Howard Turner Killed in Lowndes County, Alabama

Killed In Lowndes

Howard Turner of This City Killed at a Colored Folks Picnic.

Hayneville, June 30. -[Special.]-  Last Saturday the colored people had a picnic across Big Swamp near Hayneville. The result is Howard Turner, who came from Montgomery was killed by one Phillip McCall.  Too much whisky and too many pistols. Phillip surrendered this morning.”  The Weekly Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) Thursday, July 10, 1891 Page 2

We were always told that my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s father was killed at a barbeque when she was four years old. After years of being unable to find any documentation, I found this news item on Newspapers. dot com today.  I was just looking for various people in the newspapers when I came across it.

Howard Turner’s widow with their daughters. Jennie Virginia Allen Turner holding Daisy Turner (my great grandmother) and my grandmother Fannie sitting there holding her hat.

I have found so much new information since I started this blog that I feel the need to go back and put it all together for the various branches. My project for 2018.

Skating Champions, Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage – 1940s

Three of my father’s six siblings, Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage.

“Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage of Scotten took their share of places in the annual city ice skating meet which was held at Belle Isle last Sunday afternoon.  Anna won first place and a gold medal in the Senior girls’ novice; Gladys, third in the same event and  a gold medal.  Hugh competed in the men’s 220 and two-mile events.”

This article is from one of the Detroit daily papers and is undated, but I would place it in the early 1940s.  Years later when I was talking about this photo with my aunt Anna, she said that the story was wrong and that actually she came in third and Gladys won the race.  She remembered taking an early lead in the race but soon falling behind as Gladys easily over took her.  They learned to skate at the  Northwestern High School skating rink, which was a few blocks from their home on Scotten.  When my sister and I were in high school at Northwestern in the early 1960s we skated at the same rink.  We got racing skates because Hugh and Gladys were so cool skating on the Lagoon at Belle Isle, but we were never gold medal material.  The old Northwestern High School is no longer there.  It was torn down and a new school was build where the skating rink used to be.

Cabral, Ife, Tulani and James skating.

In 1986 my husband and I moved to  Idlewild,  Michigan with our children.  We lived on Idlewild Lake.  When it was frozen we skated right in front of the house.  Hugh and Gladys could still skate circles around us.  During the summer when Gladys and I walked around the Lake, people from Detroit’s Old West Side would stop us to ask if she was the skating champion.  She was in her early 60s. This week I wish I had some skates.  It would make it so much easier to get around frozen Atlanta.  Above is a picture of four of my children skating on Idlewild Lake about 1990.  To see more Sepia Saturday offerings click here.

12th and Atkinson – 1952 & 1967

Pearl seems to be wondering what that boy is doing.

Here we have my sister Pearl swinging in 1953. This playground was two blocks down from our house, the parsonage on Atkinson. My father’s church was across the street. Right outside the playground was the building where the 1967 Detroit rebellion began  after police raided and arrested people attending a welcome home party for a returning Vietnam veteran.

Armed, standing across from Economy Printing. You can see the playground. 1967.


Me on the far left watching and waiting my turn at the playground water fountain. 1952.

You can see Economy Printing on the far left. The playground is right next to it. The rebellion was in full swing here.

Funeral for Tayna Blanding, four year old, was killed as a hail of police and National Guard bullets swept an apartment building where she huddled on the floor. Officials said the flare of a match used to light a cigarette was mistaken for the flash of a sniper’s gun.  It was held at my father’s church, then Central United Church of Christ, later Shrine of the Black Madonna.
The playground as it appears on Google today. A swing set seems to be in the same place.

Related posts

My Riot Journal

Rebellions Make Strange Leaders

“A” Is for Atkinson

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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, Oliver Killens, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Odetta  artists who called for the boycott of Christmas Boycott in 1963.


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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13 Years Old, Mary Virginia Graham, 1934

13 yrs Mary Virginia 1934

A photograph of my aunt Mary Virginia Graham standing on the front steps of the house on Theodore in Detroit. She was named for both of her grandmothers. The writing on the photo says “13 yrs Mary Virginia 1934”.   A double exposure shows my mother sideways, overlapping.

My mother Doris with her sister Mary Virginia aka M.V. at Belle Isle.

This photo looks like it was taken the same day at Belle Isle, which was 5 miles from the house. The dresses are the same.  My mother is standing the same way that she in in the double exposure.

6638 Theodore Street, Detroit, Michigan.

Other posts about Mary V.

Mary Virginia Graham Colorized

Christmas Memories

Mary V’s Shoes

Old County Building and Mary V. Elkins

1940 Census – the Grahams

Three Generations – 1939

And a post about the house on Theodore

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The Celebrated Tulane Coffee

Naomi Tulane about four years old. 1904. (Copyright Jacqui Vincent)

This photograph of my grandmother Fannie’s cousin, Naomi Vincent was printed on the cans of Tulane Coffee.  This was one of her father Victor Tulane’s many projects, which included real estate, founding a Penny Bank, and owning Tulane’s Grocery. He was also on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute and a generally active citizen of Montgomery. I found the advertisement below in the Montgomery Advertiser.

V.H. Tulane, Prop. was married to my great grandmother’s sister, Willie Lee (Allen) Tulane. Miss Fannie M. Turner, Mgr., was my maternal grandmother.

Years later, he traveled North selling Alaga Syrup. Naomi traveled with him and it was on a trip to New York City that she met her future husband, Dr. Ubert Vincent.

Alphonso Brown, Victoria McCall, 1970 photo of former Tulane Grocery, More recent photo of empty building.


A blog post about an exciting night at the Tulane Grocery Store  He Had Hidden Him Under the Floor

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Family Groups In Wiley Turner’s Probate File – 1852

These are the family groups I picked out from the first (1852) appraisment done of Wiley Turner’s Lowndes County, Alabama estate.  I will follow those I can through the other three lists and then see what families I can find in the 1870 census.  My 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner, is listed as “Joe (white)” on page 3.  He was too old to be in a family group at 15, so I do not know if his mother was on this file.

There are four family groups on page one (above)  of the 1852 probate record.

  • Forty year old Ellen and child, and Abby, age fourteen and Little Margaret age ten.
  • Thirty year old woman Maria and child Ransom, nine year old little Jane, four year old Louisa and two year old Adella.
  • Doctor, Mary and fourteen year old Eliza went to Wiley Turner’s wife and so do not appear in later lists. Twelve year old Minerva and Ten year old Amanda, who may be part of this family, were not included in Francis Turner’s group.
  • Twenty two year old Adam, eighteen year old Mary Ellen and child Edward.
  • Fifty year old William, fifty year old Rachell and eight year old little Charles.

There are six possible family groups on page 2 (above) in the 1852 record.

  1. Eliza 36 and Harriett 5.
  2. Robbin 25, Cherry 36 and child Louisa, Prince 5
  3. Rachell Patton 28, Robert 11, Frank 6
  4. Rose 28 and child Gabriel – to Francis Mosely Turner.
  5. Abigail 23 and child Ema
  6. Clara 35 and child Alford, Sylvia 12, Lucy 10, Alice 8, Freeman 6, Harrison 6, Julia Ann 3.

There were five family groups on page 3 (above) in the 1852 appraisment.

  1. Man Old Jim 45 years, Minty 45, Daniel 3 – to widow Francis Mosley Turner
  2. Ben 33, Mary McQueen 28, Henry 12
  3. Hannah 55, George 13
  4. Betsy 23, child Caroline, Phillis 8, Peggy 3
  5. Achilles 43, Mariah Mosely 35, Elvira 14 – to widow Francis Mosley Turner

There was one family group on page 4 (above)

  1. Yellow John 24 (from previous page), Yellow Milly 30, Anthony infant, Little William 10, Carter 6, Braxton 4

I will be taking each family as far as I can in time, through the other probate lists as groups are made up to give to various family members and into the 1866, 1870 and for some beyond to later censuses.


The photograph is from the National Archives. The pages from the Estate File are from

“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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