Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2022

Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program

African and African American Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




The Nation of Islam (NOI) is largely responsible for the growth of Islam in America during the 20th century. However, they are often isolated from their Muslim counterparts, being framed as an “inauthentic” Islamic school of thought by Sunni Muslim communities. This is due in part to the different practices of Islam, but also a result of American systemic anti-Blackness. Furthermore, Black Muslim women face numerous problems in the NOI , as the internal gender dynamics are based on white nuclear family systems that lead to further gendered ostracization within these same communities. This is exemplified in Memphis, Tennessee, where the Sunni mosques are primarily ethnically integrated (unlike other major cities), but are still separated both geographically and socially from the NOI mosque in the city. Through the use of interviews and spatial analysis, this paper will highlight the disconnect between Black Muslims of the NOI and non-Black Arab Muslims of other Sunni schools of thought with respect to the history of anti-Blackness in these Arab Muslim communities, as well as anti-Blackness in America. As a case study into Muhammad’s Mosque 55 in Memphis, Tennessee, the project explores Black Muslim interactions with other non-Black Sunni Muslims, while also looking into the ways Black women of the NOI understand themselves in the context of feminism and womens empowerment, more broadly.


Samba Diallo

Additional Advisors

Jonathan Fenderson