Qur’an stand, 1975

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Laila Muhammad, Daughter of Imam W. Deen Mohammed

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.

Commonly found in many Black Muslim households, this Qur’an stand was owned by Imam Warith Deen Mohammed in 1975. That year he became leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI) after the passing of his father the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and he began implementing a series of doctrinal and organizational changes that moved the community closer to a Sunni practice of Islam. The Qur’an, which had always been central to the NOI, took on even greater significance as the primary reference in the religious life of its members.

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