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History of Cleveland & Northeast Ohio: Cleveland: African American Experience

Resources about the history of greater Cleveland and northeast Ohio.


This is a list of resources for the UST202 class "Cleveland: the African American Experience."  Whenever possible I have attempted to offer works that are available on-line, but that is not always possible. The ones that are will have hyperlinks in the titles, otherwise the works are available in Special Collections at the CSU Library in Rhodes Tower and other libraries around the region.

To help in selecting a topic for your term paper: 1) carefully read your professor's instructions in the syllabus, 2) keep the need for a topic in mind while looking at your assigned readings, 3) read articles in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History in the general areas of your interest, keeping an eye open for specific things that you find interesting, 4) similarly, look in Cleveland Memory for photos or other materials you find interesting.

For more general Cleveland-area history, noted the blue tabs on this page, showing you how to find material, usually by format (photos, maps, books, etc.). The one "Key Resources" re-caps the more useful ones.



On-Line Assignment Resources

African-American Experience Resources

(some on-line)


Black Trailblazers, Leaders, Activists, and Intellectuals in Cleveland -- From Cleveland Memory -- Begun as a showcase of historical photographs of prominent African-Americans in Cleveland, the site now provides context to these images through articles, e-books, audio interviews, speeches, and oral histories,  enabling us to describe a broader story of half the city's population.

Family photographs from the Charles W. Chesnutt Collection -- Cleveland Public Library's collection about this famous author.

African-Americans photographs in Cleveland Public Library's Digital Gallery

The Glenville Shoot-Out.

Praying Grounds: African American Faith Communities -- An ongoing documentary and oral history project which will ultimately offer audio and video recordings of oral histories and musical performances, as well as photographs, newspaper articles, anniversary programs and other printed materials, along with an extensive bibliography. A fascinating collection gathered from African American churches and faith communities throughout greater Cleveland.

Karamu House and Theater



Stokes, Carl B. Speech on his efforts to aid the city's African Americans.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Glenville High School, 1967

Muhammad Ali at Glenville High School, 1971

The Voice & Action Project -- Oral histories from East Cleveland (CWRU, Social Justice Institute)



African Americans - Encyclopedia of Cleveland History - Good general background to the subject. Read first.

Michney, Todd M. "Constrained Communities: Black Cleveland's Experience with World War II Public Housing," Journal of Social History 40.4 (2007) 933-956.

Michney, Todd M. "Race, Violence, and Urban Territoriality: Cleveland's Little Italy and the 1966 Hough Uprising." Journal of Urban History 32, no. 3 (2006): 404-428.

Michney, Todd M. "White Civic Visions Versus Black Suburban Aspirations : Cleveland's Garden Valley Urban Renewal Project" Journal of Planning History 10:282 (2011).

Nissim-Sabat, Ryan. "On the Prowl: A Socio-Historical Examination of the Black Panther Party in Cleveland, Ohio." Master's thesis, Ohio State Univesity. 1999.


Legal Documents:

Reed v. Rhodes - Many resources on the landmark school desegregation lawsuit in Cleveland



Chatterjee, Pranab. Local Leadership in Black Communities: Organizational and Electoral Developments in Cleveland, in the Nineteenth Century. Case Western Reserve University. 1975.

Davis, Russell H. Black Americans in Ohio’s City of Cleveland: George Peake , the First Black Settler, to Carl Stokes, the First Black Mayor. Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. 1972.

Gerber, David Allison. Ohio and the color Line: Racial Discrimination and Negro Responses in Northern State, 1860-1915. Dissertation, Princeton University. 1971.

House-Soremekun, Bessie. Confronting the odds : African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio. Kent State University Press. 2002.

Jirran, Raymond J. Cleveland and the Negro Population Following World War II. Thesis, Kent State University. 1973.

Kusmer, Kenneth. A Ghetto Takes Shape..[1976]

Lackritz, Mark. The Hough Riot of 1966. Thesis, Princeton University. 1968

Mitchney, Todd Michael. Changing Neighborhoods: Race and Upward Mobility in Southeast Cleveland, 1930-1980. Dissertation, University of Minnesota. 2004.

Nelson, William E. Jr. Cleveland: The Evolution of Black Political Power. Ohio State University. 1986.

Operation Equality, Final Report. The Urban League of Cleveland. 1977.

Rawlings, Charles W. and Lyle E. Schaller. Suburbanization of the Negro Population. 1963.

Shoot-out in Cleveland: Black Militants and the Police; a Report to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. 1969.

Stokes, Carl. Promises of Power: A Political Autobiography. 1973

Urban League of Greater Cleveland. The State of Black Cleveland 1989,

Urban League of Greater Cleveland. The State of Black Cleveland 1990.

Wiese, Andrew. Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century. University of Chicago Press. 2004.

Wye, Christopher. Midwest Ghetto: Patterns of Negro Life and Thought in Cleveland, Ohio, 1925-1925. Dissertation, Kent State University. 1973.