Sunday, September 19, 2010

Camp Meeting in Peninsular Park

One hundred and three years ago, Peninsular Park was the scene of a September 1907 Christian revival meeting, led by a dynamic 25-year-old reverend.

The son of a West Indies-born father and an Alabama-born mother, Illinois native and Ypsilanti resident James O. Derrick pastored the city's Second Baptist Church on South Hamilton near Buffalo Street. He lived with his wife May B. at 531 Jefferson Avenue, in the city's historically black district sometimes called "Hungry Hill." Married in 1903 when they were both 21, the couple had one infant son Delman S., who in a year and a half would get a brother, Delmer A.

May had emigrated from Canada in 1901. By 1910, May would have 5 children, of whom 2 survived.

in 1919, the Derricks relocated to Detroit, where James led and expanded the three-year-old Russell Street Baptist Church, where he would remain in authority until 1931. He was regarded as scholarly, inspiring, and a good youth programs organizer. Derrick oversaw the relocation of the church to its present-day site at 8700 Chrysler Service Drive, where it would become a second home to blacks migrating to Detroit to work in the Big Three auto plants. Today, Derrick is regarded as one of the church's best pastors in its history.

For a while, however, Ypsilanti had been able to call the pastor one of her own.

1 comment :

Susan said...

My grandmother is Susan Derrick. You state that May only had 2 children. Susan was born in 1912 or 13. Please let me know where you got this information...thank you