Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Fellows Gomon, Josephine

Josephine Fellows Gomon was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1892. She lived there until 1913 when she graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in mathematics. She moved to Detroit and began teaching mathematics and physics at the College of the City of Detroit, now Wayne State University. In 1916, she married University of Michigan engineering graduate R. Louis Gomon and in the following years, while raising their children, she taught in the Detroit Public Schools system, wrote a column about child education for the Detroit News, and worked for the local Planned Parenthood league.

In 1930, Josephine began working for the mayoral campaign of Frank Murphy. Upon his election, he appointed her as his executive secretary and as a chairwoman on the Mayor’s Unemployment Committee. In 1933, she was appointed the director of the Detroit Housing Commission, which was newly established at the time. In 1941, she was appointed by the Ford Motor Company as Director of Women Personnel at the Willow Run bomber plant. She ran for elective office in Detroit in 1929, 1935 and 1941, but she was never successful. She was one of the first women to run for public office in Detroit, however, and she received substantial support. From 1945 to 1948, she hosted a radio program called “Opinion Unlimited.”

 Josephine was a hardworking and influential woman working in public positions and to promote and help the advancement of women and Detroiters. She remained an active participant in campaigns for human rights and social welfare, as a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Americans for Democratic Action, until her death in 1975.

Edited by Caitlin Brennecke