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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

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 Shaheen Rushd, October 17, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Shaheen Rushd was born in 1956 in Chittagong, Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and came to the United States in 1970 when her father was stationed in Washington, D.C. as a diplomat. When her parents returned to the newly-independent Bangladesh, she remained in the United States to complete high school, and went on to attend Kalamazoo College in Michigan and New York Law School. After earning her law degree, she joined a Manhattan law firm that specialized in securities litigation. She and her husband raised their children in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, and upon retirement, she became involved in local social justice organizations and in the Democratic Party.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Shaheen Rushd discusses her family's history in religious, academic, and political circles in South Asia, as well as her own upbringing in a secular Bengali Muslim household. She speaks about her father's diplomatic assignment to Washington, D.C. and their experience of the Bangladesh War of Independence from the United States. She elaborates about attending high school near Washington, D.C., her experiences at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and her work as a lawyer. In addition, she talks about her decades-long residence in the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn; her interfaith marriage with her Jewish husband; their children's relationship with their Bengali heritage and Jewish religious traditions; and her own exploration of Islam. She puts significant emphasis on her political activism following the 2016 presidential election, particularly involving her membership in the Kings County Democratic Committee; economic inequality and gentrification; and segregation in schools. She also repeatedly touches on her lifelong experiences around diversity, racial profiling, misogyny, and class throughout the interview. 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

  • Rushd, Shaheen

Subject Organizations

  • Democratic Party (New York, N.Y.)
  • Human Rights Watch (Organization)
  • Kalamazoo College
  • New York Appleseed (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Bengali Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Child rearing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Diversity in the workplace -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Education, Secondary -- Washington, D.C.
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Interfaith families -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Interracial marriage -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Islamophobia -- United States
  • Multiculturalism -- United States
  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 2016
  • Segregation in education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • South Asian Americans -- United States
  • Women lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women political activists -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh -- History -- Revolution, 1971
  • Washington (D.C.)