Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Racial Integration in the Heights (USRA 2013)
61 total

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…

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…

Robert Madison was originally born in Cleveland. However, his family moved to Selma, Alabama, when he was only six months old. Their reason for leaving the city was because his father could not find employment in his area of study because he was "Colored." Madison eventually made it back to Cleveland to attend East Tech High School where he would…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…