Tag Archives: #Albert B. Cleage Sr

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

Students Wanted in Detroit

Albert B. Cleage Sr, 1910

I was quite surprised to find this news item awhile ago while searching for information about Jacob Cleage. It would have been interesting to find that my grandfather and his brother were involved in a knife fight, however there are several things in this clipping I know to be untrue.

R.C. Cleage is unknown to me. Jacob was my grandfather’s older brother’s name. My grandfather, A. B. Cleage, was the only medical student name of Cleage in Indianapolis during that time. He did work on the excursion boats out of Detroit during the summer of 1909. However, he graduated in June of 1910 and did not work on the boats in 1910.

My grandfather was married with a baby (my father) in September 1911. My grandmother did receive several postcards from Detroit dated July, 1911. I could find no record of legal happenings and no further news articles about it.

July 12, 1911 (Mrs. Pearl Cleage)
Just got back to Detroit, Hope you all are well and happy. Will feel better when I hear from you. Albert.

7/12/11 to Master A. B. Cleage Jr.
Did not forget you were 4 weeks old yesterday and tomorrow you will be 1 month. My, but you are getting old fast.
Papa

7/21/11 to Mrs. Pearl Cleage
Dear Pearl –
I am lonesome for you and baby. Want to see you all awful bad. Hope you are well and happy. Albert

The Cleages in the 1950 Census

Today I am previewing my paternal grandparent’s, Albert and Pearl Cleage’s, household in 1950.

In 1950 the Cleage household consisted of Albert B. Cleage, his wife Pearl and five of their seven children. Albert was a Physician. He was 66 years old and  had retired from his medical practice, my Aunt Gladys remembers. He was born in Tennessee and both of his parents were born in the United States. He had completed over 5 years of college. He and his wife had been married for 40 years. This was the only marriage for both.

Pearl D. Cleage was 64 years old. She had given birth to seven children. She was born in Kentucky and had completed 12 years of school. She kept house and had not worked or sought work outside of the home during the past year. Her parents were born in the US.

Albert & Pearl 1950s
Albert & Pearl 1950s

Louis Cleage, their son, was 36 years old and also a physician  in a private practice.  He had completed over 5 years of college and never been married.  He worked 52 weeks.  Henry Cleage, a son, was 34 years old. He had worked 52 weeks as an attorney in private practice. He had been married once and divorced about 6 years. Hugh Cleage, a son was 32 years old. He had never been married. He worked 52 weeks as a postal worker at the US post office. Not sure of his salary yet. He had completed 2 years of college.  None of them had been in the military.

Barbara Cleage, a daughter, was 30 years old. She had worked the previous year as receptionist her brother’s doctor’s office. She had never been married and had no children. She had completed a year of college.  Anna Cleage was the youngest daughter at 26 years old.  She had completed over 5 years of college and had worked the previous year as a pharmacist in hr brother’s doctor’s office. She had never been married and had no children.  All of the children were born in Michigan.  Everybody in the household was identified as Neg(ro).

2270 Atkinson
“The Manse 1948” 2270 Atkinson

By 1950 the Cleages had moved from their house on Scotten Avenue to 2270 Atkinson.  This three story brick home with full basement was built in 1919. Because it was bought only 2 years before, in 1948, I believe there was a mortgage.

There were two full and two partial bathrooms. There were four bedrooms on the second floor and two in the attic.  On the first floor there was a kitchen; a breakfast room; a dining room; a living room; a library and a sun room,  adding another six rooms and making twelve rooms in total.

The house was heated by steam heat, with radiators in every room.  The house was fully electrified, had hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing. There were two bathtubs and 4 flush toilets in the various bathrooms. In the kitchen there was an electric refrigerator.  The stove was gas. The sinks all had hot and cold running water.  There was a radio and probably a television.  A friend who lived across the street from my grandparents says that his parents bought their house for $15,000 in 1952.  My cousin Jan found papers about 2270 Atkinson. When my grandparents bought it early in 1949, the cost was $12,600.

atkinson_house_1949
loan 4-15-1949a

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.

Physicians License – Dr. A.B. Cleage Sr.

Physicians License

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr. – 1909.

State of Indiana

County of Marion

I, Leonard M Quill Clerk of the Circuit Court of Marion County of the state of Indiana certify that Albert B. Cleage has complied with the laws of the state of Indiana relating to the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics in the County and State aforesaid.

Witness my hand and seal of said Court, this 1st day of Sept, 1910

Leonard M. Quill Clerk

910 Fayette Street – Not the House I Thought It Was!

While looking for information about the house my grandmother Pearl Reed and her family lived during the time she wrote the letters to Homer Jarrett, I decided to look in the real estate section of the Indianapolis newspapers.  I came across an an item offering the  house that my grandfather Albert B. Cleage and his brothers lived in at 910 Fayette, for rent. (Click on images to enlarge.)

910 Fayette is at the bottom of the list.
The little blue house on the left was 906 and 908 until the numbers were changed and then it became 910 and 912. The two story house on the right was 910 and 912 until the addresses changed and then it was 914 and 916.  This is a Google photo.

When visiting Indianapolis a decade ago, my daughter Ayanna drove me around the city looking for family homes. We found nothing but parking lots and weed covered land where our ancestors used to live, until we found a little blue house numbered 910 Fayette standing and in good condition.

I took this photo the day we found the house. You can see the number 910 on the door.

My father, Albert Buford Cleage, Jr, was born at 910 Fayette on June 13, 1911. His parents had married the year before when Albert Sr. completed his medical training and received his physician’s license. I imagined how crowded it must have been  with Jacob, his wife Gertrude, Henry, Albert and later Pearl sharing one half of the small two family home.

Next, I looked at the Sanborn Fire Maps for Indianapolis, Indiana, to see how and if the house had changed over the years. The oldest map was from 1887. I could not find 910 Fayette. The street numbers only went up to 350.

The next map was from 1898. I found the house on the forth lot from the corner.  The house was a two story, divided frame house, with a one story room on the back and a porch across the front. The house and the small outbuilding behind it (outhouse?) had wood roofs with wooden shingles. The house number is printed in the street in front of the house with the current address, 910, closest to the house and the previous address (164) beneath it in parenthesis.

1898 Map. Red marks 910 Fayette.

Using the number, 164, I went back to the 1887 map. I found a house on the third lot, numbered 162. Next to it was an unnumbered lot. It would have been 164 and it was the fourth lot from the corner. The house I was looking for had not yet been built.

1887 Sanborn Fire map. Red marks the lot where 910 would eventually be built.

Next, I pulled up the 1914 Sanborn map and located 910 Fayette. I noticed that the house was marked as a frame house but with only 1.5 stories.

Red again makes the spot.

But wait, 910 is the third house from the corner on this map instead of the fourth. Looking at the fourth house, more closely, I saw that the number closer to the house was now 914 and the one below it, the old number, was 910! The house I thought was the one my father was born in was not the little blue house, but the larger house next door. Both houses were divided to hold two households.

The former 910, now 914 Fayette.

I found a photograph online at several real estate sites, of the renovated house. It looked like half of that house would be much less crowded for five adults and eventually a baby, than the smaller blue one next door.  In 1905, it rented for $12.50 and had five rooms. My grandfather and his brothers and their families lived there from 1909 to 1912. At that time they spread out to larger quarters.

________________

Go To this post to read an 1895 article about renumbering and renaming streets in Indianapolis – Why Renumber and Rename Streets?

Letter from Albert B. Cleage to Pearl Reed. March 18, 1910.

Albert B. Cleage Sr. This photo was enclosed in the letter.

This was the house where Pearl’s aunt lived. She received mail there sometimes because her mother disliked Albert.  The two houses were on opposite streets and shared a yard

3/18/10

My dear Sweetheart:-

How did you spend St. Patrick’s day? It was a lovely day sure and also has today been beautiful.  How are you? Have you gotten entirely well. I hope that pains and aches with you are now “past history.”Does your mother seem to be improving?

These are busy days with me. Examinations for the close of the winter term begin Monday and will last one week after which comes a ten or twelve day’s vacation.- What can I do with so much time all by my lone self. 

Do you remember that last year we planned a day’s outing in the country and I thinking the day appointed, too bad did not show up?  And also how you got angry with me?  See how well I remember. That has been one year ago but it to me certainly does not seem so long.  You did go to Brookside with me, which was the beginning of several very pleasant trips which will always be sweet sweet memories to me.  My vacation is about 10 days off and it may be yet that you will be able to take that trip which we planned last year.

Mrs. White, I believe goes to Lincoln Hospital tomorrow to be operated upon Monday.  Mrs. Brady – Little Marcum Mitchell’s grandmother died at the City Hospital this morning. 

Of course I selected that negative which you liked better, others whose opinion I asked were about equally divided.  I send you the other which is fast fading.

Be careful for yourself.  The things you said in your last letter were surely the product of a melancholie mind – such moods are not good for you. Cheer up!!  Of course, God in His wise providence might call your mother home, and ’tis he alone who can cause me to cease loving you.  So wake up from your dream – you shall nurse, not patients for someone else, but (__?__) for yourself – Won’t you like that better.  Yes, I believe you will – Ha! ha!

Your Albert

{Had better burn this letter up}

Click for more Sepia posts

My grandparents, Pearl Reed and Albert Cleage, exchanged letters for several years while they were courting.  The letters go from 1907 when they met to 1912 when they were married, my father had been born and they were moving from Indianapolis, IN to Kalamazoo, MI. Unfortunately I do not have copies of my grandmother’s letters, just my grandfather’s. You can read more of Albert’s letters to Pearl and what else was going on when he wrote them, by looking at the  Index of blog posts I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2014. Scroll down past the posts for 2017, 2016 and 2015 until you reach 2014. Perhaps I should give each year’s index a separate page.

At one point, this letter refers back to a letter from a year ago.  You can read it here at K is for Kenwood.

Kristin Cleage

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. sitting on the railing. My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, holding me. My father Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr. Summer of 1947 on the back porch of the house on King street.
My parents, paternal grandfather and me (Kristin) on our porch of the house on King street in Springfield, Mass. Photo by Hugh Cleage. 1947.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

kris_preg_big_fro_1970
Kristin Cleage (me) in 1970. Photo by James Williams.

This post is about my relationship to the Cleages of Athens, Tennessee. Kristin Cleage (that is me) was born free in Springfield, Mass. in 1946. My only sister was born when I was 2. My family moved back to Detroit when I was four. I finished high school and graduated with a degree in fine arts from Wayne State University.  I worked as a pre-school teacher, a doll maker and a librarian. Eventually I married James Williams, who had an Associates Degree and worked as an organizer and an inspector of asphalt for the Michigan Dept of Transportation. We had six children. All of our children attended college, lived to be adults and most now have children of their own. At various  times we have shared our home with children and grandchildren, and other relatives. We owned a variety of homes over the years, some with and some free from mortage.  We often lived around extended family.  I was the third generation of my Cleages born out of slavery.Pedigree View - Printer Friendly - Ancestry.com

preaching
Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr, preaching about 1968.

My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr (aka Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) was born free in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1911 to parents born in Tennessee and Kentucky. His family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and eventually Detroit.  He had six siblings.  All of them lived to be at least eighty years old. He attended public schools in Detroit and graduated with a BA from Wayne State University, followed by a Divinity Degree at Oberlin College and doing post degree work in film at the University of Southern California.  He married my mother, Doris Graham and they had two daughters. Both daughters lived to be adults, graduated from college and had seven children between them. My father pastored churches in Lexington, KY; San Francisco, CA; Springfield, MA and Detroit, MI. He was active in politics and with friends and family, published newsletter, advocated self determination and black power for black people. He founded the Shrines of the Black Madonna with churches in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. He died at the age of 88 in 2000 in South Carolina.   He was the second generation born out of slavery.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage - 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.
My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage – 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.

My grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, was born free in Hackberry, Loudon County, TN in 1883.  He was the youngest of 5 children born to Lewis Cleage and Celia Rice.  Eventually the family moved back to Athens, TN and his parents were divorced.  He and his siblings all graduated from high school.  Several attended college. My grandfather graduated from Knoxville College in Knoxville, TN and the University of Indiana medical school, Indianapolis, IN. He married my grandmother, Pearl Reed and they had seven children who all lived to age 80 or beyond.  After completing his internship, the family moved to Kalamazoo, MI. There he set up his medical practice.  After several years they moved to Detroit, Michigan where he opened Cleage Clinic and practiced medicine.  Three  of his siblings and his mother eventually moved to Detroit.  One brother remained in Athens. My grandfather regularly traveled back to visit. During his life, my grandfather helped found three churches and two black hospitals.  This was in the days when black doctors could not practice in most white hospitals.  In the 1950s my grandfather retired and in 1957 he died in Detroit.  He was the first generation born out of slavery.

My greatgrandfather Lewis Cleage was born into slavery on Alexander Cleage’s plantation in McMinn County, about 1852.  He was fourteen when freedom came with the end of the Civil War.  He married Celia Rice in 1872 in Athens, TN and they had five children. They all lived to adulthood and attended high school and/or college.  He worked as a farmer, in the steel mills, on the railroad and did other hard labor all of his life. He never learned to read or write.  He died in 1918 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lived free for 52 of his 66 years.

My 2X great grandfather Frank Cleage was born into slavery about 1816 in North Carolina. I do not know how he came to be on Samuel Cleage’s plantation, but he was there by 1834 when he was mentioned in the letter to the overseer.  My 2X great grandmother Juda Cleage, was born into slavery about 1814. She  came to Alexander Cleage’s plantation with his wife, Jemima Hurst.  Juda was mentioned in both Elijah Hurst’s and Alexander Cleage’s Wills.  Frank and Juda both gained their freedom after the Civil War and were legally married that same year.  They had at least eight children.  Frank worked as a laborer.  I have not found them after the 1870 census.  I can only trace 3 of their children so I am unable to give death ages.  The three children I have found all did hard physical labor and were unable to read and write, as were Frank and Juda.

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Some of my grandparent’s descendents, including members of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th generations born free. 2012 Detroit.

You can read more about each person by following the links or putting a name in the search box in the right hand column.