William E. B. Sherman
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Many of my neighbors in Charlotte are surprised to learn that Charlotte, North Carolina has a long history of Muslim residents building communities and institutions in the Queen City. Perhaps the surprise of my neighbors should itself be no surprise—after all, most Americans are still shocked to learn that there were Muslims in (what would become) the Americas before Protestantism even existed or that hundreds of thousands of the enslaved Africans brought to the United States were Muslim. This is a long history, but it is also one that has been erased and forgotten far too often.
Over the past years, I have been meeting with members of Charlotte's various Muslim communities to create an oral history archive of Islam in Charlotte. The work is still ongoing, but it will be housed at UNC-Charlotte's "Goldmine" archive soon.