The Freedom Now Party 1964


Today’s post is about the Michigan Freedom Now Party. My photographs were taken during the first convention, which took place in Detroit in September 1964.  It was held at Central Congregational Church, now the Shrine of the Black Madonna. To read an interview with Henry Cleage about organizing the party and what happened during the election, click this link – Freedom Now Party,.

Freedom Now Party Convention.

On the far left, back of my sister’s head and the back of my head. Standing in the checked shirt is Oscar Hand. Behind Mr. Hand, in the white shirt, is Richard Henry (later Imari Obadele) Writing on the wall is Leontine Smith. Against the wall in the white dress is Annabelle Washington.  I cannot name the others.

Henry Cleage reading platform. Grace Lee Boggs in left corner.

majority report of platform
Preamble to the Freedom Now Party Platform
Freedom Now party candidates
Four of the many candidates on the Michigan Freedom Now Party slate.  From left to right:  Loy Cohen, secretary of state; James Jackson, lieutenant governor ; Albert Cleage (later Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman), govenor  and Milton Henry (later Gaide Abiodun Obadele), representative of the 14th Congressional District.

For more about my family and elections go to these posts: More From Elections of Yesteryear and Wordless Wednesday – Elections Past.


29 thoughts on “The Freedom Now Party 1964

  1. i remember working the polls many times. i remember riding in the sound car, but never getting to speak (perhaps because i was maybe 7-8 years old). was not fun and i didn’t enjoy it! just enjoyed being with you and pearl! 🙂

    1. I remember riding through the west side too “Make your children proud, vote for Frederick Yates…” You should have talked too, as one of those children voters had a chance to make proud. And then we’d have to get out and leafletize the block.

  2. You are a regular museum and archives of the Civil Rights Movement in Detroit of the 60s. You write in a rather matter-of-fact tone but the pictures and documents are truly historic.

  3. Susan, Pauline and Wendy at the time it was just the way we lived in my family. Some people went roller skating or partied or went to the movies, I went to meetings and rode in sound cars. Some families played cards or sang. We talked politics. And we took photos and saved a LOT of stuff. Luckily we also spent time out of the city where we did roller skate, garden, swim and talk more politics.

    1. Taking photos and saving a lot of stuff is necessary when the events were so important. The difficulty with your articles, Kristin, is that each week I am so absorbed by your experiences that I get carried away with reading up on the background and don’t get to the next post on the Sepia Saturday list for ages. Today I’ve been reading The Party: The Socialist Workers Party, 1960-1988 by Barry Shepherd on Google Books (Ch 12: Thye March on Washington), which has helped me understand where your experiences fitted in the overall story. I presume you took part in the Detroit march of 23 June 1963? Thank you for enlightening me.

    1. I was going to say I don’t think next weeks will be historic, then I remembered that I could do a post on Billy Smith, the photographer and family friend who recorded much of this history through his photographs.

  4. Spot on for this week’s prompt Kristin and to my mind far more interesting that the Potsdam meeting.

  5. I learn so much history from your posts–and often find that they intrigue me enough to get me started doing a “google” search to learn even more.

  6. What an exciting time for young people to be engaged with the struggle of the 60’s.
    Glad you didnt get rid of all that stuff.

  7. You have such a powerful and fascinating archive of this important time in history. It is of great importance and I am proud that you are sharing it with Sepia Saturday.

  8. What a great piece of history to share, with us, and especially to bring forth so many important issues from days past, that many of us had no idea about! Hooray for Sepia and Alan bringing the past to life!

  9. Kristin, Viewing the Civil Rights Movement from Britain ,we never got to see much of the People & Organisation behind the Movement.Thanks for the detail.You&Yours have my upmost admiration + respect.

  10. After reading Alan’s post, and then reading yours, I wonder if you have a system for filing all of your photos and memorabilia. You always seem to come up with the perfect photo for the theme.

  11. One of things that makes your blog interesting Kristin, is the way your family histories so easily turn over into commentary on social and civic history. Political movements are by nature very volatile and difficult to document. Even though short lived, such political parties had a purpose in their time and still have a relevance today.

  12. As usual,
    you are a goldmine of information
    and you give voice to historic matters that rarely see the light of day
    in official media. Great post!!

  13. I’ve read a lot about the history of the black freedom movement in Detroit and that your father and his siblings were a huge part of that history.

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