The Center is pleased to announce the newest tour on the Cleveland Historical website and mobile app. Developed with funding from the Cleveland State University Office of the Provost, the new “African Americans” tour emerged from a summer undergraduate research project and fall graduate course directed by Mark Souther. Last summer, Bethany Hollowell, Timothy Klypchak, and Katherine Taylor conducted several dozen oral history interviews that focused on the black experience in 20th-century Cleveland. The interviews yielded a wide range of compelling stories and important insights. Many focused on the struggle for open housing in the Cleveland suburbs in the 1950s-80s, while others concentrated on the Jim Crow South, the Great Migration, World War II, public schools, churches, industrial work, jazz and R&B clubs, and the Cedar-Central, Glenville, Fairfax, Mt. Pleasant, and Lee-Harvard neighborhoods on the city’s east side.
In fall semester, Souther’s “Introduction to Public History” class collectively analyzed these interviews using digital logs developed by the summer students and Center staff. The students learned to use the Audacity audio-editing software to produce short story clips on chosen themes that recur in these interviews. From there they identified associated place-based stories to research in broader city and national context. From their research papers they curated a dozen new Cleveland Historical stories ranging from Antioch Baptist Church to racial transition in Glenville to the Heights Community Congress. Their stories joined another dozen preexisting ones produced by past students and Center researchers, creating a revealing set of sites across Greater Cleveland that narrate some of the key themes in 20th-century African American urban history. Look for new stories and tours in 2014.