Profiles and Portraits : African Americans in Niles' Past, Present, and Future
VE Exhibit Label 1:
Picture showing a young Pat Gresham on a horse

Born in 1938, Pat spent her childhood in Adrian and Jackson, MI until her mother decided Jackson was "too fast" and she told her daughter, "We're going home." Home was Niles, where Gresham's mother, Alice Findley Brown, was born and raised. Alice is descended from Pasquel LaRue Finley who brought his multi—racial family here in 1850.

Pat's grew up in the "Dickereel" neighborhood on the City's northeast side. According to Pat "We took care of one another. If someone was sick, we brought each other food and looked out for one another." She remembers, with dismay, a trip to the south and experiencing their strict form of segregation. Yet, as she recalls, in the North, it was difficult for blacks to find work and opportunities for college were limited. During the Civil Rights era, she admired Rosa Parks and met her when Parks visited Niles' Franklin AME Church in the 1990s.

Pat worked as a paraprofessional in special education for Niles and Berrien County Schools. She is active at her church, Mount Calvary Baptist, and serves as an Election Judge for Niles. She is carrying on her mother's work of preserving family history and passing on these lessons to her son Andre.

Pat was one of the individuals interviewed for "Profiles and Portraits: African Americans in Niles."

Photo courtesy of Patricia Gresham
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Patricia Gresham as a childPatricia Gresham as a child