Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book. You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.
Victoria Suane Milton was born in 1933 and grew up in River Rouge, Michigan. Her mother was of French creole background from New Orleans. In 1938 her father, Samuel B. Milton, founded one of Michigan’s first Black-owned hospitals, Sidney A. Sumby Memorial Hospital. He was also the first Black Wayne County coroner. After getting her BA in social work from the University of Michigan in the 1950s, Victoria returned to work at Sumby Memorial Hospital in purchasing and housekeeping. She and her husband John Loomis had six children, including a set of triplets. She passed away in 2021.
Victoria Loomis was interviewed in partnership with the Museum of African American History of Detroit and Y Arts Detroit in 2009-2010 as part of the Legacies Project.
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).
Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.
Audrey Lucas was born in 1934 and raised in Ann Arbor where she fondly recalls her school days Jones School. She talks about activities at the Dunbar Center where she had the pleasure of singing at various city events, and some of Ann Arbor's black neighborhoods and businesses. Ms. Lucas worked for the University of Michigan Health System for 47 years, the last 35 before her retirement as a human resources consultant.