Upcoming Documentary “Clara’s Fruit” Surpasses Fundraising Goal

Nearly 90 years ago, Sister Clara Muhammad pioneered a school system that defied the constraints of its time. “Clara’s Fruit” sets out to preserve her legacy, shedding light on the value of alternative education options in America and creating a space for more dynamic stories about Muslim Americans.

Upcoming Documentary “Clara’s Fruit” Surpasses Fundraising Goal
The journey of "Clara's Fruit" is one of profound significance — a testament to the enduring power of faith, education and community.

A crowdfunding campaign recently concluded for “Clara’s Fruit,” a historical documentary in progress about an unsung hero in American education. Sister Clara Muhammad, a trailblazer in her own right, pioneered a private school system that defied the constraints of its time, shaping futures and communities for generations to come. Now, nearly 90 years later, her great-grandson carries her torch as the principal of one of the schools in Atlanta. “Clara’s Fruit” sets out to preserve her legacy, shed light on the value of alternative education options in America and create a space for more dynamic stories about Muslim Americans.

"Clara's Fruit" delves into a 90-year legacy of Islamic education, culture and resilience. The film is set against the backdrop of a tumultuous Jim Crow era, where Sister Clara Muhammad, alongside her husband The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, stood as beacons of hope and resistance. In the 1930s, amidst adversity and resistance, they embarked on a mission to redefine education and freedom for African Americans, launching a homeschool program that blossomed into over 40 private schools across the nation.

The film will blend historical archives and intimate visual portrayals of current and former students with personal reflections from Sister Clara Muhammad's family, including great-grandson, Khalil Ali, who serves as the principal of an Atlanta school that has been established for over 50 years.

Helming the project is Morgan Mathews, a storyteller driven by a fervent passion for untold narratives. For Mathews, "Clara's Fruit" is more than just a project — it's a testament to the transformative power of filmmaking in capturing the essence of human experiences. From his own journey into Islam to his experiences as a father, Mathews’ commitment to this specific story emanates from a deeply personal place, rooted in a desire to honor the legacy of those who paved the way for generations to come. You can view his demo reel here.

“Many Muslims and non-Muslims may not know that a Black woman by the name of Sister Clara Muhammad founded the first Muslim private school in America in 1932,” Mathews told Fann in a statement. “At its peak, her vision grew to over 50 schools across the country that served K-12 students who were able to freely learn about their faith, culture and futures while being educated. The unique angle that ‘Clara’s Fruit’ is taking is highlighting the school and community in Atlanta where four of her descendants currently work.”

Production has already started for the project and is expected to conclude this month. Editing will take place through April, with a trailer planned to release in May. Starting in April, the film will begin submitting to film festivals. Public screenings are planned for June and onward.

During the crowdfunding, “Clara’s Fruit” raised over $23,000 during its fundraising phase, earning enough to support making the film.

You can follow productions updates for “Clara’s Fruit” on the film’s Instagram page.

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