Gerald Hughes Interview, 21 June 2013
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 first trip to Cleveland as it was a cold, wet day in March. His wife worked at Standard Oil and when he first moved to the area he moved by the place he could continue to carry out his church volunteer program, in the Mt. Pleasant area. He was a music major, became an educator and an administrator in the Cleveland Public School System. He was around the Mt. Pleasant area to witness white flight, then moved to the Cleveland Heights area, only to watch his neighborhood go from integrated to predominantly black again. He remained in the public school system at Sowinski (no longer in existence) and Harvey Rice. He witnessed the Polish community change to black in around Sowinski and later went to the predominantly black school, Harvey Rice. He was an administrator during desegregation of the Public School System. He completed a follow-up interview due to equipment failure: see interview 990040.
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Racial Integration in the Heights
Interviews in this series were collected by undergraduate students at Cleveland State University under the supervision of Dr. Mark Souther, with funding from the Office of the Provost. The series contains interviews with pioneers of suburban residential integration and social activists who supported peaceful managed integration/desegregation and fair housing in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights in the 1950s to 1970s.