Muslims in the Bible Belt
Nazeeh Rasheed grew up on his parents’ farm in rural Georgia, constantly working hard and sometimes getting into trouble for being too curious. He admired his father’s entrepreneurship but was also critical of his acceptance of the status quo, of segregation. As a young man living in Atlanta, like many his age Nazeeh explains, he worked towards overcoming the fear that had dominated African Americans and killed their spirit. To Nazeeh, the Nation of Islam seemed most apt to answering his longstanding questions and obtaining respect for the community.
With the mass conversion of Nation of Islam members to orthodox Sunni Islam in the 1970s, the temple that Nazeeh helped found became the Atlanta Masjid or mosque. StoryCorps has been paying regular visits here to record the stories of some of its members, including Nazeeh’s. We have been collecting stories of the civil rights struggle, accounts of war veterans, conversion narratives, and tales of growing up Muslim in Atlanta, GA.