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1920 Census A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit

C – CLEAGES in the 1920 Census

The photographs used in this series are from my personal collection. Please do not use without my express permission.

I got carried away writing about where my Cleages lived in the 1920 census. The pictured houses below are from Google maps. There were many houses gone. The red line goes from the house picture to the map version. Some houses did not have numbers and I could only guess where they were on the block, so no line.

Inside the Sanborn map, I put the head of household, his or her occupation, how many people lived in the house and their race. This information is from the 1920 census. My grandparents and their sons lived in the house in the red yard. Unfortunately, that is now a vacant lot. You can tell the shape and size of the house from the diagrams. My grandparents house was two stories with a porch across the front of the house. There was no garage or other building in the backyard.

In the 1920 Census 36 year old Albert B. Cleage was a physician working on his own account. He was born in Tennessee, as were both of his parents. His wife, Pearl was listed as 30, although she was actually closer to 34. She and her parents were born in Kentucky. She and her husband were literate. Although this was not on the census form, she was about three months pregnant with Barbara her 5th child.

There were four sons in the household. My father, Albert was eight. Louis was six. Both of them attended Hubbard elementary school, which is now gone. Henry was three years and nine months old, Hugh was one year and seven months old.

They owned their home, which was mortgaged, at 1355 24th Street in Detroit. Later that year all of the street numbers were changed and the number became 5237 24th St. This caused me some trouble in years past, before I knew the numbers changed and had placed the house in the wrong place. To learn more, click. Detroit Citywide Address Change

Everybody in the family was identified as “mu”, which stood for “mulatto”. This was the last census to designate people as “mu(latto)” or “B(lack)”. In the 1930 census, “Neg(ro) would be used for both.

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A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit Photographs

B – BARBARA Cleage

The photographs used in this series are from my personal collection. Please do not use without my express permission.

Barbara Pearl Cleage was the fifth child and first daughter born to the Cleages. She was also the first child born in the house on Scotten Avenue. She was born at home on July 10, 1920.

She soon grew taller than her older brother, Hugh. This made her self conscious until a dressmaker, Mrs. Chase, convinced her that she was very good looking. Barbara always looks quite stylish in her photos, even when a young girl. When I mentioned seeing her in a photo of “The Social Sixteen”, a group of young people that included my mother and her sister who met at each others homes and held dances and other social events, she said that they only let her in because of her older brothers.

Barbara was featured as person of the month in our family news letter, The Ruff Draft. My children put it out for family and friends during our homeschooling years.

________________

This little magazine was published by some of the same people that published Crisis Magazine when Barbara was only a few months old. The purpose was to provide positive images and stories for African American school children.

Published Monthly and Copyrighted by DuBois and Dill, Publishers, at 2 West 13th Street, New York, N. Y. Conducted by W. E. Burghardt DuBois; Jessie Redmon Fauset, Literary Editor; Augustus Granville Dill, Business Manager

The Brownie Book – click to see a copy of The Brownie Book.

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A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit

A – Albert B. Cleage Jr. in 1920s

The photographs used in this series are from my personal collection. Please do not use without my express permission.

This year for the A to Z Challenge, I am going back a hundred years to the 1920s and writing about what happened to my family during that decade. My grandparents had settled down to marriage and family and my parents and their siblings were too young to participate in any “roaring” that was going on. I start with my father, Albert B. Cleage Jr.

Albert B. Cleage Jr., the oldest of the seven children of Albert B. Cleage Sr and Pearl (Reed) Cleage, was eight years old when the 1920s began. When the decade ended, he was nineteen. During that decade he attended Wingert Elementary School through the 8th grade. He graduated from Northwestern High School in 1929 and went on to the College of the City of Detroit, as Wayne State University was known then.

Strange, but I don’t remember my father telling us any stories about growing up.

___________

Below are some memories of my father’s childhood taken from a biography by Hiley Ward written in 1969.

“I want to say to you, there was nothing funny when he was a small boy,” said Mrs. Cleage. “He was a serious little boy. He wore little white blouses and trousers, and was always with a book. The others were excavating the backyard, or wiring the back porch, or Louis would be greasing up something, and Albert reading. He was never happy-go-lucky.”

Why? “That’s the way God made him.” and for another reason, she suggested, “It might be that at a tender age when he should be happy, he saw practices concerning colored children and it took all the jolliness out of him.” His sister Barbara, who had come into the room, noted that experiences of seating in the predominantly white schools “were shattering, because they were usually asked to sit in the back of the room,” as Cleage himself recalls, and said Barbara “there were the lynching pictures in Crisis magazine – all had an effect on him.” They noted that Louis was a great builder and Albert, in “his white shirt and tie, and book under his arm, was good at art.”

Oscar Hand, the multi-faceted church official who is custodian for the Birney Annex school and tries his hand occasionally in politics on a school or county ballot, unsuccessfully, knew the Cleages since 1920…

Recalling their childhood (they lived two blocks apart, the Cleages at Scotten and Moore Place and the Hands at Hartford and Stanford), Toddy (my father’s nickname) never played, never engaged in sport activity with us. Henry was the athlete. I don’t remember Toddy participating in the games we did. There was never a reason why he didn’t play games – he was probably just not interested; he was always reading and always making plans for something for us to do.

“In the backyard we used to have a carnival, and all the Cleage brothers took part in it. Dr. (Louis) Cleage had a penny matching machine then; you paid to see how much shock you could take when you held on to a certain part of the car.” Then there was a marbles game. “If you grabbed the right marble, you won a pair of ice skates. Nobody would win; the marble was in the pocket. One big white boy wanted to win so badly he substituted one just like it as he pulled his hand out of the jar. We just about had a fight on the corner.” Cleage, who was lighter in weight than Oscar (Cleage is now 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches, 185 pounds, adding some weight after giving up smoking), used to challenge Oscar to a race and “he’d run faster, then sit on the porch to porch a point.”

______________

You can find more posts and photos about my father during the 1920s below:

Albert B. Cleage Jr., 8th Grader
Detroit School Boys about 1920
A Short Story – 1928
Northwestern High School – in the Band

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Cleages Photographs sepia saturday

Henry Cleage 1916 – 1996

henry laugh sepia
Henry Cleage

Part 1

(The links will take you to posts I have written that give more details about his life.)

Henry Wadsworth Cleage was born March 22, 1916, six months after his family moved from Kalamazoo to Detroit, Michigan.  He was born at home on 1355 24th Street, the 3rd of the 7 children of Dr. Albert B. Cleage SR and his wife Pearl Reed Cleage. This was my first digression.  I went to look on Google Maps to see if the house was still there.  It wasn’t. There are mostly empty lots with a few houses scattered about. The house was located on the corner of 24th Street and Porter, a few blocks from the Detroit River And the Ambassador Bridge.

Between January and June of 1920, when Henry was 5 years old, the family moved 3 miles north to a large brick house on 6429 Scotten Ave.  My grandmother was pregnant with Barbara, her 5th child and first daughter, who was born in the new house. I remember my aunt Gladys telling me that all the girls were born in that house on Scotten.

Henry and his siblings attended Wingert Elementary school, a few blocks from the house. He built forts in the backyard with his brothers and neighborhood friends and told of riding his bike out Tireman to the country where they roasted potatoes in a campfire.  His father’s mother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman stayed with the family during that time.

He attended McMichael Junior High School and then Northwestern High School.  While at Northwestern he played in the school orchestra and the All City Orchestra, played school baseball and was on the 12-A dues committee.

After high school Henry attended Wayne University, getting his BA and then entered Law School at Wayne.   These posts talk about his life during those days Henry Cleage’s Journal 1936,  Follow up on Henry’s Diary.

Henry married Alice Stanton in 1941.  When WW2 started, Henry and his brother were conscientious objectors and moved to a farm in Avoca where they raised dairy cows and chickens.  Henry and Alice were divorced in 1943.

While on the farm, Henry wrote short stories and sent them out to various magazines of the day. None were published. I shared two of them earlier – Just Tell The Men – a short story by Henry Cleage and another short story Proof Positive. In 1947 Henry returned and completed Law School and began practicing in Detroit and Pontiac.

This ends part 1 of the life of Henry Cleage.

Note: You can find out more about Henry’s time as a conscientious objector in this post – Of Cows and Conscientious Objectors.

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A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit Grahams

A to Z REVEAL 2020

My mother Doris Graham and her older sister Mary Virginia Graham in 1929
A to Z

This year as we begin the 2020s, I decided to go back a hundred years to the 1920s and write about what happened to my family during that decade. My grandparents had settled down to marriage and family and my parents and their siblings were too young to participate in any “roaring” that was going on.

While preparing my posts, I found out several things that I wish I had asked my grandparents about, but strangely never thought to do so. I managed to cover all of the letters in the alphabet and to tie them in with my family in some way. I actually started in February to decide on the words for each letter and to chose photographs. In March I started writing the posts. The plan is to be completely done by the time I post this.

Click to go to A to Z website
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Christmas Cleages Detroit News Items

“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.

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Cleages Detroit

Jacob Cleage 1874-1942

Jacob Cleage 1874 – 1942
The Detroit Tribune. 1942 Dec 12
“Jacob Cleage of 5670 Hartford Avenue is quite ill at his home.”

Jacob Cleage was the second child and first son of the five Cleage offspring of Louis Cleage and Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. He was born in 1874 in either McMinn or Loudin county Tennessee. According to his death certificate he was in the Spanish American War. For years he worked as a waiter in Knoxville, where he met and married Gertrude Brunt. They had no children.

They moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where all of his siblings, except Edward, moved. He continued to work as a waiter and also in real estate. Eventually they all ended up in Detroit, Michigan. He worked in the Sheriff’s department for several years. Continued to sell real estate and, according to his death certificate worked as a janitor.

I found the above clipping in the archives of The Detroit Tribune. I announced his serious illness five days after he died. I could find no mention of his death in the paper. I found his death certificate on Ancestry and the one new piece of information I found was that he served in the military during the Spanish American War.

Jacob Cleage’s death certificate with notes. There is so much information here. Click to enlarge.

To clarify, Jacob Cleage’s nephew, Louis Jacob Cleage was his physician. Louis Jacob Cleage was named after his grandfather Louis and his uncle Jacob.

More information (or misinformation) about Jacob Cleage here – Jacob and Gertrude Cleage in the 1940 Census.

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Christmas Cleages Detroit Grahams News Items

1937 Christmas Festivities

Doris Graham (14), Shirley Turner (17) and Mary Vee Graham (17). 1937, taken on Theodore, Detroit.
Click to enlarge. Family members underlined in red.
Detroit Tribune Dec 18, 1937
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Cleages Detroit News Items

Dr. & Mrs. Cleage Speak On Preventing Juvenile Delinquency

In an article in The Detroit Tribune issue of February 26, 1938, my grandmother, Mrs. Pearl Reed Cleage was announced as the speaker for the next meeting of the West Side Human Relation Council on the following Monday. I looked in The Detroit Tribune that came out the following week and there was nothing about that meeting or my grandmother’s speech, but I found an article that mentioned a speech on the same topic of juvenile delinquency that my grandfather had made the previous month. Both articles are below.

You can find more information about the Cleage family during this time in this post The Cleage’s in the 1940 Census.

Pearl and Albert Cleage with one of the dogs.

West Side Human Relation Council Looks to Mothers

“The Detroit Tribune”, February 26, 1938

The West Side Human Relation Council met Monday at the Lothrop branch library, West Grand Boulevard at Warren avenue. Turner W. Ross, president, presided.

Reports from the various committees were made and accepted by the council. A discussion concerning the toy-making project now under way followed. Another suggestion for discussion was the consideration for the organization of a group composed of mothers. It was the belief of the council members that the mothers could contribute much in the fight against juvenile deliquency. John C. Dancy, executive secretary of the Detroit Urban League, spoke regarding a west side community center.

The next meeting of the council will be Monday at the same place. Mrs. Albert Cleage is scheduled to discuss “Good Home Environment as a Potent Factor in Delinquency.”

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Collection of photos of Lothrop Library

Cleage Talks on Children

Speaks at Juvenile Group Meeting
The Detroit Tribune – March 5, 1938

The January meeting of the Juvenile Protective Association of Michigan was largely attended by members and visitors.

The membership campaign under the supervision of Mrs. Gertrude Henderson assisted by Mrs. Mamye Donovan and Mrs. John O’Dell, have made visits to various churches, taking the program and purpose of the organization to the people. Many pledged their support.

The guest speaker at the last meeting was Dr. A. B. Cleage, a member of the organization, also a staff member at the Receiving Hospital. Dr. Cleage gave a very interesting talk on the need of the home and nurseries for children of the race. He spoke of cases where children who had no home guidance or training, fall easy victims to disease of body and mind.

The next meeting will be held Monday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John O’Dell. The speaker will be Attorney Charles Roxborough.

Luther C. Keith is president.

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Cleages Detroit

Dialogue in Poetry

Louis Cleage Responds Poetically to “Two Songs” by Gary Grimshaw

During the 1960s, my uncles owned and operated Cleage Printers. It was what was known as a “job printer,” meaning that it didn’t print books, but rather printed handbills for neighborhood markets and flyers, newsletters, magazines and pamphlets for various radical groups, including the black nationalist Group on Advanced Leadership (GOAL), the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Detroit Artists Workshop, a countercultural collaborative. 

The printing plant was a place where people came to find discussion of the issues of the day and there were plenty of issues to discuss. My uncle Henry loved to hold forth on a variety of topics and his arguments were always well thought out and convincing. Hugh didn’t talk a lot, but he would have something to put in, maybe just a quiet shake of his head over what Henry was saying.

Their brother Louis Cleage was a doctor and his office was about 10 feet in front of the printing plant. When he came back, he would join in with his sarcastic comments and distinctive laugh. And surprising to me, my uncle Louis wrote poetry.

On Oct. 6, 2019, my good friend historian Paul Lee, who likes to consider himself an “honorary Cleage,” sent me an email with a copy of a poem that my uncle Louis had written.

I was so surprised because with all of Louis’ talents, I never knew that he wrote poetry. I immediately began to search for the poems that he was responding to, which were written by Detroit graphic artist and radical political activist Gary Grimshaw. 

After Googling and looking for Work 4, where Grimshaw’s poems appeared, I found that the Flickr photostream of “jwc 3o2” (Canadian “cultural factotum” jw curry) had a copy of the cover (designed by Grimshaw) and wrote to ask him if he had the whole work and could send me a copy of the poems. He very kindly dug out his copy of Work 4, made a copy of the poems and sent them to me. You can see the cover and the poems by both Grimshaw and Louis below.

These poems by Gary Grimshaw were published in the Artists’ Workshop , Works 4. I found the poems with the help of JWC, who I found through his photostream on fliker.

Two Songs by Gary Grimshaw

You’ve made your responsibilities
To wash your car and mow your lawn
While I’ve made mine
To stay excited about being alive
And you don’t understand
Why I won’t stay home

Without seeing it happen
You’ve slipped into the norm
While I’ve kept my eyes open
For the pleasure of new things
And you don’t understand
Why I am different from the rest

In the name of reason
You’ve drained the joy from life
While I make mistakes
Because I won’t listen to advice
From a dying generation
And you wonder why
I stare at the floor when you speak
August 2

“Prove yourself!” yells the Queen of Morality
In her castle on the hill of broken dreams
“But there’s nothing to prove!” I yell back
From my midnight ancient cellar
As the King slips off to the prison factory.

The Queen’s daughters know the virtue of work
They dream of an effortless struggle
Against inactivity and doubt
Carried on in calm organization
Won by merciless repression.

The King once was young, like me
I often think of him this way
Before he volunteered to die
His funeral went unnoticed
In the steady hum of the factory
Where he surrendered to Chief Reason
And succeeding days drove out whim and fancy
Leaving him with What Is and nothing more
What Is, the terrible master.
August 12

Two poems by Gary Grimshaw
Louis Cleage in Cleage Printers about 1963

A Comment on “Two Songs by Gary Grimshaw

I heard your song, my son
so clear and yet so lonely in the night.
The enchantment of its melancholy beauty
Transported me through space and time
to moon-lit waters of a blue lagoon.

In the quiet of the night, a golden maiden
played a dulcimer. A nightingale
sang a song of youth and beauty
that stirred my senses with such violence
as to test the very sinews
that bound me to my reason.
I was once again the young King in the timeless land.
The golden maiden was my queen.

Though now, we are as strangers when we meet,
I understand that you are different from the rest.
In the quiet of the night, when the beauty
of your song stirs my heart,
My lonely soul cries out to you, my son,
—-for understanding.

Louis J. Cleage, M.D.
Detroit 3/27/67

This poem by Louis J. Cleage, M. D. appeared in the April 1967 issue of “The Sun”.

_______________________

Header photograph is of the Cleage Clinic (front brick building) with Cleage Printers (gray cement block building) in the back. I photoshopped it from a Google Maps view from July 2009.

I would like to thank Paul Lee for the additional information that he sent me, which I have incorporated into this post.

Click these links for more information:
Cleage Printers
Gary Grimshaw
Louis Cleage