Wed, 09/22/2021 - 11:00am
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
Grayce Evelyn Blake was born on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to Rev. David A. Blake Sr. and Grace Rogers Blake. She attended Jones School and Ann Arbor High School, where her 1948 senior yearbook noted her nickname as simply "Blake". Grayce Blake was an active member of the Bethel AME Church choir, following in the footsteps of her mother, as well as several high school singing groups. Following graduation, she left for Washington D.C. and became a student at Howard University.
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.