DURDEN, EDWARD (5 Apr. 1932-6 Mar. 1993), civil rights activist, died as he lived, protesting injustice towards AFRICAN AMERICANS. He suffered a heart attack while criticizing George Forbes, president of the local NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLORED PEOPLE (NAACP). Durden was born to Arthur and Mae (Moon) Durden and educated in Birmingham, AL. He moved to Cleveland after high school and worked for a variety of factories, including Day-Glo Color Corporation. In his activism for equal rights, Durden participated in the NAACP, the United Freedom Movement, CORE (Congress on Racial Equality), and the Freedom Fighters. He also worked against CRIME, patrolling EAST CLEVELAND neighborhoods and marching against drugs in that city. Committed to social change, he educated people about critical issues, sometimes via loudspeakers on his car. In 1984 he led an effort to recall an East Cleveland city commissioner. At the time of his death, Durden was involved in the Grassroots Political Action Committee and the Concerned Citizens of East Cleveland.

In 1955, Durden married Mary Alice Lee (d. 1989); they had a daughter, Dr. Faith Marie, and 2 sons, David and Jerome A. The family moved to East Cleveland in the 1960s, where Durden became president of the Bender Avenue Street Club. He also taught Sunday School at the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church. Fellow activists honored Durden with vigils and rallies after his death. He was buried in Highland Park Cemetery.


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