Author of ‘Muslims of the Heartland’ to speak April 7


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Think about Midwestern immigrants and you might picture Irish Catholics, Swedish Lutherans or German Jews. You should also picture Syrian Muslims, says a historian who will be speaking April 7 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Edward E. Curtis IV is the author of “Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest.” He will appear as part of the ALPLM’s free “For the People” lecture series, which features bold thinkers with unique insights into the people of America.

Syrian immigrants became peddlers in Illinois, farmers in the Dakotas, grocers in Iowa and factory workers in Indiana. They built mosques, joined 4-H and went hunting. They created a life that was Arab, Muslim and American, all at the same time.

Curtis, who grew up in southern Illinois, will appear at the ALPLM at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. Reserve your free seat by clicking here. Teachers who attend the event can get 1.5 credits for continuing professional development.

Kirkus Reviews praises “Muslims in the Heartland” for its “fresh portrayal of American history and identity.” Curtis is also the author of the two-volume “Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History” and “Muslim Americans in the Military.”

Oher upcoming “For the People” events include:

  • May 5, Arielle Weininger and Jim Lommasson, the curator and photographer behind “Stories of Survival,” the ALPLM’s upcoming exhibit on surviving genocide
  • June 2, Christopher Browning, a Holocaust expert whose books include “Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp”
  • Sept. 8: Alexander Heffner, host of the PBS series “The Open Mind”
  • Oct. 18: Jason Benetti, Chicago White Sox broadcaster with cerebral palsy.

The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is, “To inspire civic engagement through the diverse lens of Illinois history and sharing with the world the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.” We pursue this mission through a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship built on the bedrock of the ALPLM’s unparalleled collection of historical materials.

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