Mayor Coleman A. Young, left to right, Adam Shakoor and Carl R. Edwards.
Photo courtesy of Carl R. Edwards
The Honorable Adam A. Shakoor is a living legend in Detroit.
He’s handled court cases by the hundreds and led with intentionality while overseeing jury trials in the 36th District Court in the city along with state and federal court cases as an attorney and as a judge involving all aspects of complex civil and criminal litigation.
According to his LinkedIn page, during his tenure the court system would annually process over 500,000 cases, including the management of 31 judges, 6 magistrates and 550 employees.
Shakoor — who has over 200 awards and certificates from legal and community entities — was appointed as the Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Detroit from 1989 to 1993 by then-Mayor Coleman A. Young.
Before his return to private practice, he was known for major criminal justice initiatives that have been adopted by state and federal corrections personnel, according to his LinkedIn page.
He currently works as an attorney-at-law at Adam Shakoor & Associates, P.C., in the Greater Detroit area.
He told the Michigan Chronicle that his prestigious, highly visible work began with a passion for justice.
“I was an activist in college,” Shakoor said of his activism which started when he was 18 in 1965. “I got my start in the mid-1960s… engaged in the effort to basically not be involved in Vietnam.”
Shakoor, who protested the 20-year war said that as an activist he was very involved on campus throughout his time as an undergraduate when he participated in sit-ins and other protests.
“That activism led me to be a part of quite a few different organizations and activities that were all progressive in various efforts to uplift the community,” he said adding that he wanted to build up African Americans in terms of their destiny.
Master Civil Trial lawyer Carl R. Edwards told the Michigan Chronicle that Shakoor faced head-on the community’s problems including the “terrible conditions” Black students faced during the first years at Wayne State University.
Edwards and Shakoor have known each other since approximately since the early 1970s.
“I first met my brother Adam when I joined a protest campaign that had been organized by a coalition of organizations comprised of Detroit citizens during the demolition of the buildings that occupied the area that is now the site of the Renaissance Center on Detroit’s downtown riverfront,” he said, adding that they were protesting the exclusion of African American workers hired during the initial construction of the Ren Cen. “Thereafter, our organized protest spread and encompassed virtually every new construction site and major corporation in downtown Detroit.”
Edwards described Shakoor as a “change agent” like he was – and he had a front-row seat for his work.
“For the next nearly half-century I have been an eyewitness to Adam’s journey and mission,” he said. “Adam is my brother. I am honored to call him my friend.”
From working to stop police brutality decades ago to working with labor movements and more, Shakoor never rested on his laurels during his legal and social advocacy journey.
His journey continued when he discovered that so many of his friends were victimized by drug problems in Detroit, which, not surprisingly, impressed upon him to be an activist against cocaine and crack.
“I was a judge when crack cocaine became prominent,” he said, adding that he was able to make an impact in various ways to handle the crack cocaine industry locally.
“My activism led me to say that I needed to do some other things,” Shakoor said adding that his life came together while he found his direction. “I handled a lot of cases that were, I think, pretty much a strong contributor to my direction in life.”