Category: African American History

ABOLITIONISM. The contribution that Clevelanders made to the cause of black emancipation was related to 2 geographic factors: the location of the city in the Puritan New England environment of the WESTERN RESERVE, and its position on Lake Erie opposite the shores of Canada, destination of many hundreds of fugitives from the slave South.

The AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM, formerly the Afro-American Cultural & Historical Society Museum (est. 15 April 1953, inc.

AFRICAN AMERICANS. Cleveland's African American community is almost as old as the city itself. GEORGE PEAKE, the first black settler, arrived in 1809 and by 1860 there were 799 blacks living in a growing community of over 43,000. As early as the 1850s, most of Cleveland's African American population lived on the east side.


The ALIENED AMERICAN not only was Cleveland's first black newspaper, but apparently was also intended to be a regional voice. It was founded at the urging of the Ohio and Natl. Conventions of Colored Freemen from 1849-53. Three editors finally produced the paper's inaugural issue on 9 Apr. 1853, at a time when they claimed there were only 2 other black papers in publication in the entire country. WM. H.

The BAGBY FUGITIVE SLAVE CASE, heard in Cleveland's federal court in January of 1861, resulted in the return of one of the last fugitive slaves to the South before the Civil War.

BEN was a fugitive slave who spent several months in Cleveland in 1806. In the spring of 1806, a small boat transporting a man named Hunter, his family, and Ben, was upset and driven ashore just east of ROCKY RIVER. Hunter, from Michigan, hoped to resettle in the WESTERN RESERVE.

BLUE, WELCOME T., SR. (1867-24 May 1930), one of Cleveland's pioneering AFRICAN AMERICAN realtors and prominent community leaders, was born in Stillwater, Ohio.

The BODDIE RECORDING CO., run by Thomas and Louise Boddie, was Cleveland's first African-American owned and operated recording studio, serving a clientele ranging from gospel, soul, and rhythm & blues groups, to rock, bluegrass, and country musicians from as far away as Detroit and West Virginia. Fascinated with Rube Goldberg machines and electronics since his childhood, owner Thomas R.

BRASCHER, NAHUM DANIEL (24 May 1880-14 January 1945), a prominent AFRICAN AMERICAN journalist, educator, and community leader, active in Cleveland during the early decades of the twentieth century.

BROWN, JERE A. (1841-28 Mar. 1913), a black Republican politician, was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., attended Avery College in Allegheny, Pa., and lived in Canada and St. Louis before arriving in Cleveland in 1870 or 1871, becoming active in politics here to improve his status. He was appointed bailiff for Judge Daniel R.

CAPERS, JEAN (EUGENIA) MURRELL (11 January, 1913-18 July, 2017) in 1949 became the first African-American woman elected to Cleveland City Council. Despite the challenges of being both black and female, she enjoyed a long, lively, and contentious career in public life.

CARR, CHARLES VELMON (9 November 1903-30 Apr. 1987), influential Cleveland Democrat and civil rights advocate, was born in Clarksville, Texas. His parents, Will and Pauline Carr, were teachers. After their divorce, Carr was brought to Cleveland by his stepfather Jesse Robertson, an employee of the Cuyahoga County Engineers Office.

CENTRAL is a Cleveland neighborhood located roughly between Euclid Avenue to the north, Woodland Avenue to the south, and between East 71th to the east and East 22th to the west. The neighborhood is named after Central Avenue (once Garden) that runs through its center.

CHESNUTT, CHARLES WADDELL (20 June 1858-15 Nov. 1932), a novelist, short-story writer, and lawyer, was the first black writer to deal with race from the Negro's point of view. Born in Cleveland to Andrew J. and Maria Chesnutt, the family moved to Fayetteville, N.C. where Chesnutt grew up. He graduated from Howard School at 16 and augmented his education with study in German, French, and Greek.

CITY OF EAST CLEVELAND, OHIO V. MOORE resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision (31 May 1977) reversing an Ohio lower-court ruling and overturning an EAST CLEVELAND zoning ordinance that prohibited members of an extended family from living together in the same residence.

CLARKE, MELCHISEDECH CLARENCE (10 Nov. 1889-9 May 1956), known as M. C. or Mel, founded and developed agencies which enabled AFRICAN AMERICANS in Cleveland to obtain insurance and loans. He was the first African American member of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and served on Cleveland's city planning commission (1946).

The CLEVELAND ADVOCATE was an African American newspaper that flourished during the period of World War I and the great migration from the South. It was established on 15 May 1914 by ORMOND ADOLPHUS FORTE, a native of Barbados, British West Indies. According to Forte, who began working for the M. A. HANNA CO.

The CLEVELAND ASSOCIATION OF COLORED MEN was organized in June 1908 by black business and professional men to improve economic and social conditions for their race. It grew out of a smaller, more elite organization called the Cleveland Board of Trade (est. 1905), an affiliate of Booker T. Washington's National Negro Business League.

The CLEVELAND CALL & POST rose from somewhat obscure origins to become long Cleveland's major African American newspaper. It was created from the 1927 merger of 2 struggling weeklies, the Call and the Post. The Call was founded ca. 1920 by a group that included local inventor GARRETT A. MORGAN.

The CLEVELAND COMMUNITY RELATIONS BOARD was created by the city council in March 1945 to improve relations among the racial and cultural groups within the community and to help ameliorate conditions which strained those relationships.

The CLEVELAND FREEDMEN'S AID SOCIETY was one of several similarly named organizations that assisted, primarily in the South, the newly released slaves during and just after the Civil War.

The CLEVELAND GAZETTE gave local AFRICAN AMERICANS their own newspaper for the first time since before the Civil War. Although founded on 25 Aug. 1883 by a partnership of 4 men, within 3 years it had come under the sole control of its original managing editor, HARRY C. SMITH.