Migration within U.S.

Keith Arnold

Keith Arnold was born April 5, 1943. He was raised in Buffalo, New York. In this interview, Keith Arnold revisits living in the state of New York as a child and young adult. He recounts his experience as a child with his friends and what it was like to grow up in Buffalo. Then he goes on to tell how and when he migrated to Michigan, and what life was like when he arrived to Detroit.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 22 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Ashley Turner
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #33

Joe Ann Baker

Joe Ann Baker grew up a small town in Eastman Georgia where she did not notice prejudices (white doll). But life was quite different when she moved north. After moving north she encountered racism and white flight in Michigan. She also discusses the Highland Park riots and the mayor at that time Coleman A Young.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 23 March 2008
  • Interviewer: GeVonda Marrie Baker
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #15

LaDonna Byrd

LaDonna Byrd is a single mother of five children living in Detroit, MI. This interview recounts her younger years living in Detroit and the difficulty of dealing with the early loss of her parents. Also, how moving back to Detroit, Michigan from a safer Burlington, Vermont has changed her life.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 27 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Karmen Byrd
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #16

Violet Douglas

Violet Douglas was born and raised as a blind child in Mecca, Indiana before getting married and relocating to Detroit, Michigan to look for work and a place to live. While raising her family through WWII and the depression, she held jobs at Kresges, Woolworths, an airplane factory, and Michigan Book Bindery. They needed small women to work in the military aircraft. She compares the difference between farm life and city life. 

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 03 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Lisa Funk
  • Marygrove Archives ARC SP-0100 File #37

Maxine Early

Maxine Early is interviewed by Marygrove student Crystal Christian about her family's migration to Detroit in the early 1940s. Ms. Early's father moved to Detroit to find a job so he could support his family. About a year later he sent train tickets to his wife and children in Mississippi and they joined him in Detroit. Growing up, Ms. Early's house was a hub for extended family members who used it as a temporary residence after coming from the south to Detroit. In the south, the migrants said, people are "warmer" and friendlier; in the north, teachers assumed the children were behind in their work because they were from the "country" and held them back a grade.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 23 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Crystal Christian
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #29

Patricia Flemings

Patricia Flemings recalls her life growing up in Detroit. She also recounts the history of her parents and grandparent migrations to Detroit. She compares the past Detroit, particularly before the riots, to modern day Detroit. She talks of how drugs and fear of corrupt police officers, called the Big Four ruined the sense of safety in the neighborhoods. Later in the interview, Ms. Flemings talks about her great grandmothers recollections of being a house slave. There are also suggestions as to how Detroit can be fixed over time.  

  • Date Interviewed: Saturday, 08 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Amber Flemings
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File # 36

Edith Floyd

Edith Floyd is interviewed by her granddaughter and Marygrove student Cheyenne Monday about her experiences in the South and moving to Detroit in the 1960s. Ms. Floyd grew up on a farm in South Carolina with her parents and eight siblings. She remembers getting up at 5 am each morning to wash before breakfast. After eating she would do her chores and then play games like the "gladiator race." She loved school, especially singing and learning songs for an hour each day and playing all kinds of sports. Her father made a living by share-cropping, hunting, digging wells, and hauling lumber. Her mother canned fruits and vegetables so they could eat well year-round. When Ms. Floyd was sixteen, her sister convinced her parents to let her move to Detroit, where she enrolled in private Catholic school and worked at her sister's store. Ms. Floyd had little time for homework during the day so she used a flashlight under the covers to get it done at night. After finishing the eleventh grade, she met her husband-to-be, Henry. They explored downtown Detroit in his car on the weekends, and he walked her to and from school every day. When they were married they moved into a house on St. Clair Street and had the first of their four children. A few years later they moved to a house on Mt. Olive Street; not long after, Ms. Floyd remembers their mostly white neighbors putting up for-sale signs. She also remembers having to rush to get her children out of the house when their garage caught fire on Devil's Night. Today Ms. Floyd is a "farmer in the city" who sells her vegetables and fruit at Eastern Market.

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 02 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Cheyenne Monday
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #30

Sandra A. Foote

Marygrove College student Crystal Avant interviews her mother, Sandra Foote, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Sandra Foote grew up in New Orleans and lived a sheltered life with a close-knit Creole community. Foote did not feel much racial prejudice until she moved to Detroit. Foote moved to Detroit with her mother when she was five years old.

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 13 March 2006
  • Interviewer: Crystal Avant
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #3

Lenolia Gaddy

Lenolia Gaddy

Migration to Detroit:  Lenolia Na-Na Gaddy migrated to Detroit as a young girl. She recounts her life from her migration from Armory, Mississippi and the racial tension known there to the booming city of Detroit where she experienced a different lifestyle. She lived through two historical points in Detroits history and gave accounts of both the 1943 Race Riot and the Detroit Riot of 1967. Ms. Gaddy has resided in Detroit for over 80 years.  


  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Sherry McClendon
  • Marygrove Archives ARC SP 0100 File #38

Daisy Gary

Daisy Gary

Marygrove College student Danielle Washington interviews her great-grandmother, Daisy Gary, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Daisy Gary was born in Arkansas, later moved to Houston, Texas, and finally arrived in Detroit in 1945. Gary then details her life since the migration.



  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 14 March 2006
  • Interviewer: Danielle Washington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #4

Lula Bell Hudnall

Lula Bell Hudnall was born July 7, 1931 in Blackwater, Mississippi. A recollection of the 1967 Riots, a long nursing career, and country girl living are discussed during this interview. Lula Bell was 27 years old when she left Detroit and she came here for work. When her parents died a cousin took her and her brother in a raised them like they were hers. Her sister had moved up to Detroit already and she was looking for more opportunity.

  • Date Interviewed: Friday, 12 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Gevonchai Hudnall
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #35

Andrew Johnson

Marygrove College student LeAndre Johnson interviews his father, Andrew Johnson, about his experiences moving to Detroit. Andrew Johnson came to Detroit in 1962 with his mother and siblings. Johnson's mother came to Detroit looking for work. Johnson talks about racism in the South and in Detroit and his perceived differences between the Black Panther party and Dr. Martin Luther King's approach.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 26 February 2006
  • Interviewer: LeAndre Johnson
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #2

Herbie Kirn

Herbie Kirn grew up in a small town as a homosexual male. As Herbie grew older he joined a band, and traveled around the country with the band. He later joined the Church of Scientology where he met his wife Lorrie Kirn. The couple stayed married for while and had 2 children. Herbie eventually divorced Lorrie, because he was still a homosexual male.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Mara Kirn
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #13

Mildred Matlock

Mildred Matlock

Mildred Matlock speaks about her mother, Myrtle Lois Gilford, and her mother's move to Detroit. Myrtle Gilford came to Detroit from Beloit, Alabama in search of better job opportunities and a better life. Mildred Matlock is a member of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers (DABS). The speech was given during the "History Telling Concert" at Marygrove College on May 7, 2006.

  • Interviewer: History Telling Concert
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #6

Sam Moore

Sam Moore

Sam Moore was born April 1, 1932. He was raised in a small town outside of Texarkana, TX. In this interview, Sam Moore revisits living in poverty during his childhood which led to his migration to Detroit. He also recounts living in poverty in Detroit as a result of migrating to the region during the turn over (when automotive plants lay workers off for two weeks).

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Keena Arrington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #18

Frank Rashid

Frank Rashid

Dr. Frank D. Rashid, Professor of English at Marygrove College, is interviewed by Marygrove student Lauryn Pennington about growing up in Detroit and his experience of the 1967 riots. His father's family emigrated from Lebanon to Illinois in the late 1800s and eventually established Rashid's Quality Market on Linwood Street in Detroit. His mother, a writer, was of German and Northern Irish descent. Dr. Rashid grew up in a racially and ethnically diverse part of Detroit and attended Catholic schools throughout his education. He also attended a year of seminary school with the intention of becoming a priest, but during a year's leave at the University of Detroit (now the University of Detroit, Mercy) he decided to become a teacher instead. The progressive faculty at the university, as well as Dr. Rashid's own observations of Detroit's escalating racial tensions, led him to a growing awareness of race, class, and his own privilege. On July 23, 1967, the day the riots began, Dr. Rashid and his father received a phone call that the family store was being looted. What happened next sparked the 16-year-olds lifelong commitment to Detroit and to social justice, and shaped his conviction that the riots were not the beginning of Detroit's problems but rather symptomatic of pre-existing inequalities.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 03 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Lauryn Pennington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #31

Earnest Stamps

Earnest Stamps

Earnest Stamps, a retired pharmacist, details his migration from Atlanta to Detroit and the opportunities presented by the move north. Stamps also speaks about his life once he arrived in Detroit. He speaks about the hard times for his family, going into foster care, and the Marcus Garvey Movement.

  • Date Interviewed: Friday, 28 April 2006
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #5

Marie Teasley

Marie Teasley

Marie Teasley was born on October 1, 1926. She grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. In this interview Marie recalls memories of her mother who immigrated from St. George's, Bermuda, and her father who migrated from Hannibal to Ann Arbor, Michigan and then to the Detroit area. Marie speaks fondly of growing up in Hannibal. She recounts the story of her father owning the Hannibal Registrar, the only African American newspaper in town. Marie describes how the family transitioned the business from Hannibal to the Detroit area. At the age of 9 she was dubbed "reporter" for the Registrar by her father, inspiring a life-long career in journalism that culminated in her position as Women's Editor for the Michigan Chronicle.

  • Date Interviewed: Friday, 24 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Harriet Helena Scott
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #32

Laretta Torrence

Laretta Torrence is interviewed by Marygrove College student Stanley Keyes about her experiences growing up and going to school in Detroit. She was born in 1930 in Black Bottom where blacks and whites lived and played together in shared poverty. When her family moved to a better house in southwest Detroit in 1948 she observed white flight but not much racial tension. Laretta recalls listening to the radio, dancing at the Greystone Ballroom, and visiting Belle Isle for entertainment. She married at age 19 and had two sons who also grew up and went to school in Detroit.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 13 December 2009
  • Interviewer: Stanley Keyes
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #20

Detroit Journeys Collection

Detroit Journeys Collection

The Detroit Journeys Collection features interviews focusing on the experiences of individuals migrating within the U.S. or from outside the U.S. to Detroit, Michigan.

Experiences Collection

Experiences Collection

The Experiences Collection features two sections. The first section includes interviews with women from Bennett College who participated in the Woolworth's Lunch Counter civil rights demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. The second section includes interviews with migrant workers from Homestead, Florida.

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