Oral History Interview with Jo Annette Muhammad on October 4, 2020

Oral History Interview with Jo Annette Muhammad on October 4, 2020



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Muhammad, Jo Annette


Siddiq, Naimah; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Jo Annette Muhammad conducted by Naimah Siddiq on October 4, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Naimah Siddiq. Jo Annette Muhammad was born on July 15, 1952 in Birmingham, Alabama to parents who were both born in Alabama. In the early 1950s, Muhammad’s family moved to Detroit, Michigan as part of the Great Migration, and lived in the Sojourner Truth Housing Project for part of Muhammad’s childhood. Muhammad’s parents, Rosie Musheerah Rushdan and John Rushdan, joined the Nation of Islam when she was young, and they both became active members of Temple No. 1. Muhammad’s father traveled around the United States to take part in the NOI’s missionizing efforts. In 1968, Muhammad’s parents opened a bakery on Linwood Street near Temple No. 1, and later opened other businesses, including a pastry shop and ice cream parlor. Muhammad acquired skills in baking and business management while working at her parents’ shops. After graduating from high school, Muhammad attended Lewis Business College for several semesters, then returned to the family’s bakery business. Currently, Muhammad owns JoAnnette’s Delicious Pies and Other Homemade Goods, which she operates out of her home. She also sells baked goods on Fridays at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. As a member of the Muslim Center, Muhammad takes classes in Islamic studies with Imam Khalil Markham. In the interview, Muhammad discusses the importance of the Muslim Center and the neighborhood revitalization organization Dream of Detroit in building up the neighborhood around the mosque. She also reflects on her desire to pass on the legacy that she inherited from her parents and to help young people develop careers as cooks or pastry chefs. She hopes that learning these skills will inspire young people to open halal restaurants in the community.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


A. L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Alabama, Apprenticeship, Atkinson Elementary School, Bakery, Bean pies, Birmingham, Black-owned business, Burns Elementary-Middle School, Central High School, Chicago, Chrysler Corporation, Community building, Community partnership, Conversion to Islam, Reversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Detroit, Dream of Detroit, East Side Detroit, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship training, Family recipe, Family-owned business, Great Migration, Halal, Highland Park Community College, Home business, Housing segregation, Racial segregation, Ice cream parlor business, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic studies, JCPenney, JoAnnette's Delicious Pies and Other Homemade Goods, Kettering High School, Kroger Corporation, Lewis College of Business, Lifelong learning, Linwood Street, Imam Khalil Markham, Mentorship, Michigan, Missionizing, Modesty in Islamic dress, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Muslim Americans, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslims, Nation of Islam, Online education, Pastry shop, ‘Pittsburgh Courier', Qur'an studies, Seamstress, Self-taught culinary skills, Sewing, Skilled trades, Sojourner Truth Housing Project, Street fair, Sunnah, Sunni Muslim, Temple No. 1, Vending at the mosque, Walmart, West Side Detroit


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


Interview conducted by Naimah Siddiq at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Naimah Siddiq. Interview recorded under the direction of Razi Jafri and Tasneem Joseph. Videography by Abdul-Zahir Sadid. Video Edited by Brooklynne Bates. Transcribed by: Meghana Srinivasa. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Tristan Draper. 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

Length of Video


Oral History Interview with Jo Annette Muhammad on October 4, 2020