That is the title of this intriguing paper by Khaled Beydoun, a law professor at Barry University. Here is an excerpt from Professor Beydoun’s abstract:
America’s first Muslims were slaves. Social scientists estimate that 15 to 30 percent of the Africans enslaved in the Antebellum South practiced Islam. Research indicates that the Muslim slave population could have been as high as 1.2 million. Despite their considerable presence in the Antebellum South, the history of Muslim slaves has been largely neglected within legal scholarship.
For anyone interested in North American legal history, this paper is definitely worth a read. Props to Prof. Alfred Brophy for the pointer.