Sun, 11/08/2020 - 9:27am
Thekla Mitchell: Thekla White was born in 1921 in Newport, Arkansas, the youngest of nine siblings. At age 22, she traveled to Ann Arbor to visit her sister. After getting a job at Cunningham’s Drug Store, she decided to stay. She worked at the University of Michigan Hospital as a nurses’ aid and laboratory assistant in the Pathology Department for 24 years. Known as “Dimples” to friends and family, Mrs. Mitchell was active in community organizations including the Ann Arbor Civic Club and the Order of the Eastern Stars.
Sun, 11/08/2020 - 9:25am
Harold Simons was born in 1946 and he grew up in Ann Arbor. He was inspired by Jones School teacher Harry Mial to become a teacher and coach. A standout basketball player for Ann Arbor High, he went on to play at Eastern Michigan University. He was the freshman basketball coach there before becoming head coach at Huron High for 20 years. Mr. Simons reflects on race relations and generational differences in Ann Arbor. He and his wife Ethel have been married for 53 years.
Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:30pm
Hortense Howard was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1927. Soon afterwards, her family moved to Ann Arbor, where she and her sisters became known as the “Bacon Sisters” for their choral performances at sorority houses and other venues. Ms. Howard attended a music school in Detroit because she “wanted to sing like Sarah Vaughan,” and she met many African American singers while working at the Gotham Hotel. She ran her own daycare, Sitters Unlimited Family Day Care, in Ann Arbor for twenty years.
Tue, 07/24/2018 - 12:12pm
Gwendolyn Calvert Baker was born in 1931. She talks about growing up in Ann Arbor where she began her distinguished career teaching at Wines Elementary and winning Teacher of the Year. She was also faculty at the University of Michigan’s School of Education; National Executive Director of the YWCA; a member of the New York School Board; and president and CEO of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Sun, 09/11/2016 - 12:57pm
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Shirley Beckley was born on July 30, 1942. She was raised by her mother on Wall St. and attended Jones School, Mack School, and Bach Schools in Ann Arbor. Shirley started as a housing manager for the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, later becoming housing director in Lansing and Muskegon. She reminisces about working at Jacobson’s, dances at the Dunbar Center, businesses on Fourth Avenue and Ann Streets, and tense racial incidents in the schools. Shirley continues to be deeply involved in social justice issues at the local level.