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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Elena Locascio

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Revised by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated access restrictions.  , April 2019

Container List

Oral History Interview with Alyssa Haughwout, April 25, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Alyssa Haughwout was born in 1984 in Queens and raised in Long Island. Her family frequently traveled into the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn throughout her childhood to attend their Tatar community's Brooklyn Moslem Mosque, which had been founded following the group's immigration from Eastern Europe throughout the early 1900s. She first served on the mosque's board with her aunt, Marion Sedorowitz (interviewed for this collection on April 11, 2018) while working toward a master's degree in art and design education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She eventually became the board's vice president as well as the caretaker of the mosque.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Alyssa Haughwout discusses her community's Tatar heritage and Muslim faith, especially regarding their founding of the Brooklyn Moslem Mosque in 1907, unique language and religious practices, concerns about assimilation, and recent shifts from their traditional handling of gender roles. She also talks about her own relationship with her Muslim identity, including her deeper exploration of Islam in college, work as caretaker of the mosque's building and historical artifacts, concerns about Islamophobia, and experiences as a white Muslim woman. In addition, she touches on generational friction within the board over modernization of the mosque, her family's deep roots in the community, and her appreciation of interfaith celebrations. Interview conducted by Liz H. Strong.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Haughwout, Alyssa
  • Sedorowitz, Marion

Subject Organizations

  • American Mohammedan Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Moslem Mosque (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Building management -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Communities -- Religious aspects -- Muslims
  • Cultural pluralism -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Islam -- Customs and practices
  • Islamic education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Islamophobia -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Muslim women -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ramadan -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Tatar Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Tatar language -- Dialects
  • Technology and older people -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Williamsburg (New York, N.Y.)