Lena Stevens was born August 27, 1888, in Blondike, Illinois, to John and Callie Stevens. Her first teaching position was in Birds Mill, Missouri, in 1907.
A 1917 graduate of Hillsdale College, Lena came to Albion that same year and began teaching first and second grades at the West Ward School, which had a predominantly black student population. West Ward was similar to a one-room school divided in two, with children of all ages up to 16 years old who could still not read or write.
Robert Cable, Lena’s first husband, was also an alumnus of Hillsdale College, where he had been studying the ministry. He was persuaded to come to the West Ward School in Albion as principal. He served in that position for four years before poor health forced his retirement. Lena took over his responsibilities and became principal. Robert died in 1931.
Lena was proud of those of her students who went on to become doctors, lawyers and teachers. She tried to incorporate as much black history into her teaching as possible. She also taught her students to be kind and honest. Lena was an active member of the Bethel Baptist Church, where she was president of the Mother’s Board, in the Missionary Society, and taught Sunday School. She married the Rev. William Holmes of Jackson and continued her teaching. In 1953, she moved to Detroit for a while, eventually moving back to Albion.
Sources: Albion Evening Recorder, November 28, 1983;Albion Public Library, Local History Room, Holmes family file
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.