Mother’s Day History

May 2017- General Guide, along with the Recorder Newspaper – will be honoring the Oldest Mother who raised her children in Albion during Albion Week – the week after Mother’s Day. We would like more names of any mother who was born before 1927 who raised her children here. We will be writing some of their story, as the family would like to share with us. There is a form here to submit to the Recorder for this special feature. There will be some prizes and special recognition for this mother. We hope to have this an annual event, and to get the story of Albion’s involvement with Mother’s Day out to a wider region also.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FORM OR LOOK IN THE RECORDER – DURING EARLY MAY –


juliette_flat_oval_002Albion’s Mother’s Day Founder, Juliette Calhoun Blakeley is described on a historical marker behind the library.  Few people know that Juliette was also very involved in the underground railroad. Her home was one of the Underground Railroad Stations.

From Frank Passic’s history:

“The original Blakeley home stood on the southeast corner of W. Cass and S. Clinton Sts., the present site of a city parking lot across from the fire station. Mrs. Blakeley allowed her house to serve as one of the local hiding stations for the so-called “Underground Railroad” which transported fugitive slaves to safety in Canada. The entire Blakeley family was involved in the operation out of their home. The family would hide the fugitives in the bottom of their wagon under bags of grain, or covered with ears of corn, and transport them along the predetermined route.

Julia’s son Charles Blakeley (1852-1935) often served as the driver. On one particular mission when he was accompanied by his father, Charles was held up by slave catchers who, in their search for fugitives, poked long sharp sticks through a visible bottom coop-type area covered by grain sacks, located under the wagon. They found no one however, because the slaves were hidden higher up under the main portion of the wagon. The artificial coop had been purposely placed there to distract the slave catchers.”

Used with permission – source: http://www.albionmich.com/history/histor_notebook/030511b.shtml

A group of Michigan Historians is tracing more of the fascinating ethnic history of this region and we hope to publish some of their findings as this site grows.

Juneteenth Celebration in Albion

juneteenth_celebration_albion_michigan_900px Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.   It is a celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Many black families came to Albion 100 years ago to work at the Malleable foundry.

Albion celebrates Juneteeth on the Saturday before Father’s Day starting at Albion City Hall on Cass Street with a proclamation and words from the mayor at 11 a.m.  Then there is a processional walk to Holland Park where there will be a day of fun and festivities.

There will be games for children and and adults, face painting, a story tent, Old school music, Line dancing, basketball and our Public Safety Department will be there with the fire truck and fire house to show our young people how to be safe when there’s a fire.

There will be a food court with a bar-b-que, friends, music and art.

The day will conclude with a Rememberance Circle and a Gospel Fest starting at 5.

This is a part of America’s History just as Memorial Day and the 4th of July are. Let’s find ways to celebrate our achievements together.

Everyone is invited to come, have fun and fellowship!

Learn more about some even earlier Albion black history from this post on AlbionMich.COM by Albion Historian Frank Passic:  19th CENTURY BLACK HISTORY IN ALBION

A quote from that article: “ In looking through the Census records of the period, we find that the majority of Albion’s early black men listed their occupations as either barbers, such as a Richard Randolph, who lived in Albion Township. Some were listed as housekeepers. One is listed as a “calciminer.” No, he didn’t mine calcimine, but that was the term for a “white-washer” of walls in the days of dirty fuel sources for heating homes. This particular person was listed later as a paper hanger (wallpaper).”

Bur Oak near I-94

 

A stately Bur Oak tree, welcomes visitors who happen to exit highway I-94 at exit 124, coming into Albion from the east. This tree was here for over 100 years, and was here to welcome visitors along the old Michigan Avenue long before the highway was here. With each season are changes, and some of them are very welcome.

Here is a statement about this tree from an authority on trees from Albion College: ” It’s a bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa . Botanists prefer a different spelling of the common name than do street-namers. I would not want to guess an age, but probably at least 100-120 years old. It’s a nice specimen tree. There are two smaller ones across the street. ”

This was the illustration for General Guide XXX (30) for March 2018.

There were also drawings of oak leaves and acorns, but these did not truly match the fruit and foliage of the bur oak tree.

Interesting information about Bur Oaks in Texas:

Quercus macrocarpa, the oak with the large fruit.  Even his description is a bit of an understatement considering this oak can grow to exceed 80 feet in height, have leaves longer than 10 inches, and grow acorns the size of lemons.  Bur oak, which is also known as mossycup oak and is sometimes spelled with and extra “r”, gets its common name from the distinctively rough and shaggy acorn cap that can often enclose much of the acorn itself.  The acorns are a highly desirable food source for wildlife, but their size alone provides a challenge for squirrels anxious to dig a hole large enough to bury them or to find the strength to hoist them to their cache.  To a squirrel or other wildlife, bur oak acorns are like a huge steak dinner.”

Source:

Tree Species Profiles – Bur Oak


To learn more about trees in Albion, including the bur oak, visit this page: http://campus.albion.edu/albiontrees/bur-oak/

Adapted quote from this page:

“Albion, like many other midwestern cities, has a ‘Burr Oak Street’ named after this tree. The middle English spelling variant ‘bur’ has been used traditionally and more or less adopted by botanists as the spelling for the common name of this species.

The bur oak has relatively long, fuzzy bracts on the acorn cap that make the acorn look a little like a burr that could stick to clothing or fur.   It’s also known as a mossycup oak.  At Albion College, biology students and their professor refer to the bur oak as the ‘T. rex’ of oak trees.  The trunks may be massive, but they often sprout wimpy branches near the base, not unlike the relatively tiny forelimbs of a massive tyrannosaur.”

Why is February called Black History Month?

Why was February Chosen to be called Black History Month?

Two famous abolitionists and social reformers were born during the month of February.   The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”.  This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.   The abolitionists are President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both born during the second of week of February, which led Woodson to designate it as a time of celebration and remembrance.

Carter Woodson, historian and educator, Father of Black History

In honor of their lives, historian Carter Woodson began the first formal celebration of “Negro History Week” in February 1926. Woodson was an educator, author, avid researcher and advocate for proliferating the breadth of Black history. 

In 1970, activists at Kent State University Black History Month and President Gerald Ford formally recognized it six years later during the United States Bicentennial celebration.

Woodson coordinated a national theme for the celebration each year. The theme for celebrating Black History Month in 2018 is “African Americans in Times of War.” Highlighting the centennial of the end of the first world war in 1918, this topic looks at the contradictions faced by African Americans who gave their lives for the safety and freedom of their country. While enlisting could offer opportunities for advancement, many African Americans returned home to Jim Crow segregation, violence, and exclusion.

Woodson’s devotion to historical research created an immense legacy, with publications and organizations he began still operating to support education regarding those throughout the African diaspora and their many achievements. More information about the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, founded by Woodson in 1915 can be found here.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_History_Month

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_G._Woodson 

 

MLK events in Albion

Two events related to Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday will be happening in January 2018.
The first is a day of service on the actual holiday.

The MLK Convocation and Community Celebration, at the Bohm on the 29th, will start at 7 p.m. Michael Williams, ’78, former mayor of the City of Albion and a current Albion College trustee, will deliver the convocation address. Williams (right) currently serves as president and CEO of Orchards Children’s Services, Michigan’s premier foster-care and adoption agency. He has spent much of his career in youth development, with special focus on disadvantaged children and teens. Williams served two terms as Albion’s mayor in the 1990s and is a past member of the Albion College Alumni Association Board. Williams has also been inducted twice into the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame, and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997.

To learn about both events visit this link on the Albion College website.
https://www.albion.edu/news-and-events/recent-news/news-archive/918-in-the-community/13772-skot-welch-90-and-michael-williams-78-to-headline-albion-mlk-events-in-january

Both events are open to the entire Albion community. For more information and to register for the Day of Dialogue and Service, visit the Albion College Office of Intercultural Affairs website or call 517/629-0501. For more information on the MLK Convocation and Community Celebration, contact the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, one of the event’s co-sponsors, at 517/629-0368.

Albion Train Depot – Mowrer Agency

Mowrer Agency, which is located in the train depot, is the sponsor for this special one-month edition of the General Guide for January 2018.  Mowrer agency offers home, business and automobile insurance, a bill payment service and Greyhound Bus Service.

Albion Train Depot, built in 1882 and still a functioning transportation center, is the featured item for General Guide XXVIII, January 2018, the History Edition. The depot offers daily train service to Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

The Train Depot was refurbished in 1985.

The Amtrak Train schedule:

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/timetables/Michigan-Services-Schedule-062617.pdf

Greyhound Bus service is available from this location at 300 N. Eaton Street, Albion, MI.  Tickets are available at the depot during regular business hours.  Learn more about  Greyhound Bus at this location and nearby:

http://locations.greyhound.com/bus-stations/search?city=Albion&state=MI&zip=&q=Albion%2C+MI

 

Albion station - September 2016

More about Albion Train Depot

From Wikipedia:

Albion is a train station in Albion, Michigan, served by Amtrak‘s Wolverine line. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any “personal items” such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage service at this station, which is served by two trains daily.

History

The current Albion station house was built in 1882 by the Michigan Central Railroad, which originally ran through town in 1844. The station also had a freight house. Ten years earlier Albion had competition when the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway arrived and added its own station, which operated until the 1920s.

The red brick depot is a well-preserved example of a Victorian station with earlier Italianate details, such as three sided bays with fancy double brackets supporting the eaves. Colored and glazed brick in shades of white form two beltcourses that encircle the structure. Plain pilasters divide the window bays, each of which features deep corbelling. The trackside bay is topped by a gable with bargeboard and woodwork associated with the Eastlake decorative style. Wrought-iron fencing is found along the ridge of the roof, while two prominent chimneys with corbelling crown the structure.[3]

The Albion station was abandoned in 1971, when Amtrak consolidated all cross-country passenger rail service within the United States. However it was restored to its original condition by local community groups in the mid-1980s and currently serves as both a bus and train station. The freight house was also restored and converted into a local sports bar known as Davan’s, which has since closed.

Free Museum Days

All eight museums in Marshall are free for the 2017 Marshall Tourism Day on Saturday May 20, 2017.  If you click on a Marshall museum image above, you will go to a directory and map of all of them with more information.

There are also two museums in Albion – the Gardner House Museum and Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum.  Click on either of those image to learn more about visiting those museums and also special events.

Old Freight Depot has new owner

We are glad to see new buildings going up in Albion, but also to see new life come to an old building that had been vacant.  The old freight depot, behind the Albion Post Office, has come to life again, as Gina’s Pizza & Deli.  Gina’s was formerly located near “Five Points” on Michigan Ave, and had been closed for a few weeks early in 2017 so that she could get her new location ready for business.  The turn out has been great.

General Guide – February 2017

The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State in February 1970. Prior to that time, the second week of February was known as “Negro History Week.” This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.

Both Albion and Marshall have ties to Black History. There is also a trail of Civil Rights monuments in Michigan to Canada.