Adam Shakoor was born Adam Caddell in 1947, and raised in northeast Detroit’s Sojourner Truth public housing complex. He had become a passionate advocate of equality during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. He converted to Al-Islam while attending Wayne State University, where he received an undergraduate, masters, and law degrees between 1971 and 1976.
During his early years in private practice in 1979, Attorney Shakoor successfully represented Masjid Wali Muhammad in Detroit in a push for the right to play the Muslim call to prayer over outside loudspeaker, the first such ruling in the country. During the same year, he led litigation against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), which resulted in the hiring of the first Muslim chaplain in the state prison system.
The Honorable Judge Adam Shakoor was granted a judgeship in 1981 by Michigan’s Gov. William Milliken on the 36th District Court in Detroit. He was selected by his peers and served two terms as chief judge until 1988. After his retirement in 1989, He became deputy mayor under the Honorable Coleman A. Young, Detroit’s first African-American mayor.
In an interview with a Detroit news outlet Judge Shakoor stated, “I kind of liked the people’s court, the 36th District, and I decided to run for chief judge a couple of years after I had got on the court. And, I was successful and selected by my peers as chief judge and we did some pretty good things during that time.”
Judge Shakoor served as deputy Detroit mayor from 1989 through 1993. Adolph Mongo, a Detroit radio personality and political commentator, “I worked on a task force for litter with him when he was the chief 36th District Judge. Then I worked with him when he was deputy mayor. He was a very astute attorney and community person. He understood everyday people. As a judge, he had a lot of insight into what was happening in the city, more than most politicians.”
In 1994 and 1997, he became managing partner in two different Detroit law firms. In 2004, he started his firm, Adam Shakoor & Associates. During his private practice, he represented many well-known Detroit residents, including Rosa Parks from 1995 until her passing in 2005.
In a statement from CAIR-Mi (Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan) Executive Director Dawud Walid stated, “we mourn the great loss of Judge Shakoor, who was a mentor and an inspiration to Michigan Muslims and the civil rights community, We pray that Allah enters him into paradise and showers patience upon his family.”
According to Eric Sabree, Wayne County Treasurer and longtime personal friend of Judge Shakoor, “He was totally committed to helping people and was a great family man. He was a person who really strived for excellence in himself and all those he associated with. I relied on his counsel and advice.”
Judge Shakoor received over a hundred proclamations, awards and honors from federal, state, and local government agencies and community groups over the past 40 years. He also served on the boards of various local organizations. He was also a professor of business law and African American Studies at Wayne County Community College for more than 45 years.
Judge Shakoor transitioned from this life on Sunday, March 20, 2022 (From Allah we come, and to Him is the Return). He is survived by his wife, Gail Lawrence-Shakoor and six children.