Frederick Douglass School 1980

In the late 1950’s through the 80’s, Cincinnati Public Schools tried to racially integrate its facilities. With many other public schools in Walnut Hills, the 1911 building seemed too big. The district constructed a new Frederick Douglass School on the old playground. The city hoped there would no longer be a need for segregated services.[…]

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 Colony School 1927

The Board of Education created a model school for the Walnut Hills African American community in 1911. (See our article on that building.) A few years later, the “Great Migration” of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North began in earnest. A 1925 planning report noted that Frederick Douglass School, located at[…]

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[…]

Ashland (formerly Walnut Hills) Park

Cincinnati allocated $15,000 in 1906 to produce a master plan for parks and parkways. The planning culminated the very next year in a sumptuous volume containing maps, design studies, drawings and photographs detailing a lavish system of parks connected by elegant parkways, as well as plentiful playgrounds and athletic fields to provide a more verdant[…]

Jennie Davis Porter

Jennie Davis Porter was born in 1876, the daughter of a school teacher and a former slave said to be Cincinnati’s first African American undertaker. She attended the city’s integrated schools, and graduated from Hughes High School in 1893. In 1897 she began to teach at Fredrick Douglass school, at the time the only African[…]

Teachers at white and Colored Common Schools

Walnut Hills residents Catherine and Harriett Beecher and Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell were all teachers in private schools during the 1830’s. Catherine Beecher especially advocated for the education of women, and for the effectiveness of women as teachers. Not everyone sympathized with her. The Cincinnati Public Schools, both white and “Colored,” made extensive use of[…]

Elm Street School, the Frederick Douglass School building, 1872

Walnut Hills north of McMillan Street annexed itself to the city of Cincinnati in 1870, at the height of progressive Black Reconstruction. The merger included Cincinnati’s Colored School Board. It resulted in the creation of a Walnut Hills district and the prompt construction of a new Elm Street Colored School. The report of the  Cincinnati[…]

Black Teachers during Reconstruction

Reconstruction presented a brief, brilliant decade of tremendous progress and optimism for the four million African American citizens of the US. Cincinnati’s Colored John I. Gaines High School and its Normal School for training teachers, under the leadership of Black Walnut Hills resident Peter Clark, made significant contributions to the creation of new schools for the[…]

Cincinnati Colored Public Schools

The city of Cincinnati, following Ohio law, set aside the education taxes on African American held properties for “Colored Public Schools” beginning in the 1850’s. Black men elected the school board, the only election in which they could vote. Peter Clark, later a Walnut Hills resident, served as the first teacher; it required a lawsuit[…]