Oral History Interview with Na‘im Muslim Sabir on January 9, 2021

Oral History Interview with Na‘im Muslim Sabir on January 9, 2021



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Sabir, Na‘im Muslim


Walid, Zayd; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Na‘im Muslim Sabir conducted by Zayd Walid on January 9, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Na‘im Muslim Sabir was born and raised in Somerville, Pennsylvania in 1938. Both of Sabir’s parents were born and raised in Hogansville, Georgia. Sabir grew up on his family’s farm. As an adult, Sabir moved north, first to Cleveland, Ohio, and then to Detroit in search of better employment opportunities and an alternative to the racist environments that he had experienced. Sabir first came to Detroit in 1967 and has resided in Detroit since then. Sabir converted to Islam in 1973 through the Nation of Islam and joined Temple No. 1. A few years later, Sabir became part of the Imam Warith Deen Mohammed Community. In his interview, Sabir discusses his many years of activism, business-ownership, and community development that were inspired first by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s do-for-self teaching, and then by Imam Warith Deen Mohammed’s legacy of self and community empowerment. In his interview, Sabir’s details how he helped establish C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N. Urban Farms, a non-profit initiative located nearby Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad. As president of C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N Urban Farms, Sabir helps provide Detroit residents with the opportunity to purchase a plot, while offering support and education for them in farming, animal husbandry, bee-keeping, and marketing. Sabir outlines plans for the urban farm’s continued growth.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Omar AbdulKhaaliq, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, Bean pie, Bean soup, Beekeeping, Black Angus cattle, Black-owned business, Brick industry, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Cassopia, Chrysler automobile manufacturers, Cleveland, Commercial kitchen, Community Resource Institute to Empower Residents In Our Neighborhood, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, C.R.I.T.E.R.I.O.N Urban Farms, Detroit, Detroit Land Bank, Detroit Muslims, Do for self, D-Town Farm, Mayor Michael Duggan, Eastern Market, Economic development, Farming, Fish importing, Fish program, Food desert, Georgia, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Great Migration, Greening of Detroit, Growing Detroit, Halal food, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Hogansville, Hoophouse, Housing vacancy, Interfaith relations, Islam, Islam in America, Chris Lambert, Lawrence Burlingame Block Club, Life Remodeled, Linwood Street, Livestock, Mariana, Michigan, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Elijah Muhammad, ‘Muhammad Speaks’, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim Americans, Muslim-owned businesses, Nation of Islam, Nation of Islam farm, Neighborhood clean-up, Neighborhood revitalization, Nonprofit organizing, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Racism, Hanifa Rahman, Restaurants, Reversion to Islam, Mitchell Shamsud-Din, Somerville, Temple No. 1, Tree-planting, Urban farming, Urban orchard, Urban-suburban relations, US Steel, Volunteering


African American Studies | Africana Studies | Agriculture | American Studies | Apiculture | 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 Zayd Walid at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zayd Walid. Interview recorded under the direction of Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz. Videography by Abdul-Zahir Sadid, facilitated by Muninah Ahmad. Video Edited by: Dr. Nathan L.M. Tabor. Transcribed by: Delaney Novak and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: Dr. Alisa Perkins Sophia Wimberley. Metadata edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins.



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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 Na‘im Muslim Sabir on January 9, 2021