September 19, 1967 – July 23, 2011
David Blair, better known as Blair, was born in Newton, New Jersey and moved to Detroit in the 1990s. He achieved national recognition as an openly queer socialist poet, artist, singer-song writer, and activist. Blair also taught poetry to Detroit Public School students and at the Ruth Ellis Center. Among his many achievements were a National Poetry Slam title and the BENT Writing Institute Mentor Award.
Between The Lines, July 28, 2011
Metro Times, August 3, 2011
October 22, 1987 – January 10, 2013
Ciara La’Shae White was musically inclined at a young age, playing clarinet and bass clarinet in the concert and marching bands at Ruddiman Middle School in Detroit and taking part in the marching band, as well as junior ROTC, at Mackenzie High School. She was a beloved member of the LGBT community and the Ruth Ellis Center.
Stinson Funeral Home
May 23, 1995 – August 8, 2015
According to Detroit police, 20-year-old Amber Monroe was engaged in sex work In August 2015 when she was shot and killed near Six Mile and Woodward. She was the twelfth trans woman of color murdered in the U.S. that year. Monroe attended Oak Park High School, studied at Wayne State, and was a familiar face at the Ruth Ellis Center.
Between The Lines, August 20, 2015
January 27, 1958 – June 16, 2015
A Lincoln Park resident and New Jersey native, Grace McClelland worked for two decades in the non-profit sector before being tapped, in 2003, as first executive director of Ruth Ellis Center for LGBT youth in Metro Detroit. Following her departure from REC in 2009, she began her own consulting firm, Liberation Consulting.
Between The Lines, July 9, 2015
May 12, 1984 – June 27, 2006
Known for his “fallout” dance move, Robert “Reebe” Hatcher became involved in the Ruth Ellis Center for homeless LGBT youth in Highland Park in his late teens. He died of complications from a heart condition at age 22.
Between The Lines, July 20, 2006
June 10, 1952 – August 30, 2007
A native of Mason, Elizabeth Ann Kendall grew up in Mio, received her Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University, and earned an MBA from Oakland University, enjoying a long career in budget and finance. Her involvement in the Detroit area LGBTQ community included support for Affirmations and the Ruth Ellis Center. She and her partner Torii Hamilton married in Canada in 2003.
Between The Lines, September 13, 2007
July 23, 1899 – October 12, 2000
Elder and matriarch Ruth Ellis hosted house parties with her partner Babe Franklin in their Oakland Street home during the 1940s and ’50s, giving sanctuary to LGBTQ African American Detroiters who were often excluded from the city’s gay bars.
Between The Lines, October 12, 2000
Ruth Ellis papers at the Bentley Historical Library
Trailer for Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100