Thu, 11/04/2021 - 1:17pm
Compilation video from Phase Eight of the Living Oral History Project, in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library and the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. With Dolores and James Turner, Patricia Horne McGee, Laurita Thomas, Lois Allen-Richarson, Mary McDade, Alma Wheeler Smith, Nancy Cornelia Wheeler, Sharon Gillespie and Diana McKnight-Morton.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 11:05am
Dolores Preston Turner was born in Ann Arbor in the early 1940s, and her family lived in a small historically Black neighborhood on Woodlawn Avenue. She graduated from Ann Arbor High School, where she met her future husband, James Turner. She remembers moving into their first apartment in Pittsfield Village as a result of fair housing protests in Ann Arbor in the 1960s. Turner has two master’s degrees and she taught English at Huron High School for 30 years. Dolores and James celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in September 2021.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 11:03am
Patricia Horne McGee was born in 1946 in Ypsilanti, where she attended Perry Elementary and Ypsilanti High School. She recalls the mutual support and accomplishments of many childhood friends and neighbors, and reflects on rising tensions between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Horne McGee has two master's degrees from the University of Michigan and UCLA. She taught child development and social work for fifteen years at Ferris State College and Mercy College. After leaving academia, she worked for the Wayne County Intermediate School District and she was director of Head Start for Washtenaw County.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 11:02am
Laurita Thomas was born in 1950, and her family lived in southwest Detroit and Ontario, California. She attended the University of Michigan and pursued two master’s degrees from Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University. Throughout her career, Thomas has pushed for better career opportunities for women and women of color. She worked at U-M for 47 years, eventually serving as Vice President for Human Resources. A survivor of domestic violence, she regularly shares her story and was president of the board of Safe House Center in Ann Arbor.
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.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:55am
Mary McDade was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1939, but grew up in Ann Arbor. Her parents Albert and Emma Wheeler were active in local politics and civil rights. As a college student, McDade helped found the University of Michigan chapter of the NAACP. She moved to Peoria, Illinois with her husband Joe Billy McDade in 1963. After raising four children, she built a career in law. McDade graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and she has been a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court since 2000.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:53am
Sharon Gillespie was born in 1945 and raised by her grandmother in Oklahoma before moving to Ann Arbor with her mother at age nine. She remembers redlining in Ann Arbor and the breakup of the historically Black neighborhood she grew up in. She helped raise two younger sisters while her mother attended ophthalmology school at the University of Michigan. Gillespie excelled in her career as a typesetter at local businesses. After retiring, she has been active in volunteering at homeless shelters and hospice programs. She was married to Raymond Gillespie for 21 years.
Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:50am
Diana McKnight-Morton was born in 1944 and grew up on West Kingsley Street in a racially mixed neighborhood. Her parents Robert and Adeline Thompson ran a successful carry-out restaurant, DeLong’s Bar-B-Q, on Detroit Street for 38 years. McKnight-Morton got her master’s in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University and became a supervisor for Washtenaw County Employment and Training and Community Services. She has served as a member of the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees since 1994.
Sun, 11/08/2020 - 5:03pm
William Hampton was born in 1948 in Tyler, Texas, and his grandmother was the midwife. He remembers attending church revival picnics, the Texas Rose Festival, and the Juneteenth parade in his hometown. While attending college in Arlington, Texas, he was active in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He went on to launch a Section 8 subsidized housing program in Arlington and in Ann Arbor, where he worked in the community development office. Mr. Hampton has been president of the Ann Arbor chapter of the NAACP since 2005.
Sun, 11/08/2020 - 3:29pm
David Rutledge was born in 1945 in LaFayette, Alabama and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He traces his commitment to public service to his experience protesting a segregated lunch counter as a teenager. He attended Tennessee State University and the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Rutledge has served as Superior Township Supervisor, Ypsilanti State Representative, and as a member of the Washtenaw County Parks Commission and Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees. He dedicates this interview to his parents and his late wife, Gerri.