“G” is for Grand River Avenue

This post continues the series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.  It was first published in June, 2012.

Grand River Avenue figured in my life in multiple ways.  I walked to both McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High Schools down Grand River. I took the Grand River bus home when I worked at J.L. Hudson’s Department store during several Christmas seasons.  In 1971 and 1972, the Black Conscience Library was located at 6505 Grand River and that is my focus in this post.

Grand River Avenue in 1967. The Black Conscience Library was at the far end of the block past the church on the right.

 In 1971 the Black Conscience Library relocated from temporary quarters to 6505 Grand River, the upstairs offices in a building right across the street from Northwestern High School. I continued as librarian for awhile.  This was around the time that the heroin epidemic hit inner city Detroit hard. Chimba, one of the active members of the Library, was from the North End community. I remember him saying that the year before they had a  baseball team, but that in 1971 there were so many heroin addicts in the community that they couldn’t get a team together.  It was Chimba’s idea to start a methadone program in the Black Conscience Library to help addicts get off drugs. This was before it was widely known that methadone was a powerful, addictive drug in it’s own right. Eventually, the drug program over shadowed all other Library programs. I spent less time there and eventually got a job as assistant teacher at Merrill Palmer preschool. I still came around but not everyday and not as librarian.  It was pretty depressing up there.

The scale is off. The “Doctor’s Office” was for Dr. Gerald, a lay doctor, not an MD.

There were lines of junkies waiting to collect their scripts, men and women. Some brought their children. In the beginning, I watched the kids while the parents went to the lectures. I remember one baby with a bottle full of milk so spoiled it was like cottage cheese.

We came to the Library one morning to find it had been broken into the night before.  All of the printing equipment and the tape recorder were securely locked up. There were no prescriptions laying around. Nothing was stolen, but we couldn’t figure out how they got in, until I noticed glass from the skylight on the table.  They had come through the skylight. One night someone was found hiding in the Men’s room hoping nobody would notice they were there so they could rob the place. Another man tried to break in one early morning. Luckily, he couldn’t get through the front chained door. I remember a junkie who nodded off and fell out of his seat during the planning session for a radio program.

There were a few non-drug related activities.  One I remember, was a panel discussion on the role of the father in parenting that was presented by several ex-members of SNCC (Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee). There were karate classes.  One night I had come back after a particularly trying day and a car crashed into the shop downstairs. I caught a plane to visit my sister in Atlanta the next day. Those were the days of cheap standby tickets. I remember The Last Poets record playing over and over and over.  The relief when the drug program ended.

The Black Conscience Library was in the dark part of the building on the far corner. There seem to be vertical blinds on the windows. The Lucky Strike Bowling Alley was next door. You can see part of the sign “…TRIKE”
This is a police memo from my husband Jim’s police file from October 23, 1970.
The poster in question.
Memo #2 about who rented the building.

This is one of a three page surveillance report from October 29, 1971 is from Jim’s police file.  We knew they were watching,  but when we got this report several years ago it was still creepy to see how much time they were actually spending watching, following, keeping track. “N/M” = Negro Male. “N/F”  = Negro Female.

Staff – Dr. Gerald, Sam, Miriam, Chimba, Me & Jilo, James Williams

 

The block where the Black Conscience Library once stood. That end is now a vacant lot.
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Lowndes County Negroes Make Fine Showing – 1918

Lowndes County Training School

Several months ago I spent hours at the local Family Search Center looking through microfilmed property records trying to figure out how my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner became a land owner.  The only thing I found out was that he bought and sold some lots in Hayneville. I found nothing about the land he farmed, until I found the article below in a 1918 issue of The Emancipator. The article says that he owned 240 acres.

Joseph Turner died in February of 1919. In 1910, Joseph Turner was 62 years old and lived on his farm in Lowndes County, Alabama. His second wife Luella, was 29 and his four youngest children – John, Anna, Dan and Josephine were between the ages of seven to one years old. He owned the farm and it was mortgaged.

In 1920 Luella was 37.  She lived on the farm with her seven children, John (16), Annie (15), Dan (14), Buck (12), Elizabeth (9), Talmadge (7) and Selena (an infant). Two children, Josephine and Luella, died in 1915 and 1916.  Although Joseph Turner left Luella the land, there was a dispute about it between Luella and Alonza, Joseph’s youngest child from his first marriage and the only one from that union still living at the time. Soon afterwards, Luella and her children moved to Montgomery. I assume Alonza got the land, but I have no records.

From The Emancipator Montgomery, Ala, April 30, 1918

Joe Turner owned 240 acres of land in 1918

At the closing of the Lowndes County Training School for Negroes at Charity, Ala. a few days ago many startling facts concerning the progress and development of the school and the colored patrons in that community were made known to the public.  This promising school of which Prof. S.T. Wilson is principal, was established about two years ago.  The institute has three splendid buildings. The colored people of the community raised $1,025 including labor and the cost of the land. The balance came from the Rosenwald School Fund, through Prof. Booker T. Washington, Jr., and the state of Alabama. One two-story building, costing $2,350 was dedicated 1916 by former Spt. Fagain, Dr. James L. Sibley, Probate Judge J.C. Wood, and others. The school also has a two-story frame teachers home worth $1,500 donated by Fisher of Nshvile, and a one story frame trades building, costing $500, donated by the Slater Fund.

The school has an enrollment of 147 boys and 129 girls, taught by five teachers.

According to Dr. A.F. Owens of Selma University, who preached the annual sermon at the recent closing of the Lowndes County Training School, within a radius of four miles, there are 43 patrons who own a total of 6,259 acres of land ranging from 2 acres of land to 1,000. Amont thes land owners are the following:

  • The McCords, who own 1,000 acres
  • Mary Ross, 500 acres.
  • The Brooks estate, 500 acres.
  • S. Dandridge, 310 Acres.
  • Chisholm Brothers 250 acres.
  • Joe Turner 240 acres.

Graham-Turner Wedding – 1919 Montgomery Alabama

I recently found that The Emancipator newspaper was online at Newspapers.com.  The Emancipator was published from October 1917 to August 1920. My grandmother’s first cousin, James Edward McCall and his wife were the publishers. You can read more about him at the link above.

Lowndes Adams sang a solo.  Victor Tulane walked the bride in. Clifton Graham was best man. Naomi Tulane played the piano.
"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie, Alice with Daisy standing in back.

Announcement

Mrs. Jennie Turner wishes to announce the engagement of her daughter, Fannie Mae, to Mr. Mershell C. Graham of Detroit, Mich. The marriage to take place in the spring.

Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan.

Graham-Turner Wedding

Graham-Turner Wedding

On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Merchell Graham were happily united in marriage at the home of the bride on E. Grove St. The home was prettily decorated for the occasion.

Just before the entrance of the bridal party, Mr. Lowndes Adams sang a beautiful solo, immediately after which the groom entered the parlor to the strains of Mendelson’s wedding March, with Mr. Clifton Graham, his brother, as best man. The bride entered with her uncle, Mr. V.H. Tulane, who gave her away, gowned in white satin with real lace and pearl bead trimmings the hat, a beautiful creation of white Georgette, the bride made a very pleasing appearance.  She carried a large bouquet of roses and fern.

The home was crowded to its fullest capacity, fully two hundred guests being present which bespoke the esteem and popularity in which the young couple are held.

The presents were many and varied, consisting of silver, cut glass, linen, wearing apparel, money, and many useful household articles.

Rev. E.E. Scott performed the ceremony and Miss Naomi Tulane presided at the piano.

The guests were served delicious refreshments.

The happy couple left Sunday evening for Detroit, Mich., their future home.

Some of the Graham’s friends in Detroit.  Mershell and Fannie are at the end of the line.

On Friday evening, 29th ??? at 8:30 the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Walker, St. Jean Ave., was the scene of a delightful entertainment complimentary to Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham. The guests were limited to Mrs. Walker’s Club members and their husbands. The house was artistically decorated with cut flowers. Progressive Whist was played, mints and salted peanuts were served throughout the evening, after which a delicious salad course with punch was served.

________________

Mrs. Topp Detroit 1919

Mrs. J.W. Topp had a few friends over to meet Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham on Saturday evening. Progressive whist was  played after which a delicious two course luncheon and punch were served.

_________________

Mrs. J.A. Martin entertain quite a few friends at a real Southern dinner Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. Among the guests were Mrs. M.L. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Moses Thompson, Mr. Chas. Love, the Dale Family, Mr. and Mrs Mills, Mrs. Dora Davis, Mr. James Payton, Mr. Joe Shannon, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Barnette, and others.

__________________

Other related blog posts:

The Proposal

The Proposal Accepted

Marriage License

The photographs are from my personal collection. The newspaper articles are from The Emancipator via Newspapers.com

My bedroom window – 1953

The window on the top left was our bedroom window.

The parsonage now and us back in 1953.

In 2004 I spent a day driving around Detroit taking photographs of places where I used to live and of other houses family members lived in.  The angle of this house fit almost perfectly with the photograph taken in 1953 of my father with my little sister Pearl and me.  We are in front of the parsonage on Atkinson. My father was the minister of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, two blocks up the street on the corner of 12th Street and Atkinson.

My sister and I shared the bedroom on the upper left.  We used to look out of the side window into the attic of Carol and Deborah. They were our age and lived next door and got to stay up much later then we did. They had a wonderful playroom in the attic.  I taught Pearl to read by the streetlight shinning into our bedroom.  I don’t know why we waited until we were supposed to be in the bed to teach and learn reading.

Sometimes after Pearl was asleep, I would kneel in front of the windows and look out. I remember an amazing pale pink Cadillac. The cars I had seen up until then were dark colors.  I remember looking out of that window and watching for my mother to get home.  Was she taking night classes while working on her teaching certificate?

On our other side lived Eleanor Gross with her family. Eleanor was a teenager and babysat with us during the rare times our parents went out.  My paternal grandparents lived down the street.

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Saw horses

This photo first appeared on my blog in 2012 in a post about my grandparents magical yard. I used that post again in June of 2017.  This time I am only posting the picture of my sister looking glamorous and me looking worried as we stand next to our trusty mounts. Neither of us can remember where we went on those horses. I remember a pillow/saddle that was made of some shiney purple fabric. That may have been the one I am leaning on.

You can read the original post at “Poppy’s Garden 1953”

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One Hundred and One Famous Poems – 1933

This book has seen much use. It is held together with masking tape. It is full of the old standards of the day.  It was published by “The Cable Company, Manufacturers of the famous Cable Line of Pianos and Inner- Player Pianos.”  Click all images to enlarge.

My grandmother Fannie Turner Graham wrote on the cover of the book “Mary Virginia and Doris Graham. 1933. From Aunt Daisy who died suddenly 1961”

Aunt Daisy Turner who gave the book to my mother and her sister in 1933, the year after their little brother Howard died.
Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1932. Backyard of house on Theodore, East Side of Detroit, Michigan.

I chose this poem by James Whitcomb Riley because I was feeling rather nostalgic, thinking about my sister and me back in the olden days.

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Girls Riding a Bike, From the Porch of 5397 Oregon, 1962

One of my uncle Henry Cleage’s photographs from the porch of our house at 5397 Oregon in Detroit.  Below is a photo of the house and porch from which he took the photos. They were developed at Cleage printers, where Henry and Hugh had a full dark room.

I do not know who the little girls are. I have memories of riding bikes when I lived here, but no photographs.  I remember going bike riding all around the neighborhood with my cousins, Dee Dee and Barbara. We rode in the street, which I wasn’t supposed to do. My sister and I used to go bike riding too but we usually had a destination – the library or my grandmother’s house. I lost that bike when I left it unchained outside of a store on W. Grand Blvd. We were on the way home from the Main Library.

View of the porch.  My mother and I are sitting on the porch. Henry took this photo too. About 1962.

You can read more of my memories of my bicycles in this post – “Biking at Old Plank Road, 1962”

 

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Final List of Enslaved, Wiley Turner Probate – 1865

This was the fourth and final inventory of the estate of Wiley Turner, deceased, formerly of Lowndes County Alabama. In the spring of 1865 the people enslaved in Alabama were emancipated by the presence of the Federal Army.  This list was made in March of 1865. Emancipation followed shortly thereafter. Columns are Name, Age (approximate and if known) and Value.  Number 27.  Joseph, was my great great grandfather. He was my maternal grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s grandfather.

  1. Fed                    36     $3,500
  2. Nat                               4,500
  3. Andrew            32       4,500
  4. Tony                  37       3,500
  5. Nelson               27      4,500
  6. Cary                   25      3,500
  7. Lloyd                  29     4,000
  8. Freeman            18     4,500
  9. Long George      31     4,000
  10. Jim                       31     4,000
  11. Henry                  30     4,500
  12. Harrison             18     4,500
  13. George                 25     4,000
  14. Lewis                   30      2,500
  15. Bill Tyus              44      4,000
  16. Frank                   18      3,500
  17. Bill Campbell     33      3,500
  18. Prince                  17      3,500
  19. Isaac                    22       3,000
  20. Jessie                   33       1,500
  21. Aolbut                 13       3,000
  22. Adam                   34      1,000
  23. Samuel                47      1,000
  24. Wilson                 40      4,000
  25. Jack                                     500
  26. Jess                       33        4,500
  27. Joseph                  27        4,500
  28. Ed                         15        2,500
  29. Rachal                  72           800
  30. Fanny                   33        1,000
  31. Ellen                     37        1,000
  32. Clary                     25        1,000
  33. Eliza                      49           500
  34. Milly                      67          500
  35. Amy                       41       2,500
  36. Martha                  37       2,500
  37. Hagar                    35       1,500
  38. Emma                   15        3,000
  39. Abigail                45           500
  40. Peggy                  15        3,500
  41. Cherry                48            500
  42. Louiza                17         3,000
  43. Margaret           25         1,000
  44. Harrit                 17          2,500
  45. Fanny(35) &childMary  4,000
  46. Lucy(24)&childRubie    4,000
  47. Frances                            1,200
  48. Polly                                 1,200
  49. Phillis(23)&childSusan 4,000
  50. Betsy                                1,000
  51. Adeline                            2,000
  52. Eliza(29) & child            4,000
  53. May &child Virginia    4,000
  54. Wesley                  8         1,000
  55. Mariah & child Minty   4,000
  56. Ellen                                 3,000
  57. Anna                                 1,000
  58. Georgiana           8           2,000
  59. Tom                                   2,000
  60. William              25          2,000
  61. Julia                    15          1,000

State of Alabama}

Lowndes County}

Probate Court March 14th 1865

Personally came before me James W. Graham Judge of Probate of Lowndes County John A. Tyson, Thomas E Gully and William J Garrett appraisers of the personal estate of Wiley Turner late of said County – deceased, who being severally sworn that the foregoing sheets contain a full and complete appraisement of all the personal estate of Wiley Turner, exhibited to them the said appraisement by James W Turner the administrator on the 13 day of March 1865.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 14th day of March 1865 James W Graham Judge of Probate

John A Tyson

Thomas E Gully

W.J. Garrett

______________________________________

Related Links:

Joe Turner in the 1852 Estate File of Wiley Turner  – The first list which was made in 1853 when all of the property of Wiley Turner was valued.  It includes names, ages and valuations for all the enslaved before any divisions were made.  My 2 X great grandfather, Joe was about 15 when this list was made.

Second Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate – 1856  This list was made to determine the division so that the oldest daughter of Wiley Turner could receive her share of the estate.

Third Inventory of Wiley Turner’s Estate – 1858  This list was made to determine the division when the next child, James, came of age.

Measuring Worth – An article about valuation of the enslaved. It includes several charts about valuation of enslaved people, at various ages and in various years, showing that (as I saw in these lists) values soared from 1852 to 1861.

 

 

 

 

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.

Me and My Goats

Years ago I sent this to my cousin Barbara. Recently her son sent it back to me. I’m so glad I sent it because I have no other such photos.

From 1976 to 1984 I lived in Mississippi and raised some goats, children and chickens. These are four of the goats. They needed their hoofs trimmed. I could talk their language. Recently I realized that it would have been a lot less trouble to go buy a couple of gallons of milk instead of milking all those goats twice a day, buying their feed and trying to keep them confined before I gave that up and just let them wander the area, losing garden after garden as they figured out how to break in and eat it.  However, it was an experience for the whole family that would not have been replicated by buying milk.

You can read more about those years in these posts:

Rt 1 Box 38 – The Luba Project

R Is For route 1 Box 173 & 1/2

1978 – Mississippi Shoes and Film

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