Oral History Interview with Catherine Ziyad on October 25, 2020


Oral History Interview with Catherine Ziyad on October 25, 2020



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Ziyad, Catherine


Cook, Ayesha; Perkins, Dr. Alisa (Research Director)


Oral history interview with Catherine Ziyad conducted by Ayesha Cook on October 25, 2020. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Catherine Ziyad was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1953 to parents who were born in Arkansas and migrated North as part of the Great Migration. In her early years, Ziyad lived in the historical Black Bottom, and the Baptist Church played a significant role in her upbringing. In 1973, Ziyad came to Islam through the Nation of Islam’s Temple No, 1. Several years later, she embraced Sunni Islam through the teachings of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. Ziyad has enjoyed a varied and notable career, earning her master’s degree in Social Work from Wayne State University. Some of Ziyad’s specializations include trauma-informed counseling, grief counseling, substance abuse counseling, family counseling, and juvenile justice. Along with several other social work positions, she worked at Black Family Development Inc. for twenty-two years and is currently employed at the integrated behavioral health agency Team Wellness Center. In the interview, Ziyad stresses the importance of recognizing African American women’s leadership in social work and other professional fields. She also discussed the significant way that Islam and Muslim institutions have supported her as a wife, mother, and social worker. As one of its founding members, Ziyad elaborates upon the various ways that she has contributed to the Muslim Center over the years as a teacher, youth mentor, and member of its governing body.

Date of Interview


Location of Interview

Detroit, MI (Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center)


African Centered Social Work Academy, African-American history, African-American Muslims, Imam Derrick Ali, American Legion Award, Arabic language education, Arkansas, Assertive Community Treatment, Baptist Christianity, Bean cream ice cream, Bean pie, Black Bottom, Black church, Black Family Development Incorporated, Black-owned business, Canning, Jermain Carey, Celebrating adolescence, Charity, Choir, Christianity, Church-based leadership, Community leadership, Conversion to Islam, COVID-19 pandemic, Creating Healthy Infants and Parents, Detroit, Detroit Muslim Mission, Eid, Dr. Cheryl El-Amin, Tamra El-Amin, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Feed the 500, Food distribution, Gateway Community Health, Gospel music, Great Migration, Grief counseling, Clara McBride Hale, Taqwa Hasan, Health Unit on Davison, Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad, Home economics, ‘How to Eat to Live’, HUDA Clinic, Islam, Islam in America, Islamic studies, Janaza Committee, Juvenile justice, Khalipha Kane, Keating Elementary School, Keno parties, Imam Saleem Khalid, Tahira Khalid, Malcolm X, Marriage and family counseling, Michigan, Midwifery, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, Dr Naajiah Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad, Fard Muhammad, Muslim Center Annual Family Camp, Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center, Muslim Girls Training Program, Muslimah University, Muslims, Nation of Islam, Nation of Islam Fish Program, National Association of Black Social Workers, Peace of Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church, ‘Prayer and Al-Islam’, Prophet Muhammad, Ramadan, Reversion to Islam, Seamstress, Dr. Abdul-Mumin Shakir, Mitchell Shamsud-Din, Shaw College of Detroit, Social work, Soup kitchen, Sunni Islam, Team Wellness Center, Temple No. 1, ‘The Benefactor’, Trauma-informed care, University of Detroit, Vietnam War, Madam C. J. Walker, Wayne County Community College, Women’s roles in Islam, Work ethic


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


Interview conducted by Ayesha Cook at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center. Interview written by Dr. Alisa Perkins (Research Director) and Ayesha Cook. Interview recorded under the direction of Supervising Producer Malikah Shabazz, videography by Zayd Walid, facilitated by Ismaeel Dhul-Quranayn and Tasneem Joseph. Video Edited by: Mandy Weiss. Transcribed by: Melanie Leary and Dr. Alisa Perkins. Transcription edited by: Dr. Alisa Perkins. Metadata prepared by: 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 Catherine Ziyad on October 25, 2020