Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:27pm
Henrietta Edwards was born in 1919 and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma before moving to Ann Arbor in 1941. She and her husband worked at the Willow Run Bomber Plant during World War II, and owned two filling stations—one downtown at N Fourth Avenue and E Ann Street, and one on Highway 23. She celebrated her hundredth birthday with family, friends, and former coworkers and patients from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she worked as a pediatric nurse for 32 years.
For most of the twentieth century, the 100 block of East Ann Street was a hub for black-owned businesses in downtown Ann Arbor. A rotating set of barber shops, shoe shine parlors, dry cleaners, restaurants, blues bars, and pool rooms formed the backbone of black social life, especially for men. The district stretched around the corner onto North Fourth Avenue where the Colored Welfare League housed black-owned businesses and community organizations such as the early Dunbar Center.