Tag Archives: #Henry Cleage

Y – Youth & a Mop

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.

Youth with a mop. Sunday school? My birthday? August 1950.

Why were we all sitting on the stairs in our dresses? I have no idea. It was during my cousin’s August visit from Detroit. Maybe it was my birthday and I had turned four.

Why didn’t the photographer notice that mop propped against the wall and move it? I understand that. I’ve taken many photos and never noticed the distracting bottles on the table.

I do recognize about half of the children. Taking the front row from left to right – unknown girl with purse, Sherrie Johnson looking mad, unknown girl with a doll, Pearl eating something. Second row: unknown smiling girl, my cousin Dee Dee looking peeved, my cousin Barbara looking worried, me saying something to Barbara “Don’t worry Barbara.” On the top step, unknown girl looking at the camera and Lynn Johnson (Sherrie’s sister), also eating something.

The Springfield Union February 7, 1950
My mother – Doris Graham Cleage
Mrs. Cleage Speaker

“When the St. Paul’s Youth Fellowship gathers in the parish house Sunday evening at 7, it will hear from Mrs. Albert Cleage, Jr., of Springfield on the subject “What it means to be a Negro”

Mrs. Cleage is the wife of the minister of St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield. A graduate of Wayne University, Detroit. Mrs. Cleage has done social work for the American Red Cross in Detroit and Los Angeles”

The Springfield Union February 7, 1950

A Poem From Today’s Youth

After posting this, I found that my thirteen year old great niece Bailey Tucker, had written a poem that could have used the same title as my mother’s talk, except we don’t use “Negro” today. I am adding it to the post. I know my mother must be smiling to have her great granddaughter following in her footsteps.

Black by Bailey Tucker. Transcribed below.

Black

It’s not fair we get shot at.
It’s not fair we get pulled off a bike at 8.
It’s not fair they yell because our skin tone.
It’s not fair they’re mad because our hair.
It’s not fair they call us ghetto because our voice.
It’s not fair we can’t walk with our hoods on.
It’s not fair we can’t walk with our head down.
It’s not fair they call us thugs for having tattoos.
It’s not fair we get stared at.
It’s not fair they call us fatherless.
It’s not fair we are treated different.

IT’S NOT FAIR IT’S NOT FAIR IT’S NOT FAIR

_________________

Little Galoshes

Unfortunately they don’t share the pictures in the book, they just read it. You can see some of the illustrations here -> Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves

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

H – HENRY Cleage in the 1920s

Henry 1920
Cousin: Front Henry and Hugh Cleage. Back: Albert Cleage, Hugh Reed/Averette, Thomas Reed/Averette, Louis Cleage. Indianapolis, IN. About 1922
Henry, Albert Jr, Albert Sr, Gladys. Eater Sunday about 1925.
"Barbara, Hugh and Henry Cleage"
Barbara, Hugh and Henry Cleage. Later than the last and earlier than the next photo.
Children of the Boule. Front: Henry, Barbara, Gladys, Anna Cleage. Behind them: Albert Jr, Louis, Hugh Cleage. I do not have the names of the rest right now. About 1928. The Meadows.
Henry and Albert about 1929

Henry Wadsworth Cleage was born March 22, 1916, six months after his family moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Detroit, Michigan. My poor grandmother! She seems to have always been pregnant when the family moved! Henry 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.

Between January and June of 1920, when Henry was 5 years old, the family moved 3 miles north to a large brick house at 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, which you will get to see when we reach “S”.

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 built campfires and roasted potatoes.  His paternal grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman stayed with the family during that time. Henry was her favorite and she sometimes slipped him a nickle.

He attended McMichael Junior High School and then Northwestern High School.  While at Northwestern Henry played in the school orchestra and the All City Orchestra. He played school baseball and was on the 12-A dues committee.

_____________

Here is another memory from the December 1990 Ruff Draft, a family newsletter we put out for 5 years.  My daughter Ayanna interviewed my Uncle Henry and wrote this from the interview. 

Henry Cleage remembers when his Aunt Gertrude won a nice new shiny bike.  He just knew she would give it to him for Christmas.  On Christmas Eve he was sitting in the living room with his father after the younger kids had gone to bed.  His father said, “Henry, go over to your Aunt’s and get that bike … for Hugh.”  Henry thought he would never enjoy Christmas again, but that, after seeing Hugh so happy with the bike, he decided it was all worth it.  Even so, he said that Christmas was never the same for him.  It had lost some of the magic.

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.

Seven In A Boat

in the boat
Far left back, shadowy Henry Cleage, Louis Cleage, cousin Helen Mullins holding baby Hugh Cleage. In front Evelyn Douglas, Cornelius Henderson, “Toddy” (Albert B. Cleage jr)  in the boat. About 1919.

Looking at this photograph, I wondered about the lives of the children in the boat. Here are their lives in a paragraph.

Evelyn Douglas, seated on the left in the first row, was born in 1910 in Detroit. She was the only child of Dr. Edward and Louise Douglas. Her father was a dentist.  Her mother was a dressmaker before Evelyn was born. Evelyn graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a graduate degree in education. She married Charles E. Beatty, Sr., a pioneering educator, in 1935. He was the first black principal of Perry Elementary School in Ypsilanti, MI which later housed HighScope Perry Preschool program. She taught for 30 years in the Detroit Public Schools.  Evelyn was the mother of three children. She died at age 93 in 2003 in Detroit.

Cornelius Langston Henderson, who sits in the middle of the first row, was born in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. He was an only child and grew up several blocks from the Cleages on Detroit’s Old West Side. Cornelius was named after his father, Cornelius L Henderson Sr., also born in Detroit. Like his father, Cornelius Jr became an engineer. His mother, Gertrude, born in Virginia and taught in the Washington DC public schools before she married. The younger Cornelius graduated from Howard University in Washington DC with a degree in civil engineering. He later took postgraduate classes at the University of Michigan. He worked for the City of Detroit as a civil engineer for over 30 years, where he helped design sewer systems.  He was married and raised two sons and a stepdaughter. He died in November of 1993 in Detroit and is buried in Detroit Memorial Park.

Albert B Cleage, Jr, my father, seated on the right end of the first row, was the oldest of the seven children of Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr and Pearl Reed Cleage. He grew up to be a black nationalist minister and organizer around political and civil rights issues. He founded Central Congregational Church which became Central United Church of Christ and finally the Shrine of the Black Madonna.  He had two daughter, my sister and me. He died in 2000.

Directly behind my father is his first cousin Helen Mullins. Born in 1899 in Indianapolis, Indiana, she was the oldest of the 12 children of James and Minnie (who was my grandmother Pearl Cleage’s sister) Mullins. James Mullins held various jobs through the years, including that of fireman, carpenter and  laborer. Helen completed highschool. She married Otto Mitchell. They raised four children. In the 1940 census Helen was a telegraph operator for Western Union while Otto worked on the assemble line of an automobile factory in Detroit. They owned their own home. Helen died in 1982.

Helen is holding Barbara Cleage, my aunt. Barbara was the 5th child and first daughter of Dr. Albert and Pearl Cleage. She completed a year at Wayne State. She married Ernest Martin and had one son. Unfortunately the marriage didn’t work out and she returned to Detroit. Barbara worked as a receptionist in her father’s doctor’s office, at Cleage Printers doing layout and finally her true talent came to the fore and she organized and managed the bookstores and cultural centers for the Shrine of the Black Madonna. She was amazing at it. Barbara is 96 and lives in South Carolina.

Next, in the back row middle, we have my uncle Louis Cleage. Born in 1913 he was the 2nd of the seven children. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a medical doctor, sharing an office with him for some years. Besides having a medical practice on Lovett Ave. in Detroit for many years, he was active in the Movement. He wrote Smoke Rings for the Illustrated News and ran for office on the Freedom Now Party ticket in 1964. He maintained a cottage in Idlewild where the family spent many happy summers. Louis died in 1994.

Last we have a partial, ghostly image of my uncle Henry Cleage. He was the third child born in 1915. He graduated from Wayne State in Detroit and became a lawyer. During WW2 he and his brother Hugh farmed as a conscientious objectors. (Where was Hugh when this picture was taken? Click to read) Henry later left the law and started Cleage Printers where he and Hugh printed far into the night putting out flyers for grocery stores, books of poetry and radical newsletters. He ran for Prosecuting Attorney on the Freedom Now ticket in 1964.  After the 1967 Detroit riot, Henry returned to the law and worked for Neighborhood Legal Services until he retired to Idlewild, MI where he fine tuned his Status Theory. He died in 1996.

The photograph in the boat was taken the day of this picnic, summer of 1919.

picnic cleage

I used news articles, census and other records from ancestry.com to fill in the lives of Evelyn Douglas and Cornelius L. Henderson, who are not related to me.

Speedwell Cavern Postcard
For more Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!

Three Generations

cleages3generations

Three generations of my Cleages. Front left is Henry, with Louis behind him, center is my father, Albert B. front right is Hugh. Behind Hugh is my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman. Back left is my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage holding baby Barbara Cleage Martin. This photograph was taken about 1921 somewhere around Detroit, Michigan, perhaps on Belle Isle.  My grandfather took the photo. There is another from the same day with him in the photo taken by my grandmother.

Northwestern High School & Cleage Graduates

old northwestern
The original Northwestern High School stood on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd in Detroit.  It was built in 1911.

When I finished writing up this post, I googled Northwestern High School and found the following statement in an online article from 2011 about school closures in Detroit:

“The academic program at Northwestern High School will close and the Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School program will relocate from the east wing of Northwestern into the main academic part of the facility. Because of the importance of the Northwestern name to DPS and the community, this new program will be called Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern.”

So,  like so many other places of importance in my early life in Detroit, Northwestern High is no more.  The original building was replaced in 1980 and the school was closed in 2011. So many of my family attended high school at Northwestern, some just for a year or two.  Here is something about those who graduated, starting with Alberta Cleage in 1927 and ending with my sister Pearl in 1966.

Click on any image to enlarge.

___________________

Alberta blog HS

Cousin Alberta Cleage, my grandfather’s brother Edward’s daughter, came up from Athens Tennessee to stay with her Uncle Albert and his family and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1927.

________________

albert sax HS

______________

My uncle Louis Cleage graduated Cum Laude in 1931 and appeared in a picture of the physics lab, right there lower right, first desk.  Advertisements for his medical practice appeared in the Norwester in 1941 and 1942.

Louis Cleage HS
louis ads hs

___________________

Henry Cleage appears in a photograph of the orchestra in 1933 and as a graduating senior in 1934.  He is in the back row, 4th from the left with his cello.

henry Cleage_band blog

__________________

My uncle Hugh Cleage graduated in 1936, unfortunately that yearbook is missing.

hughface
Hugh Cleage

My aunt Barbara Cleage graduated in summer school in August of 1938

barbara hs
Barbara Cleage

__________________

My aunt Gladys Cleage graduated in 1939.  In the photo on the right Gladys is standing in front of the back steps. You can see Henry over her right shoulder. Not sure who the other two are but my grandmother Pearl is looking through the screen door.

gladys Cleage HS plus

___________________

My cousin Geraldine Cleage, Uncle Henry Cleage’s daughter graduated in 1940.  They lived a few blocks from my grandparent’s house on Scotten.

geri cleage HS

______________________

Anna Cleage graduated from Northwestern in 1942 and appeared in the Norwester and in 1947 in the yearbook when she graduated from Wayne State University.

anna HS 1942
Anna 1947 WSU
Anna’s Wayne State University graduation photograph from 1947.

I, Kristin Cleage, graduated from Northwestern in 1964.

honor society 1a

That is me in the middle, 2nd row. I pretty much looked like that throughout my high school career.  I did not take a senior photo and didn’t plan to go to my graduation, but did end up going. Do not remember a thing about it.

_____________

Pearl Michelle Cleage 1966 graduate

My sister Pearl Cleage graduated from Northwestern in 1966. 

pearlscholarship1966

Pearl gave the valedictorian speech at her graduation. Jim advised her to speak out against the war in Vietnam. She was horrified at the thought and regrets now that she did not do it.

_________________

Several family members attended Northwestern for part of their four year high school career and then transferred to other schools. Some were Ruth Cleage, Shelton Hill, Ernest Martin and Betty Floyd.

new northwestern
The new Northwestern High School, dedicated in 1980, stood down the street from the old site on West Grand Blvd.

The Freedom Now Party – William Worthy Speech 1963

Inspired by a Facebook post by my cousin Nikki, I went through my collection of The Illustrated News and found the first mention of the Freedom Now Party (FNP).  In the days to come, I will be posting a series of The Illustrated News issues that mention the FNP.  There is a lot of reading there but I hope some will wade through it.  This is the September 2, 1963 issue.  The story about the FNP is on page 2.  Other posts about the FNP are The Freedom Now Party Convention 1964 and Interview with Henry Cleage.  Click any image to enlarge.

 The Illustrated News was published during the early 1960s by my father’s family and family friends.  Two of his brothers, Henry and Hugh, started a printing business because the family was always looking for ways to be economically independent.  The main business was printing handbills for small grocery stores.   They started several newspapers.  First they did The Metro but the one I remember best is The Illustrated News. It was printed on pink paper (that was what was left over after printing the handbills) and distributed to churches and barber shops around the inner city. Some people had subscriptions. My father wrote many of the lead articles. My Uncle Louis wrote Smoke Rings, which was always on the back page. Billy Smith took most of the photographs.

illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg1
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg2
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg3
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg4
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg5
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg6
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg7
illustrated news sept 2 1963 pg8

Fish and Fillets – Idlewild Michigan 1977 & 1979

My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, holding a string of fish on Water Mill Lake.
My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, holding a string of blue gills she and Henry caught in Lake Idlewild in 1977.

On the left my Uncle Henry is holding a ten inch blue gill that he and my mother caught in September of 1977 in a boat off of my Uncle Louis’ dock on Lake Idlewild.  They would fillet them and freeze them in empty milk cartons.

On the right is a boat in front of Louis’ cottage on Idlewild Lake. I can’t quite make it out, but could be them catching the above string of fish.

In June, 1979 my mother sent to the Emergency Land Fund’s newspaper “Forty Acres and A Mule” her recipe for cooking blue gills.  I wish I had a plate of those blue gills right now.

idlewild lake with boat 1977:sept 10" blue gill from L. Idlewild

bluegill recipe - doris cleage******************************

I just remembered this letter with a drawing of a fish that my mother wrote to Henry from Idlewild in 1956.

Letter my mother wrote in 1956 from Louis's cottage in Idlewild.
From a letter my mother wrote in 1956 from Louis’s cottage in Idlewild.

“In between showers, the children & I go outside to see what’s up.  The lake is full of minnows & baby bass & even some half-size bass who stay around our beach.  But the rowboat isn’t even down the hill – and the other boats are too fast – everything is gone before you even get to it – including the lake.

I’ve spent two evenings with Louis & his guests – and they took me out to “night club” – but they’ve given me up, I think, as a confirmed “prude” – but a pleasant innocuous one.  I’ve been reading the book about Bronson alcott (no, I won’t tell you who he is) and also…”

kris,ma,pearlon dock
Me, my mother and Pearl on Louis’ dock that summer of 1956.

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I was going to write about the time when we hand printed fish one spring in Idlewild. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have saved any of our prints. I did not know printing fish was a Japanese art form called Gyotaku.  Ours were not as lovely as those at the link, but they were interesting.

Note:  My sister tells me she has some of those prints. Whenever she finds them, I will add them to this post.

To read other fishy Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!
To read other fishy Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!