Major Savings and Loan

Major Savings and Loan, located primarily at Gilbert and Lincoln Avenues, was the longest-lived African American Savings and Loan in Cincinnati, operating from 1921 until 1986. Savings and Loans, earlier called Building and Loans, were the primary savings institutions for most people, and the source of most mortgage loans, during the middle half of the[…]

Dr. Loretta C. Manggrum

Loretta Cessor, born in 1896 in Gallipolis, Ohio, had African American, Irish and Native American ancestry. Her mother was a teacher who played the piano and the guitar. Loretta proved a natural pianist, playing in her Sunday School from the age of six, and in her church while still a child. At about 15 she[…]

Ida Mae Rhodes

Ida Mae Rhodes was born in 1899 and lived until 2000 – 101 years. She went to the University of Cincinnati; most records show her graduating in 1919. Yet the university bulletin for 1919-1920 shows her as a junior, and in 1920 she became the president of the first African American sorority on the campus.[…]

Donald Spencer, Douglass School teacher

Donald Spencer was born in Cincinnati in 1915. He went to public schools and graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1932. At Walnut Hills, Donald worked to ensure that African-American students could attend the Junior-Senior Prom. He then went to the University of Cincinnati where he first graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 1936,[…]

The Great Migration

In the nineteenth century, both before and after the Civil War, most African Americans lived in the rural South. Cincinnati had a relatively high African American population for a Northern city at about 5% in the early twentieth century, and the population grew by nearly a third in the first decade of that century to[…]

Grace Smith Slade

James and Mary Smith lived in the African American settlement near the Elm Street Colored School, on Maple Street (later 2912 Park Avenue). They were within a few blocks of Dangerfield Earley’s home. In 1875 their daughter Grace was born, the second of five children in a home that “maintained the ideals of culture and[…]

Frederick Douglass School Library 1911

Since the nineteenth century, the Cincinnati Public Library provided service in the district’s school buildings. Douglass was no different; it housed a small library for the use of its students. Through the end of the nineteenth century, most adult library services required a trip to the main library building downtown. Andrew Carnegie, the iron baron[…]

Lawrence C. Hawkins, Ph. D.

Lawrence Hawkins was born in South Carolina in 1919, the son of a sharecropper. His family moved to Cincinnati in 1926, and he enrolled in Frederick Douglass School, the African American school in Walnut Hills. One biographical sketch notes “It was there he received a strong foundation which carried him through Walnut Hills High School[…]

James H. Robinson, Sr.

James Robinson was born in Sharpsburg, Kentucky in 1887. He attended Fisk University, one of the premier Historically Black Colleges, founded in Nashville Tennessee in 1866. Robinson graduated from Fisk in 1911. He then enrolled at Yale University. He spent a year completing a second bachelor’s degree in 1912 and began to study sociology in[…]

Sarah Gibson Jones

Many African Americans in Cincinnati before the Civil War arrived responsible for their own freedom. Many had found ways as enslaved people to purchase their own freedom. Many more arrived when Black family members or friends purchased their freedom for them. Still others were descended from free people in the North. But there were always[…]