Oral History Interview with Nabintou Doumbia on December 20, 2020

Oral History Interview with Nabintou Doumbia on December 20, 2020



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Doumbia, Nabintou


Yousif-Ahmed, Zainab; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Nabintou Doumbia conducted by Zainab Yousif-Ahmed on December 20, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zainab Yousif-Ahmed. Nabintou Doumbia was born on April 6, 1997 in Bronx, New York to a Muslim family who had moved from the Ivory Coast to the US to join the large West African community in the Bronx. When Doumbia was two years old, the family relocated again, this time to Michigan, settling first in Flint and then in Detroit. Doumbia’s family members played an active role in organizing Muslim American life in Detroit, most notably by establishing the vibrant Islamic Community of As-Salaam, which has many members who have migrated from Africa. Growing up, Doumbia attended Qur’an weekend school and Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, an Islamic parochial school in Detroit. Doumbia excelled at Al-Ikhlas, participating in Student Council and the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament. After graduating high school, Doumbia became an active member of Al-Ikhlas Academy’s Alumni Association and also became the Regional Director of the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament. Doumbia attended Wayne State University where she majored in sociology and minored in African American studies. At Wayne State, Doumbia was part the Honors College and the Muslim Student Association. Another way she practiced community leadership was by helping to establish the Sisterhood of Yere Lon (Knowledge of Self), an education group for Muslim women who identify as African, which Doumbia co-founded with one of her siblings. Doumbia has received recognition for her activism, including the Detroit Minds and Hearts Fellowship with the Muslim American Society and the Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders Scholarship. Doumbia currently attends law school at Georgetown University where she is a member of the Muslim Law Students Association and the Black Law Students Association. In the interview, Doumbia explores her desire to use her law degree to help advance the rights and well-being of others. She also recounts her positive experiences attending Al-Ikhlas Training Academy and describes the supportive community it provided for her. Further, Doumbia discusses her development as an activist and how she roots her community engagement in Islamic values and Black identity.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Interview conducted over Zoom)


Abayah, Abidjan, Abobo, Activism, African-American studies, African customary dress, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Afterschool programs, Imam Nadir Ahmed, Al-Ikhlas Training Academy, Al-Ikhlas Training Academy Alumni Association, Allyship, American culture, American dream, American identity, Anti-racism, Arabic language education, Assembly line, Attorney, Automobile industry, Bangladeshi Americans, Bar examination, Black-American community, Black identity, Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Black liberation, Black Muslim Ladies Brunch, Bronx, Canton, Clubhouse App, Collectivist culture, Colonization, Communalism, Community, Community activism, Community building, Community development, Community organizing, Community space, Community support, Côte d'Ivoire, COVID-19 pandemic, Cultural identity, Dearborn, Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders Fellowship (DREL Fellowship), Detroit, Detroit Minds and Hearts Fellowship, Diverse school environment, Diversity, Economically-driven immigration, Elder respect, Family unification, Feminism, Fenkell Avenue, Flint, French language, Fundraising, Gambian Americans, Gender relations, Georgetown University, Guinean Americans, Hamtramck, Harlem, Identity formation, Immigrant visa, Immigration, Imposter syndrome, Individualism, Interfaith relations, Intergenerational relations, Internalized racism, International travel, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic Community of As-Salaam (ICASMI), Islamic parochial school, Islamic studies, Ivory Coast, Julakan dialect, Language studies, LaunchGood, Law school, Lawyer, Ludington Magnet Middle and Honors School, Mali Empire, Malian American, Mandingo language, Mentorship, Michigan, Modest dress, Modesty, Mother tongue, Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Americans, Muslim Community of Western Suburbs (MCWS), Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST), Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Muslims, Nation of Islam, Native language, Networking, New Jersey, New York, Oral traditions, Plymouth-Canton Education Park (P-CEP), Power dynamics, Qur’an memorization, Qur’an studies, Qur’an weekend school, Quizbowl trivia competition, Recitation, Regional Director of MIST, Religious discrimination, Imam Mika'il Stewart Saadiq, School dress code, Senegal, Senegalese Americans, Seven Mile, Sister Clara Muhammad Schools, Sisterhood of Yere Lon, Social justice, Sociology, Speech competition, Student council, Student council board, Student empowerment, Student government, Student initiatives, Student-teacher relationships, TEDx Talk, The Muslim Center, Mosque and Community Center, ‘The Walking Qur’an’, Undocumented immigrant, Dr. Bilal Ware, Wayne State Honors College, Wayne State University, West Africa, West-African Americans, West Side Detroit, Women’s education group, Wright Academy of Arts and Sciences, Yamoussoukro, Yearbook committee


African American Studies | Africana Studies | American Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Digital Humanities | Ethics in Religion | Inequality and Stratification | Islamic Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Urban Studies and Planning


Interview conducted online over Zoom by Zainab Yousif-Ahmed. Written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Zainab Yousif-Ahmed. Facilitated by Dr. Alisa Perkins. Video Edited by: Zola Crow. Transcribed by: Zarin Farook. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata by: Tristan Draper. 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

Length of Video


Oral History Interview with Nabintou Doumbia on December 20, 2020