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A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit

H – HENRY Cleage in the 1920s

Henry 1920
Cousin: Front Henry and Hugh Cleage. Back: Albert Cleage, Hugh Reed/Averette, Thomas Reed/Averette, Louis Cleage. Indianapolis, IN. About 1922
Henry, Albert Jr, Albert Sr, Gladys. Eater Sunday about 1925.
"Barbara, Hugh and Henry Cleage"
Barbara, Hugh and Henry Cleage. Later than the last and earlier than the next photo.
Children of the Boule. Front: Henry, Barbara, Gladys, Anna Cleage. Behind them: Albert Jr, Louis, Hugh Cleage. I do not have the names of the rest right now. About 1928. The Meadows.
Henry and Albert about 1929

Henry Wadsworth Cleage was born March 22, 1916, six months after his family moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Detroit, Michigan. My poor grandmother! She seems to have always been pregnant when the family moved! Henry 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.

Between January and June of 1920, when Henry was 5 years old, the family moved 3 miles north to a large brick house at 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, which you will get to see when we reach “S”.

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 built campfires and roasted potatoes.  His paternal grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman stayed with the family during that time. Henry was her favorite and she sometimes slipped him a nickle.

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

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Here is another memory from the December 1990 Ruff Draft, a family newsletter we put out for 5 years.  My daughter Ayanna interviewed my Uncle Henry and wrote this from the interview. 

Henry Cleage remembers when his Aunt Gertrude won a nice new shiny bike.  He just knew she would give it to him for Christmas.  On Christmas Eve he was sitting in the living room with his father after the younger kids had gone to bed.  His father said, “Henry, go over to your Aunt’s and get that bike … for Hugh.”  Henry thought he would never enjoy Christmas again, but that, after seeing Hugh so happy with the bike, he decided it was all worth it.  Even so, he said that Christmas was never the same for him.  It had lost some of the magic.

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A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit

G -Gladys Cleage born 1922

My grandmother Pearl Cleage holding my baby Aunt Gladys.

Gladys Helen Cleage, the sixth of the seven children of Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage, was born on September 29, 1922 at home on Scotten. Gladys attended Wingert Elementary School with her siblings when she turned six in 1928. She was eight years old when the decade ended.

My Aunt Gladys and I used to walk a mile in the evenings when we both lived in Idlewild in the 1980s. She told me that one year she had been sick so much that her father decided she would stay home the following school year. She was looking forward to it, but over the summer her health improved and she had to go to school after all.

Gladys also told me that she liked to play with dolls but neither of her sisters really cared for dolls so she would have to beg them to play, which happened rarely.

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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.

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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.”

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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