Eli Reed - Members of the Nation of Islam among the ruins of the Rodney King riots. Los Angeles, 1992
Father Divine visits Hope Farm, 1938, Part 1 (by FDIPMM)
Photo Credit: Gordon Parks
Last year around this time, I started the “Beyond and Between the Cross and Crescent” project and while you have not heard much from this blog or me regarding the effort, I was working underground to clarify my mission, to establish sustainable relationships, to research, and to do some preliminary interviews. The name of this project was cumbersome, I have now moved to the (tentative) title of THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLKS ARCHIVE.
Whatever the title, the intentions are the same — a transmedia storytelling project dedicated to building an archive of the religious and spiritual articulations of Black people/people of African descent in North America. Working primarily as a photographer, but also as an oral historian and an archivist, I seek to document the varied ways people of African descent in America explore spirituality outside of the traditional iterations of Islam and Christianity.
I was raised in Sunni Muslim family, attended a Catholic high school, and currently live in an Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Still a practicing Muslim, my curiosity piqued at the age of 15 when I began to research the Moorish Science Temple and Black self-proclaimed prophets of the early 1900s. Looking beyond the hue diversity of my community, simply, I want to document our spiritual diversity. I want to hear stories. I want to ask questions. I want to connect paths. I am interested in interviewing and photographing self-identified Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Rastafarians, Mormons, Moors, Five Percenters, non-identifying, Agnostics, Atheists, etc. of African descent/Black based in the United Stated.
AT THIS STAGE, I AM LOOKING FOR:
- Elders who have been involved with religious/spiritual movements for 15 years or more and are willing to be interviewed and photographed in sacred spaces or with sacred artifacts
- Converts who have been involved with religious/spiritual movements for 5 years or less and are willing to be interviewed about their transition and photographed.
- Religious leaders who can speak about the historical background of their religious/spiritual movement and would be able to provide some access to religious ceremonies
- Invitations to public ceremonies and events.
- Any leads you may have on religious/spiritual communities I should look into. Any leads on texts I should look into.
HOW TO REACH ME:
Michael Kramer, New York Magazine, Oct. 7 1985, pg. 16
“THE FRUIT OF ISLAM”, A SPECIAL GROUP OF BODYGUARDS FOR MUSLIM LEADER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD, SIT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PLATFORM WHILE HE DELIVERS HIS ANNUAL SAVIOR’S DAY MESSAGE IN CHICAGO. THE CITY IS HEADQUARTERS FOR THE BLACK MUSLIMS. THEIR $75 MILLION EMPIRE INCLUDES A MOSQUE, NEWSPAPER, UNIVERSITY, RESTAURANTS, REAL ESTATE BANK AND VARIETY OF RETAIL STORES. MUHAMMAD DIED FEBRUARY 25, 1975, 03/1974
From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency (12/02/1970-)
Today at noon in the William G. McGowan Theater of National Archives in Washington, DC, Christian Caryl will discuss the book Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century. 1979 marked a many changes resulting in revolutionary Islam as a political force with changes in international economic changes which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Daughter and wife of Elijah Muhammad with Malcolm X in Chicago, 1961.