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A-Z Challenge 2020 Detroit Photographs

P – PLYMOUTH Congregational Church – 1928

"Plymouth Church photo"
Plymouth Congregational Church – September 1928. Detroit, Michigan

Northern Congregationalists went south to Montgomery, Alabama after the Civil War.  First Congregational Christian Church was founded in 1872.  They also supported a school nearby. My grandmother, Fannie Turner, attended both the school and the church. She met her husband, Mershell Graham, in the church.

When Mershell Graham, my grandfather, migrated north to Detroit in 1918 many of his friends, who were also members of First Congregational Church, were also leaving segregated Montgomery.  In 1919 a group of nine gathered together to form Plymouth Congregational Church.  They first met in member’s houses and in borrowed space  until they were able to purchase their own building, a former Synagogue, in 1927. They moved in, in May 15, 1927.

Plymouth had been in the building a little over a year when this photo was taken. My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham, is standing behind his daughters, Mary V. and Doris (my mother). Their cousin, Margaret McCall, is standing between them. They are in the front row, towards the left side of center. The minister, Rev. Laviscount, is standing behind Mary V. My grandmother, Fannie, had just given birth to their youngest son, Howard, so she was not able to be there.

History of Plymouth United Church of Christ

14 replies on “P – PLYMOUTH Congregational Church – 1928”

I really enjoyed watching the video clip you’ve shared Kristin. Thank you. It is indeed a heck of a story.
And this photograph of an entire community is such a treasure. I’m impressed with how neat and proper your mother’s as well as her sister’s white socks and black shoes look in the photo. My eyes were drawn to that.
All my school pictures show my socks sitting at different heights! Perhaps, that’s why I noticed.

Torn down for a parking lot, how very sad. Makes me think of the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi. Doing Google map searches and then virtual drive bus in a London when chasing my LOndon ancestral places can be quite depressing too and I have seen some parking lots in place of beautiful churches but I think the churches were not pulled down for parking lots.

I really enjoyed the video. I am not normally a fan of video as I found people are too long winded often, but in this case the history was told effectively and concisely. The Church community should be very proud of what they have achieved.

What an incredible powerhouse of a picture showing your ancestors at the inauguration of the congregation’s first church building in Detroit. Your post, accompanied by the video, links the church with pivotal moments in Black history — from the Amistad to the Civil Rights Movement. A short but stunning post summarizing a history that I am sure makes you proud.

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