Benjamin Adell Neely was born November 11, 1900 in Gastonia, North Carolina to Mark Neely and Olivia Benjamin. The Neely family moved to Ypsilanti in 1914 at the beginnings of the Great Migration. Benjamin married Ypsilanti’s Ethel (Thomas) King, the widow of Hazen King Sr., and worked as a dry-cleaner for over thirty years. Mr. Neely was a leading figure in the political and trade union movement in the city in the 1930s and 40s and played an important role in the election of the city’s first Black city council members. Benjamin passed away in January, 1986.