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Fatimah Kalimah Akbar Baird
January 21, 1946 ~ August 18, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old
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Fatimah Kalimah Akbar Baird, a beacon of strength and compassion, graced the world on January 21, 1946, in Little Rock, Arkansas. On August 18, 2023, she peacefully embarked on her eternal journey, surrounded by the warmth of her loved ones. Fatimah's legacy is a tapestry woven with love, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to her family, community, and faith.
Born to Calvin Higgins and Alberta Daniel Higgins, Fatimah was embraced by a family that instilled in her the values of love and service. She was preceded in death by her parents, as well as her two brothers, Melvin Higgins and Zahir Mahdi, and her beloved grandson, Shaheed Salih Akbar. Fatimah's heart was a wellspring of pride and joy as she nurtured and raised her four cherished sons, Anthony, Micheal, Akil, and Abdullah. Her joy multiplied through the generations, embracing 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, who became a testament to her enduring love and care.
Deeply committed to her faith, Fatimah embraced Al-Islam in the early 70s, finding solace and purpose in its teachings for fifty-three years. Islamic Center for Human Excellence was her home of faith where she served as President of the Muslim Women’s Association until her last days. Her journey through life was a symphony of milestones and accomplishments, each resonating with her unwavering dedication to bettering the lives of those around her. After graduating from Horace Mann in 1965, Fatimah embarked on a career journey that left a permanent mark on her community. Her enthusiasm led her to the Timex Corporation in Little Rock, where she committed a decade to her professional growth. In 1986, a new chapter began as Fatimah joined the Little Rock School District as the Administrative Assistant for the Parent Involvement Program. From 1988 to 2000, she made a profound impact on the lives of students and parents as a Paraprofessional at Ish and Stephens Elementary Schools. Her fingerprints adorned the creation of the S.T.O.P. Club/STOP, Inc. (Students That Officially Patrol) curriculum, a testament to her dedication to shaping the lives and behaviors of young minds.
Fatimah's commitment extended far beyond the confines of school walls. For thirty-seven years, she selflessly volunteered with the S.T.O.P. Youth Program, Inc., working in schools and Little Rock communities to uplift and support underserved children and youth. Her devotion and service led her to become a Parent Facilitator with the Title I Federal Program, where she extended her care and guidance to parents, students, and teachers alike. After retiring from the Little Rock School District, she continued her mission of service at Philander Smith College's Upward Bound Program, making a lasting impact on countless young minds until 2008.
Fatimah's legacy of service expanded beyond the classroom. She proudly served as the Little Rock Chapter President of The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), tirelessly advocating for the empowerment and wellbeing of women of African descent, their families, and communities. In her season of retirement, Fatimah again reflected on her life’s purpose for helping others and volunteered with New Hope Living Center to provide encouragement and support to its residents.
As Fatimah returns to the embrace of her Creator, she leaves behind not only cherished memories but a blueprint for a life well-lived. Her memory lives on in the hearts of her four sons, Anthony Akbar, Micheal Akbar, Akil (Rolanda) Akbar, and Abdullah Akbar, three brothers, Jameel Mahdi, Dr. Abuwi Mahdi, and Adib (Donna) Mahdi, four sisters, Carolyn Yancy, Darlene Jones, Rasheedah Madinah, and Allene Higgins, along with a multitude of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. In the words of reflection, "Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return." Fatimah's life was a testament to this truth, as she embodied love, compassion, and dedication in every facet of her being. Her spirit remains alive, inspiring us all to live with purpose, compassion, and a commitment to making the world a better place.