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.
Sun, 11/08/2020 - 1:55pm
Compilation video from Phase Seven 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 Don Simons, Thekla Mitchell, William Hampton, Harold Simons and David Rutledge.
Sun, 11/08/2020 - 1:08pm
Donald L. Simons was born in 1943 and he grew up on Fuller Street in Ann Arbor. He attended Jones School, Ann Arbor High, and Eastern Michigan University. He was a starting football halfback and basketball co-captain in high school, and was recognized as athlete of the month. Mr. Simons recalls segregation and several incidents of discrimination in Ann Arbor. He is proud of his family, his work coaching at the Maxey Boys' Training School and Boysville, and co-hosting the annual neighborhood picnic for 25 years.
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.
Wed, 08/28/2019 - 10:30am
Compilation video from Phase Six 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 Walter Blackwell, Gerald Edwards, Henrietta Edwards, Hortence Howard, and Audrey Monagan.
Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:33pm
Walter Blackwell was born in 1930 in Petersburg, Virginia. He shares memories of growing up there as well as in Mount Vernon, New York before serving in the army during the Korean War. He worked for 30 years at the Ann Arbor VA hospital, where he enjoyed helping fellow veterans. After experiencing discrimination in housing and employment, Mr. Blackwell fought for civil rights in Ann Arbor as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and mentored black children in his neighborhood.
Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:33pm
Audrey Monagan was born in Ann Arbor in 1941, and grew up in a close-knit, predominantly black neighborhood on North Fifth Ave. She remembers attending Bethel AME Church with her grandparents, spending time at the Dunbar Community Center, and helping raise her younger siblings. She attended Jones School and Pioneer High School before working for General Motors, where she was an inspector for eighteen years. Mrs. Monagan has been married to her second husband, Philip, for 48 years.
Sun, 07/21/2019 - 3:32pm
Gerald Edwards was born in 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio. He remembers being discriminated against as one of three African American students at his elementary school in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education. At Heidelberg College, he participated in sit-ins to help found a Black Student Union House. After beginning his career in automotive manufacturing with Ford Motor Company, Mr. Edwards started his own business, Engineered Plastic Products, in 1987. He and his wife Jada also started the Edwards Foundation, which was dedicated to philanthropy in Namibia.