Oral History Interview with Mansur Blackman on January 23, 2021


Oral History Interview with Mansur Blackman on January 23, 2021



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Blackman, Mansur


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


Oral history interview with Mansur Blackman conducted by Samayyah Cook on January 23, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Samayyah Cook. Mansur Blackman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1990. His mother was born in Philadelphia and his father was born in Queens, New York. Blackman was raised in a Muslim family, as his mother and father each embraced Islam before meeting each other. His mother, Mumina Blackman, helped found an Islamic parochial school called the MTI School of Knowledge in Indianapolis, which Blackman attended. Growing up, he frequented Masjid Al-Fajr in Indianapolis with his family. After high school, Blackman graduated from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Soon after, he was recruited by the Ford Motor Graduates Program and moved to Michigan to pursue a career at the Ford Motor Company. Blackman eventually returned to the University of Michigan to obtain his Master’s degree in Computer Engineering. He now works as a Systems Engineer for Ford. In Detroit, Blackman attended various mosques, including the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, the American Muslim Center, and the Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD). After he joined Dream of Detroit, Blackman and his family relocated to the organization’s neighborhood to be part of its intentional community. He currently serves as Housing Chair, helping coordinate the Dream of Detroit’s housing and neighborhood rehabilitation efforts. In the interview, Blackman discusses similarities between his childhood in the close-knit Indianapolis Muslim community and the warm atmosphere of the Muslim Center and Dream of Detroit. He elaborates on his role as Housing Chair for Dream of Detroit, describing the many projects the organization undertakes and his vision for the neighborhood’s future.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Abandoned houses, Advocacy for formally incarcerated citizens, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Alabama, Alcoa Corporation, Algeria, Algerian-Americans, American Moslim Center (AMS), Arabic language education, Basketball, Canada, City of Detroit, Community building, Community leadership, Community organizing, Computer engineering, Conservatism, Construction, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Crain, Crowdfunding, Dearborn, Detroit, Detroit Repertory Theatre, Dream of Detroit, East Side Indianapolis, Economic development, Electric vehicle, Electrical engineering, Evansville, Ford College Graduate Program (FCG Program), Ford Motor Company, Free medical clinic, Fundraising, General Motors Company, Guinean-Americans, Hajj, Hardest Hit Fund, Health Unit on Davison, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Housing rehabilitation, Housing Chair, HUDA Clinic, Huntsville, Indiana, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Muslim Community Association, Intergenerational relations, International community, International students, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic Center of Detroit (ICD), Islamic education, Islamic mortgage options, Islamic parochial school, Amanda Jaczkowski, Jamacia, LaunchGood, Masjid Al-Fajr, Master's degree, Mechanical engineering, ‘Message to the Blackman in America', Michigan, Mortgage, Mosque, MTI School of Knowledge, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim community, Muslim community building, Muslim Student Association (MSA), Nation of Islam, Neighborhood revitalization, New York City, Oakville, Orthodox Islam, Oxford Village, Park rehabilitation, Peer pressure, Pennsylvania, Dr. Alisa Perkins, Philadelphia, Project Homecoming, Public relations, Purpose-built mosque, Queens, Qur'an memorization, Racism, Reentry services, Remote work, Reversion to Islam, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Imam Mika'il Stewart Saadiq, Saudi Arabia, Scattered site co-op, Scholarship, Self-reliance, Senegalese-Americans, Social justice, Somalian-Americans, South Asian-Americans, Systemic Racism, Systems Engineer, Terre Haute, The Great Migration, Time management, Toronto, Transitional housing, Tree planting, University of Michigan Dearborn, Volunteerism, Women's leadership, Woodrow Wilson Street, Yearly tax auction, Yemeni-Americans


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


Interview conducted by Samayyah Cook at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Samayyah Cook. Videography by Ayesha Cook, facilitated by Muminah Ahmad and Samuel Canfield. Video Edited by: Dr. Nathan L.M. Tabor. Transcribed by: Ava Strasser and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Hannah Cole. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins and Sophia Wimberley.



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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 Mansur Blackman on January 23, 2021