African American History

Part of the Religious DNA: Islam in America

By Ethan Ehrenhaft

In 2009, archaeologists uncovered a small copper medallion in a pit at Fort Shirley, Pennsylvania. Dated to the early 1750s, the trinket may have gone unnoticed were it not for the single phrase in Arabic emblazoned on its surface: “No god but Allah.” Its owner was most likely an enslaved person in the service of trader George Croghan. The Fort Shirley medallion has become part of a rare yet influential assortment of artifacts connected to the lives of enslaved Muslims in the United States.

February 22, 2018

New Perspectives on Histories of the Slave Trade

Intertwined. Overlapping. Interconnected. The complicated entanglement of slave trading, geographies, and ethnicities was the focus of the Thursday night plenary, “New Perspectives on Histories of the Slave Trade,” at the 2018 AHA annual meeting. In papers ranging in focus from trade routes in the western Indian Ocean to forced treks across Brazil’s interior to mangrove slave trading ports, the panelists revealed how histories of slave trading offer opportunities to rethink the construction of race and ethnicity from a global perspective, the broader theme of this year’s meeting.