Oral History Interview with Tahira Hassanein Khalid on September 20, 2020


Oral History Interview with Tahira Hassanein Khalid on September 20, 2020



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Khalid, Tahira Hassanein


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


Oral history interview with Tahira Hassanein Khalid, conducted by Ayesha Cook on September 20, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Tahira Hassanein Khalid was born in Detroit to parents who hailed from West Virginia and Georgia, and she was raised in Ecorse, Michigan. When Khalid was five years old, her father, Osman Hassanein, converted to Sunni Islam, with her mother, Khalida Hassanein converting soon after. In her interview, Khalid relates how in 1957, Osman Hassanein became one of the first African-American Muslims in the nation to complete the hajj. After returning from pilgrimage, Osman Hassanein helped establish Masjid Al-Mu’mineen, one of the earliest Sunni mosques associated with the African American Muslim community. In his capacity as mosque board president, he was instrumental in forging inter-ethnic and inter-racial forms of friendship and cooperation within the local Muslim community. In her interview, Khalid talks about what it was like growing up as part of the ethnically-diverse Islamic environment fostered by her parents. Khalid describes the course of her education that led to her earning a graduate degree in social work from the University of Michigan. She details aspects of her long and productive career in social work, and her special focus on the interests of women and under-served communities including immigrants and African Americans. She discusses her long-time work with Muslim Family Services, in which, among other responsibilities, she helps provide services to women in transitional housing. She also has worked for Wayne State University School of Medicine and for other agencies advancing initiatives to better understand and address the mortality rates for African American infants in Detroit. Khalid was one of the founders of a group called Muslimah University which offers a monthly forum for women to draw upon their own talents and skills for the group’s collective education and empowerment.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Dr. Su'ad Abdul Khabeer, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Na'im Akbar, Alabama, Alan Davis, Shaykh Dr. Ali Sulaiman Ali, American Moslem Society, Dr. Ihsan Bagby, Beacon Foundation, Black Panther Party, Canton Mosque, Christianity, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Rights Movement, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Dar Al-Rahma, De-facto segregation, Dearborn, Detroit, Charles Coles Diggs Jr., Dix Mosque, Ecorse, Education disparity, Dr. Cheryl El-Amin, Zarinah El-Amin, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Food distribution, Ford Motor Company, Fundraising, Georgia, Judge William Charles Hague, Hajj, Halal food, Halal meat distribution, Khalida Hassanein, Osman Hassanein, Health Unit on Davison, Nikki Graves Henderson, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, HUDA Clinic, Teola Pearl Hunter, Indian Americans, Indo-Pak community, International League of Muslim Women, Islam, Islam in America, Karate, Imam Karoub, Iman Khalid, Mahasin Mahdi, Nafeesa Mahdi, Malcolm X, Martial arts, Masjid Al-Mu'mineen, Masjid Dearborn, Dr. Aminah McCloud, Michigan, ‘Michigan Chronicle', Governor William Grawn Miliken, Morgantown, Dr. Naajiah Muhammad, Muslim Americans, Muslims, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim Community of the Western Suburbs, ‘Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States', Muslim Family Services, Muslim women's educational groups, Muslim youth groups, Muslimah University, Ohio, Pakistan, Pakistani-Americans, Premarital counseling, Prisoner advocacy, Racism, Raja Group, Ralph J. Bunche Academy, Reversion to Islam, ‘Roots', Judge Aliya Sabree, Sakinah House, Sapelo Square, Saudi Arabia, School desegregation, Judge Adam Shakoor, Social Work, Taqwa Hasan, University of Michigan, Urban planning, Dr. Viola Vaughn, Dr. Bilal Ware, Wayne State University, West Virginia, Women's shelter, World War Two, Shaykh AbdulKarim Yayha, Catherine Ziyad


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 | Social Work | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted by Ayesha Cook at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Interview video recorded under the supervision of Razi Jafri. Videography by Samayyah Cook. Transcribed by: Meghana Srinivasa and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Video Edited by: Chloe Trofatter. Metadata prepared by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata edited by: Sophia Wimberley.



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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 Tahira Hassanein Khalid on September 20, 2020