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Oral History Interview with Shaheen Rushd, October 17, 2018

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.

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.

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