Category Archives: Christmas

“The friendliness of Anna Cleage” Dec 25, 1943

The Detroit Tribune Dec 25, 1943
Anna Cecelia Cleage leaning on the fence.

My father’s youngest sister, Anna Cleage, is the only person I recognized in this “Saddle Shoe” column. In December of 1943 she was 19 years old and a student at what is now Wayne State University. Anna was 14 years younger than my father, Albert “Toddy” Cleage and two years younger than my mother, Doris Graham. From looking at these news items, I would guess that my mother went around with the older crowd, while Anna hung out with the younger group. The names in news items I recognize are the friends of my parents and those my Uncle Henry mentioned when he talked about the olden days. I always found my Aunt Anna very friendly and quite talkative and willing to share her memories with me when I would visit. She is the one who remembered when her grandmother, Anna Celia Rice Cleage Sherman had a stroke at their kitchen table when Anna was five. She was named for her grandmother – Anna Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.

Support The Christmas Boycott – 1963

Rev. A. B. Cleage on Christmas Gifts

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.

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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.
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Other links for 1963

Kennedy Refuses to Support Civil Rights Demands

Remembering 1963

Six Dead After Church Bombing – Washington Post article from 1963

On the Origins of Christianity – January 8, 1967

My father, then known as Rev. Albert B. Cleage jr preaching.  This is rather a long sermon, about 45 minutes.  He talks about growing up in the black church in Detroit with no use for religion until attending Plymouth Congregational Church and hearing Rev. White preach. He mentions attending Oberlin Seminary and finishes up by sharing a bit from an article by Dr. Harding in a religious magazine. This was just at the start of 1967. What a year was to come.  Click on the documents below to enlarge.

Epiphany Sunday January 8, 1967

Bulletin from that Sunday

Sermon Notes

Sermon – Advent 1966

The original stained glass window before the Black Madonna.
The original stained glass window before the Black Madonna mural was added in 1967.  It was a picture of the Pilgrims landing in America. Brewster Pilgrim Congregational Church owned the building before they sold it to us.  At one point, as I remember, they wanted to take the window with them but did not want to pay to remove and replace it.  It is still under the present mural of the Black Madonna.

The Advent sermon below was preached on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 1966 by my father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., who was later known as Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

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I was reminded by my facebook history that on December 14 of last year, I participated in Blog Caroling. This year there is no official Blog Caroling being organized by footnoteMAVEN. In honor of Blog Caroling past, I offer The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy played on a glass harp.

Since posting this, I found that Blog Caroling is taking place this year!  Those participating are leaving their link on Friends of footnoteMAVEN Facebook Group located here.  In order to post you have to join the group, but everybody who is on facebook can follow the links.

Olga Preobrazhenskaya as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nikolai Legat as Prince Coqueluche in the Grand pas de deux in the original production of The Nutcracker. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, c. 1900
Olga Preobrazhenskaya as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nikolai Legat as Prince Coqueluche in the Grand pas de deux in the original production of The Nutcracker. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, c. 1900 (public Domain photograph)

Christmas Candy

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Aunt Daisy Turner

Aunt Daisy took us downtown to the show every summer and to Saunders for ice cream afterward.  And I always ended up with a splitting headache.  Too much high living I guess.  She and Alice would buy us dainty, expensive little dresses from Siegel’s or Himllhoch’s.  They all went to church every Sunday at  Plymouth Congregational. Daisy always gave us beautiful tins of gorgeous Christmas candy, that white kind filled with gooey black walnut stuff, those gooey raspberry kind and those hard, pink kind with a nut inside, also chocolates, of course!

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Doris and Mary Virginia Graham. Their mother Fannie and baby brother Howard are looking out of the window.

See Mary Virginia’s Christmas Memories here Mary V. Graham Elkins Remembers Christmas

Santa On The IRT

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I wrote this on February 8, 1999

It all happened last Christmas Eve. I’d had a long, hard day working at the restaurant and I just wanted to get home and soak my tired dogs. That’s what my father always said when he came home from work. “Whew! My dogs are killin’ me!” he’d say. Then he’d take off his shoes, plop down in his favorite chair and fall asleep reading the paper until dinner time.

But I didn’t start this to tell you about my feet. I wrote this to tell you about meeting Santa on the subway. First I thought it was just some joker on his way to a Xmas party. I looked the other way when he came over and started looking at the IRT map. I didn’t want to get into a big conversation about nothing, but some guy hollers out “Hey, Santa, hope you don’t lose your way when you’re looking for my house.” Course that got a big laugh. Until he turned around and said “Fellows, this is no laughing matter. I’ve lost my map of NYC. The one that marks the houses I’ve got to go to and who’s been naughty and nice.   You could have heard a pin drop in there.

(This first appeared on my other blog Ruff Draft)

Blog Caroling – Silent Night

BlogSongBookIt’s been hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  Everyday seems to bring some new report of violence, both here and around the world. This years offering for Footnote Maven’s Blog Caroling is Silent Night sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock.  It combines a version of the carol combined with pictures of the demonstrations that have swept the nation after the police actions in Ferguson, MO and New York.  May next Christmas find us closer to true Justice for all in this country and Peace around the world.