Belle Isle Conservatory 1925

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My grandfather Mershell Graham holding little Mershell and my mother, Doris.  They are sitting outside of the Conservatory on Detroit’s island park, Belle Isle. The photo is dated 1925.  Usually my mother and her sister had their hair cut short but in this and a few other pictures they have braids.

In case the first several comments below are puzzling, I removed a second photo from 1926 and added a photo taken by my cousin of the Conservatory during rain this very month.

A photo of the Belle Isle Conservatory taken by Maya, Mershell Grahams 2X great granddaughter.

A photo of the Belle Isle Conservatory taken by Maya, Mershell Grahams 2X great granddaughter August 2014..

More about Belle Isle – 2 posts and some info.

 

Posted in sepia saturday | Tagged | 13 Comments

My grandmother Fannie’s Fan

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Grandmother Fannie’s Fan today.

IMG_0484Only the skeleton remains. It used to be covered with gossamer thin white material with little sparkling threads, like the fan below. All rotted away now.

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The fan once looked similar to this one.  Click photo to see another fan.

I found this page with a short modern history of fans and the language of fans -

Photos of 1800s African American women & Church Hand Fans + the Courting Language of the Fan

 

Fannie Turner before marriage - 1909.

Fannie Turner before marriage – 1909.

I wonder if she carried the fan when she was married.

Posted in sepia saturday | Tagged | 29 Comments

Mug Shot – James Edward Williams 1972

 Today’s mugshot is of James Edward Williams, my husband. He was arrested for driving without a license on the Wayne State University campus in March of 1972.  This mugshot was included in his ‘red file’ which included local police files and FBI information from the 1970s.  He was arrested for driving without a license often because he either lost it or forgot it.  He didn’t spend time in jail but was released either with no bail or very low bail.  After we left Detroit, it never happened again.

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Posted in sepia saturday | 31 Comments

Award For Excellence in Spanish

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Award for Excellence in Spanish.

I took 4 years of Spanish in high school.  It was with the 3rd year that the total number of students in the class fell to 2. We sat in the back of the 2nd year class and worked on our assignments. We missed a lot by not being in a 3rd and 4th year class geared to learning to speak and understand the language.  Both of us, I can’t remember his name, received awards in our senior year at the awards program in the auditorium.

I supplemented class work with listening to Radio Habana Cuba on the ancient short wave radio and the Mexican music program once a week. I also bought magazines and records, but I never had anybody to actually talk with or listen to.  Once my Aunt Barbara suggested that I work at one of the grocery stores in Southwest Detroit that my uncles printed flyers for because I could practice my Spanish on the customers. My mother nixed that plan.

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Book for year 1.

honor society 3la_violetteIntermediate book. 3rd year? There was a great grammar book with samples and examples and explanations but I can no longer find it.

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My Spanish teacher Señor Velasco.

I remember that he shared a letter from his sister once.  She was a teaching nun in the Dominican Republic.  I don’t remember anything about the letter.

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The Northwestern High School Honor Society. I am in the center.

When I got to college I studied a year of Classical Arabic my freshman year. I also took a year of French. Finally, during my sophomore year, I decided to finish my language requirement  of 2 years with Spanish.  I tested out of the first 1.5 years and needed 1 quarter more to complete. I should have taken more after that until I was fluent, but I did not.

 

Posted in The Book of Me | 4 Comments

Signs From On High – Wayne State University

Here is a photograph including 3 signs from the early 1940s and a rough sketch of the same area that I did in 1968. Both were taken from upper floors on Wayne State University buildings looking on Cass Ave.  I did the sketch from an upper floor of State Hall.  I believe that the photo was taken from Old Main, (the only tall building facing that direction on campus at the time), by my uncle Henry Cleage while he was a student at Wayne.

After looking on Google maps, I no longer think this was taken from Old Main, looking down Cass.  I wonder where it was taken from because that is definitely the Macabee building.

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Photograph  taken from Old Main in the early 1940s

The Macabees building on the upper left corner used to hold the Detroit Board of Education. My husband and I went and picketed there the first day we met, in support of the Northern high school student boycott in the spring of 1966.  You can read more about that in I Met My Husband in the Library.

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Very rough sketch from about 1968.

Posted in Cleages, sepia saturday | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Dunbar Hospital 1922 & 2014

dunbar-then &nowI received some photographs from my friend Historian Paul Lee recently of Dunbar Hospital in Detroit. My paternal grandfather was one of the physicians and founders back in the 1920s.  I combined the photo from July 2014 with a photograph from 1922.  You can read more about Dunbar Hospital in previous posts at these links A Speech on the Graduation of the first class of nursesBirths, Deaths, Doctors and Detroit, Part 2.  Click to enlarge the photograph.

I have linked this post to the Family Curator’s World Photography Day post.  I participated in 2011 with a post of photographs from Springfield, Then and Now.

 

Posted in Cleages, Photographs | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Youth Fellowship Modern Dance Group – 1955

During the 1950s, my father’s Central Congregational Church had a very active youth program. In 1955, when these photographs of the modern dance group were taken, the church was meeting at Crossman School and all activities were taking place in the parsonage at 2254 Chicago Blvd.  As always, click on images to enlarge.

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Posted in Detroit, sepia saturday | 15 Comments

Do the Women Who Have Babies After 33 In My Family, Live Longer?

Women Who Have Babies After 33 Live Longer  “…women who had their last child after the age of 33 doubled their chances of living to age 95 or older compared with women whose last child was born before their 30th birthday…The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman’s reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body,’ said Perls.”

Thia made me take a look at my family tree to see the age of mother’s at the birth of their last child and how long they lived.

Maternal side

My 2 X great grandmother Eliza Williams Allen (1839 – 1917) gave birth to her youngest child when she was 40. Eliza died 78.

Eliza’s daughters:

Mary Allen McCall (1856-1937) gave birth to her youngest at 38. Mary died at 81.

My great grandmother Jennie Virginia Allen Turner (1866 – 1954) gave birth to her youngest at 42.  Jennie died at 88.

Willie Lee Allen Tulane (1873-1954)  gave birth to her youngest child at 27.  She died at 80.

Abbie Allen Brown (1876-1966) gave birth to her youngest child at 21.  She died at 89.

Beulah Allen Pope (1879 – 1962)  gave birth to her youngest child at 31.  She died at 77.

My grandmother Fannie Turner Graham (1888 – 1974) gave birth to her youngest child, at 40. Fannie died at 87.

Her daughters

Mary Virginia Graham Elkins (1920-2009) gave birth to her youngest child at 34. She died at 89.

My mother, Doris Graham Cleage (1923-1982) gave birth to her youngest child at 25. She died at 59.

Paternal side

My great grandmother Anna Allen Reed (1849 – 1910) gave birth to her youngest child at 37. She died at 62.

Her daughters

Sarah Reed Busby (1870 – 1954) gave birth to her youngest child at 44.  She died at 83.

Louise Reed Shoemaker (1873 – 1938) gave birth to her youngest at 31. She died at 64.

Minnie Reed Mullins (1878-1963) gave birth to her youngest child at 43. She died at 84.

*My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage (1886-1982) gave birth to her youngest child at 39.  She died at 96.

Pearl’s daughters

*Barbara Cleage Martin (1920 – still living) gave birth to her youngest at 31.  She is 94.

* Gladys Cleage Evans (1922- still living) gave birth to her youngest at 37. She is 92.

Anna Cleage Shreve (1925-2013) gave birth to her youngest child at 37. She died at 88.

My great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman (1855-abt 1931) gave birth to her youngest child at 28. She died at 76.

Her daughter Josephine Cleage (1873-1956) gave birth to her youngest child at 36. She died at 82.

_________

Of the 19 women in my study,  13 had children beyond the age of 33.  Two of the 12 lived beyond 90.  My grandmother is the only one who lived past 94.  She lived to 96. One, Gladys is 92 and still living.

4 of the women gave birth to their youngest child in their 20s.

6 of the 17 did not have children after 33.  1 of the 5 lived beyond 90, she is 94 and still living.

I guess I should do a graph using this information. Maybe tomorrow.

Posted in Investigations | 5 Comments

Hair Dryer sketch 1967

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My mother at age 9 in 1932.

I don’t remember my mother using a hair dryer except for a short period of time.  In the aftermath of the Detroit Riot of 1967, many people began to wear afros.  My mother had waist length wavy hair. She remembered it being very curly when she was a child and thought that when she cut it, it was going to become kinky enough to make an afro.  Much to her chagrin, it did not. Until it grew out again, she would wash it, roll it up in curlers and sit under the dryer to get some curl.

Below is a sketch I made of my mother for a drawing class in 1967. At that time, my drawings added at least 20 years to family members age. It was not on purpose. Click on images to enlarge.

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Doris Graham Cleage under the dryer.

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My mother after her haircut.

 

 

Posted in Grahams, sepia saturday | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Generations of Family Signatures

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The first page from my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s memory book. My mother’s, mother’s mother. The first generation born out of slavery and the first literate generation.  I believe that she and her siblings all attended schools founded by the Congregational Church in Montgomery, AL after the Civil War.

My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.

My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.  I do not have a photograph of him but I did find his signature on my great grandparents marriage license.

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My great grandmother’s brother, Ransom Allen.

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My great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.

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My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage. I found her signature on some legal papers because all of the letters I have from her were signed “Mother”.  I know that she graduated from high school in Indianapolis, IN and received all of her education in Indianapolis but I do not know the names of the schools.  Her signature came from a Marion Indiana Probate record for her older brother’s will in 1946.

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN.

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. His signature came from his marriage license in 1910.

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My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham. She was educated in Montgomery, AL at State Normal which was a school from elementary to high school, started by the Congregational Church for Black students.  Her signature came from the 1910 Montgomery Census form via ancestry.com. She was an enumerator.

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My maternal grandfather Mershell C. Graham. My mother said he taught himself to read. The 1940 census said he finished 8th grade. From Coosada, Elmore Cty, Alabama. His signature came from his WW1 Draft registration card in 1917 via ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.  His full signature came from a Purchaser’s recipt in 1957 for a building Central Congregational Church wanted to buy.

 

 

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.  Her signature came from a State of Michigan Teacher Oath in 1964.  The “Doris” came from a letter home from Los Angeles in 1944.

My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit

My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.   The bottom signature came from my 3rd daughter’s birth certificate in 1976.  The top one came from a deed for the sale of the house on Oregon.  I was a witness. 1968.

 

 

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.  Her signature came from the return address on a letter in 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I started looking for signatures, I thought it would be easy because I have many letters through the generations.  The problem was that they did not sign letters with both first and last names.  Some repeatedly used nicknames.  I was able to find most signatures by searching through documents – marriage licenses, social security cards, deeds, bills of sale and group membership cards. I finally found my sister’s signature in the return address on an envelope and if I’d thought of it sooner, might have found others in the same place.

 

Posted in Cleages, Grahams, The Book of Me | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments