This is my tenth A to Z Challenge. My first was in 2013, but I missed 2021. This April I am going through the alphabet using snippets about my family through the generations.
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This is my tenth A to Z Challenge. My first was in 2013, but I missed 2021. This April I am going through the alphabet using snippets about my family through the generations.
My Uncle Henry Cleage was a twenty year old student at Wayne State University in Detroit when he kept this diary. He did eventually graduate and went on to geta law degree. He was a great thinker and during his life did a variety of things. Henry was also a printer and a publisher, publishing the Illustrated News, a radical black newsletter during the early 1960’s with family and friends. During WW2 he and his brother Hugh were conscientious objectors and spent the war farming in Avoca, Michigan. You can read the whole Diary here. Like many of us, he started off strong writing everyday, but as the year went on he petered out.
Awoke to find that I had lost 2 dollars very depressed. Wrote on theme. Played tonight at Quinn’s Lone Pine with Duke Conte, played bass, terrible night. Fingers sore. Noticed how good-looking Lene is… Ought to throw a line – Police stopped us at about 1:00AM. No permit to play until two. I was glad. Very animal acting bunch in River Rouge. Most of them seem friendly though.
Played matinee dance at Elks rest with Heckes, Toddy and Bill – Dracee’s band came in and sat in awhile (no trouble) Kenneth was there. Too tired and sleepy to study history. Get up early tomorrow (no English) Toddy is going downtown to get some books is supposed to get me ‘American Tragedy” and ‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations”
Haliver Greene died this morning -spinal meningitis. Didn’t get up early to study History, however there was no class – lecture tomorrow so I won’t slide, tonight. Toddy bought back two books about lives of Educators (putrid!!) only 25 cents a piece though – awfully windy out today-not so cold thought – like March. I would like to have been in the country, wrapped up good, walking into the wind at the Meadows, down the road towards the sand pile or over the hill to the creek – zest, spice, life, health, clear eye, firm step and all that sort of thing.
Cold out this morning although it became somewhat spring like after school. Went to show after school. Another big fight this morning, I think they think I skip classes because I am sleepy, nonsense. Bought ‘Bartlett’s Quotations” $1.53. Seems worthwhile. Read one of dictator books – Good – tonight as I was going to the store the weather brought memories of spring. Roller-skating in street, if not roller skating then walking. Everybody walking and friendly. The crowd at Krueger’s and the tent. Perhaps riding through Belle Isle – water, boats.
Henry’s sister Anna via my cousin Anna shared her memories of the combo: “Hi there! I had a chance to get Mom’s remembrances on Uncle Toddy’s band. This is what she recalls:
Uncle Toddy was trying to establish the business of being an agent where he would send singers and instrumentalists to different clubs etc. to perform. If he couldn’t get enough players, this is where he would ask Uncle Louis (player of drums), Henry (sax player, bass violin and vocalist), and sometime Mr. Hand (Oscar) – not really sure what he played – to fill certain jobs. Uncle Henry was a really good sax player and he had a great voice. Some group called the Vagabonds wanted him to play the sax for them. Mom thinks that Henry actually joined their band for awhile.”
I used to like making small places outside. The first one I remember was under the back porch when we lived in a two family flat on Calvert in Detroit. The porch above wasn’t high enough up for me to stand up, but it wasn’t so low I had to crawl in. I found bricks around and built a two or three brick high wall around two sides. I don’t remember doing much out there after I got it together. I was about nine years old at that time. My sister remembers playing marbles there. I did make a nice, smooth dirt floor.
In Poppy’s and Nanny’s yard we made tents out of quilts. We would use them for the duration of whatever game we were playing. My Quilt Tent – 1958
Later when we lived on Oregon, I built a snow house against the garage one winter. Again, I don’t remember hanging around in it. After all it was winter in the 1950s when winter was freezing and snowy for months. I also cleaned up the garage and fixed it up as a place I could go. But it was a garage and I remember the smell wasn’t that pleasant. Rats around the garbage cans? I never saw any, but I gave that one up.
At Old Plank, I made a stick frame and wove large leaves into it. As you can see I even built a campfire circle of stones and had a fire going at least once.
One morning I came out and found a snake curled comfortably inside. It was cool and the snake was sluggish. Henry did what he always did when coming upon a snake, he killed it. I don’t remember the particulars, did he beat it to death or did he shoot it? What sort of snake was it? Above he is holding it up for the photographer, probably my mother. I do remember an incident decades later in Idlewild when Henry did kill a snake at my Aunt Barbara’s with a blow as I tried to persuade him it was a harmless snake that ate mice. He paid me no mind.
This week’s Sepia Saturday features an old airplane. I have two photographs of a small, old plane in my Cleage collection. Unfortunately there is nothing written on the back of either photo but I recognize my aunt Barbara – the baby in white, and the edge of my great grandmother Celia on the right edge.
Here is a photograph of my family standing in a field in Detroit, about 1921.
My grandfather Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Sr holding baby Barbara. next to him in my father Albert Jr, standing to the far right is my great grandmother, Albert Senior’s mother. My uncle Louis is front left, Henry is between Louis and Hugh who is standing with his hands on his hips.
Front row: my uncle Louis and my father Albert. In the back row: My grandmother Pearl holding baby Barbara, Henry, Hugh, Great grandmother Celia. My aunt Barbara was born July 10, 1920 in Detroit, Michigan.
Related Air around Detroit in 1922
Today day I am going to share my mother’s boating log. In 1970, when this log was written, my mother Doris Graham Cleage was 46 and taught reading at Duffield Elementary School. Henry was 54 and Deputy Director of Neighborhood Legal Services. They lived in a two family flat on Fairfield, near the University of Detroit. My maternal grandparents lived in the flat downstairs.
In July 1970, they bought a used sailboat. They docked it at the Memorial Park Marina, now called Erma Henderson Marina and no longer in use.
5/16 Henry sails in heavy seas with former owner Lindquist – Bell Harbor, New Baltimore to Bun (note: not clear) Sailboats, St. Clair Shores.
5/21 Henry and Hugh sailed from Bun (note: not clear) Sailboats, St. Clair Shores, to Memorial Park Marina (Spent 2 hours trying to start motor – found gas was not connected!) – Lonnie and I met – I went to meeting. – Lonnie brought Barbara (his wife) back – all had chicken and wine on boat!
5/23 Henry & Doris out alone – turned wrong way – banged around north end of marina – saved by all – tacked up American Channel – a thousand tacks – I had no gloves – hands in shreds – turned back near water Sutake (note: not clear) tower.
5/25 Henry, Doris, Hugh out – banged around marina! Doris insisted on staying in river (!) – tacked like mad – disorganized – returned to shore to organize crew – vowed to do better.
(All betimes Henry and Hugh worked on motor – fixed door – began to sand for varnishing – bought blue towels for curtains and pillows.)
5/30 Henry, Doris and Hugh – went out to try to empty head at Mobil at end of channel – water churned to froth by 50,000 cruisers bounced around – came back – no sail.
6/19 Henry, Doris and Lonnie – sailed out jib alone just over edge of lake and back.
6/20 Henry, Doris, Hugh, Ernie – sailed out – dumped – wind died – limped in – saw others wing and wing – they looked like galleons – discovered whisker pole – resolved to use it at earliest opportunity!
6/22 Henry, Doris, Hugh – out into Lake St. Clair – Doris refused rope, when leaving dock, asked where is my pole? – all small ropes still tied, on jib furler, on mainsail – captain tacked back and forth across freighter channel – Hugh almost ran down black pirate boat – had bologna sandwiches, oreos, peaches, milk, coffee, gin – mainsail stops twisted – captain had to straighten out on high seas!
6/27 – Hugh, Henry and Doris out to sail – no wind – fathometer broken – Hugh and Henry fixed – good thing because decided to motor about Peche Isle where depths are 1 – 2 ft out to 1,000 ft and 4 – 5 ft a few yards from shore – also 35 ft depths (!) near 405 ones – found nice anchorage on South side – close enough to swim – but no suits – so, ate, laid around and came back.
6/28 Ernie, Hugh, Hugh and Doris at dock to see unlimited hydroplane races – wild – Thelma and Bowman on Board later.
6/30 Very hot – 98 degrees – no wind – motored down river to Belle Isle Bridge for first time – lovely cool ride- equally cool docking and undocking – Lonnie, Barbara, Henry and Doris.
7/3 Bought dinghy at Sears – now can anchor and go into Peche – swabbed whole boat first time – also vacuumed second time – now ship-shape and shinning – and thunderstorm after thunderstorm – hard to restrain captain who insists, “Weather does not matter to a seaworthy craft and a skilled captain.” Hear! Hear! and Right on! But I was scared! So we stayed dockside. stowed well away from shallows – sailed to 82 degrees 47′ W at 20 degree angle usually – First Mate sent to galley. – sort of rocky down there altho’ not on deck – fixed sandwiches but couldn’t eat (!) recovered quickly on deck – liverwurst was delicious – turned back – near sunset – wind began to die – started across freighter channel – HUGE BARGE advancing rapidly – Captain made speeches about “right of way” – refused to start motor – barge gave us 5 short blasts (note: Five short and rapid blasts = “Danger signal, I do not understand your intentions”)– Captain capitulated – started motor – ended trip with usual perfect docking.
P. S. – at one point in voyage captain to first mate – “Take in the jib.” First Mate to Captain, “How much?” Look of complete disbelief on Captain’s face – he is at loss for words. I thought he wanted me to furl the jib – he meant winch it in tighter. Narrowly missed being keelhauled!
7/9 Note from radio: add 34″ to depths shown on chart #400 Lake St. Clair! What it mean?
7/10 Nautical catalogs arrived – Capt. was so engrossed he read them all thru dinner! First mate furious.
7/11 Henry, Hugh & Doris out on calm day – captain offered Doris sun glasses instead of rope as we left dock. Cruised happily out into lake – noted strange black, orange white can buoys – navigator almost fainted – we were crossing Grosse Pointe Dumping Grounds – never, never land with completely uncertain depths – naturally we crossed it diagonally – and made it just as the wind gave up – dragged to Peche Isle – anchored Canadian side Henry and Hugh inflated dinghy – Capt took first trip – rain began – brief shower – made it home. – First mate denied daily tot of rum because she dropped boat book in water – luckily it floated,
7/12 Henry and Doris out alone – beautiful sail to end of Belle Isle, – 5-6 mph – really lifted out of water – reaching on SW wind, – suddenly saw huge black cloud looming over Grosse Pointe – First mate screamed, “Take me home NOW!”- Captain said, “Oh, it’s nothing’ the weatherman said today would be nice.” – Then sun went out – thunder rolled- lightening zagged – First mate and captain sprang into action – furled jib – hauled down main – motored madly with seven thousand other fear crazed Sunday sailors down river – made it into dock drenched to skin – as 60 mph gusts of wind made Henry, Warren Hawking and Crawford Smith putting all muscle on boat to attach back lines – she had nosed into dock at tool chest and refused to budge – finally got her tied down – very wet inside and out- home – hot showers – lovely evening followed lovely sail.
7/26 On board – Henry and Doris. Beautiful Sunday. Captain assured first mate on long trip planned. Set out on short sail – ended in Belle River, Ontario – for the night. Fifteen miles of very close reaching in five hours – and three hours covered same distance Monday morning – docking was cool – sleep was good after young folks finally left park at 1:30 a.m. – our first overnight trip.
8/1 Brisk winds -choppy waves – tough, Captain – rough sail! – scuppers awash – First mate developed weak trembles – Captain cool!
8/2 On board, Hugh, Henry and Doris. Same weather as 8/1 – rough – but no scuppers (note: an opening in the side walls of a vessel, allows water to drain instead of pooling ) awash this time – good trip.
8/6 Out to Lake St. Clair – Henry and Doris – fussed! – back to dock!
8/7 Out again. Henry and Doris. No fuss – anchored off Riverside, Canada.
8/8 Hugh, Henry and Doris out in choppy St. Clair to Belle River – much fighting waves – found Belle River jammed with boats – docked cooly – tied with many a rope.
8/9 Awoke Sunday to brisk wind over starboard stern – very heavy seas- warped her around cooly at dock – rolled madly as soon as we left breakwater – white caps – 2-4 feet rolling waves – made 4-5 mph on jib, alone until wind died at Peche Isle – waves rolled under all the way – captain did masterful job of keeping course and running directly in front of large swells which increased our speed 1 mph when they passed under us – sort of a roller coasted ride home – with accent on the roll! Good trip!
END OF LOG
“Jilo fast asleep on our sailboat while Henry and Hugh babysit”
The only thing I remember about this visit of my daughter and myself to the boat is that we didn’t go out on the river because Jilo was too little for a life jacket. She was about a year old.
Not long after, they sold the boat. Henry had pictured solitary days of sailing, stopping here and there to enjoy the peace and quiet. Unfortunately there were always many other boats out there.
Marine Chart of the area covered in the Log.
World War 2 began in 1939. On Sept 16, 1940 the US Selective Service instituted draft registration. Not long after this photograph was taken, my uncle Hugh Cleage and his three brothers registered for the draft. On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The United States declared war on Japan. Three days later Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
Black men were excluded entirely from the Air Corps and the Marines. In the Navy they were restricted to the role of messmen. In the army black soldiers were totally segregated. Training camps were in the south. Officers were all white. Racism was rampant and often reported in the black press. My father and his brothers decided they could not and would not live in that situation.
My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr, who was enrolled in Oberlin Seminary, was not drafted . Ministers, priests and seminarians were automatically exempt. My uncle Dr. Louis Cleage was a physician. He went down and tried to enroll in the navy as a doctor. He was refused because the only role for black men in the navy was as messmen.
My uncles Henry and Hugh claimed the status of conscientious objectors and farmers. Hugh had taken an agricultural course at Michigan State College (now Michigan State University).
On June 16, 1941 there was a small item in the Daily Telegram of Adrian, Michigan that the parents of Hugh Cleage visited him at the home of Lloyd Ruesink., a farmer in Adrian, Michigan. In January of that same year, Ruesink advertised for a hired hand. Since anyone I might ask about this is no longer living, I will hazard a guess that Hugh was a hired man and was gaining experience that would stand him in good stead when he and Henry became farmers during WW2.
By 1942, Hugh and Henry, with the help of their family, had purchased a 180 acre farm near Allenton in St. Clair County. They called it Plum Nelly, as in plum out the county, nelly out the state.
Their younger sister, Anna (AKA Pee Wee) sold the eggs in Detroit around the neighborhood. While she was up in Idlewild, she needed someone at home – her mother – to handle the egg route. Like a paper route, but with eggs.
P.S. “Pee Wee” speaking. My egg route book is in my room on the table in the small bookshelf. You know that black book, don’t you? Oh, yes, add Mrs. Duncan on Scotten to Monday’s list.
1. A farmer who resided on his farm and operated it alone was required to have at least eight milk cows.
2. If both a farmer and his son lived on the farm together, 16 animal units were required for the man to obtain deferment.
3. By Feb. 12, 1943, in order to get deferment, the farmer had to raise at least 10 animal units.
4. By May 12, 1943, the farmer had to have at least 12 animal units. Feed for the stock had to be produced on the farm where the resident lived.
Since there was a variety of different types of animals on different types of farms, guidelines were often flexible. For example:
For one milk cow there had to be three beef cows; or four two-year-old steers; or four feed lot cattle; or 16 ewes; or 80 feed lot lambs; or flock of 75 hens; or 250 chickens raised; or 500 broilers; or 40 turkeys raised; or nine hogs raised. Breeding herd was not considered at all.
A typical example if a farmer lived on a farm alone, and had the following stock, he would meet the requirement of eight animal units and would be entitled to deferment: 2 milk cows…2; 18 hogs raised…2; flock of 150 hens…2; raise 250 chickens…1; 16 ewes…1; Total animal units = 8.
I remember hearing stories about the alternating visits Henry and Hugh made to Detroit on holidays, always leaving one on the farm to milk and feed the stock. One of the last stories Henry told me of coming back to the farm after a storm and walking from town (the train) and nearly passing Hugh on the road without recognizing him they were so bundled up.
Once, when Henry and my mother were looking for some land outside of Detroit, we drove up to the former Plum Nelly. It was on the Belle River and I remember my cousin Ernest fell in and got wet. It was a beautiful place and Henry wanted to buy it but it was to become a part of a state park.
Recently I was looking on Newspapers dot com and came across the little item about Hugh Cleage of Allenton, buying a purebred cow.I looked for more the above post is the result.
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.
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.
“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
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
(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.