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Dr. Andre Lee Interview

Dr. Andre Lee Interview Segment a
Dr. Andre Lee Interview Segment b
Dr. Andre Lee Interview Segment c
Dr. Andre Lee Interview Transcript Completed

Interview with Dr. Andre Lee by PG Watkins

[[00:00:00]] Dr. Lee remembers being born in Trinity Hospital, protected by gang members – mentions “Big Four” policemen also mentioned by Ms. DeCoursey – being put on stage of Flame Show Bar with showgirls at age four

[[00:03:00]] Related to Joe Louis distantly – mother worked for CA Howlett Company, whose owner gave Dr. Lee early jobs, helped him through college – created beauty parlor products – mentions Black inventors including Curtis products, makers of Ringtone

[[00:06:00]] Story of Dr. Curtis encountering Edgar Cayce in Detroit in the ‘40s – uncle Frank Brown put on shows with entertainers at Greystone Club (also mentioned by DeCoursey) – his wife Ernestine kept photos, now held by daughter Beverly who won’t let them go

[[00:09:00]] Dr. Lee is a retired hospital administrator, used to work at Highland Park General – mentions efforts to resurrect Dunbar Hospital as a museum because it’s an historic building – backers ran into financial trouble

[[00:12:00]] Managed to partially renovate Dunbar, but Detroit Medical Society doesn’t know what to do with it – still runs newsletter for Society – mentions old acquaintances who helped him as a young doctor fresh out of school – mentions director of Medical Society – acquainted with Detroit Medical Center

[[00:15:00]] Mentions how mother didn’t leave Black Bottom area – stepfather was former Harlem Globetrotter – mother moved to nursing homes – Dr. Lee left Black Bottom to go to school and military service

[[00:18:00]] Remembers induction center at Fort Wayne, saying goodbye to families, emotional distress when drafted in 1966 – went to Michigan State as undergrad – turned down at University of Michigan several times, including for grad school and as a doctor – eventually began work at Sunday Hospital

[[00:21:00]] Went to Cornell for grad school – as a child went to Harris Elementary on Mack – then went to Cass where he heard about MSU, took up fencing there – curfews in all-Black dormitory

[[00:24:00]] Knew Diana Ross, met her as she cut a record – also knew Scherrie Payne later on, same time as Stevie Wonder – met Martin Luther King, Jr. – met some of King’s entourage as well – still has pictures

[[00:27:00]] Became friends with Dick Gregory – story about funeral for mutual friend – met Alice Randall when she was a country western songwriter and he was a bachelor in Nashville

[[00:30:00]] on Black Bottom gangs, they didn’t cause violence towards citizens, trouble only came up when gang members intruded on other gangs’ territory

[[00:33:00]] As a kid hung out at Jefferson Street Rec Center – encouraged to go to Cass instead of Eastern or Miller – talk with PG about doing track at Cass

[[00:36:00]] Discussion of Commerce School across from Cass and the Bungalow, a hangout for students – remembers being part of social club for men, the Hexagons (Hexagrams were female counterpart)

[[00:39:00]] Remembers destruction freeway 375 did to Black community on Brush and St. Antoine, near Eastern Market – controversy over Lafayette Towers and residents subsequently moving out – remembers Coleman Young coming to house and cursing decision

[[00:42:00]] Has done Black history panels for Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania – discusses aborted history book and children’s books he’s written, as well as coffee-table book

[[00:45:00]] Shows some of titles for children’s books: The Legacy of Black Medical Schools, Pennsylvania, Black Military, Black History Trivia – mentions how models are nieces and nephews – some of his exhibits are on display at African American Museum in Kentucky

[[00:48:00]] PG and Dr. Lee discuss Black Bottom Archives’ exhibits as well as material held by Burton Historical Collection, especially the collection’s Black Yellow Pages

[[00:51:00]] Dr. Lee recommends that exhibits raise money to fund further exhibits – has done three documentaries on Black Medical History, including one on Dunbar – discuss how coronavirus pandemic has hampered efforts, Trump’s lies regarding medical science

[[00:54:00]] PG and Dr. Lee discuss virtual exhibits, website, marketing

[[00:57:00]] Goodbyes, Dr. Lee says he’ll see if cousin will let photos go in some way


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