Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:53am
Sharon Gillespie was born in 1945 and raised by her grandmother in Oklahoma before moving to Ann Arbor with her mother at age nine. She remembers redlining in Ann Arbor and the breakup of the historically Black neighborhood she grew up in. She helped raise two younger sisters while her mother attended ophthalmology school at the University of Michigan. Gillespie excelled in her career as a typesetter at local businesses. After retiring, she has been active in volunteering at homeless shelters and hospice programs. She was married to Raymond Gillespie for 21 years.
Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:10am
Mary Frazier was born in 1910 in Marion, Arkansas, where her father owned a 140-acre cotton farm. She describes sharecropping, Black land-ownership, and the devastating effects of the boll weevil infestation on the cotton industry in the early twentieth century. When her father’s farm went under, she moved to Detroit to live with her aunt in the Black Bottom neighborhood. Over the course of her career, Frazier worked as a domestic laborer, hospital worker, and U.S. Postal Service employee. She completed her high school education at age 83.
Mary Frazier was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.