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 experiences of racial discrimination involving restaurants, bars, stores, and housing. After living in apartments in the Cedar-Central neighborhood through the 1950s, he and his growing family lived in Garden Valley for a short time before buying their first home in the Lee-Harvard area in 1963 at a time of rapid racial transition. Mr. Brown is a member of Antioch Baptist Church, where this interview took place.
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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.