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Ypsilanti District Library

Ypsi History

The stories of Ypsilanti

James Donald (J. D.) Hall

James Donald Hall was born March 4, 1918 in Louisiana to Wesley and Alma (Newt) Hall in Louisiana and raised in nearby Arkansas. One of eleven children, Mr. Hall came to Michigan in 1946 to attend school. He quickly became a barber and opened two shops; one in...

Martha Neely

Martha (Starks) Neely was born January 15, 1895 in Windsor, Ontario to Vincent and Sarah (Brooke) Starks.  The her father joined his brother, Charles Starks, in Ypsilanti around 1904. Martha attended a number of Ypsilanti schools and was one of the few Black women of...

Hazen A. King Jr.

Hazen A, King Jr. was born November 23, 1918 to Hazen and Ethel (Thomas) King  on Ypsilanti’s South Adams Street. The King’s came to Ypsilanti from Canada. After an early first marriage, Hazen wed Geraldine Kennedy and together they had one daughter....

John Barfield

John William Barfield was born on February 8, 1927 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Lena (James) and Edgar Barfield. Mr. Barfield’s family came to Ypsilanti during World War Two. Barfield After serving in the United States Army, Mr. Barfield found work as a custodian...

Norman Kennedy

Norman Eugene Kennedy was born to Earnest and Holly (Harris) Kennedy in Chicago, Illinois on June 15, 1929. After arriving in Ypsilanti, Mr. Kennedy became involved in the building trades and was active in the union, and the Democratic Party. He served on Ypsilanti...