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Nicole Persley: Family Story Featured in Bentley “Collections”, Upcoming Documentary

Persley cropped wash post article

Researcher Nicole Persley grew up in Virginia and always assumed she was white. But after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1992, her personal research uncovered evidence that her grandfather was African American. Years later, a 23andMe test confirmed it.

Dr. Alonzo Bond Persley graduated in 1915 from the University of Michigan Medical School, and was Persley’s paternal grandfather. Now, with the help of Brian williams, the Bentley’s Archivist for University History, Persley has been able to learn even more about him.

Nicole Persley’s story (BFA 1992) was featured in the U‑M Bentley Library’s Fall 2018 Collections magazine, along with previous articles in The Washington Post, BBC, The Detroit News. The unique story will be explored in an upcoming documentary which also feature Persley’s original paintings reflective of her African American heritage.

Bentley Historical Library Collections Magazine, Fall 2018