Oral History Interview with Teresa G. Clarington on March 28, 2021


Oral History Interview with Teresa G. Clarington on March 28, 2021



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Clarington, Teresa G.


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


Oral history interview with Teresa G. Clarington, conducted by Naimah Siddiq on March 28, 2021. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins and Naimah Siddiq. Teresa Clarington was born in Detroit, Michigan to parents who hailed from Florida and Georgia. Her father, Reverend Dr. Isaac Clarington, was a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church who migrated to Detroit to work in the auto industry and later became an entrepreneur, religious leader, and world traveler. After graduating from Central High School in 1973, Clarington enrolled in Shaw College to study nursing. She also pursued higher education at Marygrove College and Wayne State University. Clarington worked in various aspects of customer service, and then opened her own printing business. Clarington has been a member of the Greater Quinn A.M.E. Church for fifty-eight years and volunteers with the church to distribute resources to those in need. Additionally, Clarington serves as president for the Longfellow Block Club in west Detroit. In this capacity, Clarington acts as a liaison between neighborhood residents and municipal officials, while collaborating with organizations like Dream of Detroit on neighborhood revitalization. Relatedly, Clarington also serves as a board member for Life Remodeled, an organization devoted to improving Detroit neighborhoods across the city by targeting people and areas that need it the most. In the interview, Clarington discusses both positive and negative aspects of growing up in Detroit in the 1960s. Notably, she details her memories of the 1967 Detroit uprising, when the police and National Guard were deployed in her neighborhood. Clarington also describes her experiences working with her church and other organizations to improve the lives of fellow city residents, while discussing her dreams for a rejuvenated Detroit that equitably meets the needs of all its citizens.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


Activism, African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E. Church), African-American history, African-American Muslims, Richard Allen, Sarah Allen, Automobile industry, Back taxes, Bergan Mercy Hospital, Black Bottom, Black Panther House, Black Panther Party, Black-owned businesses, Boston Edison Historic District, Bread distribution, Central High School, Charter schools, Chrysler Corporation, Church choir, Reverend Dr. Isaac Clarington, Community engagement, John Conyers, COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Crain, Curfew, Customer service, Detroit, Detroit Police Citizen Patrol, Detroit Riots of 1967, Detroit Uprising of 1967, Detroit Youth Club, District Five Detroit, Dodge Company, Dollar Tree, Dream of Detroit, Drug epidemic, Mayor Mike Duggan, Durfee Elementary-Middle School, Durfee Innovation Society, Entrepreneur, Family Dollar, Farming, Florida, Food distribution, Food pantry, Free medical clinic, G.I. Bill, Georgia, Dan Gilbert, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Goldberg Elementary School, The Great Migration, Greater Quinn A.M. E. Church, Gregg Memorial A.M.E. Church, Health Unit on Davison, Housing foreclosure crisis, Housing renovation, Houston County, HUDA Clinic, Ike's Carpet Cleaning and Re-Upholstering, Interfaith work, Intergenerational relations, Islam, Islam in America, Jewish Americans, Life Remodeled, Longfellow Block Club, Longfellow Neighborhood, Marygrove College, Medical record scholar, Methodist Children's Home Society, Miami, Michigan, Michigan Works! Association, Missionary Society, Missionary work, Muslim Americans, Muslims, National Guard, Northwest Airlines, Nursing, Pediatrician, Police Commissioners Community Board, Police-Community Relations Organization, Prayer line, Printing business, Racial discrimination, Railroad labor, Real Estate Club, Shaw College, Shrine of the Black Madonna, Dr. Lula Belle Stewart, Street fair, Swim mobile, Teresa's Creations For You, Trans World Airlines (TWA), Trauma, Tutoring children, U.S. Military, Underground Railroad, Urban swimming, VA Housing Assistance, Veterans affairs, Vietnam War, Wayne County Community College, Wayne State University, Welfare Office, William H. Peck Elementary, Karla Williamson


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Christianity | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Ethics in Religion | Inequality and Stratification | 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 Abdul-Zahir Siddiq. Video Edited by: Liaya Blueford. Transcribed by: Meghana Srinivasa. 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 Teresa G. Clarington on March 28, 2021