Ann Arbor News, March 4, 1975
ROSE MARTIN, standing, is a mover and shaker when it comes to Operation Education, a project she founded to provide children living in low-income housing with opportunities to take educational trips to historical and cultural landmarks. One way that funds are raised for the trips are soul food dinners, for which she, the children and their parents do the cooking. Assisting her, from left, are Joey Bond, Annie Blair and Lynda Burrows.
Operation Education Children Learn How To Prepare Collard Greens, February 1975 Photographer: Jack Stubbs
Diana McKnight-Morton was born in 1944 and grew up on West Kingsley Street in a racially mixed neighborhood. Her parents Robert and Adeline Thompson ran a successful carry-out restaurant, DeLong’s Bar-B-Q, on Detroit Street for 38 years. McKnight-Morton got her master’s in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University and became a supervisor for Washtenaw County Employment and Training and Community Services. She has served as a member of the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees since 1994.
David Rutledge was born in 1945 in LaFayette, Alabama and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He traces his commitment to public service to his experience protesting a segregated lunch counter as a teenager. He attended Tennessee State University and the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Rutledge has served as Superior Township Supervisor, Ypsilanti State Representative, and as a member of the Washtenaw County Parks Commission and Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees. He dedicates this interview to his parents and his late wife, Gerri.
Sandra Wray-McAfee was born in Durham, North Carolina. Her father ran a taxicab business and was a talented brick mason and carpenter. Her mother taught elementary school. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan and went on to teach in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at the University of Michigan Dearborn for 21 years. She retired in 2008.
Sandra Wray-McAfee was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2016 as part of the Legacies Project.
Mary June Bennett was born in 1922 in Evanston, Illinois. She grew up in Ann Arbor and Birmingham, Michigan during the Prohibition Era. After attending the University of Michigan, she joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and graduated from midshipman’s school at Smith College in 1944. She was photo editor of the U.S. Navy’s All Hands Magazine. She had three children with her first husband, Maxwell Matthews, and after their divorce she married Clyde “Buck” Bennett in 1967. She was a family therapist for 25 years. She passed away in 2016.
Clyde “Buck” Bennett was born in 1918 in Houdathotit, Alabama. When he was 10, his family moved to Birmingham, Michigan. He attended Birmingham High school and two years at Antioch College, where he gained experience in sales and newspaper advertising. Bennett served in World War II, and returned to Michigan to work for the Jam Handy Organization and Chrysler Advertising. Later in life he switched careers to become CEO of the Bennett Realtors and Commercial Development Company in Deland, Florida. He passed away on January 25, 2020.
June and Clyde Bennett were interviewed as part of an internship at Applied Safety and Ergonomics in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.
Larry Hunter was born in 1951 and has lived in both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. He’s worked in public service for years, served on Ann Arbor City Council, and earned a Juris Doctor degree in law in 2000. Larry recalls how he became politically active as a young man, organizing walkouts at his high school as a leader in the Black Student Union, as well as his involvement with the Black Panthers.
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Tessie Ola Freeman was born June 19, 1924 in Alabama and has lived in Washtenaw County since 1947. An avid lover of poetry and spectator sports, Ms. Freeman raised three children while doing domestic work and dressing hair to supplement her family’s income. Ms. Freeman is proud of her children and encouraged them to get an education, even going so far as to enroll at Wayne State University at the same time her youngest son. Ms. Freeman has always spoken for herself and she’s proud to share her story.
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Johnny W. Barfield was born February 8, 1927, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a child he sold soap house to house and, after tenth grade, joined the U.S. Army where he served in France and Germany. After leaving the Army in 1947, Mr. Barfield became a wall washer for the University of Michigan, where hard work, entrepreneurship, and innovation helped him build the largest cleaning business in Ann Arbor. Mr. Barfield is widely recognized for his philanthropic work and support of the African American and business communities.