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AACHM Oral History: Thekla Mitchell

Thekla Mitchell

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.

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Ann Street Black Business District

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.

Man Stabbed At Restaurant

Man Stabbed At Restaurant image
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100 Block of E. Ann St., March 1954

100 Block of E. Ann St., March 1954 image
Published In:
Ann Arbor News, November 30, 1953
WHAT CITY HALL WOULD REPLACE: This is the business block the proposed new city hall would replace if it is erected in the 100 block of E. Ann St. The welter of small stores and apartments on the second and third floors has been labeled a fire hazard by those seeking passage of the city hall proposals on April 5. Out of sight at the right is the new Courthouse, now under construction. Mayor William E. Brown, jr., is leading the move to build a city hall on this site.