Tag Archives: #Albert B. Cleage Jr

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

Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

“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


’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/

R – Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr.

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.

Taking photographs.

My father turned 39 on his birthday, June 13, 1950.

In the final assessment of the “Years of Transition and Trial.” the History of St. John’s Congregational Church says:

“In the five years that Mr. Cleage was at St. John’s he increased the church membership and the value of the church property, and enlarged and expanded the community service activities by establishing the St. John’s Community House at 643 Union Street with a completely equipped settlement house plant.

While in Springfield, Mr. Cleage was active in civic affairs, serving on the Executive Committee, the Legal Redress Committee, and the Housing Committee of the NAACP, and participating in the Round Table of the Conference of Christians and Jews, the YMCA, and the American Red Cross. He inaugurated Sunday Cultural Vesper Services and programs. At one of these, Langston Hughes was presented. Mr. Cleage was also a popular speaker and lecturer on New England college campuses.

With the death of Dr. DeBerry and the departure of Mr. Cleage a turbulent perirod in the history of St. John’s Church came to an end, and once again the church set about the task of finding a new minister, one who, perhaps, could close the breach that still divided the congregation.”

From Prophet of the Black Nation by Hiley H. Ward ©1969 United Church Press, pg 66.

Kristin (me) and father photographer in mirror

Although much of his time was taken up with the church and community activities, my father found time to make an excellent photographic record of his two daughters time in Springfield. He took so many photographs of my sister and me during our years in Springfield. Before we were born he took many photographs of our mother, Doris Graham Cleage. Afterwards she only appears in a few along with us. Perhaps she didn’t have the time to pose any more. Perhaps we were just so interesting. As I put this series together, I wondered what her thoughts were about it.

This shot was taken in our living room in the parsonage of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass. For years I never noticed my father reflected in the mirror. I looked everywhere for that teapot in later years but it was lost in one of the various moves. It was blue with a gold design over it. The couch was with us for many years. By Christmas of 1950, the cushions had been replaced or recovered with red leather like fabric which is how they were until the couch disappeared from my life. I remember that table, which was also around for a long time. And those little plastic records my sister and I used to play on our parents’ record player and then on our own little phonograph.

My father’s life in photos. Done for his 100 birth anniversary.
Bertram and the Ticklish Rhinoceros

Click this link Bertram and the Ticklish Rhinoceros to find some of the pages and illustrations from the book.

O – Opposed Anti-Red Bill

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.

Springfield Union 9/24/1950 Transcribed below

Mason, Merriam, Mr. Cleage Assail M’Carran Anti-Red Bill, Urge Veto

Opposition to the McCarran Communist-control bill and approval of President Truman’s veto of it were expressed on the radio yesterday by several citizens.

Calls it Undemocratic

Councilman Paul R. Mason called the bill “extremely detrimental to the entire structure of democracy. If in attempting to defeat communism, we employ undemocratic tactics, then democracy is the loser.”

Rev. Albert B. cleage, Jr, minister of St. John’s Congregational Church, said the Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, AFL and several church groups have denounced the bill.

Thornton W. Merriam, dean of Springfield College, said “my love for my country, it’s history and its ideals, prompts me to warn you (citizens of Western Massachusetts) that a great menace hovers over us all. This menace is the McCarran bill.”

Sees Bill Repressive

He called its provisions “repressive and undemocratic” foresees that the liberties “we have considered our birth right for 200 years” would be done away with.

The speakers urged that letters he sent Sens. Lodge and Saltonstall urging them to uphold the veto.

Published in USA between 1923 and 1978 with no copyright in original publication, public domain. Click to enlarge.

You can read more about this issue at this link McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 (1950)

Me and snow.
Once Upon a Wintertime

N – Negro Vet Beaten

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. A. B. Cleage, Jr

Negro Veteran Beaten By Cop, Klein Claims

Police Deny His Charges; NAACP Silent Until Probe Finished

Springfield Union Nov 1, 1950. Pg 26

About 500 flyers charging a Springfield police officer with the brutal beating of a Negro veteran, were circulated yesterday by the Progressive Party of Springfield, according to its chairman, Richard M. Klein.

The flyer charges that Orris Williams was stopped by an officer while going to his car from his house on Monroe St. and taken to a back lot and hit twice in the mouth. The flyer charges that protest have been made to the police chief and nothing has been done.

Deputy Police Chief Francis M. Gallagher stated last night that he had received the protest from Williams and as he does in the case of all such protests, made a through investigation. He said that he had questioned all persons involved and had found no evidence that the officer in question had struck Williams or was in any manner brutal.

Klein stated last night that the matter had been taken to the Legal Redress Committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Rev. Albert Cleage, chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the NAACP stated that he has a statement from Williams, but that the NAACP will make no comment until its investigation is complete.

Springfield Union Nov 1, 1950. Pg 26

Noises and Mr. Flibberty-Jib

K – Korean War

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 on the steps of St. John’s Church.

My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, spoke up for peace consistently throughout his life. In 1948 he signed a A Plea for Peace – April 1948. In 1966 he ran for Congress on a platform against the War in Vietnam, Cleage for Congress – 1966 and his church ran a draft counseling program to help those who did not want to go into the military and fight in Vietnam. As I recall, he signed petitions for peace while he was in college in the 1940s, before WW 2, unfortunately I have no documentation and no one is left to ask.

I thought it was interesting that at the same time as Rev. Cleage was opposing war, his cousin was one of the “Negro Troops” in the middle of the war. John Harvey, Jr. was the son of my father’s first cousin, Marie who was the daughter of my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage‘s sister Sarah Reed Busby.

Newsletter Urges End to War in Korea, UN Seat for China

Dean Merriman, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. Among Authors of New Peace Movement Publication

Click to enlarge

Urging an immediate cease fire movement of Korea by both sides and the seating of “New China” in the United Nations, a group here yesterday launched “a peace movement” by sending out an “information bulletin” quoting excerpts from various magazine and newspaper articles attacking Gen. Douglas MacArthur and President Rhee of South Korea.

The group backing the pamphlet is mad up of Dean Thornton W. Merriam of Springfield College, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. of Springfield College, Maxwell H. Tasgal, Charles H. Haygood and Prof. Frank A. Warren of Springfield College.

The bulletin claims that the press in America beats the drums for war but in the “avalanche of war propaganda” a voice appears now and then which tells the truth. Among the organs quoted in criticism of Gen MacArthur’s action in Korea and President Rhee are the Associated Press, Catholic Irish Times, Manchester Guardian, The Nation, New York Compass and several radio commentators.

“W e are moving along the road toward casually lists too horrible to envisage.” says the bulletin. “The time is late but it is not too late to halt the slaughter of Americans, of Koreans, of Chinese and of all peoples. Peace in Korea is the first step toward peace throughout the world. Work and fight for peace in Korea.”

The bulletin urges that the citizens make their views known to President Truman, Secretary of State Acheson, and United Nations representative Warren R. Austin. Besides asking for cease fire orders in Korea, citizens should urge, it asserts, that a conference of all parties to the dispute in Korea including North and South Korea and New China be held.

It says that there is great danger the the “little war in Korea.” will turn into “a big war with China.”

Prof. Warren said last night that the movement is “purely local.”

Springfield Union – Dec. 22, 1950 Page 24
The Color Kittens

I – I Was There!

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.

I wrote about being in the 1950 Census ten years ago. Let’s see what I got right and what I got wrong. The first post was I was there.

My father, Albert B. Cleage, was 38 years old and he had worked 60 hours during the past week a pastor of a Congregational Church, not a Methodist church as it says in the 1950 census. He was born in Indiana. He and all members of the family were identified as Negro.

Census Sheet from 1950 Census Archives. Some people were asked extra questions. The red line leads from those family members to the extras. Pearl actually appeared on the next page, but for ease of viewing, I’ve added her to this page. Click to enlarge.

My mother, Doris G. Cleage, was 27. She was a housewife and her hours were not recorded. She was born in Michigan. She got to answer the extra questions and they show that the family lived in the same place the year before and that she had completed 4 years of college.

I, Kristin, was three years old. My younger sister Pearl who appears on the next page, was 1. We were both born in Massachusetts.

So, I didn’t get anything wrong, although the census did, getting the denomination wrong.

I Can Fly

I remember reading this book to my younger cousin Marilyn years later. She eventually memorized the book.


I’m ’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/

F – Families Facing Eviction

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.

For the month of April, 1950 there were half a dozen articles about the committee that was trying to find ways to help families that were being evicted from the site of a new school. Over the month different plans were submitted, but there was always a hitch – the white potential neighbors didn’t want black people to move in; electrical wires would need to be moved; some of the houses were not in shape to be moved; and on and on. The plan was thus prevented from being put into action. In the end, the families were evicted and no new homes were provided. Here is the first article from the Springfield Union, February 23, 1950. Page 2

Committee Studying Help To Families Facing Eviction

Co-operative Purchase of Apartment Block, House Moving, Use of School Are Considered

Co-operative buying of an apartment, moving houses on rollers, and remodeling the former Strickland School for use as living quarters have all been discussed by a committee, still in its organizational stage as possible methods for relieving the plight of the 22 families on Union and Monroe Sts. who received eviction notices to make room for construction of the new East Union St. School.

Councilman Paul R. Mason said last night Rev. Albert Cleage, pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church, Lindsay B. Johnson, Jr., athletic director of St. John’s Church, and himself comprise the committee. He said Councilman August Luca, who has expressed concern over the plight of the families, and other civic leaders would be asked to serve on the committee.

“If anything can be done for our families, it should be considered. The committee will explore every possible avenue to find homes for these people,” Councilman Mason said.”

About the co-operative plan, Councilman Mason said, “If these families are not in a position to buy a new home individually they might be able to co-operate on buying an apartment house. They would then be part owners and part tenants.”

Another possibility that the committee has considered is the purchase of the Strickland School, now believed to be in private hands, but not used and remodeling it for living quarters.

Councilman Lucia has suggested that some houses could be moved to another location on rollers as was done recently in the Barendo St. area. After investigation Councilman Mason was of the opinion that this could be done with some houses but said it was “questionable whether all of them are in condition to be moved.”

Councilman Mason also brought up the point last night of his claim that “policy of segregation is the same thing as a policy of discrimination against Negroes.”

He cited the case of Joseph Ingram of 693 Union St., a Negro and one of those who recently received a 60 day eviction notices from the Law Department. “Joe, a veteran, has a wife and two children, and is expecting another child. He told me applied to the Springfield Housing Authority for quarters in one of the housing projects, but was told to come back when he was notified officially of his eviction,” Councilman Mason said.

“Even if Joe is now at the top of the list and a vacancy occurs in a white tenement, he could not be considered for the housing unit, because the Authority’s policy is to segregate the Negro families into separate apartments,” he said.

Councilman Mason said he asked Housing Authority Chairman John I. Robinson last night what would happen if a Negro were next in line, but the only vacancy was in a white apartment. He said Mr. Robinson couldn’t answer it, saying simply, “No case such as that has ever come up.”

From the Springfield Union, February 23, 1950. Page 2
Four year old me playing a little plastic record with my little sister one year old Pearl.
Five Little Firemen

The Cleages in the 1930s

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

The 1930 Census

Dated April 2, 1930

In 1930 the Cleage family lived on the Old West Side in Detroit, Michigan. In this neighborhood everybody was identified as Neg(ro) in the 1930 Census.

The trickle of Black people living outside of Black Bottom would grow exponentially in the decade following the Sweet trials. By the late 1930s, middle class African Americans are firmly ensconced in four other neighborhoods in Detroit:

Paradise Valley – the business and entertainment district north of Black Bottom in the area now occupied by Ford Field, Comerica Park, 36th District Court and the Chrysler Freeway

Conant Gardens – the northeast neighborhood between Conant & Ryan (west and east) and 7 Mile & Nevada (north and south),

The North End – the neighborhood situated Woodward (west), the city of Hamtramck (east) E. Grand Boulevard (south) and the city of Highland Park (north),

And the Old Westside – bounded by Grand River (East), Buchanan (South), Tireman (North) & Epworth (West).

However, those 4 neighborhoods primarily opened up for middle class Black Detroiters.” 

A Mighty Long Way: How Black People Moved In & Out and Around Detroit

On the enumeration sheet with the Albert and Pearl Cleage family were 50 people in six houses in seven households. Five had a few lodgers, five had extended family members – sibling, parents, cousins. All seven had radios. All of the houses were owned by people living there. One of the houses had another family renting part of their house.

There were 34 adults on the page. 30 of them had been born in the south.  One was born in Canada, one was born in Iowa and two were born in Michigan. They are all literate.  Three of the men were vets of World War 1. Ten were not vets. One of the men was an employeer. He was a contractor. Two worked on their own account, a barber and my grandfather, a physician . Eighteen people worked for wages.  Five women worked outside of the home. Three were married, one was divorced and one was single.

All of the children under 18 were born in Michigan. There were two eighteen year olds. One was born in Michigan and one was born in Alabama.  All of the school age children, including the two eighteen year olds, were attending school. 

Fifty people in the six houses on this enumeration sheet.
These are the houses where the families enumerated on this Census sheet lived.

The Albert and Pearl Cleage Family

My grandparent’s parents, my great grandparents, were born into slavery.  My grandfather was born in 1883 in Louden Tennessee. He was 46 when the 1930 census was taken. He was a physician working on his own account, that is he had his own office at 4224 McGraw, which was some blocks from the house.  He and Pearl Reed had married when he was 27.   Although it says Pearl was 21 when they married, she was actually 26.  She was born in Kentucky and did not work outside of the home.

They had seven children and all were still living at home and attending school. My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr. was the oldest and had been born in Indianapolis. He was eighteen. He had graduated from Northwestern High School in 1929 and was attending what is now Wayne State University.

Louis was sixteen and attended Northwestern High School.  Henry was fourteen and also at McMichael Junior High or Northwestern. Hugh was eleven and probably still at Wingert Elementary school. Barbara was nine, Gladys was seven and Anna was five. All three would have been attending Wingert Elementary. Anna was in kindergarten and only attended half a day.

Albert’s mother, Anna Celia Sherman lived with them and is listed as 76. She was born in Tennessee.  She died the following month after suffering a stroke. Her body was taken back to Athens for burial.

Two of Albert’s brothers lived in Detroit in 1930. One, Jake, lived several blocks from the house on Scotten. The other, Henry, lived further away although by 1940 he was in the neighborhood too.

The Cleages through the 1930s with news of the day

Cleage Posts from the 1930s

Scotten, Detroit – Paternal grandparents 1919 – 1948
Dr. Cleage Made City Physician – 1930 Detroit, MI
Uncle Hugh with friends George and Paul Payne
Celia’s Death Certificate – 1930
On the way to bury their mother… June 1930
James Cleage 1870 – 1933
Northwestern High School & Cleage Graduates – 1931-1939
Trying for shadows in this also? 1930s
Albert and Pearl Cleage late 1930s
Henry’s Journal 1936
Henry’s Diary Part 2 – 1936
Follow up on Henry’s Diary 1936
4 Men In Hats On Ice 1936
The Cleage Sisters at Home about 1937
Looking Over the Fence 1937
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter – 1937
Albert B. Cleage Jr – Album Page – 1938
Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage
Dr. & Mrs. Cleage Speak on Preventing Juvenile Delinquency – 1938
Thanksgiving 1939 – speaking at Plymouth Congregational Church
Where is Gladys?  – 1939
Hugh Fishing At the Meadows 1939
‘Rocco, Smitty – Getting a ticket for fishing! – 1939
Thanksgiving 1939

I Was There – The 1950 U.S. Census

The other day I was thinking about when the next census would released – 2022.  I enjoyed finding my family and placing them in context in the 1940 Census. I thought that I know much of the information that would be asked on the 1950 Census.  Why wait?  I Googled a blank form for the 1950 Census. This is the first of a series based on all of the unpublished censuses – 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. I was there!

Click to see the 1950 and all US census forms
From the Springfield MA City Directory, 1951
Recent photo of the house we lived in at 643 Union Street. Combination rooming house upstairs and parsonage downstairs.

The 1950 Census is the first one in which I make an appearance. I was three years old. We lived at 643 Union Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. This was the parsonage/ community house located next to the church.

Rev. Albert B. Cleage

My father, Albert B. Cleage, was the “head” of the household.  He was 38 years old and had worked for 52 weeks as the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church. I do not know how much he earned the previous year, but I’m sure it was on the low side of the $2,992 average wage. He was born in Indiana and both of his parents were born in the United States. He had completed at least 1 year of post degree college work.

Pearl, Doris & Kristin Cleage

My mother, Doris G. Cleage, was my father’s wife.  She was 27 years old and was born in Michigan.  Both of her parents were also born in the U.S.A.  She had completed four years of college and had not worked outside of the home the previous year. She had given birth to two children, both of them still alive.  Three year old Kristin and one year old Pearl had both been born in Massachusetts. My parents had been married 6 years. Everybody in the house was identified as “Neg(ro)”.  My mother took education classes at Springfield College in 1950 but I’m not sure if it was before or after April, when the census was taken.

Some things that I know about my family at that time that aren’t listed include that we did not own a car and that my father hoped to eventually find a church in Detroit so they could move back home.  This happened the following year, 1951.

I have added two articles from April, 1950 concerning my parents activities.  Read more about our life on Union Street at – U is for Union Street. Read an overview of news and other happenings for the 1950s here American Cultural History 1950 – 1959.


For this post I used ancestry.com, newspapers.com, family photos and personal knowledge.