In 1951 our family moved from Springfield, MA to Detroit, where my father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr., was called as pastor of St. Marks United Presbyterian Community Church at Twelfth and Atkinson. My paternal grandparents lived several blocks up Atkinson. The parsonage was right down the block from them. He was there until 1953 when there was a church split. My father and 300 members started a new church that became Central Congregational Church and finally The Shrine of the Black Madonna.
Recently my son James was in Detroit and visited many of the sites that were important in my life and my family’s life. He was lucky enough to have historian Paul Lee and Sala Adams as guides. I have matched photographs from the 1960s with some of the photos that they took last week.
Today’s photographs were taken at 5397 Oregon, on the West Side of Detroit. Ten years ago when I went around taking photos of places I had lived, there were people living here. Today the house and many in the area are wrecks. In one photo not shown here, I could see holes in the roof. The house on the left still has someone living there. The two houses to the right are also falling to pieces. It’s tragic.
I would never have imagined that this area would look like this when I lived there some 48 years ago. Today I’ve been looking at the house I live in right now and thinking about which parts would fall apart first if it were vacant for a decade. I doubt it would be in as good a shape as this one because it was built with much cheaper materials.
My sister Pearl patting goat while being held by my mother. The back of my head is visible on the lower right. This is probably at the petting zoo on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. Taken in 1952 when Pearl was 3.
Three generations of my Cleages. Front left is Henry, with Louis behind him, center is my father, Albert B. front right is Hugh. Behind Hugh is my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. Back left is my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage holding baby Barbara Cleage Martin. This photograph was taken about 1921 somewhere around Detroit, Michigan, perhaps on Belle Isle. My grandfather took the photo. There is another from the same day with him in the photo taken by my grandmother.
I came across this photograph of my grandparents looking relaxed and happy the other day and it made me smile. It was in the black album of tiny photographs and I date it to be from the late 1930s when they lived on Scotten in Detroit.
This shot was taken in our living room in the parsonage of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass. I just noticed the reflection of my father taking the picture last night. I looked everywhere for that teapot in later years but it was lost in one of the various moves. It was blue with a gold design over it. The couch was with us for many years. Eventually the cushions were covered in reddish leather, or something like it. I remember that table, which was also around for a long time. And those little plastic records my sister and I used to play on our little phonograph.
Bringing this back from August 2011 for this weeks Sepia Saturday prompt showing a mirror and the reflection of the photographer. If only I had a rose behind my ear like Billie Holiday.
Here are 6 young women at a Boulé event back in the 1940s in or outside of Detroit. Two of my aunts are in the picture. Barbara Cleage is front and center with a light dress and jacket. At the end of the line is my aunt Anna Cleage who seems to be wearing trousers. Unfortunately the photo was unlabeled and I do not know the names of the others. I recognized the woman on the far right as one in the background photograph of the photograph of my grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr with a camera. Sheryl asked last week what sort of even my grandfather was attending. It made me go back and look at the background in the photo below and then look for photographs that appear to have been taken on the same day. You can read an post from 2012 about the Boulé at this link.
My grandfather Albert B. Cleage with his camera. In the background we see the young woman with her hand on her hip and the dark dress, from the first photo above. The woman closer to us in the striped outfit, carrying a big purse, appears in the bleachers (which we see in the background here) in the photo below.
The 4th woman from the right, first row, is in the photo with my grandfather to his left. Above her head, on the top row are some of the young women from the first photo above.
First a photo of the men, then one of the women. Or vice versa. Who is that on the second row taking a photograph of the photographer? Front row center is Cornelius Henderson, engineer who graduated from the University of Michigan and helped design the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
Cornelius L. Henderson
My grandmother second bench, 2nd from right. My aunt Anna (from the photo of the lovelies) can be seen behind the lady first in my grandmother’s row. My aunt Barbara is 1 person over from Anna. You can see the woman in the striped dress in the first photograph lineup. Toward the left side, top row, you can see another young woman from the first photo.I do not see any family members but do notice the men and women are sitting together in this one. I wonder how the man in front lost his leg.