Dec. 5, 1963: William T. Patrick Jr. leaves Common Council for Bell

William T. Patrick Jr.On this day in 1963, William T. Patrick, Jr. sends shock waves along Gratiot and Grand River avenues by announcing that he will resign from Common Council and join the legal staff of Michigan Bell Telephone Company.

“I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to serve as a corporation lawyer with one of the finest companies in the state,” he tells the Detroit Free Press. Patrick, elected in 1957, is the first African-American to serve on the legislative body since Samuel C. Watson in the 1880s.

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.