Category Archives: News Items

Thanksgiving 1939

Three Generations. Front row Daisy and Alice Turner. Back: Fannie Turner Graham, Jenny Virginia Allen Turner, Mary Virginia Graham. Doris Juanita Graham. Summer of 1939 at Grandmother Turner’s.

Thanksgiving weekend 1939 was a busy one for my family. On Thursday, Nov 23, there was dinner at Grandmother Jennie Turner’s house on Harding Ave., pictured below. (Click on any image to enlarge.)

“On Harding Avenue, Mrs. Jeannie Turner bade the members of her family to dine with her. At the table were her daughters, Misses Daisy and Alice Turner; Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham, and her granddaughters, Misses Mary Virginia and Doris Graham.”

The Detroit Tribune Dec 2, 1939
On Saturday, Nov 25 my mother Doris and her sister “Merrie Vee” Graham, along with a crowd attended the football game between Michigan and Ohio State. I recognize only a few of the names – my mother’s friend Constance Stowers and cousin Victoria McCall.

Wikpedia describes that game thus:
On November 25, 1939, the Big Ten football teams played five conference games. Michigan 21, Ohio State 14. Michigan defeated Ohio State, 21-14, at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State took a 14 to 0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game on two touchdown passes thrown by Don Scott. Michigan rallied with touchdowns in each of the second, third and fourth quarters. Michigan’s touchdowns were scored by Forest Evashevski (pass from Tom Harmon), Tom Harmon and Fred Trosko (on a fake field goal).

The Detroit Tribune, Dec 2, 1939. Names of my parents (Toddy Cleage and Doris Graham) and their siblings are underlined. I also see the names of several family friends – Oscar Hand, Willie Smith. Other names I recognize – Henry’s first wife Alice Stanton, Cousin Lewis Graham, Mary V.’s friend Shirley Turner and my mother’s friend Connie Stowers.

Sunday night the Junior League of Plymouth Congregational Church had the pleasure of hearing their former president, Toddy Cleage, who was here for the holidays, speak to them on the “Modern Interpretation of the Bible.” A few of those who were looking quite interested were: Noman Morris, Jmes Parker, Lois Simon, Ruth Giles, Shirley Turner, Mary V. Graham, Connie Stowers, Doris Graham, Henry Cleage, Alice Stanton, Anna Cleage, Phyllis Lawson, Eugene Kersey, George Payne, Velma Pullian, Hugh Cleage, Charles Harvell, Bo Johnson, Betty Lewis, Carlyle Johnson, Harriet Pate, Geo. Williams, Lewis Graham, Betty Blande, Roger Campfield, Oscar hand, Barbara Cleage, Gladys Cleage, Willie Smith, Bobby Humphrey, Billy Lawson, Joe Stanton, Florance Pate, Carolyn Plummer, Wilberforce Plummer, Elizebeth Patton. Toddy is in the religious seminary at Oberlin.

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.”

___________________

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.

Central Congregational Holds First Service in New Edifice

Transcription of an article by Robert L. Crump, which you can find at the bottom of this page and at this link to the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” where the archive of The Detroit Tribune can be found. Detroit Tribune September 28, 1957. I have added photographs from my personal collection and corrected typos. Please do not reuse without permission and linking to this blog.

The original stained glass window, later replaced by Glaton Dowdell’s painting of The Black Madonna in 1967.

The day was hesitant, it’s disposition undecided. Sunlight broke though the clouds only to be shut out again. People walked through the streets aimlessly and carefree – but inside the Central Congregational Church there was no aimlessness, no hesitancy or indecision. The congregation was observing its “Home Coming Day,” their first service in a new building.

Those chimes you heard before entering the church were played by brother (Henry). Inside you listened to the moving musical prelude by Mrs. Dorothy Blaylock, organist. George Branham knew. He expressed the sentiments of all when he sang, “Bless This House”.

James W. Stephens accepting the key from Rev. Wilcox.

Then came the formal presentation of the key by David M. Brewster and Jack B. Paul representing Brewster Pilgrim Congregational Church; and accepting for Central was answer to the supplication of James W. Stephens.

The choir. Director Oscar Hand front row far right.

As though they knew the “Bless This House,” the choir under the capable direction of Oscar R. Hand did the anthem “Praise To God” beautifully.

As you look to the altar you see a magnificent twenty to twenty five feet stained glass window. It is truly a masterpiece. The coloring is so tremendous that even when the sun isn’t shining on it, it still maintains vivid color life.

To the right of this window on the rostrum, Saturday Dr. Edward W. Wilcox for the congregational association on the left sat a man, who’s “dream” is now, reality, after four and one half years.

Now it was his turn to say “thank you” to those who had placed their shoulders to the wheel both physically and financially. I, and not I alone, watched him as he walked to the pulpit, he stood for a second and braced himself against the object that has for centuries been the symbol of self dedication.

Instead of the Ram that was tied in the thicket as in the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac he was offering himself as a living sacrifice, and dedicating.

Four members who died before the congregation moved into the new church.

He mentioned the names of four people who have passed, Mrs. Willie Strauther, Mrs. Mabel Clarry, Mrs. Eleanor Hughes and his beloved father. Albert Cleage, Sr. The timber of his voice changed at the mention of his dad. I realize it was extremely difficult to hold back the tears. His mother, Mrs. Cleage Sr. in an effort to help, turned her head and her eyes from him, two sisters in the choir hoped almost in available tones he would not break another sister and three brothers in the congregation did the same, and in a split second the power of combined prayer was manifested.

He spoke of the great friendship that still exists between Plymouth Congregational Church and Central; also the debt of gratitude that cannot be paid to the Rev. Horace A. White of Plymouth for his encouragement and advice during Central’s trying times.

He talked of the church’s position in the community, of the Ministers role in the church some of the development of a Christ like community’ like being able to look your worst enemy in the face and honestly see good in him. Then, “This Man” mentioned Nashville, and Little Rock and the disturbance that was taking place.

He spoke of Faubus and Ike and as he did my thoughts sort of wandered to three words, “Faith, Hope and Charity.” and another line, “But the Greatest of these is “Love”. Then with Rare Richness and tonal beauty Melvin Thompson sang, “I talked to God last night.”

While he sat listening to the solo and looking over the filled auditorium I know he believed in the inscription on the alter, “Love Never Faileth.”.

I had the pleasure of again shaking the hand of a man who’s dream was now a reality: The Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. minister of the Central Congregational Church 7625 Linwood Ave. at Hogarth.

Click to enlarge

Christening of Doris Diane Elkins- 1944

Elkins Family photo- Mary Virginia holding Doris Diana, Frank Elkins .

Another item I found in the Detroit Tribune. My cousin Doris Diane was christened at our great grandmother Turner’s house in 1944.

Fannie and Mershell Graham
Detroit Tribune 1944
Sunday, four generations were represented at the christening of Doris Diane Elkins, the small daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Elkins of McDougall. The ceremony took place at the home of the baby’s maternal great grandmother, Mrs. Jennie Tuner, of Harding avenue. Her paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Graham, also her paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Elkins, Sr.; her aunts, Misses Daisy and Alice Turner, and Mrs. Elizabeth Roberts were present to witness the event. The baby’s godparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Franklin, of Oakland, Calif, sent their godchild a beautiful bonnet for the christening.
Doris Diane wearing her bonnet. 1944.

Cousins Christened – 1948

“Kris in Nannie & Poppie’s backyard. June 15, 1948. Watching the birds and butterflies. 22 months” It was my grandparent’s 29th wedding anniversary.
“Barbara – August 1948 – 7 months old”
The Detroit Tribune, Socially Speaking by Sylvia – July 17, 1948.
They should have given the names of the children!

“Reverend and Mrs. Albert Cleage (Toddy and Doris) and their little daughter are back home again in Springfield, Mass after a three week sojourn here with their parents Dr. and Mrs. Albert and Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham. During their stay in Detroit, a triple christening took place at Plymouth Congregational church when their 22 month old daughter was christened, along with the five months old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Elkins, and the two children of Mr. and Mrs Henry Roberts All four children are cousins.”

I never knew that my cousin Barbara Elkins and two of her cousins were baptized on the same day that I was until I was going through the archives of the Detroit Tribune recently. It was published by my grandmother Fannie’s first cousin, James McCall and there were lots of little family mentions that were never mentioned in the white papers of the day.

We should have known that. As my sister Pearl said, it gave us a special bond, Baptism Sisters. Barbara and I did have a special bond. I didn’t see the other girls enough to develop a bond. They were Barbara’s cousins on her father’s side while we were cousins on our mother’s side.