Here stood the home of an eminent Detroit Negro who distinguished himself as a lawyer, politician, and writer. A native of Barbados, Straker (1842 ~ 1908) came to America in 1867 and received a law degree from Howard University four years later. After a varied career in the South, he moved to Detroit and became counsel to William W. Ferguson
, well known black businessman. Straker won the celebrated 1890 case against the white owner of a saloon and restaurant who refused to serve Ferguson and a friend. Active in Republican politics as well as legal affairs, Straker was elected Circuit Court Commissioner. He wrote several books including a biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture and published and edited the weekly edition of the Detroit Advocate.
Known as the "black Irish lawyer" because of his accent, Straker battled throughout his life for civil rights and racial pride.