Michigan Chronicle: The founding of Detroit’s oldest black-owned funeral parlor

Cole Funeral Home family
Photo by Annistique Photography

In the first of a four-part series, Michigan Chronicle reporter Branden Hunter takes an in-depth look at the founding of the James H. Cole Funeral Home, which celebrates its centennial this year. 

Founded in 1919 in Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood by James H. Cole III, the family business has deep ties to Wayne State's mortuary science program. James H. Cole IV earned his mortuary science licensure at WSU in 1950 and immediately joined his father in the business. His grandson, Brice Green, graduated with his bachelor's degree in 2013. Green has been an integral part of the company since 2007. Wallace Williams, who has worked for the home for more than 40 years, is a member of the WSU mortuary science advisory committee. 

Today, the James H. Cole Home for Funerals is the oldest black-owned funeral home in the city of Detroit.

Part I in Michigan Chronicle 

Part II: A Mother and Her Two Sons 

Part III: 100 Years of Compassion and Service

Part IV: A company is only as good as its employees



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