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Legacies Project Oral History: Herb David

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 10:05am

Herb David was an Ann Arbor luthier.  Originally a research psychologist, David was taught how to make and repair stringed instruments by his mentor, Sarkis "Sam" Varjebedian.  At the age of 30, David started Herb David Guitar Studio, a shop where he produced, repaired, and sold guitars, dulcimers, harps, banjos, and many other types of stringed instruments.  He passed away on July 25, 2020.

Herb David was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2016 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Sandra Wray-McAfee

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:26am

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.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Shirley Northcross

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:21am

Shirley Northcross was born in 1936 and grew up near Dayton, Ohio. Her father ran the Miami View Golf Course, and she recalls visits from famous athletes like Joe Louis. She was the first Black student to graduate from Fairmont High School in Kettering, Ohio. After getting a degree in physical education from Michigan State University, Northcross started out a substitute teacher and a counselor for the Camp Fire Girls of America. She taught physical education at Northwestern High School in Detroit for over 30 years.

Shirley Northcross was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Shirley and David Northcross

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:20am

Shirley and David Northcross have been married for over 50 years. They met in the late 1950s at Michigan State University, where Shirley played field hockey and David played football. They were married in Shirley’s hometown, Dayton, Ohio. After a few years in California while David was in the Marine Corps, they returned to his hometown, Detroit. David was a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch and Shirley taught physical education at Northwestern High School. They had three boys who were active in swimming and baseball. Shirley and David coached Little League for 19 years, and they enjoyed playing golf and tennis.

Shirley and David Northcross were interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Roberta Wright

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:17am

Roberta Hughes Wright was born in 1922 and grew up in Detroit. She attended Howard University at age 15 and completed her bachelor's degree at Wayne State University. During the course of her career she was an X-ray technician, teacher, school social worker, and probate attorney. She earned her PhD from the University of Michigan and a JD from Wayne State. After the passing of her first husband Wilbur B. Hughes II, she married Charles H. Wright, founder of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. She wrote several books, including an autobiography titled Reflections of My Life and Lay Down Body: Living History in African American Cemeteries. She passed away on April 2, 2019.

Roberta Hughes Wright was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Pamela Schultz

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:15am

Pamela Shultz was born in 1925 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She attended Florida State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Psychology. She married Edwin (Ted) Shultz in 1946, and they moved to the Detroit area soon afterwards. Shultz got her master’s in Special Education from the University of Michigan and taught developmentally disabled children in Livonia schools and the Plymouth State Home in the 1960s and 70s. She passed away on January 30, 2015.

Pamela Shultz was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Opal Simmons

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:14am

Opal Simmons was born in 1931 in Detroit. After graduating from Eastern High School, she attended Fisk University and Wayne State University. She lived in New York for a few years as a young woman and recalls attending dances at the Savoy. She volunteered as a letter reader for the American Red Cross during World War II. During her working years in Detroit, she was secretary to the deputy mayor in the Coleman A. Young administration. Richard Simmons Jr. became her second husband. Later in life, she attended seminary and became a minister.

Opal Simmons was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Nellie Hill Trapp

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:13am

Born in 1922, Nellie Harrell grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She began dancing at age 14, and moved to New York City a few years. During the height of her career as a noted singer, dancer, and entertainer, she went by her married name Nellie Hill. Hill performed in early music videos called “soundies,” appeared on the cover of Jet Magazine, and frequented Black clubs such as New York’s Kelly’s Stables and Detroit’s Flame Show Bar and 20 Grand. In the 1950s she married James Trapp and had three children. After retiring, she volunteered at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Nellie Trapp was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Nancy Taylor

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:12am

Nancy Emmons Taylor was born in 1941 and grew up in Luxmanor, Maryland. She attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She married Thomas Taylor soon after graduating, and they had two children. She received her Masters from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. When their children had graduated from high school, the Tayors moved to London for 12 years. Thomas was the administrator of an international Quaker program and Nancy was the warden of the Quaker meeting house and ran a program for international diplomats.

Nancy Taylor was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2014 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Mary Martin

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:11am

Mary Dyson Martin was born in 1914 in Dallas, Texas. Her grandmother had been enslaved in Tennessee, and she grew up conscious of that legacy. Martin graduated from Fisk University and got her masters in library science at the University of Illinois. She taught swimming lessons for the YWCA Girl Reserves during the summers. She was a high school librarian in Gary, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan for over thirty years. Her husband was a doctor and a World War II veteran. They were married for 47 years and had two children.

Mary Martin was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.