Oral History Interview with Mitchell Shamsud-Din on August 25, 2020


Oral History Interview with Mitchell Shamsud-Din on August 25, 2020



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Shamsud-Din, Mitchell


Cook, Ayesha; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Mitchell Shamsud-Din, conducted by Ayesha Cook on August 25, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Mitchell Shamsud-Din was born on August 23, 1956, in Detroit, Michigan to parents who were both born in Georgia. Raised in a Baptist Christian family, Shamsud-Din converted to Islam though the Nation of Islam at at fifteen years of age, and joined Temple No. 1 (now Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad). He enrolled in the University of Islam, graduating in 1970. Shamsud-Din became a member of the Warith Deen Mohammed community in 1975. He studied with Dr. Abdulmumin Shakir at Wayne County Community College’s Muslim World Studies Program, earning a degree in 1997. Shamsud-Din discusses how he has drawn on a do-for-self ideology to pioneer non-profit work in Detroit’s African American Muslim community throughout his life. He is a founding member of the Detroit Muslim Mission Community Development Corporation, which serves to provide basic needs such as food to the community. For many years, Shamsud-Din has helped organize and provision the weekly soup kitchen and food panty at Masjid Wali Muhammad. He has also helped sustain the long running soup kitchen and food distribution program at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Shamsud-Din is a founding member of the Muslim Center, and a founding member and board member of the Health Unit on Davison (HUDA Clinic), a free medical clinic established in 2004. He has partnered with non-profits such as the Community Development Advocates of Detroit (housing) and the Community Health Awareness Group. He is married to Crystal Shamsud-Din and has four children.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Interview conducted over Zoom)


African-American history, African-American Muslims, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, Muhammad Ali, Shaykh Ali Sulieman Ali, American Muslim Mission, Baptist Christianity, Black Bottom, Black Consciousness, Black-owned business, H. Rap Brown, Chrysler Freeway, Civil Rights Movement, Community building, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Detroit, Detroit Muslim Mission, Detroit Muslims, Do-for-self, Dream of Detroit, Education, Eid Al-Adha, Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Keith Ellison, Faith-based organization, Feed the 500, Food distribution, Free Medical Clinic, Fruit of Islam, Georgia, Gleaners, Highland Park Community College, Health Unit on Davison, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, HUDA Clinic, Interfaith relations, Islam, Islamic Association of Greater Detroit, Islamic parochial school, Lost-Found Nation of Islam, Michigan, Michigan Muslim Community Council, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Mosque, Elijah Muhammad, Fard Muhammad, Muslim Capital Day, Muslim Community Scholarship Fund, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim Girls Training & General Civiliation Class, Muslims, Nation building, Nation of Islam, Neighborhood revitalization, Non-profits, Ramadan, Religious leadership, Reversion to Islam, Dr. Abdulmumin Shakir, Soup kitchen, Statesboro, Temple No. 1, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Islam, Wayne County Community College, Malcolm X


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted online over Zoom by Ayesha Cook, written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook; facilitated by Dr. Alisa Perkins and Ismaeel Dhul-Quarnayn. Transcribed by: Melanie Leary and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Video Edited by: Dr. Nathan L.M. Tabor



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Rights Statement

Dream of Detroit Interviews were made possible by funding from the Pillars Grant and Whiting Foundation. Content is for educational purposes only and non-reproducible; interviews are not to be duplicated, but may be linked through ScholarWorks with appropriate attribution. Please direct any questions about copyright to scholarworks@wmich.edu.


Pillars Fund and Whiting Foundation


Dream of Detroit

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Oral History Interview with Mitchell Shamsud-Din on August 25, 2020