Barbara on a Bike

My cousin Barbara on a bike around 1949. Her older sister Dee Dee is holding her up.
“1949  Dee Dee 5 1/2 and Barbara 16 months.”  On the porch of their 4 family flat on McDougall and Hunt Streets in Detroit.
The Elkins Family in 1949. Mershell and Fannie Graham's backyard.
The Elkins Family in 1949. In my grandparent’s (Mershell and Fannie Graham) backyard on Theodore.

My cousins  lived upstairs in a 4-family flat on the corner of McDougall and Hunt Street on the East Side of Detroit. Their mother, Mary V. Graham Elkins, was my mother’s sister. She worked as a secretary at the County Building.

Their father, Frank “Bud” Elkins, graduated with honors from Cass Technical high school in the late 1930s. As an electrician, he tried to join the Electricians Union but as a black man was barred.  He set up his own shop as an independent Electrician.  He drove a truck with “Elkins Electric Company” on the side. I remember riding in it a few times. There were not seats for all and we sat on the floor.

Their building is gone, but it looked very similar to these houses that still stand on that corner.
A birds eye view of the corner of McDougall and Hunt streets. The house was on one of the now vacant corners. Both of these photos are from Google Maps.

Some other stories about this family:

Remembering Barbara Lynn Elkins

Old County Building and Mary V Elkins

The Frank and Mary Elkins Family in the 1940 Census

More Sepia Saturday if you CLICK!
More Sepia Saturday if you CLICK!

11 thoughts on “Barbara on a Bike

    1. I think he did, but can’t remember as he died at only 40 when I was in junior high school. He was always very bitter about the union.

      1. How dreadful that he was refused entry to the union – I had no idea that happened then. It could have jeopardized his whole working life, after succeeding so well at college. A sad story to hear he died at such a young age.

  1. The photo is adorable. Our son owns his own electrician’s business and does quite well when building is going on. But there are slumps in the business so he has to allow for those times.

    1. I can’t imagine he got a lot of building business from the black community in Detroit during that time because I don’t think a lot of building was going on.

  2. Wonderful picture – I love the way the younger sister is focused on not falling off the “big” tricycle and how her sister is assisting.

  3. Love the photos. My parents still live on McDougall just a few blocks away in their original house.

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