Support The Christmas Boycott – 1963

In 1963, Ossie and Ruby Davis, James Baldwin, John O. Killens, Odetta, and Louis Lomax formed the Association of Artists for Freedom, which called for a Christmas boycott to protest the church bombing, and asked that, instead of buying gifts, people make Christmas contributions to civil rights organizations. I remember that my extended family participated in the boycott.  My sister and I were teenagers. I don’t remember anything else about that Christmas. The article below was printed in the Illustrated news in November 1963.

Christmas_boycott_1963 1
Click to enlarge.
Insert, Louis Lomax, James Baldwin, Louis Lomax, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Odetta called for a boycott of Christmas gifts.
Insert, Louis Lomax. Back row:  James Baldwin, Louis Lomax, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Odetta  artists who called for the boycott of Christmas Boycott in 1963.

Christmas_boycott_1963_small

And a clip from a sermon about giving gifts given on December 17, 1967 by my father, then known as Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr.

Other links for 1963

Kennedy Refuses to Support Civil Rights Demands

Remembering 1963

Six Dead After Church Bombing – Washington Post article from 1963

Marching With the Band – 1953

On the back of the photograph it says in part, “This is part of Cook High’s band. Greta looks sour on this this picture, but she was cute.  That is Janice where I have the X.”

My cousin Janice shared this memory with me –Greta is ‘the little girl’ smile and I am playing the bells. Must have been in about the 2nd grade… The writing looks like my grandmother Cleage’s handwriting. Greta started marching as a junior majorette when she was 5. I joined the band in the 2nd grade. There were 6 to 8 senior majorettes, but Greta marched beside the Head Majorette. My Uncle was the school principal and my Aunt Bea made Greta the Junior Head Majorette and then Head Majorette. Smile… K to 12th grade. We often laugh about that.

The bells that Janice is holding are described thus on Wikepidea:

“When used in a marching or military band, the bars are sometimes mounted in a portable case and held vertically, sometimes in a lyre-shaped frame. However, sometimes the bars are held horizontally using a harness similar to a marching snare harness. In orchestral use, the bars are mounted horizontally. A pair of hard, unwrapped mallets, generally with heads made of plastic or metal, are used to strike the bars, although mallet heads can also be made of rubber (though using too-soft rubber can result in a dull sound). If laid out horizontally, a keyboard glockenspiel may be contrived by adding a keyboard to the instrument to facilitate playing chords. Another method of playing chords is to use four mallets, two per hand.”

Janice’s uncle E. Harper Johnson was the second and final principal of Cook highschool.  He was married to Beatrice Cleage, sister of Janice and Greta’s mother Juanita Cleage and daughter of Edward Cleage my grandfather Albert’s brother.

More posts about this branch of the family:

Childhood Memories by Beatrice Cleage Johnson – Athens Tennessee

Memories to Memoirs

Uncle Ed’s Daughters

“Unveil Monument to Dr. J. L Cook”

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Letter from Albert B. Cleage to Pearl Reed. March 18, 1910.

Albert B. Cleage Sr. This photo was enclosed in the letter.
This was the house where Pearl’s aunt lived. She received mail there sometimes because her mother disliked Albert.  The two houses were on opposite streets and shared a yard

3/18/10

My dear Sweetheart:-

How did you spend St. Patrick’s day? It was a lovely day sure and also has today been beautiful.  How are you? Have you gotten entirely well. I hope that pains and aches with you are now “past history.”Does your mother seem to be improving?

These are busy days with me. Examinations for the close of the winter term begin Monday and will last one week after which comes a ten or twelve day’s vacation.- What can I do with so much time all by my lone self. 

Do you remember that last year we planned a day’s outing in the country and I thinking the day appointed, too bad did not show up?  And also how you got angry with me?  See how well I remember. That has been one year ago but it to me certainly does not seem so long.  You did go to Brookside with me, which was the beginning of several very pleasant trips which will always be sweet sweet memories to me.  My vacation is about 10 days off and it may be yet that you will be able to take that trip which we planned last year.

Mrs. White, I believe goes to Lincoln Hospital tomorrow to be operated upon Monday.  Mrs. Brady – Little Marcum Mitchell’s grandmother died at the City Hospital this morning. 

Of course I selected that negative which you liked better, others whose opinion I asked were about equally divided.  I send you the other which is fast fading.

Be careful for yourself.  The things you said in your last letter were surely the product of a melancholie mind – such moods are not good for you. Cheer up!!  Of course, God in His wise providence might call your mother home, and ’tis he alone who can cause me to cease loving you.  So wake up from your dream – you shall nurse, not patients for someone else, but (__?__) for yourself – Won’t you like that better.  Yes, I believe you will – Ha! ha!

Your Albert

{Had better burn this letter up}

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My grandparents, Pearl Reed and Albert Cleage, exchanged letters for several years while they were courting.  The letters go from 1907 when they met to 1912 when they were married, my father had been born and they were moving from Indianapolis, IN to Kalamazoo, MI. Unfortunately I do not have copies of my grandmother’s letters, just my grandfather’s. You can read more of Albert’s letters to Pearl and what else was going on when he wrote them, by looking at the  Index of blog posts I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2014. Scroll down past the posts for 2017, 2016 and 2015 until you reach 2014. Perhaps I should give each year’s index a separate page.

At one point, this letter refers back to a letter from a year ago.  You can read it here at K is for Kenwood.

Summer Visit to Athens Tennessee – About 1920

Athens, Tennessee. 1920s.

My father and his brothers and perhaps a sister and some cousins and an aunt. My grandfather took his family back to his home town, Athens, Tennessee every summer for many years to visit his brother and his brothers family and his mother.

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Uncle Louis Cleage’s Yacht

Somewhere in my letter collection, I remember a comment of my father’s, something like, “Louis joined the capitalist class” when he got the yacht. I thought it was in the collection of letters he wrote home but after reading through them several times without finding it, I think it might have been in the old, crumpling, photo album. I can’t find that either, but either way, that puts the purchase of the yacht during the late 1940s, after the end of WW2. I was only on the boat once and I got sea sick. I also got train sick and bus sick.

Louis Cleage on his yatch.

Louis must have sold the boat in the early 1950s because I don’t remember it later.  My uncles used to talk about going over to Walpole Island,  unceeded territory at the mouth of the St. Clair River, and sitting around talking with the First Nation People.  There was mention of campfires and my Uncle Hugh almost staying or being left.  I remember a boy in my 6th grade art class who was from Walpole Island. His name was Frank Shipman and he opened a jar of glue for me when no one else could get the top off.  Later he moved to Wabash street.  I do not think it compared with an island between two rivers.

Two boys from Walpole Island.

I am adding this memory from the comments from my cousin who remembers a ride on the boat.

Louis took Skip, me and two other boys on a cruise up the river into Lake St. Clair. Had to be the summer of 1947. As I remember the boys resemble boys in that photograph. They were around Skip’s age (10 or 11). Louis docked his cruiser on the Windsor side at that time. The cruiser was a nice boat – lots of room. I enjoyed myself except when we got near a lake freighter – the water got very choppy, and I started to feel sick. Other than that it was good time. I wore a life jacket.

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Congregation of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church 1909

Witherspoon Presbyterian Church – 1909 Indianapolis, Indiana. Click to enlarge.

This is a photograph of the congregation of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN in 1909, two years after they organized. This photograph is from the personal collection of my cousin Vivian Vaughn McDonald.  My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage is the third person on the top right. My grandfather, Albert Cleage is next to her.  They wouldn’t be married for two more years. Next to Albert is his brother Jacob and next to him is their brother Henry.  Directly in front of my grandfather Albert is Jacob’s wife, Gertrude.

I was told that my grandfather’s sister Josephine, also a church member, was not there for the photograph, but was home pregnant with Hattie Ruth, the youngest of her five children. Her husband, James Cleage  stands four people to the left of Henry.  James Cleage was from a different branch of Cleages.  In the second row, second from the right, is Henrietta Cleage, oldest daughter of James and Josephine.

In the 1909 Indianapolis City Directory Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church is listed as located in Realty Hall with Rev. David White as Pastor.  I wonder if he is in this photograph and if so, which one he is?

The history below was from the Witherspoon web page, however they  have taken the history section down. My grandparents, Albert Cleage and Pearl Reed, are both listed as founders.

On April 30, 1907 the Presbytery of Indiana of the United Presbyterian Church held a called meeting at Realty Hall in response to a petition signed by 31 persons asking to be organized into a United Presbyterian congregation.

Begins With 31 Members

Prof. David Graham of Rushville was moderator and Rev. W. W. McCall of Greensburg was secretary. Other members present were Rev. Fred W. Schmuch of Milroy, Rev. N. B. McClung of Vevay, Rev. Mr. McDill of Madison, and Dr. Cowan of Indianapolis.

The petition was discussed at some length. By unanimous vote an organization was decided upon. The 31 members who signed the petition were as follows: Henry W. Cleage, Mrs. Carrie Perkins, Mrs. Emma Moore, A. T. Roney, Mrs. Cora Donann, Mrs. Cathern Crenshaw, Mrs. Daisy L. Brabham, Albert Cleage, Mrs. Gertrude Cleage, James Myers, Mrs. A. L. McElrath, O. F. Dennis, Mrs. Hattie  Mitchell, H. M. Mitchell, Mrs. Theresa Finley, Othello Finley, Miss Edith Finley, Miss Luell E. Hibbett, Mrs. Mary Peterson, Mrs. Anna Bowman, John T. Fox, Miss Pearl Reed, Thomas H. Bransford, Mrs. O. F. Dennis, Miss Alice Mathews, Miss Hilda Reeder, W. J. Perkins, Henry Moore and H. L. Hummons.

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The Illustrated News – Walk to Freedom 1963

Bringing this back from 2011. The Illustrated News was published during the earlier 1960s by my father’s family and family friends.  Two of his brothers, Henry and Hugh, started a printing business because the family was always looking for ways to be economically independent.  The main business was printing handbills for small grocery stores.   And they started several newspapers.  First they did The Metro but the one I remember best is The Illustrated News. It was printed on pink paper (that was what was left over after printing the handbills) and distributed to churches and barber shops around the inner city. Some people had subscriptions. My father wrote many of the lead articles. My Uncle Louis wrote Smoke Rings, which was always on the back page. Billy Smith took most of the photographs.

Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Junior. Photo by Billy Smith.

This issue is from June 24, 1963. The focus is the Walk To Freedom which took place in support of the people in the south who were fighting for equality.  I was a high school junior at the time and I remember the crowds and crowds of people downtown for the march. It was very well organized and as the main march went up Woodward, to Cobo Hall, the side streets, filled with people who joined as the march went by. Estimates of the number went from 100,000 to 200,000.  It was an amazing feeling to be in a peaceful crowd, most dressed in their Sunday best, marching for FREEDOM NOW! At the end of the newsletter there are several photographs from the day of the march.

 My father is behind the first row, third and a half from the right.
Photo from the Detroit News. I think.  My father is on the right.

My maternal grandfather (poppy), Mershell C. Graham, has his finger by his nose, my uncle Hugh Cleage, smiling with the glasses next to him and my paternal grandmother, Pearl Reed Cleage, smiling with the hat on.  Older people who couldn’t walk all the way in the huge crowd went in earlier and got good seats. I don’t remember where I was sitting.

My father giving them hell about conditions in Detroit in 1963. They finally unplugged his mike to shut him up.

Below is a link to a video by Paul Lee about the “Walk to Freedom”.

Dr. Louis J. Cleage – W8AFM

My uncle Louis Cleage with his ham radio and his ever present cigarette.

For many years my uncle Louis communicated with ham operators throughout the world using his short wave radio.  In this photograph he is in the sun room that ran across the back of the family home st 2270 Atkinson in Detroit. Later the radio was moved down to a room in the basement.  I do not remember hearing him talk or receive messages, but I seem to hear his voice giving his call letters W8AFM – W 8 Able Fox Mary.  At one point we talked about learning the Morris Code so we could get licensed as ham radio operators, but we never did.

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Pearl Doris Reed Cleage – 1884 – 1982

Pearl Reed Cleage. Photo taken in the 1940 at her home on Scotten in Detroit.

Thinking about my grandmother Cleage today. She would have been 133 if she were still living. Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, born in 1884 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1982 in Idlewild, Michigan.

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

Links to other blog posts about Pearl Reed Cleage

Dr. Albert B. Cleage and Miss Pearl Reed Wed

1940 Census – The Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage Family

Two Newspaper Articles

Pearl Reed Cleage With Baby Henry