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AACHM Oral History: Mike Bass

Wed, 08/10/2022 - 3:45pm

Mike BassMichael 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.

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Jones School

Jones School was an anchor of Ann Arbor’s historically Black neighborhood (what is now Kerrytown) from the early twentieth century until 1965. Many living Ann Arbor residents remember attending Jones School during the Civil Rights Era. In 1964 the Ann Arbor Board of Education acknowledged that, with over 75% Black students, Jones was a “de facto” segregated school. Jones School closed in 1965, and several years later the building reopened as Community High School.

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AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 1:03pm

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 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.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Alma Wheeler Smith

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:01am

Alma Wheeler Smith was born in 1941. She recalls attending Civil Rights meetings in Ann Arbor with her parents. Her father Albert H. Wheeler was the first African American mayor of Ann Arbor (1975-78). Smith worked for nearly a decade as a TV producer before becoming a politician. Smith (D) served in the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Michigan delegation from 2005-2010 representing the 54th District.  Prior to her tenure in the U.S. House, Smith served in the Michigan Senate representing the 18th District from 1995-2002.

Alma Wheeler Smith was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2018 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Ruth Zweifler

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:00am

Ruth Zweifler was born 1929 in Palisades, New Jersey. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, and converted from Judaism to Quakerism. Since the 1960s, she has been active in Civil Rights, anti-war, and anti-Zionist protests, including a sit-in at Ann Arbor City Hall protesting residential segregation. In 1975, Zweifler co-founded the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan, and she was Executive Director for nearly 30 years.

Ruth Zweifler was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2018 as part of the Legacies Project.

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