Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cunningham, Father William

William T. Cunningham was born in Detroit, Michigan. He studied at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary and later at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. In 1955, Cunningham was ordained into the priesthood. He was teaching English literature at a Catholic high school in Detroit when he first saw the clouds of smoke from the 1967 riots.

In response to the devastation caused by the riots, Cunningham joined with Reverend Jerome Fraser and suburban housewife Eleanor Josaitis to form Focus:Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to bring about social justice through economic advancement, distribution of charitable services and job training.

Father William T. Cunningham died on May 26, 1997.