Browse Interviews

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

Reverend John Lentz is the pastor at Forest Hill (Presbyterian) Church, where he has served since 1994. He has a general knowledge of the church, the neighborhood surrounding it, and the city of Cleveland Heights itself. He is from Washington D.C., and a graduate from Kenyon College (in Ohio). He went to graduate school in Edinboro, Scotland, and…

Born in 1950, Gibson grew up first in the Glenville neighborhood and then in Kinsman, with most of that time at Garden Valley, an urban renewal housing development near Kinsman and East 79th Street. He tells great stories about the early days in Garden Valley in the late 1950s before the gullies were filled with dirt excavated along the downtown…

Gerald Hughes is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He grew up in a town that was majority white. He went to a Mennonite school in Indiana and through a volunteer program gained his first experience in the city of Cleveland. He initially hoped to work in the steel mills but they were on strike when he arrived in the city. Hughes was not fond of his…

Isaac Haggins was born in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1930. He grew up in Tennessee and Asbury Park, New Jersey. After graduating from West Virginia State College in 1949, Haggins moved to Cleveland to join his brother in the Glenville neighborhood in 1953. In 1956 he bought his first home near Rockefeller Park. After a stint selling shoes, he…

Hilton Murray was born in Luverne, Alabama. Shortly after World War II his father decided that southern Alabama was too inhospitable for African Americans and joined the Second Great Migration, ultimately settling in Elyria, Ohio, to raise a family. After graduating from Elyria High School, Murray attended Kent State University and Cooper School of…

Lana Cowell, a transplant from Youngstown, Ohio, discusses fighting for integration in Cleveland Heights. She begins by talking about her father and how he owned Idora Park in Youngstown. She then explains the push for integration in Cleveland Heights. She describes how the Housing Center at Cleveland Heights began at St. Ann's Church and gives an…

Phil Hart was born in Jewish Glenville in the 1920s. His mother and father's families were both in the community and he talks about growing up in the Glenville area, going to School at Patrick Henry and Glenville High School. After high school he started college at Ohio State, then going to Western Reserve University, then to Oberlin under the V-12…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…