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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BUSINESSMEN'S INTERRACIAL COMMITTEE

BUSINESSMEN'S INTERRACIAL COMMITTEE

The BUSINESSMEN'S INTERRACIAL COMMITTEE, or Businessmen's Interracial Committee on Community Affairs, was established in April 1964, shortly after the death of Rev. BRUCE W. KLUNDER, who was killed during a civil-rights protest in Cleveland. The organization was formed to deal with racial problems in the city and improve community relations. Its other goals were to work on problems affecting the African American community, such as education, employment, and housing. Each of the organization's three subcommittees tackled one of the topics. The committee was composed of 38 white Cleveland businessmen and 28 minority community leaders.

Lawrence Evert, an Ohio Bell Telephone Co. executive, was appointed executive director in 1965. He was succeeded by Rev. Charles P. Lucas in September, 1973. The group was credited with a "solid and admirable record of building and improving relations between the races." It also influenced banks to announce a non-discrimination policy on mortgage loans.

When funds and financial records of the committee were found missing in 1975, local foundations terminated financing. The committee was dissolved in September of that year.