Oral History Interview with Dawud Clark on March 14, 2021

Oral History Interview with Dawud Clark on March 14, 2021



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Clark, Dawud


Sadid, Abdul-Zahir; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Dawud Clark conducted by Abdul-Zahir Sadid on March 14, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Abdul-Zahir Sadid. Dawud Clark was born in 1959 in Germany while his father was stationed there as part of his military service. After Clark’s family returned to the US in the 1960s, they settled in Detroit, where his father worked for Ford Motor Company and his mother pursued a career as a teacher. After graduating from Murray-Wright High School, Clark earned his EMT license from Wayne County Community College. He then obtained a Philosophy of Law degree from Grand Valley State University and subsequently worked as a paralegal. Clark was exposed to Islam in college, and his identity as a Muslim became central to his life when he was incarcerated. Within prison, Clark became active in protecting prisoner’s rights, particularly Muslims’ ability to maintain halal diets and to access Islamic education. In 2018, Clark joined the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. He began volunteering in the mosque’s kitchen and working as a security guard for the mosque. Aside from his activities at the Muslim Center, Clark volunteers with the neighborhood revitalization organization Dream of Detroit, where he employs his skills in carpentry, plumbing and other aspects of housing rehabilitation. Clark played a chief role in renovating Project Homecoming, a transitional home for returning citizens. He currently serves as the House Manager for the home. In the interview, Clark reflects on his motivation to help build up the community, housing density, and economic life in the neighborhood around the Muslim Center and his continued advocacy for prisoner’s rights and the well-being of formerly incarcerated citizens.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Advocacy for Muslim prisoners, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Imam Derrick Ali, Arabic language education, Big Boy Restaurants, Black Panther Party, Brotherhood Carpentry, Shaykh Momodou Ceesay, Chaplain Advisory Council, Christian chaplain, Christian social services, Coldwater, Community building, Community garden, Conversion to Islam, Reversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Crain, Dawah, Dearborn, Detroit, Ismaeel Dhul-Quarnayn, Discrimination against returning citizens, Dream of Detroit, Elias Brothers, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license, Fasting, Food bank, Food donations, Food truck, Ford Motor Company, Frankfurt, Free medical clinic, Friday prayer service, Marcus Garvey, Germany, Goodwill Industries International, Grand Valley State University, Great Migration, Halal food, Hamtramck, Health Unit on Davison, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, House Manager for Project Homecoming, Housing discrimination, Housing rehabilitation, Housing renovation, HUDA Clinic, Iftar meal distribution, Incarceration, Interfaith relations, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic environment, Islamic Organization of North America, Islamic studies, Jewish prisoners, Jumu'ah, Kinross, Kinslow, Longfellow neighborhood, Michigan, Michigan Department of Corrections, Mosque security guard, Murray-Wright High School, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center food pantry, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim chaplain, Muslim Family Services, Muslims, Nation of Islam, Neighborhood revitalization, Online prayer services, Operation Get Down, Orthodox Islam, Paralegal, Peer mentorship, Philosophy of law, Plumbing, Prayer, Prison chaplain, Prison ministry, Prisoner advocacy, Project Homecoming, Qu'ran distribution, Ramadan, Ramadan in prison, Redeeming Kimberley, Religious discrimination, Representing Islam, September 11 2001, Skilled trades, Slavery, Social justice, Soup kitchen, State Appellate Defender's Office (SADO), Tayba Foundation, Trade school, Transitional housing for formerly incarcerated returning citizens, Tripura Education, US military, Volunteering, Wayne County Community College, Woodrow Wilson Street


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 | Prison Education and Reentry | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted by Abdul-Zahir Sadid at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Abdul-Zahir Sadid. Interview recorded under the direction of Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz. Videography by Naimah Siddiq. Video Edited by: June Pearson. Transcribed by: Delaney Novak and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Tristan Draper. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins and Sophia Wimberley.



Document Type


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 Dawud Clark on March 14, 2021