Category Archives: News Items

S – Segregated Housing

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr

Claims Hit By NAACP here

Committee Disputes Robinson Statement No Prejudice in Projects

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Taking vigorous exception to statements made by Springfield Housing Authority Chairman John J. Robinson, that there is no segregation in Riverview or Reed Village, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., chairman of the housing committee of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said last night that the NAACP will take legal action if the segregation “pattern” continues. Such action will result in a test case which would receive national attention, he said.

His statement follows in brief:

“The NAACP has been engaged in investigating the tenant selection and placement policies of the Springfield Housing Authority for more than two years and our preliminary findings indicate the existence of a definite and deliberate policy of racial segregation in tenant placement in both the Riverview and Reed Village apartments,” said Rev. Cleage.

“The Springfield Housing Authority seems to subscribe to exactly the same racial theories as those advanced by some of the residents of Amore Village who stated that they were not prejudiced, but felt that Negroes should live to themselves. The Springfield Housing Authority seems to believe that Negroes and whites living in the same projects must be segregated in separate Negro and white units. The fact that this discriminatory policy existed at Riverview first prompted an NAACP investigation and eventually a conference with the Springfield Housing Authority.

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“The NAACP Housing Committee reported its findings back to the Executive Committee and was unanimously authorized to continue its investigation until the Reed Village segregation pattern had been definitely established, and if such a pattern was continued, to proceed in co-operation with the organization’s Legal Redress Committee to take legal action against the Housing Authority. The NAACP case against segregation in Public Housing will receive full support and cooperation from the National Legal Staff of the NAACP. When and if legal action is taken, Thurgood Marshall of New York, who has already been consulted regarding developments, will be asked to handle the case. Such a development will receive national attention as a test case and for that reason the Housing Committee is proceeding with understandable care in preparing its case.

“The case will again test the principle that separate but equal is an actual impossibility already established by the NAACP on many legal fronts. The NAACP contends that a pattern of segregation as practiced by the Springfield Housing Authority contradicts the non-discriminatory provisions of both the state and national Housing Acts from which the Springfield Housing Authority derives its powers. The Springfield Branch of the NAACP in no way endorses or condones the policies of the Springfield Housing Authority.”
From The Springfield Union November 1, 1950

Meanwhile Pearl and I were eating snacks.
Scuffy the Tugboat

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’m also participating in the Genealogy Blog 1950s Blog Party hosted by Elizabeth Swanay O’Neal, “The Genealogy Blog Party: Back to the 1950s,” Heart of the Family™ https://www.thefamilyheart.com/genealogy-blog-party-1950s/

D – Democracy & Doris

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

My mother helping me hold my many dolls. Notice that Pearl always has only one doll.

Democracy is Not ‘Separate’

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To the Editor of The Union:

Sir: In answer to “Home Owner” whose letter appeared June 21, there are three things I would point out. First, Americans believe in democracy, which means equality for all people — not separate equality, but plain and simple equality.

Second, no matter which way you look at it, Negroes are people just like other people. If at times they seem different, it is because misguided people like you have forced them to live under “separate” subhuman conditions.

Third, from coast to coast in the North of this country Negro people and white people live, work, play and worship together in happiness and in peace because there are Americans who believe in democracy, Christianity and love, and are big enough to live by them.

Doris Graham Cleage
Springfield

Below is the letter my mother was responding to.

The Race Problem and Housing

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To the Editor of The Union:

Sir: In regard to the colored people buying homes among the white home owners, would first say, personally, I have nothing against them, for there are many fine folk among these people; but is it fair and right to us homeowners, who have worked to keep up our own homes, pay taxes, and make improvements within the laws of this city?

Do we have no voice in this matter, when we are being forced out? Would the city fathers, who advocate the merging of the two races here in this city, wish to live in the same neighborhood?

In a neighborhood supposed to be made up of happy congenial people, would the colored people be happy among us, and would we be? I have no doubt we would not. Our only alternative will be to sell to them, and try to start over. Why doesn’t the city build proper housing conditions for them in a district of their own? Is it too late?

Would like to hear how other home owners feel concerning this problem.

HOME OWNER

Springfield

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Meanwhile, as a three year old, I was oblivious.

The Surprise Doll.

V – VISITING Benton Harbor Michigan

Three of my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s sisters lived in Benton Harbor with their families. My grandmother lived in Detroit. This situation called for regular visits between Detroit and Benton Harbor, Michigan.

It is 201 miles from Detroit to Benton Harbor.

 My uncle  Henry shared some of his memories of Mr. Mullins in the 1990s.  “Mullins was always referred to that way.  He was a very stern, hardy type.  Admired the Irish.  Had the long Irish upper lip himself. A very ‘Indian’ looking fellow. They lived in Benton Harbor and later moved to Detroit. 

Sir Walter Lipton’, that’s the only kind of tea he’d drink.  Rather, whatever kind he drank was that.  He’d be talking about only drinking ‘Sir Walter Lipton’, and when he finished, Minnie would tell him, “Oh, Mullin, hush up! You know that’s Salada Tea.”  When he moved to Detroit with his family the last time they figured he was 90 something years old.  He died one day walking from Tireman all the way downtown.  I think he just fell out.  Like the old one horse shay, he just give out.

Henry continued, “Aunt Minnie would talk a lot of trash.  She said he’d sit down with a bottle of wine and eat all the food, talking a lot of trash about he was a working man, he needed his strength and the rest of them were all starving to death.  All that was Aunt Minnie’s talk.  We never heard his side of it.  They lied on him and he never defended himself. They never made fun of him because he’d a beat everybody’s brains out.  He never found it necessary to say anything.  I think Aunt Minnie embellished the truth because I know we went there and tore up his lawn, his pride and joy, and he didn’t say anything much.  He had a grape arbor.  We (Me, Hugh, Bill and Harold), had a tent out there.  We’d get to wrestling and tear up the tent and the grapes and he didn’t say anything.  Probably crippled Bill and Harold after we left because they should have known better, we were just kids.”

I found quite a number of short news items mentioning the family trips. They were not nearly as entertaining as Henry’s stories.

Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Cleage Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Cleage, Henry Cleage and Miss Helen Mullins, of Detroit, Miss Virginia Lane and Mrs. Josie Cleage of Indianapolis, Ind. and Clarence Reed of Chicago, who have been guest of Mrs. Minnie Mullins, of Broadway, have returned home.
The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) – 13 Jul 1923, Fri – Page 4

It sounds like they had a real family party.

Who’s who

Dr. and Mrs. A.B. Cleage – my grandparents
Mrs. Jacob Cleage, wife of my grandfather’s brother Jacob.
Henry Cleage – my grandfather’s brother.
Miss Helen Mullins – my grandmother’s sister Minnie’s oldest daughter.
Miss Virginia Lane – not a family member.
Clarence Reed – my grandmother’s brother.
Mrs. Jossie Cleage – my grandfather’s sister who married a Cleage from another branch.
Mrs. Minnie Mullins – my grandmother’s sister

Mrs. Minnie Mullins and small son, John of Broadway, have gone to Detroit to visit the former’s sister, Ms. A. B. Cleage, who is ill.
The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) – 14 Jan 1925, Wed – Page 4

Dr. A. B. Cleage and family, of Detroit, have returned home following a week’s visit with Mr. and Mrs. James Mullins, of Broadway.
The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) – 6 Sep 1927, Tue – Page 4

Dr. Albert B. Cleage and family of Detroit, have returned home after a weeks visit with Mr. and Mrs. James Mullins on Broadway.
The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) – 30 Aug 1928, Thu – Page 4

Related Links
Mr. James Mullins 1863-1944
Minnie Averitt Reed Mullins 1878 – 1963
Josephine “Josie” Cleage
Clarence Elwood Reed
What it was like to drive 100 years ago
1900-1930: The years of driving dangerously

K – KEROSENE & Dr. Cleage – 1923

Kerosene Fired

When Poured on Boy.

Three Lads Attack Detroit Youngster in Alley and Endeavor to Kill Him

Special Dispatch to the Enquirer

Detroit, Mich., Aug 16. – The police are investigating a report made by a boy , who is recovering from serious burns in Receiving hospital, that he was attacked by three older boys in an alley, doused with kerosene and set afire.

The boy is Joseph McAdoo, 10 years old. He did not give the names of the three who he said attacked him, or tell the cause of the attack. He said however, that two of the boys held him while a third poured kerosene on his face and ignited it with a match. The alley is behind his home.

Joseph was seen running with his head on fire toward his home, and a neighbor called Dr. Albert B. Cleage, after extinguishing the flames.

The boy will recover, although his face, head, neck, shoulders and one hand were injured painfully.

It was first feared Joseph might lose the use of his eyes.

Joseph told detectives of Scotten Station who were assigned to the case today that he was looking for wooden boxes in the alley when the attack took place. He gave the officers a description of the three.

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BOY, 10 BURNED, ACCUSES OTHERS

Police Doubt Story Oil Was Poured on Victim.

Receiving hospital physicians Thursday were skeptical regarding the story told by 10-year-old Joseph McAdoo, 5424 McKinley avenue, suffering burns about the neck and shoulders, who, after being brought to the hospital, Tuesday, said that three boys whom he met in an alley in the rear of his home drenched his clothing with kerosene and set it afire.

Police of Vinewood station said Thursday that no investigation of the boys story is being made.

McAdoo, a Negro lad gave questioners at the hospital a description of the alleged assailants but furnished no details by which they could be located in the neighborhood of his home.

Mrs. Lucy McAdoo, the boy’s mother, was away from home at the time her son suffered the burns. A neighbor summoned a doctor, who called an ambulance and had the boy removed to Receiving hospital.

In 1923 Dr. Albert Cleage shared an office with Dr. Grimes at 4224 McGraw, above house next to Music store. The office was about half a mile from Joseph McAdoo’s home on McKinley.
Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr

Joseph Youles McAdoo was the oldest of nine children. In the 1920 census (three years before this incident) he was seven years old and attended school. There were three younger children ages five, almost two and 3 months . The family lived in a rented house in Hamtramck, Wayne County, Michigan, a small city surrounded by Detroit. Joseph’s father worked as a laborer in a can factory. His mother did not work outside of the home in 1920. The baby of three months died six months later of pneumonia. There were eventually nine children in the family.

Joseph had two years of high school before he began to work for a grocer. He eventually became a butcher. Over the years he was married and divorced several times. There were two step children.

On his WWII draft card, he was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. His only feature that they mentioned was “high cheek bones.”There was no mention of any scars from the burns in his childhood.

On October 18, 1987 Joseh MacAdoo died in Detroit, Michigan. His death certificate was not available online so I do not know what he died of. He was 75 years old.

E – ELECTION 1920

1920 was the first election that my grandmothers, Fannie Mae Turner Graham and Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, were able to vote. It was also the first election in which my grandfather Mershell C. Graham was able to vote. Before that election he lived in Alabama, where black people did not have the vote until the 1960s.

My grandfather Albert B. Cleage had been living in the north since 1907, and so would have been able to vote in the 1908, 1912, 1916 and 1920 elections.

Family members who still lived in Tennessee and Alabama, men or women, still could not vote in the 1920 election.

With all the voting rights and demonstrations happening during the 1960s, I cannot believe I never talked to my grandparents about how they felt when they could finally vote.

An article from the Detroit Free Press about the women’s vote.

The 1920 election seemed to be about as confused and contentious as today’s election.

“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.

Daisy Turner Dead at 70. Nov 24, 1961

Alice and Daisy Turner – Boblo Island 1961. Last photograph.

Mrs. Daisy Turner, 70, of 4536 Harding, was dead on admittance to Receiving Hospital last week after collapsing in the bedroom of her home.

Mrs. Alice Turner, 65, of the same address, a sister, told police that her sister complained of an upset stomach for several days prior to her death.

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Neither Daisy Turner nor Alice Turner ever married, so the item should have read Miss Daisy Turner and Miss Alice Turner. Alice was born in 1908, she was actually 53 when her older sister Daisy died.

Click on the red links in the paragraphs below to learn more.

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
This photograph was taken in Montgomery during 1892 while the family was in mourning for husband and father, Howard Turner. Jennie Virginia Allen Turner holds two year old Daisy while four year old Fannie is beside her.

Daisy Turner was my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s younger sister. She was born in 1890 in Lowndes County, Alabama. Her father, Howard Turner, was shot to death at a barbque when she was one year old. She grew up in her mother’s parent’s (Dock and Eliza Allen) house in Montgomery. Her mother, Jennie Allen Turner was a seamstress.

Jennie married again and had one daughter, Alice Wright in 1908. After she and her second husband separated, she went back to her maiden name and Alice was always known as Alice Turner.

"Jennie Annis Furs"
Daisy is in the center of the center row. Her mother Jennie Allen Turner is in the first seat on the right in the same row. Alice is seated next to her mother.

Daisy graduated from State Normal School and taught school for several years in the Montgomery area. Then she worked at her uncle, Victor Tulane’s store., also in Montgomery. Later Daisy worked at Annis Furs in Detroit.

My mother told me that Duncan Irby was the love of Daisy’s life. It was a star crossed love and they never married. Both devoted themselves to their families and died single.

Daisy Pearl Turner died November 24, 1961. My mother was afraid she had died of food poisoning and so threw out all the food at Daisy’s and Alice’s house.

I was 14 that year and working hard to buy everyone in the family the right gift. I remember thinking I would not be buying anything for Daisy that Christmas.

Marian Anderson in Detroit, Dec 12, 1939

Reading an article in the Dec 12, 1939 edition of The Detroit Tribune, about a concert Marian Anderson gave in Detroit, I was surprised to find a number of family members and friends among those who attended. My mother had several of Marian Anderson’s records, but she never mentioned hearing her in person. Click on images to enlarge.

“According to Anderson biographer Allan Keiler, she was invited to sing in Washington by Howard University as part of its concert series. And because of Anderson’s international reputation, the university needed to find a place large enough to accommodate the crowds. Constitution Hall was such a place, but the Daughters of the American Revolution owned the hall.

“They refused to allow her use of the hall,” Keiler says, “because she was black and because there was a white-artist-only clause printed in every contract issued by the DAR.” Denied a Stage, She Sang For A Nation

The Detroit Tribune Dec. 12, 1939

Photographs of some family members and friends who attended the concert. Family photographs.

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.