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Adam Shakoor Papers

Identifier: UP001573

Scope and Content

The Adam Shakoor Papers are processed into 2 series, Series 1: 36th District Court and Series 2: Deputy Mayor of Detroit.

The 36th District Court series contains material from Shakoor's time as a Judge on the 36th District Court, with almost all from his tenure as Chief Judge (1986-1989). The material largely relates to administrative matters including building conditions, security, personnel communications, division management, and innovation. Soon after the court moved into the Madison Center building there was an incident with car exhaust and ventilation in the building. There are 2 files of information regarding the investigation of the incident present in this series. Also of note are the files about Shakoor's implementation of case management program, court reports, and inter-office correspondence found in many of the personnel files, and work increasing the use of technology and computers in the court's daily work.

The Deputy Mayor of Detroit series contains material from Shakoor's years serving as Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Office of Detroit (1989-1993). Shakoor was brought into this position by Mayor Coleman Young to primarily focus on crime reduction, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and coordinating city leaders to help solve problems in the city through cluster group meetings. Of note in this series is the material on Shakoor's work implementing a Boot Camp After Care program for young men an alternative incarceration program that also provided substance abuse counseling and vocational training, oversight of drug forfeiture, and addressing homelessness and housing assistance as part of a larger drug use prevention effort.

Series 1: 36th District Court, 1981-1989 Series 2: Deputy Mayor of Detroit, 1989-1993


  • 1981 - 1993


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


Adam was born to Harvey and Esther Cadell in Detroit in 1947. His father was a union leader and mother worked as a teacher at Durfee Junior High School. While attending Wayne State University Adam converted his religion to Islam and changed his last name to Shakoor. Shakoor graduated from Wayne State with a Bachelor of Science in 1971, a Masters in Education in 1974, and a JD from Wayne State University Law School.

After graduating law school, Shakoor practiced at Pitts Mann & Patrick PC before becoming a partner at Ashford Cannon Edison Lumumba & Shakoor from 1979-1981.

In 1981, Shakoor was appointed as Judge to the Common Pleas Court for Wayne County and became the first Muslim judge appointed in the United States. Shortly after joining, the Common Pleas Court merged with another division into the 36th District Court. In 1986, Shakoor became Chief Judge of the 36th District Court, just as the court moved into the Madison Center building. During his time as Chief Judge, Shakoor continued as an active judge while also seeing to the administration of the court. He worked on many issues facing the court including building issues in the Madison Center building, creating a drug docket and an environmental court, case management programs, helped secure funding to bring in technology and computers, while also overseeing hundreds of court employees.

In 1989, Mayor Coleman Young asked Shakoor to work with him as a Deputy Mayor. Shakoor accepted and became the Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrator Officer of Detroit. Some of his main responsibilities and priorities in this role were to reduce crime and substance abuse in the city. Shakoor worked on a Boot Camp After Care Detention Program for young men, a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Corrections, Detroit Board of Education, and the City of Detroit. Shakoor also oversaw drug forfeiture in the city and other efforts that aimed to counteract the rising rates of substance abuse and drug related crimes.

Shakoor continued this work through 1993, at which time he returned to practicing law, currently at Adam Shakoor & Associates PC (since 2004), and teaching at Wayne County Community College District.


26.5 Linear Feet (1MB, 26 SB)


Adam Shakoor papers document his career as the Chief Judge to the 36th District Court and as Deputy Mayor of Detroit. His work as a judge included many administrative and policy decisions regarding the operation of the court, inter-office correspondence, security information, as well as docket and case management. In 1989, Shakoor left his position as Chief Judge to begin work as the Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer of Detroit. In this position, Shakoor focused on reducing substance abuse, crime and violence. He also collaborated with City of Detroit department and division leaders to try and solve various issues facing the city of Detroit.

This collection is part of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African American Legal History in partnership with the WSU Law School and the Damon J. Keith Center of Civil Rights.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1, 36th District Court Administration (Box 1-16, 27), Series 2, Deputy Mayor of Detroit (Box 16-27). Folders are arranged in rough alphabetical order.


Donated to the Reuther Library by Adam Shakoor in 1993

Related Materials

This collection is part of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History in partnership with the WSU Law School and the Damon J. Keith Center of Civil Rights.


Box 27 is located in the AV Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Shae Rafferty on September 14, 2021.
Guide to the Adam Shakoor Papers
Processed by Shae Rafferty.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Ave.
Detroit MI 48202 USA