Overview: The Black Religion Summit

“Black Religion and Community Unification: Dialogue and Listening Across Black/African American Muslim and Christian Congregations, Art Spaces, and Community Organizing Collectives” (a.k.a. “The Black Religion Summit”) is a convening of collaborators who share the aim of critically exploring how concepts at the intersection of Black Religion and community-engaged listening animate our ongoing work.  Supported by a sub-grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’sToward A Common Public Life” initiative, we take as our starting point Sherman Jackson’s definition of Black Religion as “a pragmatic, folk-oriented, holy protest” against the “material and psychological effects of white supremacy” that “refuses to separate the quest for otherworldly salvation from the struggle for temporal liberation and a dignified existence” (2005: 4,31). Through our respective Luce-funded projects, each member of our collective is making grounded inquiries into the power of Black Religion to unify communities toward the shared goal of achieving such justice-seeking praxis, while also considering the processes by which Black Religion-inspired movements deliberately or inadvertently perpetuate insider/outside boundaries. Our two-part Black Religion Summit will allow us, as community organizers, scholars, and artists, to collaboratively examine, with the help of community-engaged participants, how these Black Religion movements are defining and demarcating the communities they engage, and how the methods of community-engaged research and theoretically informed listening developed across our projects may help us better understand these dynamics, while making aspects of our collective endeavors widely available to students, scholars, artists, community leaders, and congregations.

Sponsors and Contributors

The Black Religion Summit is sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation’sToward A Common Public Life” initiative and hosted by Dream of Detroit, with the support of Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad. Our Summit is a convening of scholars, community organizers, religious leaders, and artists from five Henry Luce funded collectives including: Black Muslim Internationalism Project, The Detroit Muslim Storytelling Project, The Crossroads Project, Center for Religion and Cities, and Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America.


The first segment of our convening will take place in Detroit between April 19-April 22, 2024. With more than an 80 percent Black American population, Detroit is facing rapid gentrification and the uneven economic effects of neoliberal development but is also well-known for its enduring traditions of Black Muslim and Black Christian faith-based community organizing against such white supremacist agendas, making it an ideal setting for our gathering. While our delegation will visit several historically important Black Muslim and Black Christian congregational and community organizing spaces, other highlights will include:

  • Keynote Address (public) by Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Oseguera: “Interfaith Dynamics and Spiritual Diversity in Black/African American Communities.” Dr. Oseguera is Visiting Assistant Professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, and the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF). Dr. Oseguera’s talk draws on research and dialogue that she pioneered as part of “The Exploring Black Christian Views of American Muslims” research study, conducted by Muslim Wellness Foundation and The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding between March 2020 – June 2020. The purpose of this study was to gain insight and understanding into how Black Christian views of American Muslims views are formed, and to identify the impacts of these views on interracial, intraracial, and interfaith dialogues. Register Now!
  • Roundtable Discussions Following Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Oseguera’s Talk: Leaders from Detroit’s Christian and Muslim Communities will discuss the following theme:  “As Black Detroiters, how can we use the diversity of our faith traditions to instigate–rather than impede– new forms of cooperation? As people of different faith backgrounds who share neighborhoods, workplaces, social spaces, and families, how can we come together across religious differences to mobilize for racial, economic, and social justice?”
  • Listening Circles Workshop: Scholars from the Center for Religion and Cities will offer a presentation and training introducing our collaborators to the CRC’s groundbreaking work on “Listening Circles,” an approach and method for enacting healing dialogue for groups that include differentially positioned participants, such as community members, community organizers, and scholars. Following this, the CRC team will lead a workshop in which they guide participants to explore how they might incorporate and/or build upon CRC’s Listening Circles approach to advance the community-engagement work of their respective projects. 
  • Tours of Significant Black Religion Sites: Dream of Detroit’s neighborhood, and Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad.
  • “Let There Arise Out of You Band!”:Current band leader is Brother Imam Hamidullah Daniel Mujahid, student and companion of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. According to Br. Daniel Mujahid: “The band members are believers in the Oneness of the G-d, whom live the truth of supporting goodwill among human communities, and societies, and also forbid human practices and schemes of evil which cause wrongful outcomes, dehumanization, and/or sub-optimization in the qualities of humanity.”

The second part of our convening, set to take place in August 2024, will allow some of our collaborators to attend the debut of the two Luce-funded plays on Black Religion at the 2024 International Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem and a post-performance discussion bringing together the playwrights, festival organizers, and Luce contributors. These plays were produced as part of the Henry Luce Initiative: Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America.  

Meet the Collaborators

Reverend Richard R. White III, MDiv: Pastor, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Detroit andPresident, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity. A lifelong Detroiter, born into a family deeply rooted in ministry. Holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology. Licensed to preach at 17, became an associate minister at 20 and later pastor of Greater Marion Chapel Missionary Baptist Church at 23 years old. Assumed leadership role at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 2015. As President of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity, oversees this Baptist body of pastoral leadership, which was developed for the development, training, and spiritual support of local pastors and ministers and for cultivating leadership in developing faith-based responses to social justice issues within the community at large. The Council uses its platform to recommend associate pastors by assisting and encouraging them in various fields of Christian ministry and social change.
Dr. Marquisha Lawrence Scott: Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver. Congregational Data Associate, Center for Religions in Cities. At the University of Denver, focuses research, teaching, and community engagement on ensuring that community and nonprofit organizations, especially religious congregations, are equipped to serve their identified communities. As Congregational Data Associate with the Center for Religions and Cities, uses a method of community facilitation to understand and support congregations as they address concerns related to their buildings and reimagined futures. As a Research Associate with the Bangor Theological Seminary’s BTS Center, researches the impact of climate change on clergy and congregations as they address their communities’ needs. Holds an MSW in macro social work from Washington University in St. Louis; a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Pennsylvania; and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary.
Dr. Aminah Beverly (McCloud) Al-Deen: Research Associate Professor, AbuSulayman Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. Emerita Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, DePaul University. Project Director, the Black American Muslim Internationalism Project, AbuSulayman Center for Global Islamic Studies, George Mason University. Book publications include: African American Islam (Routledge, 1995); A Question of Faith for Muslim Inmates (Kazi Publications, 1999); Transnational Muslims in American Society (University Press of Florida, 2006); An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century (Wiley, 2013); History of Arab Americans (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018); Islam, Muslims, and COVID-19 (Brill, 2023). American editor for Brill’s “Muslim Minorities in the West” series. Former Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. A Fulbright Scholar, Board Member for the Institute for Muslim Mental Health, Executive Board Member of IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network).



Historic Masjid Wali Muhammad
11529 Linwood St.
Detroit, MI 48206

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"The true life that God wants for all people—not one people—their true life is a life of cooperation… community life!"
- Imam W.D. Mohammed