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Stateside Podcast: "Passing:" The Story of Elsie Roxborough

Elsie Roxborough passing1
University of Michigan Alumni Association
/
Bentley Historical Library
Writer and reporter Ken Coleman tells the story of Detroiter Elsie Roxborough, who was born into a wealthy, Black family in Detroit. But when she died in 1949, her death certificate listed her as white.

In 1914, Elsie Roxborough was born into a wealthy, Black family in Detroit. But when she died in 1949, her death certificate listed her as white. Her life was rich, curious and at times, troubled, all while attempting a sort of high-wire-act of living multiple lives, between cities and names and races. Today, we talk about her life, death, and everything in between.

GUEST:

Ken Coleman, writer and reporter

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Stateside’s theme music is by 14KT.

Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

Corrected: March 31, 2022 at 11:52 AM EDT
A previous version of this story stated that Elsie Roxborough died in 1937. It has been updated to the correct year: 1947.
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Erin Allen comes to Michigan Radio as a new producer for the station’s Stateside show. She is an experienced communicator driven by her curiosity about stories of people.