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AACHM Oral History: Essie Shelton

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 4:05pm

Essie Shelton was born in Mississippi in 1930 and moved to Ann Arbor with her father in 1946. She recalls her experience entering an integrated high school for the first time and how she came to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a licensed practical nurse at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Essie also met her husband at the hospital and together they raised three children.

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AACHM Oral History: Premail Freeman

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 3:45pm

Premail Freeman was born in 1947 in Mississippi and later moved to Ypsilanti. He reminisces about his childhood in Ypsilanti and some of the jobs he had growing up. Inspired by friends who ran a successful hair salon, Premail studied cosmetology and eventually opened his own salon where he continues to work to this day. His wife helped him run the business in the early days and together they raised a family of three. 

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AACHM Oral History: Johnnie Rush

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 3:03pm

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

Johnnie Rush was born in 1931 and was the only black person in his class at Ann Arbor High School. He recalls many fond memories of activities with the Second Baptist Church and his family, and he talks about the many challenges for African American businesses as Ann Arbor changed over the years. Mr. Rush is a licensed barber and has run his own barbershop for 55 years.

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AACHM Oral History: James Anderson, Jr.

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 12:59pm

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

James Anderson, Jr., was born on October 23, 1937 and lived on Miner Street where he attended Mack School. James built a career in real estate and recalls the few blocks in the Mack school area where African Americans could live at that time, and how housing has changed over the years, from segregation through today. He remembers the bond drives during WWII and some of the businesses in town. James also worked on behalf of the JCs to establish Washtenaw Community College and was a trustee for 19 years.

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AACHM Oral History: Tessie Freeman

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 2:30pm

Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.

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.