Malcolm X. Mosque No. 7. Hotel Theresa. Remembering Harlem’s Muslim History.

Source: The New York Times

Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem around 125th Street is now lined with artisanal French restaurants, wood-fired pizza joints and brunch places serving kale salad. A new Whole Foods supermarket shines from the corner. On Sundays, luxury tour buses idle at curbs, unloading foreign tourists who want to experience a gospel church service or a neighborhood meal.

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So it is an apt time to remember what lies behind the rapidly changing streetscape, particularly the legacy of the man for whom the boulevard is named. That is the mission of Katie Merriman, a 32-year-old Ph.D. student from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who gives free walking tours about the Muslim history of Harlem about five times a year to help preserve a legacy that is at risk of being forgotten.

On the last Sunday in July, about 30 people gathered on a warm morning to walk through the Harlem streets for nearly three hours, to visit Muslim-related sites past and present. Many of the places Ms. Merriman pointed out were already gone or transformed beyond recognition. The site of the African National Memorial Bookstore, where Malcolm X studied black history into the night, is now a 19-story state office building. A local mosque, Masjid Aqsa, that served the area’s African Muslim immigrants, was pushed out in 2012 after its rent more than tripled, and its former site is now a vacant lot. (Two years later, it found a new home in East Harlem.)

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