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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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sepia saturday

Sepia Saturday 500

It has been a while since I participated in Sepia Saturday. I seem to have already used photos that would go with the present prompts, in previous posts. However, when I saw that Sepia Saturday had been active for 500 weeks, I thought I would post some of the photos I shared in the past that matched the posts shown in the prompt collage at the bottom of this page. I got the idea after reading Peter’s blog.

Click to enlarge. My photos chosen to match the prompt below.

Subject and Photographer – My Father Takes My Photograph and appears in the mirror.
Groups of Students My father and his eighth grade graduating class.
Love and Marriage Gladys Helen Cleage and Eddie Warren Evans Wed.
The Missing Posts Warren Evans on a Tractor and Henry Cleage in court.
Looking Over The Fence – My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage looking over the fence.
Hugh Fishing at the Meadows – My uncle Hugh Cleage catching big fish with a basic pole.
The Midget Band – My grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s first cousin & her family band.
Siblings -My mother Doris and her sister Mary V and brother Howard at Belle Isle.

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Detroit Grahams sepia saturday

Siblings

Howard, Mary Vee and Doris Graham 1930

This picture was taken at Belle Isle in 1930, which used to be a city park in the Detroit River and was free to all. It has since been changed to a state park and there is a fee for entry. Howard must have been almost one year old, he had been born the previous September. He seems to be wearing a gown. Mary Vee was ten and Doris was seven.

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Cleages Detroit sepia saturday

Vote FREEDOM NOW!

Henry Cleage outside of Cleage Printers 1963

I wish my interviewing skills had been better when I recorded this. Obvious things like, turn off the radio and go to a quiet room. I edited out as much of the extraneous noise as I could. Henry and I were sitting in the living room of my house in Idlewild, MI. You can hear the sounds of the kids getting dinner on the table and hollering at the dog in the background. In 1994 my youngest four were all at home and we were homeschooling. Henry lived about 4 miles away and often had dinner with us. In his statements, Henry couldn’t remember some names. When I posted the transcript of the interview years ago, my friend Paul Lee commented:  “Henry couldn’t recall the names of the “two brothers” who co-founded the FNP with “Afro-American” newspaper foreign correspondent William W. Worthy. They were Leftist attorney Conrad J. Lynn and Daniel Watts, publisher of New York’s militant “Liberator” magazine. As you know, Worthy and Watts attended the National Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference in November 1963.”

Yesterday I came across these posters from 1963 and today I found the theme for this weeks Sepia Saturday was Posters. Although these are not on a wall, there were identical ones put up around Detroit during the time leading up to the election of 1964.

Ronald Latham

Older posts about the Freedom Now Party

The Freedom Now Party – William Worthy’s Speech

The Freedom Now Party – Convention

Transcript of Interview With Henry Cleage – Freedom Now Party Votes Stolen

____________________

And now a modern wall with posters not too far from my house. The colorful part is painted. The faces are printed on paper and glued on. To the left of my sister’s face, three artists were peeled off. The building is a former night spot what now stands empty in a mostly deserted strip mall.  I hope they plan to put the three missing artists back up. There were men in the back painting that wall and there are similar murals on the other walls.

A wall in Southwest Atlanta dedicated to local artists. My sister Pearl Cleage, a writer/playwrite is in the center.
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Grahams Photographs sepia saturday

Baby’s First Photograph – Feb. 9, 1929

“Feb 4, 1929 – Dad snapped Baby and me through dining room sun window. Not very good – sorry as now he has whooping cough? Weather’s been too bad to take him out to have pictures made…”

Baby Howard and Mother Fannie in the window 1929.
1929 Doris and Mary V. and 1951 Barbara and Pearl
Dee Dee, Barbara, Poppy, Pearl and Kris – 1953 & Doris and Mary V. 1929

More about Howard: Howard Alexander Graham’s Death Certificate

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Grahams Photographs sepia saturday Turner

Family group

Three Generations. Click to enlarge

From Left to right My grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, peeking over my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s, shoulder. My grandmother’s sister Daisy Turner. Behind and between Aunt Daisy and Aunt Alice Turner, is my aunt Mary Virginia Graham Elkins, although she was not yet an Elkins. At the end, behind Alice, is my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, although she was not yet a Cleage either.

Grandmother Turner was 73, about my age. My grandmother was 51. Daisy was 49. Alice was 30. My mother was 16 and her sister was 19.

They are posed in Grandmother Turner’s backyard on the East Side of Detroit at 4536 Harding.  The house is gone now.  They look like they just came from Plymouth Congregational Church, however the photo is dated July 4, 1939 on the back.  July 4 was on a Tuesday that year. My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham took the picture.

Front of Grandmother Turner’s house on Harding Street in Detroit.
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Cleages Detroit Reeds sepia saturday

Grandmother Before the Party – 1971

Before the party.

It was June of 1971 and my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage was waiting for the party to begin. Uncle Hugh is in the kitchen getting things ready.  Grandmother was 87 and didn’t break her hip for some years yet. I remember so many dinners around that table. There were always cakes with caramel icing for birthdays. This time it looks like there are two cakes – one chocolate and one with caramel icing. Both have candles.

Candy corns in the little silver dish. There were often candy corns in the covered candy dish that always on the front room table coffee table. Candy corns or red and white striped peppermints or sometimes chocolate kisses.

My parents at the party, a corner of Henry. Blair and Anna Pearl are at the kids table in the front room.
A better view of the front room. You can see the candy dish on the table behind Maria’s chair.

I can think of several June birthdays. My father turned 60 that year. My cousin Anna Pearl turned eleven and her sister Maria turned nine. It must have been an all June collective party. I wish I had been there. My oldest daughter Jilo turned one that June.

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Detroit memories sepia saturday

Barbara With a Parasol – 1953

Barbara Lynn Elkins with parasol

My cousin Barbara was six years old when this photograph was taken.  She is holding a little parasol and standing at the edge of their front yard.

In age, Barbara was right between my sister Pearl and me. Every year my father took the three of us to the Michigan State Fair.   We went to the Fair right before the end of summer vacation in early September.

I remember buying little parasols like the one Barbara is holding. They were pin. blue, or yellow with flowers on them. We also liked to buy pop beads that snapped together into bracelets and necklaces. I don’t remember using them after the fair. They were part of the experience, like the cotton candy.

Pearl, Barbara and me in Nanny and Poppy’s backyard.

Living in Detroit, we didn’t see livestock everyday, but we saw it at the fair. I remember King Romancer the 23rd (or something along those lines), the bull who had sired many, many prize winning cows. And the time we rounded a corner to see a huge boar heading down the aisle towards us. Pearl and Barbara jumped behind me. There was someone with the boar and my father was right behind us, so all was well. We watched a 4-H cattle show where a girl kicked her losing heifer.  As we walked through the various barns full of animals, I was envious of the young people who had cots in stalls near their animals.

The only ride we ever went on was the “Tilt-A-Whirl”. It was one step up from the Merry Go Round, and it gave me an upset stomach every year. We must have left for home soon after enjoying this exciting ride.  I’m not sure when we stopped taking our annual trip, but it was well before our teen years.

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Investigations sepia saturday

Loudin’s Jubilee Singers and a Clock – Solving Mysteries

Leota Henson’s picture is on the bottom of the poster. Loudin’s Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1897.
(courtesy Portage County Historical Society Museum)

While reading about Dr. Turner, who I talked about in Part 2 of this 3 part series, I became interested in the story of his wife, Leota Henson Turner and her uncle, Frederick J. Loudin.  Frederick Loudin, although not a student at Fisk, became a member of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers. They toured the United States and Europe singing Spirituals and other songs that came down from slavery, to raise money for Fisk College.  When the tour ended and the Fisk singers were disbanded, Loudin decided to keep the group together as the Loudin Jubilee Singers and under his direction they went on a six year tour of Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, Japan and sang before the crowned heads of Europe. (Aside – My father used to tell us that he danced before the crowned heads of Europe so I like writing that.  He was joking.).  Loudin’s niece, Leota Henson trained for two years in Germany as a pianist. She later joined the group and toured with them as their pianist.  There are a lot of articles about the tour out there and they received almost universal acclaim with full houses and bravos everywhere. She kept a detailed diary of the trip and wrote a series of articles for The Gazette after her return.

Leota is at the piano. Frederick has a handle bar mustache and leans on the piano. I wonder why they are all looking in different directions. Loudin’s Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1897.
(courtesy Portage County Historical Society Museum)

There is a lot more to tell about Loudin –  how his ancestors were enslaved in the north and free by 1850, how he became a printer but could get no business, how he went to Pennsylvania where he met his wife Harriett.  I could talk about the time the group sang spirituals in the Taj Mahal. I could write about the relative lack of discrimination the singers faced everywhere else in the world and the overabundance of it they found in the USA. I could tell about his invention of the key chain and how for a short period of time he owned a shoe factory in Ravenna, Ohio. However, I am going to tell only one more story, which ties into my family.

While reading the book “Out of Sight – The Rise of African American Popular Music 1889 – 1895”, I came across the following passage on page 77 describing Frederick and Harriett Loudin’s home in Ravenna, Ohio.

“Facing one as they enter the beautiful stained glass door of the house, stands a clock similar in size and form to the grandfather’s clock of ye olden time, which is made of teak wood and was brought by Mr. Loudin from Burma.  It was made in Rangoon at the government prison..by a Burma convict.  The wood is almost as heavy as iron, and resembles the polished face of dark granite.  A year and a half was requird to make it…The clock stands eight feet in height and is one mass of bas-relief, gods, dragons and various monsters…”

As I read it, I realized that I had heard this story before, it was one my Aunt Barbara Cleage Martin had told me several years ago about a clock that  stood in my Cleage Grandparent’s dining room for as long as I could remember and which now stands in my cousin’s home. When I turned the page, there was a photograph of the very same clock!

At my Aunt’s 90th birthday party, I asked her how we came to have this clock in the family.  She told me that Dr. Turner’s wife had been a pianist who played all over the world. While traveling in Burma, they bought this clock. When the Turners were leaving Detroit they asked my Uncle Louis to keep the clock for them.

My grandmother and me with clock 1966.
Cousin Ernest with the top of the clock on the organ.He has the clock in his home now.
The clock as it stands today at my cousins.

Other posts in this series:

The Hat – The Beginning
Dr. Parker Blair Gamble – Solving Mysteries – Part 1
Dr. Alexander Turner – Solving Mysteries – Part 2
The Top of The Clock – The End

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Cleages sepia saturday

Skating Champions, Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage – 1940s

Three of my father’s six siblings, Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage.

“Hugh, Gladys and Anna Cleage of Scotten took their share of places in the annual city ice skating meet which was held at Belle Isle last Sunday afternoon.  Anna won first place and a gold medal in the Senior girls’ novice; Gladys, third in the same event and  a gold medal.  Hugh competed in the men’s 220 and two-mile events.”

This article is from one of the Detroit daily papers and is undated, but I would place it in the early 1940s.  Years later when I was talking about this photo with my aunt Anna, she said that the story was wrong and that actually she came in third and Gladys won the race.  She remembered taking an early lead in the race but soon falling behind as Gladys easily over took her.  They learned to skate at the  Northwestern High School skating rink, which was a few blocks from their home on Scotten.  When my sister and I were in high school at Northwestern in the early 1960s we skated at the same rink.  We got racing skates because Hugh and Gladys were so cool skating on the Lagoon at Belle Isle, but we were never gold medal material.  The old Northwestern High School is no longer there.  It was torn down and a new school was build where the skating rink used to be.

Cabral, Ife, Tulani and James skating.

In 1986 my husband and I moved to  Idlewild,  Michigan with our children.  We lived on Idlewild Lake.  When it was frozen we skated right in front of the house.  Hugh and Gladys could still skate circles around us.  During the summer when Gladys and I walked around the Lake, people from Detroit’s Old West Side would stop us to ask if she was the skating champion.  She was in her early 60s. This week I wish I had some skates.  It would make it so much easier to get around frozen Atlanta.  Above is a picture of four of my children skating on Idlewild Lake about 1990.  To see more Sepia Saturday offerings click here.