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Melvin J. Holley

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Information about Melvin J. Holley

Profile image of Melvin J. Holley

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
City Transit Worker
Genealogist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Lavender
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart That I Might Not Sin Against God.

Birthplace

Born:
1/27/1933
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
City Transit Worker
Genealogist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Lavender
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Thy Word Have I Hid In My Heart That I Might Not Sin Against God.

Birthplace

Born:
1/27/1933
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Melvin J. Holley is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Genealogist Melvin J. Holley was born on January 27, 1933 in Detroit, Michigan to Ethel Lee Jones Holley and Major Q. Holley and to a family of eight children. Holley attended Higginbotham Elementary School and then transferred to Post Intermediate Academy in 1945 before graduating from Cass Technical High School in 1951. Holley enrolled in Michigan State University and earned his B.A. degree in history in 1996.

In 1953, at the age of twenty, Holley was drafted into the United States Army. He attended the Army Radar School in Texas until 1954 when he was sent to England where he served his first tour of duty. In 1955, Holley returned to the United Sates and worked briefly for the Detroit Department of Street Railways. He joined the Michigan National Guard in October 1956 and served almost four decades as a military technician. Holley retired in 1991 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. Holley became interested in genealogy and started pursuing his own family history.

In 2000, administrators at the Lansing Area African American Genealogy Society (LAAAGS) asked Holley to help build their organization into one of national prominence. He urged promotion of the preservation of African American family history and created a forum for sharing data. In addition, Holley hosted seminar discussions such as, “Getting Beyond Myself: An Introduction to African American Genealogy.” He was elected president of the LAAAGS in 2006.

Holley is a member of the Religious Conference Management Association, United Conferences for Men and Greater Lansing Youth for Christ organizations. Holley lives in Lansing, Michigan and is married to Verna Holley. They have three adult children: Mark, Timothy and Millicent.

Melvin Julius Holley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 29, 2008 and October 23, 2012.

See how Melvin J. Holley is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melvin J. Holley's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley recalls his first trip to the South
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley remembers his relationship with his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley describes his mother's upbringing in Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley talks about his mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the potential meaning of his father's name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melvin J. Holley describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the challenges of his family genealogical research
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Melvin J. Holley describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melvin J. Holley talks about his father's occupation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley describes his father's education in Selma, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley recalls how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley talks about his parents' migration to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley remembers his early neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Melvin J. Holley remembers Berean Tabernacle in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Melvin J. Holley describes the strict rules of his household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Melvin J. Holley remembers his childhood home
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Melvin J. Holley recalls listening to Joe Louis fights
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Melvin J. Holley describes his favorite childhood pastimes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melvin J. Holley recalls attending Higginbotham Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley describes Post Intermediate School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley recalls attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley remembers graduating from Cass Technical High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley recalls meeting his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley remembers joining the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley describes his treatment in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley recalls his U.S. Army service in England
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Melvin J. Holley describes his Michigan Army National Guard service
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Melvin J. Holley remembers the 1967 Detroit riots
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Melvin J. Holley recalls his first impressions of Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Melvin J. Holley's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley describes Richard W. Thomas' account of Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the value of oral histories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley recalls his early experiences with oral histories
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley remembers an oral history from his paternal grandmother
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley describes his history education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley talks about segregation in World War I
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley describes his history curriculum at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Melvin J. Holley recalls his father's migration to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Melvin J. Holley recalls forming the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the founding members of the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley describes Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society's mission
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the value of state and city records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley describes the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society's activities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley talks about his research into Lansing native Andrew Dungey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley describes the history of Lansing's Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the Dungey family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Melvin J. Holley describes the necessity of oral history in genealogical research
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the inquisitive nature of genealogical research
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley describes his research concerning the Prince Hall Masons
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley talks about lingering questions from his research
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley describes his research on six prominent Lansing families
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley talks about the plans for the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society's tenth anniversary
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley describes the Lansing Area African American Genealogical Society's research priorities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Melvin J. Holley reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Melvin J. Holley reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Melvin J. Holley describes his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Melvin J. Holley talks about his spirituality
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Melvin J. Holley describes his siblings
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Melvin J. Holley recalls a family reunion
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Melvin J. Holley remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Melvin J. Holley describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Melvin J. Holley narrates his photographs