Billy Graham Center

Records of Detroit's Afro-American Mission, Inc. - Collection 573

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

Since we are migrating our website to a new platform, we will no longer be updating this earlier version our site. Please visit our Archon database for online guide descriptions. In early 2018, look for our new site, currently under construction, linked in the BGC Archives section on the Library and Archives page. (12/11/2017)

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Historical Background

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Video Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Video tapes
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)


Brief Description.
Minutes, budgets, proposals, pamphlets, reports, videocassettes, and other material show the origins of Detroitís Afro-American Mission, Inc., and its activities including Bible clubs for children and adults, special ministry to singles , vacation Bible schools and camps, and the Institute for Biblical Research. For more information, please see guide.

Collection 573
[April 12, 2001]
Detroit's Afro-American Mission, Inc.; 1964-
Records; 1964-1994, n.d.

1 Box (1 DC; .4 cubic feet), Videotapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Historical Background

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
Mission leaders:
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.

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 speciality 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."

Scope and Content

[Note: In the Scope and Content Description, the notation "folder 2-5" means "Box 2, Folder 5"]

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.


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

Accession 94-29

April 10, 1000
Amy Schlumpf Manion
R. Shuster

Accession: 94-29
Type of material: Videotape

The following items are located in the VIDEOTAPE FILE:.

V1 - Color; VHS cassette; 40 minutes. Detroit's Afro American Mission Past. This video appears to be a homemade tape showing a montage of photographs of Mission activities with background instrumental music. There is no narration or captions. Subjects of the snapshots appear to be participants in the Mission's vacation bible school, as well as people participating in social activities, performances, or worship at the Mission. There are some exterior shots of buildings.

V2 - Color; VHS cassette; 1 hour, 25 minutes. Hamam [sic] & Malettor. This video appears to be a homemade tape made to commemorate the fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration of Haman and Malettor Cross, Sr held in September of 1993. It records a "second wedding" ceremony wherein Haman and Malettor renew their vows followed by a banquet and reception given in their honor. A presentation at the reception acknowledges their eleven children, twenty-two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Written notes of congratulations are read aloud from the governor (presumably of Michigan), a U.S. Navy Admiral, and a congressional award from Representative Collins is presented.

V3 - Color; VHS cassette; 5 minutes. Heart of Child in the Seventies. This video appears to be semi-professionally produced. The opening frame reads: "Detroit Afro-American Mission, Inc. Through Five Day Afro-Bible Clubs. In the Seventies." Background music sounds like a Gospel song with the lyrics "With the Heart of a Child." Subtitles in the video include "Baptizing in 1978 at the Mission" (at 1:48), "Sewing and Party 1969" (at 3:39), and "Tuesday Bible Study" at (4:23). Each segment is a montage of photographs.

V4 - Color; VHS cassette; 1 hour, 35 minutes. Ministries Of The Mission. This homemade video of Mission activities is occasionally narrated, presumably by Haman Cross, Sr. The beginning of the video is dated November 26, 1991, but is untitled and appears to be a recording of a class held at the Mission, and also a meal being served at the Mission. The remainder of the video includes these three titled sections: "Detroit's Afro-American Mission I.B.R." (at 6:00), "Special Ministry Concert" (at 47:45), and "Camp Staff Meeting" (at 1:03:20). The first titled section is video of several different instructors teaching different classes presumably in the Mission's Institute for Biblical Research. The class topics are communication, evangelization, and understanding people with addictions. The second titled section is dated 16 May 1992 and features a concert put on for hearing-impaired people. Three performers both sing and sign Gospel music. The third titled section shows the training of staff members for vacation Bible camp on 31 July 1990 and 9 August 1990. This is followed by video of young people departing on buses and vans from the Mission on 19 August 1990 for one week at camp "away from the concrete and asphalt jungle of the inner city," in the words of the moderator. He continues that this is part of the Mission's most important "fellowship ministry of reaching young men and women at this age for Christ."

V5 - Color; VHS cassette; 1 hour, 45 minutes. Staff Retreat 1994. This video has no interior titles and is occasionally narrated by presumably Haman Cross, Sr. It depicts the annual banquet for Mission staffers given to thank and appreciate them for their work at the Mission. A report by Haman Cross, Sr., occurs at 5:30 in which he recounts the accomplishments of the Mission in 1993. He indicates the Mission is at a turning point and therefore needs TEAMwork to continue its mission of "lifting the needy out of their afflictions." According to Cross, TEAM stands for Training, Evangelism, Ask (be people of prayer), and Mission. At 48:10, the tape cuts to a large staff workshop/seminar which appears to include about two dozen participants. Reports on the past year from various departments of the Mission are given and problems are discussed. At 2:21:14 the video cuts to approximately four minutes of outside footage showing a broken water main presumably outside the Mission. Haman Cross appears to be narrating and the date shown is "17 January" (no year). It appears to be very cold and the footage shows a number of vehicles stalled in the freezing water and mud.

Box Folder Description Dates
1 1 Cal-Fro Operation 1978-1980, n.d.
1 2 Correspondence 1969
1 3 Minutes; 1964-1971 n.d.
1 4 Minutes; 1972-1983 n.d.
1 5 Miscellaneous n.d.
1 6 Pamphlets. n.d
1 7 Singleminded Inc. Ministry 1980-1986; n.d.
1 8 Superintendent's Binder 1978-1980; n.d.

Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Last Revised: 4/16/01
Expiration: indefinite