Gladys was my father’s sister and my aunt. She contributed her spit for DNA testing, helping make new family discoveries. I spent much time with Gladys when we both lived in Idlewild. We used to walk to Head Start together. I remember she told me some of her childhood and adult memories and I wrote them down in one of my notebooks, and I haven’t been able to find them, but I am going to go through page by page soon. She also shared memories of her extended family, which I quote in some posts. Gladys also shared with me the letters that her father wrote to her mother when they were courting, which I used to write an A-Z series several years ago Index to the Letters from Dr. Albert B. Cleage. I wish I could have shared the letters that her mother wrote to Homer and the information about my grandmother Pearl’s uncle Thomas Allen who fought with the USCT in the Civil War. Hopefully, she knows.
Pearl D. Cleage, a founder of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Detroit, died Saturday while vacationing in Idlewild, Mich. She was 94.
Mrs. Cleage, a Detroit resident since 1915, was the widow of the late Dr. Albert B. Cleage SR. and the mother of Reverend Albert B Cleage Jr., minister and founder of the Shrines of the Black Madonna, who began the Black Christian Nationalist movement in Detroit in the late 1960s. The Shrines are in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston.
Mrs. Cleage often lectured on African-American history. She was a member of the Auxiliaries of the Iota Boule and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternities.
Survivors include four sons, the Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., Dr. Louis, Henry and Hugh; three daughters, Barbara Martin, Gladys Evans and Anna Shreve; nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Other posts about my paternal grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed Cleage.
For years, my aunt Anna was the pharmacist at my uncle Louis Cleages clinic. When we went to the doctor’s, my sister, mother and I would stop in the back for a visit with her. Sometimes she would give us things that I guess were trinkets from the drug salesman. The only one I remember was a pile of what looked like pennies painted a gold color and glued to look like a heap.
Many year later, when I was grown and living in Idlewild with a family of my own, I would always stop by and visit my aunt and uncle, Anna and Winslow in Detroit. They both had great memories and a wealth of family stories. I would drink tea and eat cookies or something while they told me tales of the family’s past.
Anna had a distinctive laugh and my daughter Ife sometimes laughs in the same way. I do miss them still and wonder what stories we never got around to.