Skip to main content Skip to main navigation

Oral History Interview with Nsenga Knight, August 7, 2018

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Nsenga Knight remembers her childhood experiences with Islam, including attending Masjid At-Taqwa and Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah, both in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn; learning martial arts at a local academy run by members of the Nation of Islam; celebrating Eids in Prospect Park; and her mother's conversion to Islam. She also speaks about the value placed on physical strength within her African American Muslim communities. In addition, she extensively discusses her involvement in the arts, especially regarding her performance art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, exhibitions done with the She Shootin' Photography Collective, and memories of her broader friend group of Muslim artists and scholars. Interview conducted by Zaheer Ali.

Biographical / Historical

Nsenga Knight was born in 1981 in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. As a child, her family attended mosques in the nearby Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, including both Masjid At-Taqwa and Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah. As an adult, she became active in New York's fine arts community, creating both exhibitions and performances that explore various facets of her identity as a Black and Muslim woman in the United States. Her formal education included both a bachelor of the fine arts from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a master of the fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She moved to Egypt in 2017.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201