R – Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr.

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.

Taking photographs.

My father turned 39 on his birthday, June 13, 1950.

In the final assessment of the “Years of Transition and Trial.” the History of St. John’s Congregational Church says:

“In the five years that Mr. Cleage was at St. John’s he increased the church membership and the value of the church property, and enlarged and expanded the community service activities by establishing the St. John’s Community House at 643 Union Street with a completely equipped settlement house plant.

While in Springfield, Mr. Cleage was active in civic affairs, serving on the Executive Committee, the Legal Redress Committee, and the Housing Committee of the NAACP, and participating in the Round Table of the Conference of Christians and Jews, the YMCA, and the American Red Cross. He inaugurated Sunday Cultural Vesper Services and programs. At one of these, Langston Hughes was presented. Mr. Cleage was also a popular speaker and lecturer on New England college campuses.

With the death of Dr. DeBerry and the departure of Mr. Cleage a turbulent perirod in the history of St. John’s Church came to an end, and once again the church set about the task of finding a new minister, one who, perhaps, could close the breach that still divided the congregation.”

From Prophet of the Black Nation by Hiley H. Ward ©1969 United Church Press, pg 66.

Kristin (me) and father photographer in mirror

Although much of his time was taken up with the church and community activities, my father found time to make an excellent photographic record of his two daughters time in Springfield. He took so many photographs of my sister and me during our years in Springfield. Before we were born he took many photographs of our mother, Doris Graham Cleage. Afterwards she only appears in a few along with us. Perhaps she didn’t have the time to pose any more. Perhaps we were just so interesting. As I put this series together, I wondered what her thoughts were about it.

This shot was taken in our living room in the parsonage of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass. For years I never noticed my father reflected in the mirror. I looked everywhere for that teapot in later years but it was lost in one of the various moves. It was blue with a gold design over it. The couch was with us for many years. By Christmas of 1950, the cushions had been replaced or recovered with red leather like fabric which is how they were until the couch disappeared from my life. I remember that table, which was also around for a long time. And those little plastic records my sister and I used to play on our parents’ record player and then on our own little phonograph.

My father’s life in photos. Done for his 100 birth anniversary.
Bertram and the Ticklish Rhinoceros

Click this link Bertram and the Ticklish Rhinoceros to find some of the pages and illustrations from the book.

Q – Quiet Naps

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.

Naps were a regular part of my day back then. Usually I fell asleep because I remember several times when I woke up and nobody seemed to be around. Once I wandered down the hall and found the movie “The Thief of Baghdad” being shown. I came in just as the genie was coming out of the bottle and it was quite frightening. I didn’t see the rest of the movie.

Another time I woke up and, again no one was around. This time I heard music and noise outside and went out to find that the church was holding a carnival with rides and I don’t know what else. I think there was even a ferris wheel like the one my sister got for Christmas that year. I seem to have had my nightgown on and was hustled back into the house.

Kris, Dee Dee, Barbara. Pearl was napping

In the photographs at my grandparents in Detroit, Pearl doesn’t appear in some of them and my grandmother wrote on the back and speculated that she must have still been sleeping from her nap.

Dee Dee and Kris have a chat while Pearl makes a get-away and Barbara sleeps

The same happened in Springfield when my cousin Barbara didn’t appear in the photo, my mother guessed she was still asleep from her nap.

The Naughty Little Guest

I remember this little 2 x 3 inch book. The picture I remember is of the writing on the walls that was done by the naughty little guest, who was actually the little goat’s imaginary friend, ie herself.

P – Pearl’s Memory

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.

My father’s heading in the photo album page of snow photos.

My younger sister Pearl’s only memory of Springfield was of “Snow!!!! I remember looking through the front door glass and seeing snow on the porch all the way down the front walk and drifted against the car!”

I also have a memory of looking out of the door at snow up to the porch.

Winter 1949 Kris (me) and Pearl. Springfield, MA
St. John’s in the snow. 1949
Pearl and Kristin on Christmas 1950.

Photographs taken on Christmas day are the only ones I have of snow during 1950. There must have been some unphotographed snow earlier in the winter, because we are standing on the remnants.

Pantaloon

 

O – Opposed Anti-Red Bill

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.

Springfield Union 9/24/1950 Transcribed below

Mason, Merriam, Mr. Cleage Assail M’Carran Anti-Red Bill, Urge Veto

Opposition to the McCarran Communist-control bill and approval of President Truman’s veto of it were expressed on the radio yesterday by several citizens.

Calls it Undemocratic

Councilman Paul R. Mason called the bill “extremely detrimental to the entire structure of democracy. If in attempting to defeat communism, we employ undemocratic tactics, then democracy is the loser.”

Rev. Albert B. cleage, Jr, minister of St. John’s Congregational Church, said the Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, AFL and several church groups have denounced the bill.

Thornton W. Merriam, dean of Springfield College, said “my love for my country, it’s history and its ideals, prompts me to warn you (citizens of Western Massachusetts) that a great menace hovers over us all. This menace is the McCarran bill.”

Sees Bill Repressive

He called its provisions “repressive and undemocratic” foresees that the liberties “we have considered our birth right for 200 years” would be done away with.

The speakers urged that letters he sent Sens. Lodge and Saltonstall urging them to uphold the veto.

Published in USA between 1923 and 1978 with no copyright in original publication, public domain. Click to enlarge.

You can read more about this issue at this link McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 (1950)

Me and snow.
Once Upon a Wintertime

N – Negro Vet Beaten

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.

Rev. A. B. Cleage, Jr

Negro Veteran Beaten By Cop, Klein Claims

Police Deny His Charges; NAACP Silent Until Probe Finished

Springfield Union Nov 1, 1950. Pg 26

About 500 flyers charging a Springfield police officer with the brutal beating of a Negro veteran, were circulated yesterday by the Progressive Party of Springfield, according to its chairman, Richard M. Klein.

The flyer charges that Orris Williams was stopped by an officer while going to his car from his house on Monroe St. and taken to a back lot and hit twice in the mouth. The flyer charges that protest have been made to the police chief and nothing has been done.

Deputy Police Chief Francis M. Gallagher stated last night that he had received the protest from Williams and as he does in the case of all such protests, made a through investigation. He said that he had questioned all persons involved and had found no evidence that the officer in question had struck Williams or was in any manner brutal.

Klein stated last night that the matter had been taken to the Legal Redress Committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Rev. Albert Cleage, chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the NAACP stated that he has a statement from Williams, but that the NAACP will make no comment until its investigation is complete.

Springfield Union Nov 1, 1950. Pg 26

Noises and Mr. Flibberty-Jib

M – Milkman

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.

Looking out of my bedroom window
early in the morning, I would 
watch the milk man with his
horse and wagon go down the street
I must have been two because
when my sister was born we moved, and
my bedroom was in the back of the house,
with no window on the street.

He left our milk in a gray tin box on
the back porch. That was in Springfield. Later,
when we moved to Detroit, we had
a milk chute on the side of the house.
It had a little door on the inside and a little door on the
outside so the milkman, who now drove a truck,
could put the milk in and we could get it
out on the other side. On cold winter
mornings, the frozen milk
rose up over the top of the brown bottle.
For years I saved milk caps in a kitchen
drawer. Just saved them, never did anything with them.

After the heroin epidemic came, everybody sealed up
those milk chutes so no skinny thieves could
climb in the house that way.
You can see the tin milk box behind me and my dolls.
Mr. Bear Squash-you-all-flat

L – Leaves

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.

Pearl, our mother Doris, Kristin (Me). October 1950. Springfield, Massachusetts

Now and Then

Golden leaves fell in the bushes 
overnight brightening my yard. 
Behind my eyes, 
I walk beside a river 
with my mother.  Trees all golden. 
A dog splashes in the water, 
 shakes  himself . 
My four year old self 
watches.
Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather

K – Korean War

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.

Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr on the steps of St. John’s Church.

My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, spoke up for peace consistently throughout his life. In 1948 he signed a A Plea for Peace – April 1948. In 1966 he ran for Congress on a platform against the War in Vietnam, Cleage for Congress – 1966 and his church ran a draft counseling program to help those who did not want to go into the military and fight in Vietnam. As I recall, he signed petitions for peace while he was in college in the 1940s, before WW 2, unfortunately I have no documentation and no one is left to ask.

I thought it was interesting that at the same time as Rev. Cleage was opposing war, his cousin was one of the “Negro Troops” in the middle of the war. John Harvey, Jr. was the son of my father’s first cousin, Marie who was the daughter of my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage‘s sister Sarah Reed Busby.

Newsletter Urges End to War in Korea, UN Seat for China

Dean Merriman, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. Among Authors of New Peace Movement Publication

Click to enlarge

Urging an immediate cease fire movement of Korea by both sides and the seating of “New China” in the United Nations, a group here yesterday launched “a peace movement” by sending out an “information bulletin” quoting excerpts from various magazine and newspaper articles attacking Gen. Douglas MacArthur and President Rhee of South Korea.

The group backing the pamphlet is mad up of Dean Thornton W. Merriam of Springfield College, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr. of Springfield College, Maxwell H. Tasgal, Charles H. Haygood and Prof. Frank A. Warren of Springfield College.

The bulletin claims that the press in America beats the drums for war but in the “avalanche of war propaganda” a voice appears now and then which tells the truth. Among the organs quoted in criticism of Gen MacArthur’s action in Korea and President Rhee are the Associated Press, Catholic Irish Times, Manchester Guardian, The Nation, New York Compass and several radio commentators.

“W e are moving along the road toward casually lists too horrible to envisage.” says the bulletin. “The time is late but it is not too late to halt the slaughter of Americans, of Koreans, of Chinese and of all peoples. Peace in Korea is the first step toward peace throughout the world. Work and fight for peace in Korea.”

The bulletin urges that the citizens make their views known to President Truman, Secretary of State Acheson, and United Nations representative Warren R. Austin. Besides asking for cease fire orders in Korea, citizens should urge, it asserts, that a conference of all parties to the dispute in Korea including North and South Korea and New China be held.

It says that there is great danger the the “little war in Korea.” will turn into “a big war with China.”

Prof. Warren said last night that the movement is “purely local.”

Springfield Union – Dec. 22, 1950 Page 24
The Color Kittens

J – June Visit to Detroit

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.

In June we visited our grandparents and cousins in Detroit. I remember a train trip, perhaps on this trip. There was bacon and being car sick. The only Cleage cousin born at that point, Warren Evans, was living in another state, so we didn’t see him, but we saw the Elkins! And all the grandparents. I wish I had a photograph of my Cleage grandparents on that trip. After reading my C – Cleage post, I realized we probably went in May to attend my Aunt Barbara Cleage’s wedding.

We visited my mother’s parents, the Grahams, on the near east side of Detroit where we played with our cousins in the backyard.

Barbara Elkins on our grandfather Mershell Graham’s lap, Kristin Cleage (with doll), Dee Dee Elkins, our grandmother Fannie Graham. In the backyard.
Barbara looking like she wants to sit in the wagon too. Pearl pointing at ?
In the wagon, Pearl Cleage (17 months) and Barbara Elkins (2). Standing in the back Kris (3) with her doll and Dee Dee (6).
Kristin, Dee Dee and Barbara making mud cakes, my grandmother wrote on the back. Pearl napping

We also visiting my father’s parents, our Cleage grandparents, on the West Side of Detroit. I am still holding that doll. Who crocheted that dress, I wonder. Was it a gift when I arrived or did I bring it with me? We look like we are ready for church. I remember that purse. It was a miniature version of the purse the church secretary had. Brown leather with a little gold clasp.

Pearl and Kris. With dolls.
Me perhaps after church, holding the doll.
The Tale of Jeremy Gay. At the end of the book there was a flap that was a door. When you opened it there was a friend for Jeremy Gray. There was supposed to be a photo of the child who owned the book pasted in there. In my case, the friend remained the drawing in that space.

I – I Was There!

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.

I wrote about being in the 1950 Census ten years ago. Let’s see what I got right and what I got wrong. The first post was I was there.

My father, Albert B. Cleage, was 38 years old and he had worked 60 hours during the past week a pastor of a Congregational Church, not a Methodist church as it says in the 1950 census. He was born in Indiana. He and all members of the family were identified as Negro.

Census Sheet from 1950 Census Archives. Some people were asked extra questions. The red line leads from those family members to the extras. Pearl actually appeared on the next page, but for ease of viewing, I’ve added her to this page. Click to enlarge.

My mother, Doris G. Cleage, was 27. She was a housewife and her hours were not recorded. She was born in Michigan. She got to answer the extra questions and they show that the family lived in the same place the year before and that she had completed 4 years of college.

I, Kristin, was three years old. My younger sister Pearl who appears on the next page, was 1. We were both born in Massachusetts.

So, I didn’t get anything wrong, although the census did, getting the denomination wrong.

I Can Fly

I remember reading this book to my younger cousin Marilyn years later. She eventually memorized the book.

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I’m ’m also participating in the Genealogy Blog 1950s Blog Party hosted by Elizabeth Swanay O’Neal, “The Genealogy Blog Party: Back to the 1950s,” Heart of the Family™ https://www.thefamilyheart.com/genealogy-blog-party-1950s/