Alpha Dance 1952

atkinson Doris & 'Toddy" Alpha dance1952
Doris and Toddy, Alpha dance 1952.

I do not remember seeing my parents dressed up for this dance. I was six years old. I do not remember ever seeing my parents dressed up and going out.  After we moved off of Atkinson to Chicago Blvd, I remember that my mother had several fancy gowns hanging in her closet.

I looked for information about an Alpha dance in Detroit in 1952.  I couldn’t find anything. Neither of my parents were members of a sorority or fraternity. I am assuming that some members of the church invited them to the dance.

“In 1951, when I was four, my father received a call to St. Marks Presbyterian church in Detroit. We left Springfield, Massachusetts  and moved into 2212 Atkinson, down the street from my paternal grandparents who lived at 2270 Atkinson.    St. Marks was located a block away, in the other direction, on 12th Street.  The 1967 Detroit riot started a block from the church.”    For more click  A is for Atkinson.

Moving from Springfield to Detroit in 1951.

29 thoughts on “Alpha Dance 1952

  1. Your Mom looks lovely in her satin gown. I wonder what color it was? And men always look so sharp in black tie attire. My mom & dad took ballroom dance lessons in a group with private dance instructors & four times a year they held a fancy ball so my sisters & brother and I got to see them all dressed up . . . except for the Halloween balls. Then it was costume time. Neither mom nor dad were (as adults) much into costumes & I still remember the year everyone was supposed to dress as their favorite TV show. Mom wore a pretty dress, & dad was in a suit, but otherwise – no costumes except for some small cotton nets tied to the back of their shoes? Their favorite TV show? “Dragnet”.

  2. 9 months later did a baby come? She was looking pretty and hot. Daddy was spiffy to. Very Beautiful!

  3. They both look very attractive. I don’t think my parents ever went to a ballroom dance, but they belonged to a square dance club and had special Western outfits to were for that.

  4. Hi Kristin;
    I wonder if the Alpha group was a church related group? My husband’s grandmother in Ypsilanti was a member of what was called a ‘sorority’ that from what I gather was made up of a group of church women who met and hosted events to raise funds to send Ypsi African American students to college. Just a thought. Regardless, beautiful picture!

    1. The sorority she belonged to might have been the AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha). They are a college sorority and after graduation the alum often continue to meet together and raise money for various projects.

      For some reason I thought this was put on by the brother fraternity of the AKA, which would have been the Alpha Phi Alphas.

  5. I too have that odd feeling when looking at photos of my parents dressed up like this, almost as if they led another life of which I wasn’t aware.

  6. The boutonnière and corsage add a note of a special evening. I like the radio console too, as I know Detroit enjoyed a large variety of radio stations. Perhaps they practiced their steps listening to it.

    1. That radio was passed to me when I was in college and I had it for a number of years before I moved to very small quarters and most of my stuff disappeared. There was a phonograph in the lower part. You could also get short wave through the radio and I remember listening to Radio Habana Cuba during high school while I was studying Spanish.

      Now, if they were down there practicing their steps to the radio or their collection of 78s, that would be a life I wasn’t aware of. I was in college before I found those 78s and found the Ink Spots and Bessie Smith and so many other classics. My mother never played them as I was growing up.

  7. How gorgeous they look. I was certainly aware of the 67 riots in Detroit. Just watched a biography of a great Civil Rights leader (who I had never heard of until this week) Grace Lee Boggs, who may still live in Detroit. But that’s another topic completely! I also loved dancing!

    1. I knew Grace Lee Boggs back in the day as she was involved in some of the same things my family was involved in. As far as I know she is still alive, although in very bad health, at this time. And still in Detroit. Some things in the film are a bit of an exaggeration of her role, I think 🙂 .

  8. Isn’t it funny how I noticed the radiogram at the back too – we must love technology. Your parents look very beautiful/handsome indeed.

  9. I’ve just read all the blogs from last to first and ball gowns and lovely dresses are a feature but I’m thinking a lot of them were home-made. Did your mum make hers?

  10. Your mother is beautiful and your father so very handsome. But what I admire most about this photo, (should have been on the cover a Look Magazine) a true picture of an all American family, that stays connected. The fine crafted radio, the many books, your father’s hat on top of the daily paper (all gentlemen wore them back then) a thriving household plant, comfortable chairs and a happy couple ready to go out together! Home sweet life!

  11. Apart from the gorgeous couple in such a relaxed pose, I too was drawn to the items behind them. I’m nosey about other people’s bookshelves anyway!

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