Archie T. and Early Detroit History
T.'s story is in the Big Book as "The Man Who Mastered
Fear" in the Second and Third Edition, and as "The
Fearful One" in the First Edition.
founder Archie T.'s sobriety date is September 3, 1938.
T. went to Akron and spent ten and 0ne-half months living
with Dr. Bob S. and his wife. He says he got his AA direct
from one of the founders. Archie read Emmet Fox's Sermon
on the Mount,and he said it changed his life.
December, 1939, the first meeting of AA in Michigan was
held in Arch T.'s room on Merrick Avenue in the Art Center
in Detroit. Present, besides Archie, were Mike E., who
became member #2 in Michigan, another alcoholic, and Sara
Klein, a non-alcoholic.
February, 1940, the group had 7 members and began meeting
in the basement room of a home of a non-alcoholic couple
named Benson on Taylor Avenue. This was affectionately
known as the "Benson's Basement".
then moved to 4242 Cass, which became known as the Downtown
Group. In the Fall of 1941 the Detroit Group was split
into 3 groups: the Downtown Group, the Eastside Group,
and the North-West Group, meeting on Plymouth Rd.
Sarah Klein, the "Angel of AA"
Klein was called "The Angel of AA" because she
helped Archie start AA meetings in Detroit and because
of her dedicated service to carrying the "AA Message"
to other alcoholics, especially those in hospitals and
had a phone so she was the first central office. "Central
Office" had it's inception in the home of Sarah Kline
(Klein) in 1941, where the first 12 Step calls were sent
out at the beginning of AA in the Detroit area.
Closed Meetings Begin in Detroit
the early 1940's so many newcomers were coming into AA
that the people with some sobriety were concerned about
"how best to carry the message to the newcomer".
June, 1943, a group of members proposed the idea of a
seperate Discussion Meeting to more advantageously present
the Twelve Steps of the Recovery Program to the new affiliate
and a decision was made to hold a Closed Meeting of alcoholics
only for this purpose.
first Discussion Meeting of the North-West Group was held
at 10216 Plymouth Road on Monday night, June 14th, 1943,
and had been held every Monday night without exception
thereafter. A plan for presentation of the Twelve Steps
of the Recovery Program was developed at this meeting.
This plan consisted of dividing the Twelve Steps into
four categories, or phases, for easier study and the divisions
were (1) Admission, (2) Spiritual, (3) Restitution and
Inventory, (4) Working and Message. Each division came
to be discussed on each succeeding Monday night in rotation
and this method was so successful that it was adopted,
first by other groups in Detroit and then throughout the
United States, and finally was published in it's entirety
by the Washington, D.C. groups in a pamphlet entitled
" An Interpretation of the Twelve Steps". In
Detroit, the pamphlet was also called the "Table
First Radio Broadcast on WWJ
March 5, 1945, Time Magazine reported Detroit's WWJ Radio
station's pioneer broadcasts by AA members, first such
radio program in the U.S. The program was called "The
Mr. Hope TV Show
the 1950's WWJ telecast a TV program called "MR.
HOPE" in which AA members appeared wearing Lone Ranger
masks who told their stories. The masks were worn to protect
their identities. The program aired at noon on Sundays.
of our current members (1998), Bill B., was on the show
a couple of times along with the Police Commissioner and
More Historical Information
first AA Club in Detroit was started in the early 1940's
on Milwaukee Avenue, one block from the GM Building. A
lot of guys would come in for lunch or after work and
hang around and talk AA.
club was started by Miles W. and Bill B., a current member.
Friday , 1942, the Daily Star of Windsor, Ontario reported
that over 400 AA members attended testimonial dinner in
Detroit for Dr. Bob, co-founder of AA.
Bob's last major talk was in Detroit.
Ontario, Canada had AA meetings, recovering alcoholics
from Windsor could come to the Detroit meetings. The following
is a quote from an early member on going to the Detroit
meeting on Plymouth Ave.
used to have to drive our car to the tunnel (gasoline
was rationed), park the car, drop a nickel in the fare
box for the tunnel bus, ride thru the tunnel, walk several
blocks to the Grand River Street Car, ride the street
car for an hour out to Plymouth Road, then walk about
half a mile to Plymouth and Ilene."