Dr. Norman McRae was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1925 and received his B.A. in history and journalism, his teaching certificate, and his M.A. in education from Wayne State University. He taught social studies and developed and managed the federal personnel department in the Detroit Public Schools until 1967, leaving to join the Michigan-Ohio Regional Educational Laboratory and to accept an Urban Education Fellowship at The University of Michigan, where he subsequently obtained his Ph.D. He returned to the Detroit Public Schools in 1970, first as assistant director of teacher education and then as director of the social studies and fine arts departments, until his retirement in 1991.
Since the mid-sixties, Dr. McRae has been an avid researcher and writer on African-American history, especially the history of Detroit’s African-American community; he played a major role in the development of multicultural and human rights curricula in the Detroit school system. In 1969 he taught the first black history course offered at Wayne State University.
The Norman McRae collection consists primarily of a wide range of secondary source material — clippings, articles, pamphlets, studies, government publications — on African-American history and the African-American experience.
He is the author of Negroes in Michigan during the Civil War and the coauthor of Detroit: The First City Of the Midwest. He passed in 2010. Interviewing him remains one of the highlights of my life.