A Birth And A Special Dinner – 1982

“They set up a table in our room with a white tablecloth and a test tube bud vase. It was a good meal. I had thought I wouldn’t be able to have the dinner and had to call Jim at the Reeses to come eat. I had been on a special diet until that afternoon. James slept very nicely through the whole meal.”

Story of James Birth From His Baby Book – 1982

James was born during an ice storm. Actually the ice storm began the day before he was born. We went into Jackson (we were living about half an hour away in Simpson County at the time) when the storm started because I started having mild contractions about the same time. We stayed with a family with 6 children Jim worked with sometimes in printing. The first night I woke up and the contractions were stronger and we went to the hospital, but they faded away at the hospital and we went back to the Reece’s house. She said she knew I wasn’t really in labor because I was checking on everyone before I left. The next day my water broke and there was some meconium staining in the show. We went back to the hospital around 2 in the afternoon. I said I hoped they wouldn’t have to send me home again but Dr Barnes said since my water broke I wouldn’t be leaving until the baby came.

I was in the same birthing suite I used when Tulani was born. And had the same nurses. They hooked me up to the monitor because of the meconium and even attached a wire to James head to “get a better reading”. I remember thinking as I was laying there listening to the nurses talking and going about their business, that there I was laying there in labor and yet they were living their regular lives. They weren’t actually involved in it at all. I imagine it’s sort of like when you’re dying. But that’s neither here nor there.

I started pushing at 6:30PM and figured the baby would be born soon. After an hour of second stage labor and pushing the head still wasn’t engaged. I remarked between contractions that I hoped it wasn’t going to take me until midnight for the baby to be born. (I said that because each of the babies was born three hours later then the last one and Tulani was born around 9 PM.) Dr. Barnes said they weren’t going to wait that long, if he (she was sure it was a boy because he was causing so much trouble, she said) wasn’t born in an hour she was going to do a c-section. That hadn’t even entered my mind. Soon she sent all the nurses that were waiting for the birth off to get ready. I tried getting on my knees like I had with Ayanna, but to tell the truth, the mood was ruined. I just wanted to get the whole thing over with. If the baby was going to require a c-section, just go on and do it, I thought. Of course afterwards I wondered if I’d tried pushing awhile longer if he would have come on down.

On the way to the delivery room I asked Dr. Barnes if she would tie my tubes since I was going to be opened up and she said yes and I didn’t have to sign any papers, I think Jim did. And she gave me a tubal. Afterwards, when I found out that once you have a c-section you don’t always have to have a c-section if it’s not structural, I wished I hadn’t.

James was born at 8:17PM. He was 22 and 3/4 inches long and weighted 8 lbs and 12 ozs. He was fine and nursed fine and kept on growing. His Apgar score was 9 at one minute and 10 at three minutes.

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My mother told me that we should name James for my husband. So we did. She was very ill with cancer and died five months later without having ever seen baby James.

 

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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Through the Years

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
In 1892 my great grandfather Howard Turner was shot to death at a bar-b-que. This is a photograph of his wife and children in mourning. Twenty six year old  Jennie Allen Turner holds two year old Daisy Pearl Turner while four year old Fannie Mae Turner stands beside her.  Fannie was my maternal grandmother.
"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Jennie and daughters in Montgomery, Alabama. Fannie, Jennie and Alice in the front. Daisy in the back. About 1916.
"Daisy, Jennie and Fannie"
Daisy Turner, Jennie Turner and Fannie Turner Graham standing outside of my grandparent’s fence for a photograph, probably on a Sunday after attending service at Plymouth Congregational Church.
My grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham and my oldest daughter, Jilo. Detroit, 1972.

 

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The 4th Wedding – Paul Payne and Betty Shreve

Paul, Betty seated, Maid of Honor, Best man - Louis Cleage
Paul Payne back left,  Betty Shreve Payne seated, Maid of Honor Doris Mae Shreve, Best man – Louis Cleage.

For the 4th and final wedding we celebrate the marriage of Paul Payne and Betty Ileen Shreve. They were long time family friends. Paul was born in Ohio but raised in Detroit. Betty was born in North Buxton, Canada.  North Buxton was settled in 1849 by formerly enslaved Black Americans. I was told years ago that Betty was related to the Shreve side of my family.  The Maid of Honor was Betty’s sister, Doris Mae Shreve. Unfortunately I do not recognized the Ring Bearer and Flower girl.  I do recognize Best Man Louis J. Cleage. Always the Best Man, never the groom. He was Best Man at 3 out of 4 of the weddings I’ve shared this month.  The wedding took place in Detroit on July 25, 1949.  Betty was 18 and Paul was 28.

How do they fit into my family tree? Betty Shreve Payne is the second cousin of my uncle Winslow Shreve who was married to my aunt Anna Cleage Shreve.

paul & betty
Posing with the wedding cake.
paul & doctors 1
Unfortunately I do not have descriptions of the gowns or flowers but they look lovely. Betty Shreve Payne on the left, unidentified woman in the middle and Betty’s older sister Doris Mae Shreve on the right.

 

Betty_Paul_kids_wedding
Outside of the house. The little girl looks like a relation of Betty’s.

 

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Wedding – Gladys Helen Cleage and Eddie Warren Evans

wedding gladysMy father’s sister, Gladys Helen Cleage was married to Eddie Warren Evans on Thursday, March 25, 1948 at Plymouth Congregational Church by Rev. Horace White in Detroit, Michigan. There were descriptions of the wedding gown and of the brides maids gowns. Unfortunately the last several lines of the article have been lost to the passage of time so we have to guess at the color and particulars of the brides maids dresses.  It was mentioned that the grooms sister wore a violet gown. I wonder if the brides sister’s dresses were rose because the theme of roses and violets. But would they dress in rose and carry red roses?

The article misspelled Cleage as “Cleague” a few times, while also spelling it correctly several times. A typo made Paul’s last name of “Payne”, “Cayne”.

header_gladys_wedding
Geraldine Cleage Hill, Hildred Evans, Paul Payne, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, Hugh Cleage, Barbara Cleage, Anna Cleage, Louis Cleage.
Plymouth Congregational Church Garfield and
Plymouth Congregational Church, the original building on the East side of Detroit.

horacewhite3

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A Wedding Photo

My uncle Louis Cleage, second from left.
My uncle Louis Cleage, second from left.  Velma Payne second from right.

I don’t know who the bride and groom are. I only recognize my uncle Louis Cleage and the woman second from the right, Velma Payne.  I miss being able to send these mystery photos to my aunts for identification.  I wrote about Louis as one of the 7 in a boat.

Velma was born on August 4, 1919 and passed away in 2010 at the age of 90. She was the wife of George W. Payne. They had two children.  She was a librarian in the Detroit Public Library system for 32 years.  She was a librarian at the Oakman branch library when I used to go there as a child.  I remember one evening going there after school with my mother and sister and finding the book “Bed knob and Broomstick: or How to be a Witch in 10 Easy Lessons.”  It turned out to be one of my favorite books.

Not so wordless Wednesday  Talks about Velma Payne and has a wedding portrait of George and Velma Payne.

Building Louis’ Cottages – Idlewild – A post about Louis’ cottage being built in Idlewild and mentions Velma’s brother-in-law, Paul Payne.

 

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Seven In A Boat

in the boat
Far left back, shadowy Henry Cleage, Louis Cleage, cousin Helen Mullins holding baby Cleage (Barbara?). In front Evelyn Douglas, Cornelius Henderson, “Toddy” (Albert B. Cleage jr)  in the boat. About 1919.

Looking at this photograph, I wondered about the lives of the children in the boat. Here are their lives in a paragraph.

Evelyn Douglas, seated on the left in the first row, was born in 1910 in Detroit. She was the only child of Dr. Edward and Louise Douglas. Her father was a dentist.  Her mother was a dressmaker before Evelyn was born. Evelyn graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a graduate degree in education. She married Charles E. Beatty, Sr., a pioneering educator, in 1935. He was the first black principal of Perry Elementary School in Ypsilanti, MI which later housed HighScope Perry Preschool program. She taught for 30 years in the Detroit Public Schools.  Evelyn was the mother of three children. She died at age 93 in 2003 in Detroit.

Cornelius Langston Henderson, who sits in the middle of the first row, was born in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. He was an only child and grew up several blocks from the Cleages on Detroit’s Old West Side. Cornelius was named after his father, Cornelius L Henderson Sr., also born in Detroit. Like his father, Cornelius Jr became an engineer. His mother, Gertrude, born in Virginia and taught in the Washington DC public schools before she married. The younger Cornelius graduated from Howard University in Washington DC with a degree in civil engineering. He later took postgraduate classes at the University of Michigan. He worked for the City of Detroit as a civil engineer for over 30 years, where he helped design sewer systems.  He was married and raised two sons and a stepdaughter. He died in November of 1993 in Detroit and is buried in Detroit Memorial Park.

Albert B Cleage, Jr, my father, seated on the right end of the first row, was the oldest of the seven children of Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr and Pearl Reed Cleage. He grew up to be a black nationalist minister and organizer around political and civil rights issues. He founded Central Congregational Church which became Central United Church of Christ and finally the Shrine of the Black Madonna.  He had two daughter, my sister and me. He died in 2000.

Directly behind my father is his first cousin Helen Mullins. Born in 1899 in Indianapolis, Indiana, she was the oldest of the 12 children of James and Minnie (who was my grandmother Pearl Cleage’s sister) Mullins. James Mullins held various jobs through the years, including that of fireman, carpenter and  laborer. Helen completed highschool. She married Otto Mitchell. They raised four children. In the 1940 census Helen was a telegraph operator for Western Union while Otto worked on the assemble line of an automobile factory in Detroit. They owned their own home. Helen died in 1982.

Helen is holding Barbara Cleage, my aunt. Barbara was the 5th child and first daughter of Dr. Albert and Pearl Cleage. She completed a year at Wayne State. She married Ernest Martin and had one son. Unfortunately the marriage didn’t work out and she returned to Detroit. Barbara worked as a receptionist in her father’s doctor’s office, at Cleage Printers doing layout and finally her true talent came to the fore and she organized and managed the bookstores and cultural centers for the Shrine of the Black Madonna. She was amazing at it. Barbara is 96 and lives in South Carolina.

Next, in the back row middle, we have my uncle Louis Cleage. Born in 1913 he was the 2nd of the seven children. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a medical doctor, sharing an office with him for some years. Besides having a medical practice on Lovett Ave. in Detroit for many years, he was active in the Movement. He wrote Smoke Rings for the Illustrated News and ran for office on the Freedom Now Party ticket in 1964. He maintained a cottage in Idlewild where the family spent many happy summers. Louis died in 1994.

Last we have a partial, ghostly image of my uncle Henry Cleage. He was the third child born in 1915. He graduated from Wayne State in Detroit and became a lawyer. During WW2 he and his brother Hugh farmed as a conscientious objectors. (Where was Hugh when this picture was taken? Click to read) Henry later left the law and started Cleage Printers where he and Hugh printed far into the night putting out flyers for grocery stores, books of poetry and radical newsletters. He ran for Prosecuting Attorney on the Freedom Now ticket in 1964.  After the 1967 Detroit riot, Henry returned to the law and worked for Neighborhood Legal Services until he retired to Idlewild, MI where he fine tuned his Status Theory. He died in 1996.

The photograph in the boat was taken the day of this picnic, summer of 1919.

picnic cleage

I used news articles, census and other records from ancestry.com to fill in the lives of Evelyn Douglas and Cornelius L. Henderson, who are not related to me.

Speedwell Cavern Postcard
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