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Grayce (Johnson) Blake (1930-1971)

Grayce Evelyn Blake was born on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to Rev. David A. Blake Sr. and Grace Rogers Blake. She attended Jones School and Ann Arbor High School, where her 1948 senior yearbook noted her nickname as simply "Blake". Grayce Blake was an active member of the Bethel AME Church choir, following in the footsteps of her mother, as well as several high school singing groups. Following graduation, she left for Washington D.C. and became a student at Howard University. In 1951 she married a fellow Howard student, Clarence A. Johnson.

Back in Ann Arbor in the late 1950s and 1960s, she was active in supporting urban renewal in her community, as well as human rights and property rights for Black Americans. In a letter to the editor of the Ann Arbor News in 1963, she stated "I do not think the majority group of this cultural center of the world fully understands the racial situation at all." Her marriage ended in 1966, and she petitioned the local court to legally change her name back to Grayce Blake. In 1969, she was elected to the board of directors of the social work agency Family Service of Ann Arbor. Tragically, her life ended at the age of 40 in a winter automobile accident. At the time of her death, November 21, 1971, she was a resident of Ann Arbor and a personnel clerk at the Milan Federal Correctional Institution.

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