diploma from the Muhammad University of Islam, February 21, 1969

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.

In 1969, Bobby 6X Jones received this diploma upon successfully completing eighth grade at the Muhammad University of Islam (MUI), part of the network of primary and secondary schools operated by the Nation of Islam (NOI). The diploma was signed by NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, identified as “University President.” By the early 1970s, the NOI operated over forty MUI schools throughout the United States, providing Black Muslim students religious and secular education including Islamic studies, Arabic language instruction, science, math, and Black history. In comparison to the parochial schools of other religious communities, the MUI schools were pioneers in both independent Islamic education and curricula that centered Black students.

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