Alpha Dance 1952

atkinson Doris & 'Toddy" Alpha dance1952

Doris and Toddy, Alpha dance 1952.

I do not remember seeing my parents dressed up for this dance. I was six years old. I do not remember ever seeing my parents dressed up and going out.  After we moved off of Atkinson to Chicago Blvd, I remember that my mother had several fancy gowns hanging in her closet.

I looked for information about an Alpha dance in Detroit in 1952.  I couldn’t find anything. Neither of my parents were members of a sorority or fraternity. I am assuming that some members of the church invited them to the dance.

“In 1951, when I was four, my father received a call to St. Marks Presbyterian church in Detroit. We left Springfield, Massachusetts  and moved into 2212 Atkinson, down the street from my paternal grandparents who lived at 2270 Atkinson.    St. Marks was located a block away, in the other direction, on 12th Street.  The 1967 Detroit riot started a block from the church.”    For more click  A is for Atkinson.

Moving from Springfield to Detroit in 1951.

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My Direct Matrilineal Line – Forward and Backward

mtdna direct line

From top to bottom: Eliza Williams Allen, Jennie Allen Turner, Fannie Turner Graham, Doris Graham Cleage, Kristin (me).

children & grands mtdna

My oldest daughter Jilo and her daughters. My daughter Ife and her daughter. My daughter Ayanna. My daughter Tulani and her daughter.

 

This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.

This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.

 

I received my Mtdna from my mother, who received it from her mother, and on back to the beginning lost in the mists of time.  The Mtdna we all share is L3e3b.  We share this haplo group with the Mende people of Sierra Leone.  You can read more in this post Stolen from Africa – Fearless Females.

Annie Williams is the first woman of this ancestral line that I can name.  She was born about 1820 in Virginia. Unfortunately, I do not have a photograph of her.  Her daughter Eliza Williams Allen (The Eliza I named this blog for.), and all of her children were born in Alabama. Eliza passed her Mtdna to her 13 children, including my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner. Jennie passed it on to my grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham.   Fannie passed it on to my mother, Doris Graham Cleage. My mother Doris passed it on to me and I passed it on to my children. My daughters have passed it to their daughters.  My sons’ daughters received their own mother’s Mtdna.  You can read about all of my past and present, extended family members who received Annie Williams L3e3b Mtdna in this post from 2013 – Seven Generations of L3e3b

Click images to enlarge.

Posted in Allen, DNA - Genetics | 12 Comments

Damaged Photograph

This photo is from my Graham grandparent’s photograph album. It was underneath another photograph. I have no idea who they are. I believe it was taken in Montgomery Alabama before they moved to Detroit in 1918.

mystery woman and girl

Posted in Grahams, sepia saturday | 29 Comments

A – Z Reflections 2015

This is my third year participating in the A to Z Challenge.  This year I blogged a series of sketches about the free people  formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. I also wrote about some of their descendents.

I found myself (once again) spending pretty much all day, everyday researching and writing up my posts.  I thought I had already done a lot of the research but once I started writing people up, I found there was more I wanted to know about their lives.  Sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and did not find the information.  Other times, it would appear unexpectedly.

I had a limited amount of time to visit other blogs and tended to visit the same ones when I found some I enjoyed. It was difficult to find blogs that I was interested in by the hit and miss method I employed using the gigantic list.  I had more luck visiting people who commented on blogs I already enjoyed.  I also followed people I knew from past challenges and other prompts I participate in throughout the year, Sepia Saturday for instance.

Three of the blogs I consistently followed were: MopDog, Stories I Found in the Closet, and Tell Me Another.  I think it would be a good idea to mention blogs we especially enjoy during the challenge.  I need all the help I can get to find those I enjoy. A blog I found late in the challenge through a comment on someone’s fb page that I will be catching up on and following is Modhukori.  Three blogs that I visited regularly from Sepia Saturday were: Bob’s Home For Writing, Family History Fun and  Anne’s family history.

I will be doing the challenge in 2016.  I like the way it makes me think about my topic and dig up information and actually write it up. My tendency is to get lost in researching.  I am very glad that Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out thought up A to Z and put it into action.

A list of my posts for the April Challenge with links.

Posted in A-Z Challenge 2015, African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research, Cleages | 38 Comments

Who Was Eliza?

Eliza

Eliza Williams Allen – My 2X Great Grandmother

Dock Allen

Dock Allen – My 2X Great Grandfather

 

Who was Eliza?

The Search Begins

A Brief Explanation for Eliza’s Story

Eliza Williams Allen – a photograph

Eliza and the people in her life

Escape – Dock Allen

Finding Eliza Part 1

Finding Eliza Part 2

Finding Eliza Part 3

Eliza’s daughters part 4

She was owned before the war by the late Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county

The 4th Annual Gene Awards

Visit to Oakwood Cemetery

Seven Generations of L3e3b-My MtDna

Stolen From Africa

Posted in Allen, Eliza | 3 Comments

Z is for Zero Cleages…

with names beginning with the letter Z.  For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I have been blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee and their descendents.

WordItOut-word-cloud-cleage

 

Posted in A-Z Challenge 2015, African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research, Cleages | 20 Comments

Yvette Cleage

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee and their descendents. Click on any image to enlarge. Click on links for more information.

67yvetteedith

Yvette’s mother’s name is spelled wrong int he article. It is “Edith”.

Yvette Cleage is my second cousin.  I have not seen her since the 1960s when we both attended my father, then Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr’s church.  The church was then called Central United Church of Christ, now known as The Shrine of the Black Madonna.

Yvette’s father, David Cleage, was my father’s first cousin, son of James and Josephine (Cleage) Cleage.  James was the son of Jerry and Charlotte (Bridgeman) Cleage. Josephine was my grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr’s sister and the daughter of Lewis and Celia (Rice) Cleage. Lewis was the son of Frank and Juda Cleage. And there we are, back to the plantations of David and Alexander Cleage.

I found Ziggy Johnson’s obituary online at The Motor City Muckracker.

ziggy

Posted in A-Z Challenge 2015, African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research, Cleages | 5 Comments

eXtra! eXtra! John Cleage Injured in Explosion!

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee and their descendents. Click on any image to enlarge.  Click on links for more information.

Nine injured in explosion

Article from www.GenealogyBank.com

John Cleage was born in Texas to Richard and Adeline Cleage, he was the oldest of 11 children, 9 survived to adulthood. The family returned to Athens before John was 1 and that is where he grew up.  He completed 8th grade and was literate.In 1910 he was married for the first time to Annis Culberson.

Around 1912, John moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the explosion mentioned in the article occurred. He later moved to Cleveland, Ohio.  Here he married his second wife, Willard.  They had one daughter, Evelyn.  His mother and siblings moved north to Ohio.

Through the years John worked as a laborer, porter and a groom.  He moved to Chicago about 1828 and lost touch with his family in Ohio for decades. (I have a news item describing this reunion. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it in time for this post!) In Chicago he married for the third time to Cornelius Taner. John’s draft registrations describe him as light brown complexion, brown eyes, black hair (until it turned grey) short (about 5’4″) and slender.

John Cleage died on April 27, 1954 in Chicago, IL.  He was 76 years old.

John's obituary is maked with a dot.

John’s obituary is marked with a dot.  He is in the middle column, second name down. Article from www.GenealogyBank.com

Posted in A-Z Challenge 2015, African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research, Cleages | Tagged | 9 Comments

Rebellions Create Strange Leaders – By Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman

preaching

 

[From Paul Lee, “UPRISING!   Rare testimonies and reports in the ’67 Detroit Rebellion,” Part 8, The Michigan Citizen, Oct. 14th-Oct. 20th, 2007, pp. A9-A11]

Rebellions Create Strange Leaders

 By Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman

(Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr.)

 Introduced and edited by Paul Lee

Pt. 8

This installment of our series on the ’67 Detroit Rebellion is the first not to be drawn from the records of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, or Kerner Commission, which President Lyndon B. Johnson established on July 28, 1967, to uncover the causes of the annual urban uprisings and make recommendations on how to prevent or contain future disorders.

Unlike the reports, surveys and interviews submitted by commission field investigators and consultants in the wake of the uprisings, written, compiled and conducted to present “a fair and accurate picture of what happened” and lead to the formulation of new government programs, initiatives and experiments, the following document offers a decidedly partisan, pro-black analysis of the complex social and psychological roots of the rebellions and their potential to help bring about fundamental social changes.

Voice of the Black Nation

 This penetrating and provocative analysis was offered by a 56-year-old veteran of the civil-rights and Black Power movements in Detroit:   Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman, then known as the Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr., the bold, charismatic and visionary black nationalist pastor of Central United Church of Christ, formerly Central Congregational

On Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967, he launched the Black Christian Nationalist Movement, later church, known as BCN, and unveiled a striking 18-foot chancel mural of a Black Madonna and child.   He called upon black people to reconnect with the African roots of Christianity, “resurrect the historic Black Messiah and stop worshipping a white Jesus who never existed” — thus making him the father of the black-liberation theology movement

            Seeing no distinction between the sacred and the secular, he worked to bring the black church to the center of the burgeoning liberation struggle, believing that the only real security for black people was to build counter-institutions and a counter-culture — a “black nation within a nation.”

Central church was formally renamed Shrine of the Black Madonna #1 in 1970.   In the early 1970s, two satellite churches were established in other parts of Detroit and churches were later founded in Kalamazoo, Mich., Atlanta, Ga., Houston, Tex., and Beulah Land, S. C., near Calhoun Falls.  

Jaramogi Agyeman, who was interviewed at least four times by Kerner Commission field investigators, adopted his African name in 1972 and the BCN Church was succeeded by the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church (PAOCC) in 1978.

When the Rebellion occurred, he was the divorced father of two daughters:   Kristin Cleage Williams, who recently directed the organization of the vast, Detroit-based Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman Archives, and Pearl Michelle Cleage, a noted essayist, novelist, poet and playwright, both of Atlanta.

Exceptional analysis

Almost alone among political and religious leaders, commentators and social scientists during that period, Jaramogi Agyeman’s analysis saw the Detroit Rebellion, which was the most destructive to date, as a “logical” outgrowth of the modern civil-rights and Black Power movements.

Also exceptional was the fact that, unlike most moderate black leaders, he refused to blame such uprisings on or denounce black “hoodlums.”   Indeed, he frontally challenged what sociologists termed the “riffraff theory” that the uprisings were the handiwork of a tiny “criminal element” among African Americans.  

This theory, which reduced the uprisings to orgies of criminality, was first made famous in Violence in the City:   An End or a Beginning?, the report of California Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown’s Commission on the Los Angeles Riots, better known as the McCone Commission after its chairman, former CIA director John A. McCone.  

It examined the Aug. 11-16, 1965, rebellion in the mostly-black Watts district in Los Angeles, which was ignited by reports of police brutality following the arrest of an inebriated black motorist.

Jaramogi Agyeman’s analysis was made in a sermon delivered on Sunday, July 23, 1967 — only hours after the rebellion broke out following an early-morning police raid on a “blind pig,” or after-hours drinking establishment, near the corner of 12th Street (now Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount on Detroit’s near west side.   The incident coalesced years of frustration and outrage over police brutality and other social injustices.

From the overflow

According to Kris Williams, “My father never read his sermons. After writing them out, he rarely even referred to his notes.”   Longtime Shrine member Sala Adams recalls that he allowed himself to be led by “the overflow,” as he called it, in which he spoke freely and often powerfully from the spirit.

On the morning of the Detroit uprising, it appears that he intended to address the recent rebellions in Newark, N. J., Kalamazoo and East Harlem, N. Y., which he referred to in his sermon.  

This made it easy for him to incorporate the fast-escalating events on 12th Street even before the press was ready to describe what was happening as a “riot.”   The media felt bound at first by an informal agreement with the authorities to delay reporting the outbreak until the police could get it under control. But the agreement became unsustainable as the first reporters began arriving on the scene.

At 11:00 a. m., about the time that Jaramogi Agyeman began his sermon, Detroit Free Press reporter William (Bill) Serrin called assistant city editor Wayne King from a store on 12th Street.   “Wayne, there’s a riot going on out here. …”   King heard glass breaking in the background.   “They just heaved a brick through the window,” Serrin explained, then hung up.

Prediction

Unlike most Detroit and Michigan leaders, Jaramogi Agyeman had seen the handwriting on the wall years before the explosion occurred.   He even correctly forecast what might trigger it.  

“Yes, I’m afraid that there might be violence in Detroit,” he said in reply to a question by a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television reporter in November 1965, four months after the Watts revolt.   “I think you cannot continue to press a people without eventually some perhaps unforeseen accident sparking violence, such as happened in Los Angeles.”

Indirectly addressing the widespread belief that Detroit was a “Model City” in terms of its administration and race relations under the liberal leadership of the youthful Mayor Jerome P. (Jerry) Cavanagh and would be an exception to the ever-growing tally of nationwide rebellions, he continued:  

“I think that the night before the violence in Watts, anyone in Los Angeles would have said, ‘It seems relatively unlikely that there will be violence,’ but the conditions existed there and the same thing [was true] in New York last summer” — referring to the first of the great urban uprisings, which occurred in Harlem from July 18-23, 1964 — “and I think the conditions exist here: police brutality, poverty, increasing unemployment, poor education.”

Alternative ignored

In contrast to most “militant” black leaders and activists, he did more than forecast doom and destruction; he sought to provide a constructive alternative to violence.   In his view, the fact that violence did occur was due to the failure of the “white power structure,” which then controlled the city, to respond positively to his efforts.  

“Do you think that your activities, your militancy, exacerbates rather than diminishes race tension?” the BBC reporter queried Jaramogi Agyeman in 1965.

“No,” he replied, “I think that my activities, my militant activities, are the only hope for peace in the city of Detroit.   I think in Los Angeles and Watts, the danger was that there was no militant leadership, that the masses of people, having lost all faith in middle-class Negroes, had no one to turn to.  

“I think in the city of Detroit, we have constantly kept some positive program available for the masses of Negro people — political action, protest, demonstration — but always with the idea that there is a hope that we can find a peaceful solution to the problem and that violence in the streets is unnecessary.

            “So I think that without my militancy we would be in exactly the same position that the Negro in Los Angeles was.   And I think I deserve more credit than the mayor for preventing violence in the city of Detroit because for a number of years I’ve given always a possibility for a positive program.”

Activist and innovator

            During the 1960s, Jaramogi Agyeman was Detroit’s most outspoken advocate for black freedom, rights and dignity. He spread his message from the pulpit, rostrum and over the airwaves.

            He wrote occasional articles for the militant Illustrated News, a small newsletter published by his family and friends, and a weekly column in The Michigan Chronicle titled “Voice of the Black Nation” in the wake of the Rebellion.  

            Church member and Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs, wife of labor theorist James Boggs, prepared the column.  

            In an interview with The Michigan Citizen, Boggs explained that she took shorthand notes during Jaramogi Agyeman’s sermons on Sunday mornings and met with him Sunday evenings at the home of his brother Henry Cleage, an attorney, where “Rev.” looked over the text and made minor changes.   On Monday mornings, she submitted the finished product to the Chronicle.

            Beginning on Feb. 4, 1968, WCHB-AM, then a black-owned radio station in Inkster, Mich., carried a weekly broadcast of Jaramogi Agyeman’s sermons and speeches, recorded by church member Ollie (later Omari) McKinney, under the same name as the Chronicle series.

            As a leading member of the black nationalist Group on Advanced Leadership (GOAL), he led campaigns for quality education and economic self-help and against job discrimination, police brutality and the forced removal of blacks from the inner city, which the government termed urban renewal and many blacks called “Negro removal.”

            He called for and helped organize the mammoth “Walk To Freedom” down Woodward Avenue, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on June 23, 1963, and was a co-convener of the historic Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference, held at Mr. Kelly’s Lounge and King Solomon Baptist Church on Nov. 9-10, 1963, which featured a momentous keynote address by Malcolm X, then the national representative of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam.

            He was also a pioneer in independent black politics.  In 1961-62, he organized the famous “5 Plus 1,” “3 Plus 1” and “4 and No More” campaigns to support black candidates for elective office.

            In 1964, he made an unsuccessful run for governor on the mostly-black Michigan Freedom Now Party ticket. He also made unsuccessful bids for the Detroit Common (later City) Council in 1965 and the Detroit Board of Education and the U. S. House of Representatives (13th District) in 1966.

            Following the Rebellion, he considerably expanded his influence as the chairman of three organizations:   The Inner City Organizing Committee (ICOC), which was essentially the political arm of his church, the Citywide Citizens Action Committee (CCAC) and the Federation for Self-Determination (FSD), two short-lived united-front groups that sought to bring about the “transfer of power” in Detroit from whites, who then held it, to African Americans, who were becoming the majority.

            In 1973, he co-founded the Black Slate, which helped elect African Americans to local, county, state and national office, including Coleman A. Young, Detroit’s first African American mayor.  

            Jaramogi Agyeman passed away on Feb. 20, 2000.

 Link to the journal I kept during the riot -> Detroit Rebellion Journal – 1967

Posted in Cleages, Detroit | 6 Comments

William Henry Cleage

From: Postcard History Series: McMinn County. By Joe Guy with postcards form the collection of Don Reid.

From: Postcard History Series: McMinn County. By Joe Guy with postcards form the collection of Don Reid.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee and their descendents. Click on any image to enlarge.  Click on links for more information.

William Henry Cleage was born free on December 4, 1866 in Athens, Tennessee.  His mother was Adeline “Addie” Cleage and his father was Nelson Cleage. His mother married Edmund Sherman shortly after William was born and for over 33 years of his life he used the name William Henry Sherman and was listed in the censuses along with the couples other children as a son of Edmund Sherman.

Until they died Williams grandparents, Henry and Jane Cleage, lived next door.  William and his siblings all attended school and learned to read and write.  In 1866, the Methodist  Church along with the Freedman’s bureau started a school for black children in Athens. I was unable to find out much more but this is the school they probably attended.   Grandfather Henry  and stepfather Edmund worked as laborers and the women of the family worked as laundresses from their own homes, when they had paid occupations.  Eventually his widowed sister Belle and her two children moved next door on the other side.  His sister Sallie and her two children lived with their parents, Edmund and Addie. William lived for many years in the multigenerational family home. All three of the households owned their homes free of mortgage.

In the 1910 Census, 45 year old Williams was identified for the first time as a Cleage and as the stepson of Edmund.  The grandparents were dead. Addie, Belle and Sallie were all taking in laundry and all of Belle and Sallie’s children were attending school.  By this time the Athen’s Academy was up and running and that was probably the school they attended.

William married Laura Hall on June 8, 1911.  He was 44 and she was 22. Laura died eight years later on August 21, 1919 from influenza.  She had been ill for thirty days. The Influenza Pandemic was sweeping around the world. In contrast to other forms of the flu, this type killed more healthy young adults than any other part of the population.

I do not know if they had any children. I tried to find Laura’s sister’s households for the 1920 Census, but so far I have not found them. In 1920 William was working as a porter at a hardware store in Athens. Laura’s 18 year old brother, Clarence Hall, was living with him and attending school. William was renting a house on King Street.

In 1930 William was boarding with Joe and Emma Melton, an older couple who lived on Chester Street. William was a truck driver for a hardware store.

Death Certificate for William Henry Cleage

Death Certificate for William Henry Cleage. (Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1959; via Ancestry.com)

On June 5, 1937, William died of kidney failure. His occupation was listed as “Merchant”. He was 70 years old. The informant is listed as Silas Sherman.  I wonder if they meant Sallie Sherman, William’s sister.  Several names were misspelled on the death certificate – Nelson is spelled “Nelse” and Henry is spelled “Hewy”.

Posted in A-Z Challenge 2015, African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research, Cleages | Tagged , | 3 Comments