In October 2019, the Chicago History Museum opened its American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago exhibition. Based on the ongoing Chicago Muslim Oral History Project that has collected nearly 150 interviews to date, American Medina shares the stories of Muslim Chicagoans’ faith, identity, and personal journeys through nearly forty excerpted oral history interviews.
Artist and activist Trinidad Castillo’s mural American Medina is featured in the exhibition. A native Chicagoan and a convert to Islam, Castillo’s work is a highlight of the exhibition and a featured spot for selfies. Muslim Chicagoans along with Muslims worldwide have recently been observing Ramadan.
Ramadan, which started in late April this year, is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. It marks the month when the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) initially revealed the Qu’ran to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qu’ran is the holy book of Islam. Ramadan is scheduled to end on or about May 23 this year with the Eid al-Fitr celebration, which means the “festival of breaking the fast.” It’s known in this way as Muslims typically fast during Ramadan. Like Christians celebrating Easter and Jews celebrating Passover this past April, Muslims have observed Ramadan in new social distancing ways because of the global pandemic.
In our latest blog post, students of CHM chief historian and director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History Peter T. Alter wrote about Trinidad Castillo’s path to becoming a Muslim and the creation of his mural American Medina. Read the post.
Stories of Muslim Chicago
Our exhibition American Medina: Stories of Muslim Chicago draws from more than 100 interviews conducted with Muslim Chicagoans sharing their stories of faith, identity, and personal journeys. Dozens of objects from local individuals and organizations, such as garments, artwork, and photographs, as well as videos and interactive experiences expand on how and why Chicago is known as the American Medina. Learn more.