Community Leaders & Organizations


Meeting on housing between Detroit Urban
League and City of Detroit, Common Council,
ca. 1950. From Box 87 of the Detroit Urban
League records.

African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County.

Organization established in 1993 to research, collect, preserve and exhibit cultural and historical materials relating to the life and work of African Americans in Washtenaw County, Michigan.

Record book containing minutes, program files, newsletters, correspondence, financial records, and constitution and by-laws; also scrapbook of clippings, programs, brochures, and other informational items.

MIRLYN entry

Ancient Order of Gleaners, Primrose Arbor (Calvin, Mich.)

Black chapter of the Gleaners.

Minutes of meetings, lists of members, and financial accounts.

MIRLYN entry

Ann Arbor Community Center

Organization established to promote civic, cultural, and recreational interests and activities of Ann Arbor's African American community.

Administrative reports, informational brochures, collected information, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Booker T. Washington Business Association

Organization of Detroit African American business and professional men and women established to promote the development of local businesses, before 1960 known as Booker T. Washington Trade Association.

Business and membership directories, newsletters, and annual meeting programs; records of organization presidents Homer D. Waterman, Joseph W. Williams, and Wallace Williams; and files relating to relation with National Business League, 1968-1970.

Finding aid available online.

Brown, Gloria

Chairwoman of the Detroit, Michigan, chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Correspondence, news releases, and printed material relating to the activities of the Detroit C. O. R. E.

MIRLYN entry

Byrd, David R.

African-American architect of churches, residential homes, offices, and schools in Washington, D.C. and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He served on the Board of Commissioners of Washtenaw County (1968-1972), and was an advocate for civil rights and affordable housing for the poor.

This collection includes architectural drawings, reports, photographs, and personal and professional correspondence.

Finding aid available online.

Letitia Byrd

Letitia Byrd. From Box 1 of the
Letitia Byrd papers.

Byrd, Letitia J.

African American educator and community leader in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Correspondence and subject files relating to her career with the Ann Arbor public school system and to her involvement in various other community and social service organizations.

Finding aid available online.

Claytor, Helen Jackson

Grand Rapids, Michigan, club woman, officer in the Grand Rapids chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association, president of the national YWCA, 1967-1973.

Biographical files include clippings and award materials; files relating to her work with the Young Women's Christian Association, both national organization and Grand Rapids branch.

Files relating to her community work in Grand Rapids and her participation in national conferences/committees. The Grand Rapids files relate to education, housing, issues of urban renewal, and other topics. Speeches delivered on topics relating to the YWCA, civil rights, citizenship, and the family; speeches reflect in part her thoughts as a black woman on questions of school and housing segregation.

Finding aid available online.

Curtis, Austin W.

Assistant to George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, later a Detroit, Michigan, businessman.

Correspondence and other papers of G. W. Carver relating primarily to experiments with soil improvement and the discovery of new applications for the peanut and other Southern agricultural products; newspaper clippings and memos relating to Curtis' campaign for Congress in 1958 and his work with Carver; and photographs.

Correspondents include: Mary McLeod Bethune, Ambrose Caliver, Frank P. Chisholm, Herbert W. Collingwood, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, W. E. B. DuBois, James B. Dudley, Franklin S. Earle, Bibb Graves, John Hamilton, John H. Kellogg, Warner J. Morse, Robert R. Moton, the National Pecan Growers Exchange, Julius Rosenwald, William J. Spillman, Jesse O. Thomas, Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Walter F. White, and James Wilson.

Visual materials collected relating to the life and activities of George Washington Carver; include photographs of Carver, alone and with various notables; photographs of Carver's visit to Greenfield Village and to the Starr Commonwealth for Boys; photographs and reproductions of Tuskeegee Institute; and photographs of various buildings named in Carver's honor; and videotape (VHS) of Detroit Black Journal segment on Curtis (1990's).

Finding aid available online.

Dancy, John C.

Executive director of the Detroit Urban League.

Correspondence, scrapbook, photographs, and miscellanea concerning personal matters, the work of the Urban League, and the concerns of the black community of Detroit.

Also, photographs of Dancy, his wife, and associates and friends; also photograph of the Horace H. Rackham Educational Building, Detroit, Michigan.

Finding aid available online.

DeLeon, Linda.

President of the Christians for Decency Anti-Pornography Information Center in Wayne County, Michigan.

Anti-pornography and anti-abortion campaigns correspondence, publications, mailing, petitions, and other material produced by the Christians for Decency, American Family Association of Michigan, American Decency Association of Michigan, National Federation for Decency Greater Detroit Chapter, Focus on the Family, and other Michian and national organizations. Majority of the Christians for Decency material relates to Inkster, Mich. anti-pornography and anti-abortion campaigns.

Finding aid available online.

DeMeunier, Leon

Chairman of the Detroit, Michigan chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Correspondence, minutes of CORE meetings, and printed materials, relating primarily to the activities of CORE in Detroit, Michigan, concerning activities against job discrimination, and in support of "Freedom Rides" into the South in the early 1960's.

Finding aid available online.

Dessaw, Marie

Detroit, Michigan civic leader, member and officer of the National Housewives League of America.

Correspondence, reports, minutes, and other materials relating to her participation and leadership of the National Housewives League.

MIRLYN entry


Program cover for Order of the Eastern
Star meeting, 1958.

Detroit Urban League

Detroit, Michigan, branch of the National Urban League.

Minutes of the Board of Directors, correspondence and topical files of Executive Directors and Presidents, budgets and financial records, and papers concerning National Urban League conferences and Green Pastures Camp; also departmental files relating to community services, housing, vocational services, health and welfare, job development and employment, and education and youth incentives; and photographs.

Visual materials include photographs of chapter activities, meetings, and ceremonies; photos of buildings and staff (notably executive directors, John Dancy and Francis Kornegay); also films. Sound recordings include recordings of Urban League sponsored radio programs and of appearances by staff members on the radio; also recordings of Urban League functions featuring executive director Francis Kornegay.

Finding aid available online.

Germain, George W.

Ionia County, Michigan, farmer, Whig politician, later Republican state legislator.

Journals commenting on politics, the temperance and anti-slavery movements, journey from New York state to Michigan, and religion; and miscellanea.

MIRLYN entry

Gill, Lillian

African American businesswoman from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lillian Gill was active in the Order of the Eastern Star and in African American Baptist Church organizations, particularly New Hope Baptist Church of Grand Rapids.

The Lillian Gill collections is comprised of the following series: Biographical and personal; Business career; Political and community interests; Order of Eastern Star, Free and Accepted Masons; New Hope Baptist Church and other Baptist organizations; and Photographs. The great bulk of the collection details her Masonic responsibilities and her activities with her church and with her denomination's regional bulletins, brochures, programs, announcements, and the like. A smaller portion of the collection relates to her varied business endeavors as an insurance underwriter and as a salesperson with Amway.

Finding aid available online.

Golden, Evelyn

Battle Creek, Michigan, resident.

History of the Battle Creek chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

MIRLYN entry

Golden, James R.

Law student at the University of Michigan, later director of the Battle Creek Urban League.

Notes on law classes.

MIRLYN entry

Grand Rapids Urban League

Affiliate of the National Urban League.

Historical information file, administrative files, topical files, and photographs.

Photos of activities of the Grand Rapids Urban League, especially its activities with children (ca. 1950), later activities of the League, and portraits of its secretary, Paul Phillips.

Finding aid available online.

Green Pastures

Children in front of bus at Green Pastures Camp. From
Box 87 of the Detroit Urban League records.

Greater Lansing Urban League

Affiliate chapter of the National Urban League.

Annual reports, minutes of board of directors, and subject files concerning the work of the league in matters of employment and other community services; also speeches and other files of Charles H. Mitchner, executive director.

Also, photos of activities of the Grand Rapids Urban League, especially its activities with children (ca. 1950), later activities of the League, and portraits of its secretary, Paul Phillips.

Finding aid available online.

Gregg, Phineas

Justice of the Peace in Cass County, Michigan.

Medical account book, 1866-1882; docket book, 1849-1851; record of marriages, 1850-1873 of the Saunders colony of freed slaves; deeds to property; and miscellanea.

MIRLYN entry

Haywood, Harry

Black leader and former member of the American Communist Party, also known as Haywood Hall.

Correspondence and reports concerning the Black Nationalism movement in America and its place in the Communist Party; typescript autobiography, 1972, entitled: "Free, Black and Seventy-One: Memoirs of a Black Marxist;" articles and manuscripts of writings; papers relating to his activities with the Communist Party; speeches and other presentations; and notes and fragments of his writings.

Finding aid available online.

Highland Park Civic Association

Organization seeking restrictions on property occupancy and transferral.

Summary Correspondence, articles of incorporation, property restriction agreements, membership blanks, and other related papers.

MIRLYN entry

Holman, Charles F.

Detroit, Michigan, attorney, active in areas of civil rights, education of minorities, lobbying, and conflict of interest.

Correspondence, 1973-1986; subject files concerning his activities with, and interest in, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in Michigan and at the national level; files relating to civil rights and minority issues.

Finding aid available online.

Hunter, Robert

African American resident of Ypsilanti, Michigan; collector of documents and photographs relating to the local African American community.

Charter of Touissant Lodge no. 21, Knights of Pythias, Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1923; charter of Eden Council no. 408, Ancient United Knights and Daughters of Africa, 1926; charter of Huron Lodge no. 695, Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World, 1926; miscellaneous and printed material relating to Ypsilanti African American chapters of fraternal and service organizations; and photographs.

MIRLYN entry


Nurse bandaging ankle, undated. From Box 87
of the Detroit Urban League records. Photo by
Robert Moseley.

Kellogg African American Health Care Project

Project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to document the health care experiences of African Americans in southeastern Michigan consisting primarily of oral history interviews with African American health care practitioners and administrators covering the period 1940-1969.

Background files relating to the project, and 42 oral history interview transcripts and tape recordings. Interviews discuss biographical details, desegregation efforts in Detroit area hospitals, and social conditions facing African Americans.

Finding aid available online.

Kornegay, Francis A.

Executive director of the Detroit Urban League.

Correspondence and topical files relating to his career as vocational services secretary, 1944-1956, assistant executive director, 1956-1960, and executive director of the Detroit Urban League, 1960-1978.

Finding aid available online.

Lawson, William H.

African American optometrist, resident of Detroit, Michigan.

Biographical information and miscellanea relating to Lawson and his son, optometrist William Emmet Lawson.

MIRLYN entry

Lockett, Harold J.

Ann Arbor, Michigan African American psychiatrist; member and president of Ann Arbor Board of Education; board member of the Ann Arbor Black Theatre; psychiatrist and director with the Hawthorn Center in Northville, Michigan.

Biographical and personal materials; minutes of the board, clippings, and promotional materials for the Ann Arbor Black Theatre; and miscellaneous relating to the Hawthorn Center.

MIRLYN entry

Louis, Joe

Champion prize fighter of Detroit, Michigan.

Scrapbooks, 1935-1941 (arranged chronologically by bout), and clippings, articles, and fan letters, 1948-1951, relating to his career as a boxer.

Finding aid available online.

Lucas, William

Wayne County sheriff, 1969-1982, Wayne County Executive, 1983-1986, and Republican candidate for governor of Michigan, 1986.

Correspondence, subject files, clippings, videotapes, and photographs primarily concerning his work as sheriff and county executive, and his gubernatorial campaign.

Videocassette tapes (21 lin. ft.) and photographs (0.75 linear ft. and 1 oversize folder) detailing Lucas' public career, especially his 1986 gubernatorial campaign.

Finding aid available online.

Morgan women

Morgan women, ca. 1890. From Box
1 of the Morgan family papers.

McCauley, Dorothy

Organizer and executive director of the Dav-Joy-Lin-Dex Community Council, Detroit, MIchigan, network of neighborhood block organization; community activist concerned with neighborhood youth and senior citizen programs, and with interest in matters of zoning, health, housing, and police-community relations.

Newsletters and minutes of executive committee of the Dav-Joy-Lin-Dex Community Council; newsletters of area block clubs; files relating to her community and organizational involvement; published materials; and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (M.O.S.E.S.)

Inter-racial, inter-faith organization established in 1997 to strengthen metropolitan Detroit congregations and communities through social programs, leadership training, and encouragement of civic participation. M.O.S.E.S was formed from three faith-based organizations: Jeremiah, West Detroit Inter-faith Community Organization, and NOAH.

History and background materials, financial files, executive board files, and records of Jeremiah Project Board.

Finding aid available online.

Michigan Historical Records Survey

Records survey of the U.S. Work Projects Administration.

Correspondence, drafts of guides to county archives, proceedings of county boards of supervisors, field reports of workers, and copies of land patents for some counties; also material relating to the history of Blacks in Michigan.

Finding aid available online.

Morgan Family (Boyne City, Mich.)

Family of Zachariah Morgan, African American pioneer of Boyne City, Michigan.

Family histories, account books of family businesses including Boyne City land development, record book of Boyne City W.C.T.U. chapter, memorabilia, two letters, Haitian immigration document, and photographs.

MIRLYN entry

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), University of Michigan College Chapter

Correspondence, reports, newsletters, and other materials concerning the problems of minority students at the University.

Finding aid available online.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Ypsilanti-Willow Run Branch

Volunteer and membership organization which focuses on eliminating racial prejudice, improving the educational, economic, social and political status of minorities, and maintaining public awareness of the adverse effects of racial discrimination.

Records include chapter charter, 1918, and minutes, newsletters, correspondence, applications for Thalheimer Award, activity files, issue files, and color snapshots.

Finding aid available online.


Program from the National Negro
Business Leagues' Annual Con-
ference in Detroit, ca. 1940. From
Box 1 of the National Housewives'
League of America records.

National Housewives' League of America

Organization established in 1933 to encourage African American housewives to patronize African American-owned businesses. The national organization was comprised of local groups, the most important of these being the Housewives' League of Detroit, which was founded in 1930 under the leadership of Fannie B. Peck.

The Detroit League worked in conjunction with the Booker T. Washington Trade Association whose organization was headed by the Rev. William H. Peck, and the National Negro Business League.

The records, accumulated by Fannie B. Peck and subsequent officers of the organization, Christina Fuqua and Lydia Hibbert, include minutes, correspondence, publications, and activity files of both the national organization and the Detroit league. The records were maintained by the same individuals. The series in the record group are History and Organization; Core Records; Correspondence; Programs and Events; Media Coverage; Publications; Chapters; Related Organizations; and Other Materials.

The largest portion of the Chapters series consists of records of the Detroit league and include history, publications, and other organizational materials.

Finding aid available online.

Pontiac Area Urban League

Scattered minutes and annual reports, clippings and scrapbooks, publications, subject files relating to chapter activities, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Ragland, John

Ann Arbor, Michigan, attorney.

Miscellanea relating to the Colored Welfare League and other Ann Arbor, Michigan, Black community organizations.

MIRLYN entry

Robinson, Remus

Detroit, Michigan physician and civic leader.

Student notes and other materials taken while attending the Medical School of the University of Michigan; and photographs.

MIRLYN entry

Cabin at Green Pastures Camp

Campers in front of cottage at Green Pastures Camp.
From Box 87 of the Detroit Urban League records.

Rodgers, Curtis E.

Secretary-director of the Detroit Commission on Community Relations.

Records, 1969-1971, of meetings, including minutes, reports, and other discussed documents; speeches, press releases, studies undertaken, and subject files; also photograph of commission members.

Finding aid available online.

Rosenfeld, Ralph

Chairman of the Detroit, Michigan chapter of Congress of Racial Equality.

Correspondence, memos, schedules and other papers concerning the activities of Detroit, Michigan CORE.

MIRLYN entry

Ross, Mildred

Secretary of the Willow Run Black History Organization.

Summary Constitution, questionnaires, tapes of interviews, newspaper articles, and other materials relating to the history of African Americans in Willow Run, Michigan.

MIRLYN entry

Southwestern Michigan Urban League

Interracial, non-profit, non-partisan community service organization in Battle Creek, Michigan (formerly Battle Creek Area Urban League) founded in 1966 and affiliated with the National Urban League. Mission is to secure equal opportunities for minorities and the disadvantaged through community planning, advocacy, and research. Provides services and develops programs in education, employment, housing and health, frequently in collaboration with area civic, business and educational institutions. Name changed to Southwestern Michigan Urban League in 1992.

Series include: History, Administration, Correspondence, Reports, Meetings, Programs, Community Memberships, Public Relations, Events, Battle Creek Urban League Guild, and Audio Visual, and digital materials.

Of particular interest are papers related to League's founding, scrapbook of newspaper articles, 1962-1989, and community membership series, which documents the League's active involvement in civic affairs.

Finding aid available online.

Stevens, Wystan

Ann Arbor, Michigan, local historian.

Leaflets, newsletters, and printed materials concerning activist organizations and protest meetings held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at the University of Michigan during the 1960's; correspondence and checklist, 1969, of Michigan African American community newspapers; and historical data, 1972, compiled relating to building at 1037 Jones Drive in Ann Arbor, occupied by various breweries and the Ann Arbor Foundry Company; and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Tibbs, Chrystal G.

Michigan educator, graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (A.K.A.) sorority. Tibbs is A.K.A. Golder Soror (50-year member) and has held a number of administrative posts within the sorority, most notably the Great Lakes Regional Representative to the International Archives Committee of A.K.A. Tibbs served in administrative capacities at various Detroit elementary schools and as a Principal of Hampton Elementary School.

The collection includes materials accumulated through Tibbs's participation in A.K.A. conferences, chapter meetings, and special interest groups at the local, state, regional, and national level over a span of 50 years. The activities of Michigan-based chapters are particularly well represented. Material includes policy documents, programs of events, meeting proceedings, reports, scrapbooks, photographs. Also personal material related to Tibbs and her mother Maggie Powell, and Tibbs's church, the Grace Episcopal Church in Detroit.

Finding aid available online.

Ann Arbor Community Center

Ann Arbor Community Center membership
drive, ca. 1955. From Box 1 of the Ann
Arbor Community Center records.

Urban League of Greater Muskegon

Records of the Urban League of Greater Muskegon and its predecessor the Citizen

Board of directors files, executive director's files, community organization department files, printed material, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellanea.

Photographs include group portraits and snapshots of Urban League leaders, volunteers, and of the music ensemble, the Chansonettes; and snapshots of community service activities and special events.

Finding aid available online.

Wallace, Elmer L.

Past Grand Master of this African American lodge.

MIRLYN entry

Wheeler, Albert H. and Emma M.

Albert and Emma Wheeler were community and civil rights leaders from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Albert Wheeler was also professor of microbiology and dermatology at the University of Michigan. In addition, he and his wife helped to establish the local chapter of the NAACP. Albert Wheeler was elected to the office of mayor of Ann Arbor and served from 1975 to 1978.

The series in the collection are Personal/Biographical; NAACP/Civil Rights Activities; Mayoralty Files; University of Michigan; and Photographs. The collection documents the Wheelers' devotion to the cause of civil rights and their involvement with numerous civil rights and community organizations. The collection also includes Albert Wheeler's mayoralty files.

Finding aid available online.

Wickliffe, Letty M.

Teacher; Ann Arbor, Michigan, community activist; member of the North Central Property Owners Association in Ann Arbor.

Articles written for the local newspaper, awards, scattered correspondence, biographical information, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Williams, Wallace C.

Detroit businessman active in numerous minority business affairs and organizations. Williams was director of the Michigan Division of Minority Business Enterprise within the Michigan Department of Commerce, 1959-1978.

Biographical information, correspondence, files relating to his activities on behalf of minority business development, especially with the Minority Technology Council of Michigan; also files relating to involvement with Detroit civic and cultural organizations, and photographs.

Finding aid available online.

Mattie Willis

Mattie Willis, music teacher and
NAACP member, ca. 1945

Willis, Mattie Azalia

Battle Creek, Michigan singer and music teacher, member of the Battle Creek chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other material relating to her professional career, and diaries recording daily activities and personal thoughts; also photographs.

Portraits and informal photographs of Willis, alone and with friends and associates; photographs of theatrical productions in which Willis performed; and photographs of Willis.

Finding aid available online.

Willow Run Black History Organization

Organization was formed in 1983 to collect the history of African Americans in Willow Run, to produce a publication, and to foster racial understanding.

Includes administrative records and collected material relating to the history of African Americans in Michigan's Willow Run Village and environs.

Finding aid available online.