Make Black History Personal: #18 Uncle Freddie Goes to War

It’s odd in a family where we have military service that goes back to the earliest colonial wars that I can only find one African-American ancestor who was a member of any branch of the United States military. That was my uncle, Frederick “Freddie” Dickinson who was born in Cleveland, Ohio on August 16, 1921. I knew from this photo dated 1950 that Uncle Freddie served in the Army during the Korean War. When I researched who of my Black ancestorsRead more

Make Black History Personal: #17 Grandma’s Dream Book and the Numbers

When my sister and I were young girls, we would get to spend the weekend with our paternal grandmother who lived in Hamtramck, Michigan. Hamtramck is a small city surrounded by Detroit that grew up around the auto factories. Funny, I remember Grandma’s house on Grand Haven Street like it was yesterday – The big console TV sitting in the living room with the stuffed pheasant on the top that Grandpa had shot The polished dining room table where weRead more

Make Black History Personal: #14 Three Generations of Women College Grads

Our family history of attending college was something that was drilled into my brain from my earliest years. What I think made our family unique was that we had three generations of Black women in America who graduated from college. I’m very proud of the history laid out for me by my mother and grandmother that led me to college and law school. My maternal grandmother, Hazel Edna Weaver attended college at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She started inRead more

Make Black History Personal: #13 One Picture Worth a Thousand N Words

One day in 1966, I was walking down the street in a neighborhood on the East side of Detroit and a little blonde boy, he couldn’t have been more than 7 years old, called out to me as I passed his front lawn – Hey nigger. It was the first time anyone had ever called me America’s most explosive and historically derogatory word and sadly, it wasn’t the last. I will never forget that day or the “punched in theRead more

Make Black History Personal: #12 Detroit’s Black Women Pioneers in Medicine

I’d like you to meet four amazing women who I’ve known since I was a gleam in my father’s eye. They were all pioneers in Detroit’s medical community. Even though I was never motivated to go to med school (hating high school biology was a sure sign), the “Docs”, as I call them with great affection, were role models and mentors. Even unofficial Godmothers. Counterclockwise, they are – Ethelene Crockett, M.D. Marjorie Peebles-Meyers, M.D. Natalia Tanner, M.D. and Rachel Boone Keith,Read more

Make Black History Personal: #11 The Heart and Soul of a Motown Girl

I’ll never forget the first day I really became aware of Motown. It was in the fall of 1964 and my favorite cousin, Gloria was over to babysit us while my parents were out. To my 13-year-old self, Gloria was one of the coolest people I knew. She was in high school, pretty, always dressed sharp and better yet – she brought the latest records whenever she came by. On this day, she brought a new record from a groupRead more