Carl James Johnson was born in 1945 in Willow Run, Michigan. His family moved to Ann Arbor when he was seven years old, after his mother suffered a stroke. He attended Jones School and Tappan Junior High and participated in the French Dukes drill team in the early 1960s. Johnson served in Vietnam in the Navy Seabees unit, where his drill experience spared him from direct action. For most of his career he worked as a caterer at the University of Michigan and Domino Farms. He celebrates his Black and Native American heritage by volunteering on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Michael Thomas Bass was born in 1945 to Thomas and Louise Bass. His parents–a doctor and a teacher–were influential members of Ypsilanti’s Black community. Bass excelled in football, basketball, and track. He was senior class president of Ypsilanti High School in 1963. He received a BA in Education from the University of Michigan. Bass is best known for playing in the National Football League for the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) from 1969 to 1975. After retiring from the NFL, Bass ran a resort in the Bahamas. He and his wife Rosita now reside in Florida and they have two daughters, Kimberly and Louise.
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.
William A. Henderson was born in 1943 in Ann Arbor to William and Viola Henderson. After graduating from Ann Arbor High School and Eastern Michigan University, Henderson enlisted in the Marine Corps and went through naval aviator training. He flew in 125 combat missions during the Vietnam War and was a forward air controller with the infantry. He advanced through the ranks and in 1996 became the first Black pilot to achieve the status of Major General in the Michigan Air National Guard. He was also Chief Pilot at General Motors. He and his wife Francine have two children, Justin and Nicole.
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.