Frederick Grady

Frederick Arnold Grady was born in Windsor, Ontario to Leason and Bessie (Cook) Grady. Frederick came to Ypsilanti to work at the U.S. Pressed Steel factory; a foundry which employed large numbers of African-American men located where the old Ford Motor plant now is. Frederick married Fern Wright and together they had two children. Frederick Arnold Grady passed away on July 11, 1991.

Frederick Grady Interview, December 4, 1980
A.P. Marshall, interviewer

(Note: The original tape of this oral history interview is missing. This transcript is a copy of A. P. Marshall’s transcript of the interview. Thus, we cannot verify the accuracy of these transcriptions. Our historians have divided it into annotated segments.)

Segment Synopsis: In this brief snippet surviving of the interview, Mr. Grady talks about coming to Ypsilanti from Windsor to work in local industry.

Keywords: Windsor, Canada; Frederick Arnold Grady; Ypsilanti, Michigan; Kalamazoo, Michigan; US Pressed Steel; Black foundry workers; Clarence V. Brown; James Grady;

Subjects: Canada–Emigration and immigration. United States–Emigration and immigration. Foundry workers.

MARSHALL: Your name is Frederick Arnold Grady. Mr. Grady, when were you born?

GRADY: 1905.

MARSHALL: 1905. And you weren’t in Ypsilanti then. Where were you born?

GRADY: I was born in Windsor, Ontario.

MARSHALL: Oh, you were born in Windsor, Ontario. Then you were one of that stream of Canadians that came over here. And you came here in what year?

GRADY: 1917.

MARSHALL: 1917. Have you lived in Ypsilanti since you came here?

GRADY: Well, we lived about nine years in Kalamazoo.

MARSHALL: What year did you come back here to Ypsilanti?

GRADY: I think it was 1940.

MARSHALL: What kind of work did you do?

GRADY: Well, I was working in the factory then at U.S. Pressed Steel. It used to be down there where the Ford plant is now. I was a machine operator down there. Then they moved to Kalamazoo. I went along with them as assistant stock man, and when we got up there, they had electric cranes and I wanted to run one of them, and so I got in on that. There used to be a C. V. Brown—he was the mayor of Ypsilanti at one time.

MARSHALL: The mayor of Ypsilanti? C. V. Brown?

GRADY: At one time, yes. He was a friend of mine, when I was a kid. He got me a job at Pressed Steel and when we went to Kalamazoo, the foreman up there said, “No, you can’t run the crane.” I had a talk with C. V. in the office and the next day the orders come over “Put him on the crane.” I was a youngster and I left.

MARSHALL: Sure, sure.

GRADY: We got married in 1929.

MARSHALL: Married in 1929?

GRADY: That’s when the factory moved to Kalamazoo.

MARSHALL: What date did you get married on. Let’s see how good your memory is.

GRADY: July 3rd, 1929.

MARSHALL: 1929. That’s the year I went to high school. You have any children?

GRADY: Yes, two. A boy and a girl.

MARSHALL: What’s your boy’s name?

GRADY: James.

MARSHALL: You know his birthday?

GRADY: No, I don’t.

MARSHALL: [Laughs] I’m not going to ask you your girl’s birthday. What’s her name?

GRADY: Dorothy.

MARSHALL: Do they still live around here?

GRADY: They live out east of town. Dorothy lives in Belleville, near Belleville.

MARSHALL: What’s her last name?

GRADY: Simon.

MARSHALL: Simon. And your son, does he live here?

GRADY: Yes. He’s an inspector down at the Ford plant.

MARSHALL: His name is…

GRADY: James Grady.

MARSHALL: Now he’s married too, I presume. You’re a grandfather?

GRADY: Great-grandfather.

MARSHALL: [Laughs] I can’t catch you. I can’t touch you there.

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