Tag Archives: #Pearl Reed Cleage

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

Pearl Doris Reed Cleage Animated

My paternal grandmother, Pearl Reed Cleage was born 135 years ago in Lebanon, Kentucky, the youngest of Annie Reed’s 8 children. She married Dr. Albert B. Cleage in Indianapolis, IN in 1910 and they had seven amazing children, including my father, who they raised in Detroit, MI.

She was a small woman who looked sweet as pie and had a backbone of steel. She didn’t begin to run down until she broke her hip in her 80s. In 1982, my grandmother Pearl died of congestive heart failure in Idlewild, Michigan.

I made this animation from the photo below using My Heritage, Deep Nostalgia. It was taken about 1900 when she was 16.

In 2018 I did a series of blog posts based on my grandmother’s letters. You can find the series here Pearl Reed Cleage’s Letters 1903-1905.

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

E – ELECTION 1920

1920 was the first election that my grandmothers, Fannie Mae Turner Graham and Pearl Doris Reed Cleage, were able to vote. It was also the first election in which my grandfather Mershell C. Graham was able to vote. Before that election he lived in Alabama, where black people did not have the vote until the 1960s.

My grandfather Albert B. Cleage had been living in the north since 1907, and so would have been able to vote in the 1908, 1912, 1916 and 1920 elections.

Family members who still lived in Tennessee and Alabama, men or women, still could not vote in the 1920 election.

With all the voting rights and demonstrations happening during the 1960s, I cannot believe I never talked to my grandparents about how they felt when they could finally vote.

An article from the Detroit Free Press about the women’s vote.

The 1920 election seemed to be about as confused and contentious as today’s election.

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.

Pearl’s Letters – An Index

My Grandmother’s Letters
Finding The Letters
The Letters – The People
May 17, 1903 – Evangeline
July 3, 1903 – Hot Weather and A Train Trip
December 21, 1903 – Invitation to Christmas Dinner
January 27, 1904 – Illness and The True Reformers
January 31, 1904 – Misunderstood & Helping Homer Forget
February 7, 1904 – Evil Thoughts
March 8, 1904 – Guitar and Piano Lessons
March 17, 1904 – A New Address and The Mullins Move to Michigan
April 7, 1904 – Mother Very Ill, Minnie’s New Address
April 12, 1904 – Mother Ill Again
May 27, 1904 – Happy For Homer’s Speedy Return
June 16, 1904 – Minnie Coming to Visit
August 24, 1904 – An Entertainment
Aug 29, 1904 – An Invitation
November 8, 1904 – Pearl’s Mother Very Ill and Homer Shares “Vitality Supreme”
November 11, 1904 – Homer Advised Not to Visit
December 1, 1904 – Tired of Sarcasm and Baby Arthur Walks!
December 21, 1904 – Would She Be That Selfish?
January 2, 1905 – Mother Ill and Homer In Hot Springs, Arkansas
January 15, 1905 – Mother Better and Homer Describes Mountains
January 18, 1905 – Shall We Cease Writing?
January 27, 1905 – Minnie and Family Visiting, All Are Sick & Pearl Takes a Walk
February 6, 1905 – Pearl Accused of a Flighty Disposition & Illness in Homer’s Family
March 2, 1905 – Delighted With Stereoscopic Views, a Big Fire and Neglect of MacFadden’s Program
March 10, 1905 – Homer Sends Music and 50 Stamps. Hugh Whistles.
March 20, 1905 – Sorry to Read Homer’s Letter
April 21, 1905 – Busy Sewing for Mother’s Trip to Benton Harbor
April 26, 1905 – No Flowers For Easter & A Mystery Cousin
May 22, 1905 – Homer Reckless and Little Eulala Dies of Pneumonia
May 28, 1905 – A Walk, Request For A Photograph & Mother Ill in Benton Harbor.
June 25, 1905 – Pearl Receives Photograph of Homer, Promises to Send Hers in Return
July 11, 1905 – Missing Minnie & Music In The Night
July 16, 1905 – Music Through the Night and A Visit With Homer
July 22, 1905 – Mother Dangerously Ill, Pearl Fixes Hot Lemonade
August 27, 1905 – A Very Short Letter
Sept 7, 1905 – Pearl Sings & The Weather Cools
Oct., 24, 1905 – “Most exasperating of people…”
Oct. 29, 1905 – A Walk Into the Country, A New Aqueduct And A New Post Office
Nov. 28, 1905 – The Last Letter – An Invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner

Pearl Doris Reed Cleage Obituary

PEARL D. CLEAGE, HELPED FOUND ST. JOHN’S CHURCH

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Date: Friday, July 23, 1982     Page: 7 B

Edition: Metro Final     Secton: OBT

Pearl D. Cleage, a founder of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Detroit, died Saturday while vacationing in Idlewild, Mich. She was 94.

Mrs. Cleage, a Detroit resident since 1915, was the widow of the late Dr. Albert B. Cleage SR. and the mother of Reverend Albert B Cleage Jr., minister and founder of the Shrines of the Black Madonna, who began the Black Christian Nationalist movement in Detroit in the late 1960s. The Shrines are in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston.

Mrs. Cleage often lectured on African-American history. She was a member of the Auxiliaries of the Iota Boule and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternities.

Survivors include four sons, the Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., Dr. Louis, Henry and Hugh; three daughters, Barbara Martin, Gladys Evans and Anna Shreve; nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

____________________

Other posts about my paternal grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed Cleage.

Introduction to the letters my grandfather Albert B. Cleage wrote to Pearl Reed before their marriage from 1907 to 1910.

Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s Birthday
Pearl Reed Cleage With Baby Henry
Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage – photographs
Two Newspaper Articles 1908 and 1960
Dr. Albert B. Cleage and Miss Pearl Reed Wed
1940 Census – The Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage Family
Pearl Doris Reed Cleage 1884 – 1982 – Two Photographs
Albert and Pearl Reed Cleage – Cemetery
Albert and Pearl (Reed) Cleage 1922
Grandmother Before the Party – 1971
Oh Dry Those Tears

Nov. 28, 1905 – The Last Letter – An Invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
131 Puryear St. City

2730 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Nov. 28, 1905

Mr. Jarrett,
Dear Homer, You are most cordially invited to take Thanksgiving dinner with us at our home Thurs. Nov. 30th. It will be very informal.

Yours sincerely
Anna Reed

P.S. I neglected to tell you that dinner will be served at “7:00 P.M.”
Anna Reed

_______________

click to enlarge

Oct. 29, 1905 – A Walk Into the Country, A New Aqueduct And A New Post Office

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
Forwarded from French Lick to
131 Puryear St. City

2730 Kenwood
Oct. 29, 1905

Dear Homer;

I wonder what you are doing tonight? Are you at home? I have but just returned home after leaving with Hugh about four o’clock for a walk. O, and it was a walk too Homer! We reached home about nine thirty o’clock.

I enjoyed it though. Everything was and is just beautiful. The trees all shades of yellow and red and the fields with the green and yellow pumpkins lying here and there amid the shocks or stacks of grain. Past groups of cows and horses all of which I gave ample space while Hugh laughed and tried to assure me that they were harmless. And such a lovely sunset!

He took me over the new aqueduct supposed to be the only one of it’s kind in the world. He helped to construct it. We walked on and on until the new moon came to warn us of the end of the day and we then winded our way in downtown stopped at the Dairy Lunch, got a lunch and caught the car and came home. Was to have gone to a friend’s house and from there to church, but Hugh suggested the walk and it just suited me, for it was just cool enough today to walk briskly.

What did you do today I wonder? Tell me about French Lick? Will you? Is it a pretty place? Do you like it there?

I wonder if you are at church now? Hope you are.

Yours Pearl Doras Reed

P.S. O Homer, I forget, did I tell you that the new Post Office was completed? I suppose you read of it in the paper? It is simply grand. I think I have been in it once since it has been completed.

What are you going to do Halloween? Celebrate? I hope you have a pleasant time.

Good night
Pearl

__________________

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Baltimore Dairy Lunch The_Indianapolis_Star_Sat__Sep_10__1904
Baltimore Dairy Bar The_Indianapolis_Star_Sat__Sep_9__1905

Oct., 24, 1905 – “Most exasperating of people…”

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.
Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
French Lick, Indiana

2730 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Oct., 24, 1905

Dear Homer

Most exasperating of people, your difficulties and troubles must have ruined your memory, for you asked me to or why I had not answered your letter and you should know that I wrote last and did so about six or seven weeks ago. Did your tribulations run away with your pen, ink, pencils and paper? You have my sympathy, I am sure.

You know very well that you did not come to French Lick to be near me, of course it sounds nice to be told that but of course you do not mean it Homer.

Where you did not answer my letter I thought you had gone south or some other place and was agreeably surprised to get your letter. Glad you are well and coming home, if “even for a visit” O Homer are you coming? Soon? I am curious you see?

What have you been doing with yourself for so long? Everything? How is your mother? Mine is quite well and sends her best regards to you. She tells me that she will be glad to see you again.

We are having ugly weather here Homer, it is raining now, just a fine penetrating rain that soaks you through.

I suppose I’ve about spoiled your temper Homer so I shall cease.

Pearl Doras Reed

P.S.
Wait a second, please, Homer, mother, just now, tells me to tell you that she wishes you were here now to paint this house, for you know you told her that you painted “houses”. She says she is trying to get ready for you Thanksgiving for she expects to have you out here.

Good night
your
Pearl

_________________