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Collection 573 Records of Detroit's Afro-American Mission

Identifier: CN 573

Scope and Contents

Minutes, budgets, proposals, pamphlets, reports, video cassettes, and other material showing the origins of Detroit's Afro-American Mission, Inc., and its activities including Bible clubs for children and adults, special ministries to singles, vacation Bible schools and camps, and the Institute for Biblical Research.


  • Created: 1964-1994

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Information

Founded: 1964 Location of headquarters:

1964-1970 533 South Minerva, P.O. Box 451, Royal Oak, MI.

1970-? 7826 Melrose Avenue, P. O. Box 451, Detroit, MI 48211 and 1019 Clay Street, Detroit, MI 48211 Superintendent:

1964-? - Haman Cross, Sr.

President of the Board of Trustees"

1964-1969 - Clarence Olson, president of board of trustees, 1965-1969


1970-1972 - Julius Lowry

1972-? - A. Perry

?-? - James Horton

1978-? - Rudy L. Lewis

?-1983 - Art Baldwin

?-1983 - John Sharpe


1974-? - James Horton


1964-? - Malattor Cross

1983-? - Haman Cross, Jr.

Origins and Development:

1964 - In September, Mrs. Sarah Lowry donated property to Mr. and Mrs. Haman Cross, Sr., located at 7826 Melrose Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, to be used "to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Fundamental Evangelical Mission in the salvation of souls." This space served as the Cross's home, the center of early mission activities, and later as the official corporation headquarters beginning in 1970.

1969 - In December, the corporation began renting a storefront for further mission activities at 8228 Oakland Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. This was known as Mission Hall and was the center of activities until a larger building was purchased and renovated in June of the following year. In this year, Detroit's Afro-American Mission becomes a member of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America.

1970 - In June 1970, the Mission purchased the property at 1019-25 Clay Avenue and adjacent land from Ludwig and Mollie Boraks. This property became of the center of activities for the Detroit Afro-American Mission, Inc.

1971 - Haman Cross, Jr., becomes a full-time missionary with the Detroit's Afro-American Mission, working primarily with young people.

1972 - The Mission sends forty-four children to summer camp this year.

1975 - About 250 children are reached in this year's summer program.

1976 - Ministry to the hearing-impaired begins with the Mission family learning sign language. The baptism pool is completed in the Mission building. Over one thousand people are reached in this year's summer program. Opportunities for outreach expand when a building at 7138 West Six Mile is donated to the Mission. This site is known as the McNichols Satellite building and offers more space for prayer meetings, Bible study, summer clubs, etc. Further outreach is conducted at a house and vacant lot in Highland Park.

1978 - Detroit's Afro-American Mission creates a task force with Calvary Baptist Church in Hazel Park, Michigan, designed to create a local body of believers. The task force is known as the Cal/Fro Project or Operation Cal/Fro. Matthew Parker serves as consultant on the project and as Summer Program Director for the Mission.

1979 - The Cal/Fro Project rents V.F.W. Post #140 at 19130 Bauman for use as a vacation bible school and for Sunday school. In this same year, the joint venture known as the Cal/Fro Project is renamed the Great Commission Community Church and is incorporated. Its pastor is Rev. Ernest Henderson. Approximately twenty-five boys are participating in the Christian Service Brigade and fifty girls are in Pioneer Girls. About forty students are enrolled in the Institute of Biblical Research, a three-year program of study at the mission that results in a diploma and can include a separate or additional certificate from Evangelical Teachers Training Association or Emmaus Bible School and a G.E.D. certificate.

1980 - Ron Ballard is appointed to develop a singles ministry for the Mission. He proposes the following strategy for a singles ministry: recruitment, development, and outreach culminating in an annual singles fellowship conference. This ministry is ultimately known as Single-minded Inc. Property is purchased at 15130 E. Warren for an East-side Detroit Ministry Center; the building is eventually known as the Scripturetorium. Proposed budget for the Mission this year is $149,000.

Ministry specialty or emphasis:

According to the Constitution and By-Laws: "The central purpose and duty of the Detroit's Afro-American Mission, Incorporated, is to proclaim the 'unsearchable riches' of the Lord Jesus Christ; to seek the salvation of the lost; to instruct believers in the Word of God; to conduct religious and Sunday School services at the Mission; to clothe, and help the needy; and to foster, promote and encourage general rescue mission work in whatever way the Board of Directors deem it necessary, in the City of Detroit and suburbs." Haman Cross, Sr., is also quoted in one of the videotapes as saying the mission is "reaching Afro-American families for Christ."

Other information:

The geographical emphasis of this collection is metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, with a special emphasis on the neighborhoods in the vicinity of 1019 Clay Street. "Detroit Africa Mission" was the first name of the mission in 1964. In 1965, the board voted to adopt the official name of "Detroit's Little Africa Mission, Inc."


0.40 Cubic Feet (1 Box (DC), 5 Video Tapes)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

Series: I. Paper Records

Arrangement: Material was received in six three-ring binders and two manila file folders. All but one of the binders consisted primarily of meeting minutes of the Detroit's Afro-American Mission board of directors. These were removed from the binders for conservation reasons and for convenience of use. They were then organized chronologically by the archivist. One binder appeared to be reference material used by the superintendent (folder 1-8), and its organization was maintained. The folders were put in alphabetical order by title by the archivist.

Date Range: 1964-1986, n.d.

Volume: .4 cubic feet

Geographic coverage: metropolitan Detroit, Michigan

Type of documents: Mainly meeting minutes, also correspondence, budgets, proposals, pamphlets, resumes, blueprints, deed of property, board of directors lists, organizational charts, reports, contracts, questionnaire, rosters, mission worker reports, superintendent's reports

Correspondents: Roger J. Andrus; Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Manning; Mr. Cohren; James E. Ross; Bruce L. Miller; Harold R. Bucks (Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, Michigan); Mrs. Harold MacDonald; Department of Parks & Recreation, Detroit, Michigan; Douglas R. Wasama

Subjects: The mission's evangelism and social work in the African American community in Detroit; particularly its activities among youth and children and its Christian nurture programs for adults, including its single ministry

Notes: Most of the correspondence in this collection is attached to meeting minutes. Folder 1-2 contains one letter from Calvary Baptist College to Detroit's Afro-American Mission that was not attached to any minutes.

Folder 1-1 contains the documentation of the Cal-Fro Project - a joint venture to establish a local body of believers between Calvary Baptist Church, Hazel Park, Michigan, and Detroit's Afro-American Mission, Inc. The ultimate result of the project was the establishment of the Great Commission Community Church in 1979. This folder contains proposals, history, notes, reports, organizational charts, contracts, correspondence, a questionnaire, resumes, job descriptions, resources, membership lists, and evaluations of the project as well as the constitution of the Great Commission Community Church. The file includes material from consultant Matthew Parker.

In folders 1-3 and 1-4 are the minutes of the governing board of Detroit's Afro-American Mission from the years 1964-1983. The main topics of the minutes are maintenance of the mission's properties, reports on the activities of the mission, the salaries and benefits of mission employees, and the board of directors membership. The activities of the Mission were: Bible clubs for children, Bible classes for adults, vacation Bible schools and camps, distribution of clothing and food to the needy, Bible and sewing classes for women and adolescent girls, Girls' Pioneer Club, Boys' Christian Service Brigade, Sunday school classes, sports and recreation for children and adolescents, Sunday worship, choir and other musical groups, the Institute for Biblical Research, family social activities, prayer meetings, the Joshua Generation drama club.

Folder 1-6 contains a family manual and three promotional pamphlets. The family manual was given to families considering joining the Mission and includes policies governing the board of directors, a doctrinal statement, goals and objectives, financial principles and practices, membership requirements, philosophy, and membership definitions. The information in the pamphlets includes the mission's goals; a description of the summer program, teaching, counseling, youth guidance; history and vision of the mission; the doctrinal statement, and the mission's strategy for evangelism and discipleship.

The records of the mission's ministry to single adults (those never married, as well as divorced, widowed, separated, and single parents) are contained in folder 1-7. Material includes retreat schedules, organizational charts, proposals, reports, meeting agenda, and minutes.

The superintendent's binder (folder 1-8) contains records of the mission covering the years 1978-1980. This folder contains a substantial amount of financial data regarding the mission including proposed and actual budgets, balance sheets, and finance reports. This folder also contains meeting minutes, superintendent's reports, youth guidance reports, and an address list of board of directors for the specified time period. An undated copy of the Constitution and By-laws of the Detroit Afro-American Mission, Inc. is contained in this folder.

Exceptional items: Folder 1-1 contains autobiographical information of staff that details not only how they came to be involved in the mission and but also how they became Christians. Folder 1-3 contains architectural drawings of proposed renovations to Mission property.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives by Haman Cross, Sr., in 1994.

Accession 94-29

April 10, 2000

Amy Schlumpf Manion

R. Shuster

Collection 573 Records of Detroit's Afro-American Mission
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US