Oral History Interview with Dorothy Shakoor on December 19, 2020

Oral History Interview with Dorothy Shakoor on December 19, 2020



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Shakoor, Dorothy


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


Oral history interview with Dorothy Shakoor conducted by Naimah Siddiq on December 19, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Naimah Siddiq. Dorothy Shakoor was born in Selma, Alabama in 1937 to parents who hailed from Perry County, Alabama. She was raised as part of a large Baptist Christian family and was one of fourteen children. In her earliest years, Shakoor’s family was part of a farming community in Alabama. Later in her upbringing, she moved to Connecticut with her family. Shakoor joined the Nation of Islam while living in Connecticut after being invited to their services by a friend. In 1973, she moved to Detroit to start a life with her husband. After moving to Detroit, Shakoor joined Temple No. 1, where she attended the Muslim Girls Training Program and participated in classes to learn about cooking, sewing, and embroidery. Shakoor has been an active member of Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad for many decades. She has volunteered as Chair of the Service Committee and as a member of the Bereavement Committee. Shakoor is most known for her many years of service in the kitchen and food pantry at Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad. Notably, she has helped lead efforts to prepare successful fundraising dinners at the mosque on Fridays. In the interview, Shakoor reflects on the similarities between the Baptist Christianity of her upbringing and the values she came to embrace as a Muslim. She provides details on her many years of service to Detroit’s Muslim community, and also discusses the generational differences that she has witnessed in the Muslim community.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


African-American history, African-American Muslims, Alabama, Arabic language education, Atlanta, Baptist Christianity, Bean pie, Bessemer, Black Panther Party, Civil Rights Movement, Connecticut, COVID-19 pandemic, Detroit, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Food distribution, Food pantry, Food service work, Friday prayer service, Georgia, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Housekeeping classes, Intergenerational learning, Islam, Islam in America, Jumu'ah, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Linwood Street, March on Washington, Mentone, Michigan, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Mosque Bereavement Committee, Mosque fundraising, Mosque fundraising dinners, Mosque kitchen staff, Mosque Service Committee, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Muslim Americans, Muslim Girls Training Program, Muslims, Nation of Islam, Needlework classes, Perry County, Phillip Randolph Career and Technical Center, Prayer, Qur'an, Racist violence, Relations between religions, Selma, Soup kitchen, Teaching, Temple No. 1, Tobacco farming, Volunteerism


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 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 Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz. Videography by Muminah Ahmad, facilitated by Samuel Canfield. Video Edited by: Mandy Weiss. Transcribed by: Delaney Novak. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Melissa Paduk. 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 Dorothy Shakoor on December 19, 2020