Though there was very little to be found in the archives at the time of Precious's 1999 search, she remained committed to seeing the project through—though she knew it would take a team, a lot of original research, and dedicated time. As the years passed, and other projects took precedence, she kept track of stories and documents she came across that she felt should be included in the project.
Now Precious is finally moving forward with the project, partnering with Milia Islam-Majeed and Hussein Rashid, PhD—two dear friends, the three of them all graduates of Harvard Divinity School, their stories, too, part of the greater story of Muslims at Harvard—to finally bring to fruition the vision for a publication, exhibit and discussion panel on the history of Muslims of Harvard.
It's a core team representing a broad cross section of the American Muslim community: Precious, the historian, a third generation African American Muslim, descendant of enslaved Africans in America, and raised in the Northeast, Midwest, and Deep South; Milia, a Sunni, Bangladesh-born immigrant who came to America at age seven, was raised in America's Bible Belt, her family the only Muslim one in a town of 10,000 in Missouri, and is now the executive director of the South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC), the largest and oldest interfaith council in Southern California encompassing some 35 cities and approximately 1.8 million people; and Hussein, a born New Yorker, member of the Shia Ismaili community, religion scholar, and founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency.
A diverse team like this is bound to take an outside the box approach, not leaving anything of value out, and telling a rich story that builds community across divides. Stay tuned for the launch of the dedicated website for this project, and, for Harvard affiliates, information on how you can contribute to the research efforts.