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Juanita M. Shakir

Juanita M. Shakir was born July 18, 1926 in Smithville, Georgia to the late Clarence and Maggie (Thomas) Raines. Juanita was one of seventeen children; sixteen of whom preceded her in death. At age seventeen, she moved to Detroit, married and was raising three sons. After divorcing, she began working in the restaurant industry as a cook. While cooking at a diner, she met Robert A. Shakir who introduced her to the Nation of Islam. She converted to Islam in 1958 and remained a devout believer her entire life.

Juanita joined in Holy Matrimony on February 15, 1959 to Robert. They were blessed to enjoy 52 years of love and happiness. They were proud parents of a blended family of six children. Juanita always had a passion for education and was determined to succeed. Always wanting her high school diploma, she watched GED classes on PBS, then took and passed the GED test at age 42; while working in the retail industry. Her dream was becoming a reality. Inspired by that early success, Juanita became a kindergarten teacher at Muhammad University of Islam, while continuing her education at Wayne County Community College. To keep up with the increasing demands of her schedule, she learned how to drive at age 44. In 1974, she earned her Associate of Arts degree. Success breeds success and she matriculated to Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with Honor in 1976 at age 50. Juanita began teaching elementary school in Highland Park Schools in 1976 and then moved to the Detroit Public Schools in 1978 as an elementary teacher and librarian. Still passionate about education, she completed graduate studies at the University of Michigan from 1981 – 1982 and retired from the Detroit Public Schools in 1990. Juanita loved family, cooking, education, talking to friends, community, and Islam. More compelling than her dislike of travel, Juanita’s desire to fulfill the Five Pillars of Islam led her to make the Hajj to Mecca in 1977.

Juanita was a active member of Masjid Wali Muhammad, The Muslim Center and Muhammad Mosque No. 1. She served in many roles in the Islamic community including Inspector, Squad Leader, Lieutenant, and Community Service. She was appointed Historian by Mother Tynetta Muhammad and compiled and published a historic work in May, 2008: In Remembrance of Those Ranged in Ranks – Detroit, MI. Juanita received many awards during her lifetime including: Spirit of Detroit – Dedication to Education in 1987, Certificate of Appreciation – Mayor Coleman A. Young in 1987, Community Support – League of Muslim Women in 1989 and Community Support – Clara Muhammad School in 1995. This loving, caring woman leaves a legacy of love, education and accomplishment to those she knew. May the peace and blessings of Allah (God) be upon her.

On April 19, 2011, a grateful servant of Allah (God) made her transition. Her life is celebrated by her sons: Gerald Raines (Gloria), Michael Smith, and Alan C. Smith (Aldonna); daughters: Bobbie J. Davis (Joe), Dolores A. Moss (deceased), and Harriet-Marcia Shakir; her sisters-in-law: Frances B. Raines and Viola W. White; 15 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great grandchildren; and a host of other nieces and nephews.

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