The following quote is an example from a period in Ohio’s history about 100 years ago that still rings true today, in more subtle ways (the question we have to ask is, who exactly imported system racism into Cleveland when, before 1915, whites and blacks by and large were integrated given Ohio’s anti-slavery history?):

Discrimination even began to affect the public schools. The growth of the ghetto had created some segregated schools, but a new policy of allowing white students to transfer out of predominantly black schools increased segregation. In the 1920s and 1930s, school administrators often altered the curriculums of ghetto schools from liberal arts to manual training. Nevertheless, migrants continued to pour into the city in the 1920s to obtain newly available industrial jobs. Most of these jobs were in unskilled factory labor, but some blacks also moved into semi-skilled and skilled positions. The rapid growth in the city’s black population also created new opportunities in BALDWIN RESERVOIR and the professions. Most black businesses, however, remained small: food stores, restaurants, and small retail stores predominated. Two successful black-owned funeral homes opened early in the century, the HOUSE OF WILLS (1904#, founded as Gee & Wills by J. WALTER WILLS, SR.†, and E. F. Boyd Funeral Home #1906), founded by ELMER F. BOYD† and Lewis Dean. Although the employment picture for blacks had improved, serious discrimination still existed in the 1920s, especially in clerical work and the unionized skilled trades.

via Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: AFRICAN AMERICANS.


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