CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BEARD, CHARLES AUGUSTINE

BEARD, CHARLES AUGUSTINE

BEARD, CHARLES AUGUSTINE (15 Dec. 1923-4 Feb. 1993) held key positions in the city's urban renewal and housing agencies from the 1950s through the 1980s. The son of Chappell and Aria Thomas Beard, he was born in Macon, Ga., and raised in Newport, R.I. He studied drafting at the Rhode Island School of Design and also attended Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. During WORLD WAR II he became a fighter pilot with the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee, Ala. Coming to Cleveland in 1945, he went to work for the Cleveland Urban Renewal Agency. During the 1950s he became the first African American to fill the position of chief planner for the Cleveland City Planning Commission. Among the projects for which he was responsible was the ST. VINCENT CHARITY HOSPITAL/CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE Metro Campus area. In 1967 he joined the staff of PATH (Plan of Action for Tomorrow's Housing), becoming executive director in 1970. As head of the private advocate for low-income housing, he provided testimony which was instrumental in a federal lawsuit against PARMA which paved the way for PUBLIC HOUSING in the SUBURBS. After PATH had closed down due to a lack of funding, Beard became a government liason with the FEDERATION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING from 1974 until his retirement in 1983. He was one of the founders of Friends of SHAKER SQUARE, serving as vice-president and helping the group obtain its first planning grant. He also helped organize the North Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen. Beard had married the former Peggy Lanton in 1960. Survived by her and 3 children, Hilary, Alison, and Jonathan, he was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.