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Certificate of Incorporation of the Young Women’s Muslim Association of the Academy of Islam International Inc. (1944)

Document type:
Legal Document

    Certificate of Incorporation of the Young Women’s Muslim Association of the Academy of Islam International Inc. (1944)

    Commentary

    The Academy of Islam was an international Islamic organization founded by Atiya Begum, an Indian Muslim proponent of Muslim women’s rights, education, and the cultivation of art. In 1939, she established the U.S. branch of the Academy, which quickly drew in a relatively large number of African American converts to Sunni Islam, in addition to many Muslim immigrants from different parts of the world. Largely influenced by Atiya Begum’s views on the rights and abilities of women, in 1944 the group established a Young Women’s Muslim Association, which was based on the Young Men’s Muslim Associations that had been in existence in both Egypt and New York since the 1920s. This auxiliary was run entirely by converts: its directors were all American women who lived in the African American-majority community of Harlem (northern Manhattan) and its incorporators were American men, several of whom were married to the directors. The group’s certificate of incorporation reveals that it promoted the support and development of Muslim women and had plans to spread itself throughout the Americas. This group may have been the first of its kind in the U.S.

    —Patrick D. Bowen

    Certificate of Incorporation of the Young Women’s Muslim Association of the Academy of Islam International Inc.

    We, the undersigned, all being persons of full age and at least two-thirds being citizens of the United States and at least one of us a resident of the State of New York, desiring to form a corporation [...] do hereby make, sign and acknowledge this Certificate as follows:

    First: The particular objects for which the corporation is formed are as follows:

    (a) To establish and maintain the relationship of sisterly regard among women of good, moral character, to promote peace, harmony, unity, morality and charity among its members.

    (b) To further the practice of benevolence among its members in offering mutual protection by voluntary contributions in aiding and assisting one another in times of sickness, need or distress and in contributing to the burial expenses of any deceased member and in offering temporary relief to the next of kin of any decease member, all by voluntary contributions only.

    (c) To inculcate and promote among its members the principles and practices of good citizens, the principles and virtues of good, moral character, patriotism, justice, and honor and to encourage among them interest in the culture, arts and sciences.

    (d) To have the power to organize, institute and inaugurate subordinate branches in various parts of the United States, North and South America and in the West Indies as the growth of the organization may require; to adopt a constitution, bye-laws, rules and regulations for the government, admission, suspension and disciplining of its members; election and appointment of officers and their duties, for the management and protection of its property and all other matters pertaining to the well-being and conduct of its organization.

    (e) To acquire by grant, gift, purchase, devise or bequest real and personal property as the purposes of the corporation shall require, to the holding and disposal thereof subject to such limitations as shall be prescribed by law and to maintain assembly and recreation rooms for the meeting of its members and for the social relations among them and their friends.

    (f) The above objects to be accomplished without pecuniary profit to anyone.

    [...]

    The names and places of residence of the persons to be its directors until the first annual meeting are as follows:

    Aida Martin Manhattan
    Amanda Lahrson Manhattan
    Mary Moore Manhattan
    Merculies Richardson Manhattan
    Shannah Tucker Manhattan
    Marian Steele Manhattan
    Edith H. Richardson Manhattan
    Edith R. Jarvis Manhattan
    Rhode Austin Manhattan
    Delilah Jackson Manhattan
    Josephine Jones Manhattan
    Miriam Brown Manhattan

    [...]

    The following are the names and addresses of the incorporators of this corporation:

    George Austin Manhattan
    Hansford Martin Manhattan
    Eustace Mooree Manhattan
    Hugh L. Brown Manhattan
    Samuel Belgraves Bronx

    [...]

    10th of November 1944

    State of New York, Department of State, Albany, New York

    Aida Martin Manhattan
    Amanda Lahrson Manhattan
    Mary Moore Manhattan
    Merculies Richardson Manhattan
    Shannah Tucker Manhattan
    Marian Steele Manhattan
    Edith H. Richardson Manhattan
    Edith R. Jarvis Manhattan
    Rhode Austin Manhattan
    Delilah Jackson Manhattan
    Josephine Jones Manhattan
    Miriam Brown Manhattan
    George Austin Manhattan
    Hansford Martin Manhattan
    Eustace Mooree Manhattan
    Hugh L. Brown Manhattan
    Samuel Belgraves Bronx
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