Leah Bass-Baylis was born in 1954 in Ypsilanti. Her parents Thomas and Louise Bass–a doctor and teacher–were influential members of Ypsilanti’s Black community. She studied dance at Ypsilanti’s Randazzo Dance Theater and graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta in 1976. She also holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Change from the University of Southern California. Bass-Baylis was a dancer and choreographer for many Broadway shows, including performing in The Tap Dance Kid. In her later career as an administrator, she developed arts education programs in Los Angeles. She and her husband Doug Baylis have four children.
George D. Goodman was born in 1940 and grew up in Ypsilanti. His father George worked at the Ford River Rouge plant and his mother Thelma owned and operated Goodman’s Fashion Center on Harriet Street. After graduating from Roosevelt School and Eastern Michigan University, he served as a U.S. Army officer in Germany for 5 years. Goodman is best known for being the mayor of Ypsilanti from 1972 to 1982. He was also director of the University of Michigan Opportunity Program and the Michigan Municipal League. He and his wife Judith have been married for sixty years, and they have two sons.
Lois Allen-Richardson was born in 1942 in Ypsilanti, where she remembers attending Harriet Street School and spending time at Parkridge Center. As a young adult, she worked briefly at Goodman’s Fashion Center in the heart of Ypsilanti’s Black business district. Allen-Richardson is an ordained minister and served as a missionary in Haiti and Trinidad. Since 2000 she has been a member of the Ypsilanti City Council, where she has been a strong advocate for the city’s south side. In June 2020, she became Ypsilanti’s first Black woman mayor after the resignation of her predecessor.