During the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran, many Americans came to know Ayatollah Khomeini as a stern, uncompromising political leader who hated America. The United States had helped to install the Pahlavi government in the 1950s and was completely unprepared for this little-known religious cleric’s quick ascension to the leadership of Iran. When it became clear that the Iranian people overwhelmingly supported Khomeini, the tone among US officials grew ominous. At the same time, Muslim converts who were active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s saw something else. This web-based oral history project brings their voices, their memories, and their narratives about Khomeini and the Iranian Revolution to light.


Amy Claire Nelson, Project Director. Elena Rue, Consultant. Kelly Simms, Photo Editor. Kamau Halim, Web Support. Cover photo, Lisa Tate. Special thanks: Hajj Daoud Haroon, Hamid Reza Matin, Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, Southern Documentary Fund, Duke University Center for Documentary Studies.