Detroit’s James H. Cole Funeral Home is celebrating its centennial this year. The African-American owned and operated business first opened in 1919.
The family and its business is the subject of a four-part series in the Michigan Chronicle. The first installment of the series appears on February 6th.
Detroit journalist Branden Hunter put the series together. He says the centennial was the event that pushed him to write the stories. But Hunter says he wanted to tell city residents about the significance of the Cole family.
“I felt it was important to talk about how this family has helped Detroiters out a lot,” says Hunter.
“Black families couldn’t go to white funeral homes back in the day and get a proper burial, so Cole Funeral Home started out of those circumstances.”
Hunter hopes the series will inspire a small set of young people to begin funeral homes in Detroit.
Read the first installment of the series here.
Listen to Branden Hunter’s interview with WDET’s Jerome Vaughn by clicking the audio player button above.