Tag Archives: Linwood

Central Congregational Holds First Service in New Edifice

Transcription of an article by Robert L. Crump, which you can find at the bottom of this page and at this link to the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” where the archive of The Detroit Tribune can be found. Detroit Tribune September 28, 1957. I have added photographs from my personal collection and corrected typos. Please do not reuse without permission and linking to this blog.

The original stained glass window, later replaced by Glaton Dowdell’s painting of The Black Madonna in 1967.

The day was hesitant, it’s disposition undecided. Sunlight broke though the clouds only to be shut out again. People walked through the streets aimlessly and carefree – but inside the Central Congregational Church there was no aimlessness, no hesitancy or indecision. The congregation was observing its “Home Coming Day,” their first service in a new building.

Those chimes you heard before entering the church were played by brother (Henry). Inside you listened to the moving musical prelude by Mrs. Dorothy Blaylock, organist. George Branham knew. He expressed the sentiments of all when he sang, “Bless This House”.

James W. Stephens accepting the key from Rev. Wilcox.

Then came the formal presentation of the key by David M. Brewster and Jack B. Paul representing Brewster Pilgrim Congregational Church; and accepting for Central was answer to the supplication of James W. Stephens.

The choir. Director Oscar Hand front row far right.

As though they knew the “Bless This House,” the choir under the capable direction of Oscar R. Hand did the anthem “Praise To God” beautifully.

As you look to the altar you see a magnificent twenty to twenty five feet stained glass window. It is truly a masterpiece. The coloring is so tremendous that even when the sun isn’t shining on it, it still maintains vivid color life.

To the right of this window on the rostrum, Saturday Dr. Edward W. Wilcox for the congregational association on the left sat a man, who’s “dream” is now, reality, after four and one half years.

Now it was his turn to say “thank you” to those who had placed their shoulders to the wheel both physically and financially. I, and not I alone, watched him as he walked to the pulpit, he stood for a second and braced himself against the object that has for centuries been the symbol of self dedication.

Instead of the Ram that was tied in the thicket as in the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac he was offering himself as a living sacrifice, and dedicating.

Four members who died before the congregation moved into the new church.

He mentioned the names of four people who have passed, Mrs. Willie Strauther, Mrs. Mabel Clarry, Mrs. Eleanor Hughes and his beloved father. Albert Cleage, Sr. The timber of his voice changed at the mention of his dad. I realize it was extremely difficult to hold back the tears. His mother, Mrs. Cleage Sr. in an effort to help, turned her head and her eyes from him, two sisters in the choir hoped almost in available tones he would not break another sister and three brothers in the congregation did the same, and in a split second the power of combined prayer was manifested.

He spoke of the great friendship that still exists between Plymouth Congregational Church and Central; also the debt of gratitude that cannot be paid to the Rev. Horace A. White of Plymouth for his encouragement and advice during Central’s trying times.

He talked of the church’s position in the community, of the Ministers role in the church some of the development of a Christ like community’ like being able to look your worst enemy in the face and honestly see good in him. Then, “This Man” mentioned Nashville, and Little Rock and the disturbance that was taking place.

He spoke of Faubus and Ike and as he did my thoughts sort of wandered to three words, “Faith, Hope and Charity.” and another line, “But the Greatest of these is “Love”. Then with Rare Richness and tonal beauty Melvin Thompson sang, “I talked to God last night.”

While he sat listening to the solo and looking over the filled auditorium I know he believed in the inscription on the alter, “Love Never Faileth.”.

I had the pleasure of again shaking the hand of a man who’s dream was now a reality: The Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. minister of the Central Congregational Church 7625 Linwood Ave. at Hogarth.

Click to enlarge

“L” is for Linwood

This post continues a series using the Alphabet to go through streets that were significant in my life as part of the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge.

Linwood was woven through my life from the time we moved on Calvert, between Linwood and Lawton, 1954 until I moved from Detroit in 1972. If I have done blog posts on the spot already, I will provide a link to the earlier post.

To view Linwood, Detroit in a larger map, click on the blue link.


13211 Linwood – Toni’s School of Dance Arts
I was about 9 when we started taking Saturday ballet classes at Toni’s School of Dance Arts. They went on for several years. We wore blue tutus, black ballet slippers shoes and white ankle socks. There was a bar and a wall of mirrors. I learned the five ballet positions and to point my toe. Each year culminated in a big recital at the Detroit Institute of Arts. On the Saturday before the recital all the students  spent the day at Toni’s so that the entire program could be gone through. Those not performing would wait outside in the walled in yard of the studio. It was crowded and hot. For the performance one year we wore white calf length dresses, net over satin fabric. The next year we wore  net tutus. I had bright blue.  My sister’s was bright green.  My mother thought the costumes were getting too expensive. I don’t remember minding when we stopped going about the time we moved off of Calvert.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of myself wearing a dance outfit but I picture the me in this photograph wearing a black leotard and blue tutu, white anklets and black ballet slippers.

The Black Conscience Library building with photos. From L to R. My dog Big, Phil, Dewy (later Chimba Omari), Malik, Miriam, Jim, Me, Longworth.  Downstairs was the deserted bakery that took up two spaces. I put our sign over one and a very small, poorly stocked grocery store owned and run by a Jordanian. He was robbed numerous times while we were there.

12019 Linwood – Black Conscience Library
The Black Conscience Library was located here from the winter of 1969 to the spring 1970. In addtion to a small collection of books there were classes and movies related to black history, culture and freedom struggles in various parts of the world. For more read – Once I Worked In A Sewing Factory.


Roosevelt Elementary School
I attended 2nd through 6th grade here. My mother taught Social Studies there from 1954 through 1965. We also cut across the athletic field from Linwood to get to and from Roosevelt. The building is no longer there.

Durfee Junior High School
I attended half of the 7th grade at Durfee. I learned to swim in the pool. The school address is not on Linwood but, the back of the school is.

Athletic Field
We walked across here to get to school when we lived on Calvert between Linwood and Lawton. I remember a neighbor lost her boot in the snow cutting across this field in 2 feet of snow. Once my sister and I went with our mother to fly kites here.

We lived in the upstairs flat. This is how the house looked in 2004.

2705 Calvert between Linwood and Lawton.  I lived here, from 1954 to 1959. We bought penny candy and fudgesicles (ice cream on a stick), from a store on the corner of Linwood and Calvert, walked to school down linwood and at times walked blocks and blocks to activities at church. Read more here – “C” Is For Calvert.

Black Christ at Sacred Heart Seminary

Linwood and Chicago Blvd.Detroit Rebellion Journal – 1967.  During the 1967 riot, this statue belonging to Sacred Heart Seminary was painted black. It was repainted white and then repainted black. It has stayed black right through to the present.  You can also find more photographs of the statue here.

Street Crossing

Street crossing
I crossed the street here at Linwood and Joy Road when I attended Brady Elementary School for kindergarden and part of 1st grade.  There was also a block with the bank my mother used and the dime store we spent our pennies, one block down. The photo is looking across Linwood to Joy Road. Read more here “A” Is For Atkinson.

Central United Church of Christ

Shrine of the Black Madonna.   Formerly Central Congregational Church. The church I grew up in, pastored by my father Rev. Albert B. Cleage,Jr/Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman Read more here – “H” is for Linwood and Hogarth.