Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Racial Integration in the Heights
57 total

Alan Dean Buchanan interview, 24 June 2013

Alan Dean Buchanan has been the Judge in Cleveland Heights since 2001. He took over for Lynn Toler who was elected in 1994. Judge Buchanan was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He lived with his mother and older brother and attended Northwestern High School in Darlington, Pennsylvania. After high school he went to Princeton University in New Jersey. He was one of about 13 blacks in a graduating class of about 700. While at Princeton he wrote his senior thesis on Carl Stokes campaign in…

Marian Morton interview, 01 July 2013

Marian Morton is a professor at John Carroll University. She has lived in Cleveland Heights since the early 1960s. She wrote a book on Cleveland Heights history and has done photograph books for Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights as well. She does not have a strong personal recollection of what was going on in the city and only discovered much of the state of race relations and integration through her later research.

Joanne Lewis interview, 26 June 2013

Joanne Lewis, a native Clevelander, describes what it was like growing up in Cleveland and later Cleveland Heights. She describes what her father did for a living, which provided her and her family a decent lifestyle. She recalls what she used to do for fun like going downtown, using the streetcars, and drinking milkshakes. She talks about the WPA and the various projects it worked on, including Cain Park. She describes her many travels around the world. She also discusses her involvement in the…

Diana Woodbridge interview, 15 July 2013

Diana Woodbridge grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and Shaker Heights, attended college at Miami University, and taught school for a short time in Painesville, Ohio. She discusses the struggle for fair housing in the Heights in the 1960s-70s and the formation of two key organizations: Forest Hill Housing Corporation and Heights Community Congress.

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Donna McIntyre Whyte Interview, 24 May 2013

Donna McIntyre Whyte is a Cleveland native, born in 1948, and grew up in the Glenville neighborhood, and then later on to the Mt. Pleasant area. Her father taught her and her sister many domestic and handy skills such as how to work on cars. She lived close to her grandparents, close enough to walk their alone as a child. Her grandparents have interesting stories, and she appreciated them and spent a lot of time with them. She does not recall any distinct instances of segregation, but does…

Doris Allen Interview, 4 August 2013

Doris Allen was originally born in Shelby, Alabama, and moved to Cleveland when she was two years old. She had a very established great uncle living in Cleveland, Robert Hardy, who was the first African American to own property east of East 55th Street in Cleveland. Her father was drafted into the Army when she was 9, and their family moved back to the South for one year while he served. She returned to Cleveland, moved into the Glenville neighborhood. She enjoyed her education in Glenville,…

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Sura Sevastopoulos Interview, 30 May 2013

Sura Sevastopoulos was born in Cleveland in 1948. She grew up with her mother and grandmother in Cleveland Heights, originally attended Coventry School, and recalls the walk to school quite vividly. She went to college at the Cleveland Insitute of Art, and while in school she worked at a nightclub called "La Cave," which featured many popular artists such as the Velvet Underground. Sura participated in antiwar marches down Euclid Avenue, and once lived on Hessler Road in the late 1960s. She…

Russell Baron Interview, 28 June 2013

Russell Baron grew up in Glenville before moving to Cleveland Heights. His father owned a haberdashery, a men's clothing store, where Baron worked during high school and college. Baron became a lawyer and worked in his father-in-law's practice before starting his own law practice. He was a member of the Cleveland Heights Board of Education and later, the Planning Commission. While in city governent, Baron worked to integrate the Cleveland Heights schools despite the protests of some residents.…

Judith VanKleef Interview, 23 May 2013

Born and raised in the Bronx, Judith VanKleef attended college at the University of Wisconsin. She moved to Cleveland's West Side in 1950 and then to Cleveland Heights in 1964. She discusses the shifting color line on Cleveland's East Side in the 1950s-60s and the impact of blockbusting on neighborhoods including her own. She details a blockbusting campaign in the Grant Deming's Forest Hill neighborhood in about 1967 or 1968 that catalyzed the reconstitution of a long defunct block club to try…

Lucille Jackson Interview, 10 June 2013

Lucille Jackson was born in 1937 and grew up in Abbeville, Alabama. She tells a few stories about how she loved growing up in the rural area, and has a few sour memories of discrimination. One case she recalls was that of a black man who worked at the soda fountain who would re-use the white kids' cups and give them to the black kids. Once Jackson grew a bit older, she recognized he was doing this and told him she wanted a new cup just like everyone else. She went to a segregated, all-black…

Leslie A. Jones Interview, 06 June 2013

Les Jones relates how he obtained a home in the community he had always dreamed about. As a child growing up in the Glenville neighborhood, Jones liked to ride his bike to Cleveland Heights, describing it as "going on a vacation" because it was like a different world to him. He rode his bike past the Forest Hill area and thought the houses were enchanting. He drew a picture of the houses at school and received an "A" on the drawing. Once he settled down and his children grew up, he purchased a…

Dianne R. McIntyre Interview, 31 May 2013

Dianne McIntyre was born at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland and grew up in Glenville early on and then moved to the Mt. Pleasant area with her mother and father on East 141st Street. Their family was the first black family on the block, although her father grew up around the corner. She recalls the onset of white flight and the neighborhood changing from white to black. She talks about how her parents made sure they had substitutes for things they could not do because of their race. She recalls…

E. Christine Morris Interview, 02 June 2013

Christine Morris was born in Columbus, Ohio, and had one brother. She grew up on the east side, but went to a school in the northern part of the city because her parents utilized her grandparent's address in the northern part of the city. She has fond memories of school and the neighborhood. She went on to Ohio University, and met her husband there, who was originally from Alabama. She finished her internship at the Cleveland Clinic. They lived first in the Mt. Pleasant area, and then moved on…

Dorothy Layne McIntyre Interview, 31 May 2013

Dorothy Layne McIntyre was born and raised in LeRoy, New York. She is the mother of interviewees Donna McIntyre Whyte and Dianne McIntyre. She was one of the first black women to receive a pilot's license in the United States and possibly the first woman in Ohio to receive such a license. She went to West Virginia State College for her training. She was an accountant, a social worker, and finished her career as a teacher, mainly at the Paul Revere School. She first lived in the Glenville area…

Dorothy Silver Interview, 26 July 2013

Dorothy Silver, a Detroit native, describes what drew her to Cleveland. She says that Cleveland was calling her because it was "receptive to various changes that needed to be made." She and her husband began used the theater as a stage to talk about desegregation. She discusses interracial shows at the time of the Hough Riots in 1966. She also discusses fair housing and mixed neighborhoods. She found it surprising that in her experience the people of Cleveland Heights were generally accepting.

Arthur V. Brooks Interview, 11 June 2013

Arthur Brooks, a Cleveland Heights resident, earned his law degree and began working as a lawyer for Baker, Hostetler, & Patterson. Having been exposed to community activism while attending college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he got involved in the community of Cleveland Heights. Brooks ran for office in Cleveland Heights but was defeated. He was encouraged to run for the Ohio State Legislature and served two terms as state representative. He returned to Baker, Hostetler, & Patterson to become a…

Donald Ramos Interview, 24 June 2013

Donald Ramos was born in 1942 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to a family of Portuguese descent. He attended the University of Massachusetts, served in the U.S. Army, and enrolled in the doctoral program in Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. He accepted a position in the History Department at Cleveland State University in 1971 but soon moved to First College, a newly created unit in the university, where he stayed until 1997, when he returned to chair the History Department. He…

Robert P. Madison Interview, 11 June 2013

Robert Madison was born in Cleveland. However, his family moved to Selma, Alabama, when he was six months old Their because his father could not find employment in his area of study due to his being African American. Madison eventually returned to Cleveland and attended East Tech High School where he developed his interest in architecture. When he graduated from East Tech, he moved to Washington, DC, to attend Howard University. After three years he joined the ROTC and went to fight in Italy…

Leroy Brown Interview, 14 July 2013

Leroy Brown grew up in a sharecropping family on a North Georgia plantation in the 1920s-30s before moving to Atlanta, where he worked as a waiter. After serving in World War II in the South Pacific, Mr. Brown returned to Atlanta before moving to Cleveland. In Cleveland he found work as a bellhop at Haddam Hotel in the Euclid-East 105th area and then began a long career at Fisher Body in Euclid. He recounts the geography of black businesses on Cleveland's East Side and tells of personal…

Ora Sims Interview, 11 July 2013

Ora Sims was born on a cotton farm in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1917. Her parents owned the farm, which was rather unusual for African Americans in that area at the time. She recalls the hardships of farm life, including the boll weevil, but adds that in the Great Depression, she never felt poor because they grew all the food they needed. Sims recounts how her father fed passersby who were desperate for food and work during the Depression. She remembers the time before the Tennessee Valley…

Eleanor Cannaday Interview, 14 July 2013

Eleanor Cannaday grew up in the Cedar-Central neighborhood and lived in Springfield, Ohio, and Tuskegee, Alabama, during World War II as a newlywed. She returned to Cleveland after the war, and her husband worked as a contractor who built houses and did bricklaying in the eastern suburbs as they opened up to African Americans. She tells interesting stories about sewing class at Central High School, rollerskating at Pla-Mor, seeing big bands play at Trianon Ballroom, watching the decline of…

Steve Delano Bullock Interview, 26 July 2013

Steve Bullock grew up in a large family in eastern North Carolina. His father was a sharecropper. Bullock attended Virginia Union University and recalls discrimination he faced while working in Virginia Beach the summer before enrolling at VUU. After college he entered the U.S. Army and was assigned to guard against communist infiltration at one of the many Nike missile sites along the Great Lakes. He shares many memories of different manifestations of Jim Crow in the South in the 1950s-60s,…

Susanna Niermann O'Neil Interview, 25 June 2013

Susanna Neirmann O'Neil, a Cleveland Heights resident, worked for the Heights Community Congress and later for the city of Cleveland Heights. She worked to maintain the racial integration of the city and to promote Cleveland Heights to new residents in general. Building partnerships between realtors and the community was instrumental in achieving this goal. O'Neil helped create the Nine Point Plan, which successfully promoted a vibrant, integrated city. O'Neil stresses that the actions of the…

Robert O'Neal Interview, 27 June 2013

Robert O'Neal is the chief probation officer in Shaker Heights at the time of this interview. He was born in the Glenville area and moved to Shaker Heights when he was in the fifth grade. He went to school in Shaker, graduating from Shaker Heights High School. After high school he went to Morehouse College in Atlanta. While in college he worked on the campaign of Maynard Jackson, who became the first black mayor of Atlanta. From Atlanta he went back to Shaker for a few years then moved to Los…

Christine Branche Interview, 5 August 2013

This is the second interview with Christine Branche. She discusses the arts and the Ludlow Community Association. She describes the Karamu Theater. Near the end of the interview, she talks about going to various opera houses and taking in wonderful operas with her husband. She spends a great deal of time talking about Ludlow and the efforts of the Ludlow Community Association to preserve a stable, integrated model community.

Christine Branche Interview, 31 July 2013

Christine Branche describes growing up in Cleveland. She also discusses moving in with her husband and the troubles that she underwent in the 1960s. She was a college-educated woman with tremendous drive and passion. She recalls how she was on the student council in nearly every year of her schooling from middle school through college. She eventually found herself in the Ludlow community and has been there ever since. She shares a tremendous story about attempting to secure a housing loan, but…

Kermit J. Lind Interview, 10 June 2013

Lind grew up in Kansas and, after college, attended graduate school at the University of Chicago. He taught at Cleveland State University and lived first on Cleveland's near east side, then in Euclid before choosing Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights as an escape from the racial intolerance he felt characterized Cleveland's suburbs in the early 1970s. Lind became active in testing compliance with fair housing laws and returned to school to earn a degree in law. In 1977 he assumed the…

Jesse Johnson Interview, 6 August 2013

Jesse Johnson, a retired sergeant first class, was a leader in a local union. He describes his early experiences and how the United States changed after he came back from the war in Korea. He also mentions the riots that occurred in the 1960s, which changed Clevelanders' perception of race relations. He describes various injustices in workplaces and housing. He also describes what it was like being an African American regional leader of a union, and the various battles he fought in order to…

Juanita Storey Interview, 14 April 2013

Juanita Storey and her husband moved into Cleveland Heights during a time of strong racial segregation. Race was the primary factor in determining where people lived. Realtors played a role in maintainig the racial segregation of the city. She describes the process of racial integration in the city during the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The 1960s was a particularly interesting time in Cleveland Heights because of the diversity of attitudes among the city's residents. People…

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Donalene Poduska Interview, 24 June 2013

School activist Donalene Poduska, originally from Kentucky, describes her life and achievements. She gives a background of her education and what brought her to Cleveland. She describes her husband and the various places they lived together. She became involved with the PTA and anti-blockbusting tactics. She goes into great detail on the various projects she instituted and was involved with during her work with the schools.

Susan C. Kaeser Interview, 22 May 2013

Susan Kaeser lived in Wisconsin through graduate school. She earned a master of urban planning degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, during which time she met Cleveland City Planning Director Norman Krumholz. Krumholz brought her to Cleveland to serve as a city planner. When she arrived in Cleveland in 1976 she lived first in the Ludlow neighborhood near Shaker Square before moving to Cleveland Heights in 1979. In the interview she discusses how she became a community activist, the…

Russell J. Toppin Sr. Interview, 19 June 2013

Toppin was born in 1940 and grew up in the Cedar-Central and Glenville neighborhoods. His grandparents came to Cleveland from Georgia during the Great Migration, and his paternal grandfather started Majestic Cab Co. His father worked at the TRW plant in Euclid. He recalls the "Gold Coast" entertainment venues along East 105th Street, including in the Euclid-East 105 area, in the 1950s-70s and Motown artists who played the clubs. He describes the racial transition in the area as one from…

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Sarah Taylor Interview, 3 July 2013

Sarah Louisa Taylor and her husband, Phillip, were orginally from England. Sarah works at Case Western Reserve University as a research assistant and helps new faculty members settle into the area. The Taylors were active in the Open Housing Task Force in the 1970s, which helped prevent efforts by realtors to prevent the racial integration of Cleveland Heights. The Taylors invited one such realtor to their home to discuss the issue, which led to a lawsuit against the Taylors by the realty…

Paul Mueller Interview, 27 June 2013

Paul Mueller is a successful businessman and a Cleveland native. Both of his parents are immigrants. His mother was a house maid for the Halle brothers and his father was a shepherd in Germany and along with being drafted into Kaiser Wilhelm's army for World War I. His parents met in America and had a candy store for a brief stint in the Depression. They started their family in Lakewood. Mueller went to St. Marks, St. Edward for High school, and then attended Cleveland State University. At CSU…

Francis W. Chiappa Interview, 2 July 2013

Francis Chiappa describes his role in the Cleveland Heights Nuclear Freeze Campaign in the 1980s. He worked hard along with other members of Cleveland Heights to make Cleveland Heights a Nuclear Free zone. He describes his background that placed him on the path of activism. He also describes the challenges and triumphs in the process of designating Cleveland Heights nuclear free.

John A. Lunkins Interview, 1 July 2013

John Lunkins was born in Cleveland in 1964. His family was one of the only black families on his mostly Italian American street, East 113th off of Union. Growing up, Lunkins had a best friend who was of Italian descent. He shares his fondest memories of his childhood, playing baseball in the street with his friends, but then also recalls that when all the kids went to go play in the little league, he was unable to play because of his color. As Lunkins grew up he experienced some racially driven…

James L. Jones Interview, 18 June 2013

James L. Jones, aka "Buddy" Jones, was born in Union Springs, Alabama, in 1912, the son of a sharecropper. At age 7 the family moved to Matewan, West Virginia, for his father to work in the coalfields. Trouble soon developed when his father became involved in the UMWA's effort to organize coal miners in the region. Jones recalls being evicted from company housing and having to live in a tent. Company-hired "detectives" fired upon the tents at night in the buildup to the infamous Matewan Massacre…

Gerald Hughes Interview, 17 July 2013

Gerald Hughes is an African American Clevelander who served within the Cleveland City Schools for many years. He describes his various positions at various schools. He also points out differences and similarities these schools experienced. He recalls how it was to work with the PTA and how important it is to have an active parent base. He recalls the challenges that busing brought to the school district. He then discusses what it was like to live in Cleveland Heights and his fond memories of…

Derwood Tatum Interview, 23 May 2013

Derwood Tatum grew up in Hazard, Kentucky, and moved to Cleveland due to his father's newest ownership of a grocery store on East 65th and Woodland, called Tatum's Grocery Store. Tatum paints a picture of the Cleveland music scene during the late 1950s and early 1960s, an era which he owned Tate's Place, a record store (which later turned into a record store/ice cream shop/deli) selling mulitple artists' 45s like Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, to name a few. The record/deli/ice cream store…

Margaret Peacock Interview, 7 August 2013

Margaret Peacock grew up in Columbus, Ohio. Her father worked for the railroad and her mother was a homemaker. She went to Wittenberg University were she met her husband Larry. They married when they were juniors. Peacock describes her involvement with organizations for black students at Wittenberg. After college, the Peacocks moved to Cleveland and were teachers in the Cleveland School District. Larry was hired to teach in Cleveland Heights, so they moved. Margaret Peacock taught at Fairfax…

Donna McIntyre Whyte Interview, 30 May 2013

Donna McIntyre Whyte, a Shaker Heights resident, has led a colorful life. She describes the life of her parents. Her mother was a pilot in the 1940s – a unique job for an African American woman at the time – and her uncle was a Tuskegee Airman. Whyte's parents passed a strong work ethic and a belief in the value of education on to her. Whyte describes growing up in the Mount Pleasant area and the fun she had with friends. She tells a great story about how kids would hide in the trunk of the car…

Virgene Schreckengost Interview, 13 July 2013

Virgene Schreckengost is an Ohio native, born in the southernmost part of the state, in Marietta. She enjoyed her childhood there, with plenty to do and a lovely school experience. She pursued her pre-med degree from Ohio Wesleyan and then traveled up to Cleveland to attend Western Reserve for her Ph.D. She was very busy with school, and then became a mother directly after graduating. She raised her three sons in the Carolinas, when her first husband was in the Army. They moved back up to the…

Renee Harrison Interview, 20 June 2013

Renee Harrison grew up in Glenville in the 1950s-60s. After graduating from Glenville High School, she attended Cleveland State University beginning in 1969. She began teaching in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district in 1974 and moved to Cleveland Heights the following year. She was a founding member of the Heights Alliance of Black School Educators and spends considerable time describing this stage of her career.

Pamela Ashley Interview, 11 July 2013

Pamela Ashley, a lifelong Cleveland resident, talks about her life and experiences. She was born in Cleveland and moved to Cleveland Heights in the seventh grade. She describes her travels across the country with her immediate family to visit her extended family. She talks about what she did for fun, which included dances and house parties. She also talks about her education at Dyke College, and then her employment at Standard Oil and the United States Postal Service. She also talks about the…

E. Christine Morris Interview, 04 June 2013

This interview is a followup to an earlier one with E. Christine Morris. She discusses her memories of the civil rights movement and tells stories about her husband seeing Malcolm X and her seeing tanks roll down Lincoln Boulevard in Cleveland Heights during the Glenville riots in 1968. She also discusses her church, New Community Bible Fellowship in Cleveland Heights, and her children's careers.

William Easterling Interview, 05 June 2013

William Easterling, son of a coal deliverer and a domestic, grew up in Glenville. With the schools deteriorating and operating on half-day schedules by the 1960s, he and his wife sought a new home in the Cleveland Heights. They faced racial steering to the east of Lee Road but managed to purchase a house on Norfolk Road in Cleveland Heights at a sheriff's auction. He worked for Cleveland Transit System, the predecessor of RTA, and started a debt collection business. He discusses his work in the…

Jacqueline Gillon Interview, 12 July 2013

Jacqueline Gillon is a native Clevelander from the Glenville area. She was born in 1956 to parents who became actively involved in the community. Her family moved from the Glenville neighborhood to East Cleveland when she was 9. She attended Chambers Elementary, Kirk Junior High, and Shaw High school. She remembers the Kennedy and King assassinations, the death of Bruce Klunder, and the Hough and Glenville riots. From Shaw she went to Hiram College where she got involved in student activism. She…

John J. Boyle III Interview, 28 June 2013

John (Jack) Boyle is a native Clevelander hailing from University Heights and attended high school at St. Ignatius. He left the Cleveland area to attend Boston College to return and work his father at United Agencies until his retirement in 2000. Boyle was familiar with many reoccuring people who would come to be ever-present in the Cleveland Heights community. One of his close friends, Harry Fagan, was an important part of Heights Community Congress. Boyle and a few others felt that a change…