Robert Gordon's Coal Yard

Robert Gordon: How History lost his Community

The previous half-dozen posts examined the way businessman Robert Gordon thrived in the growing, prosperous and culturally rich African American community in Cincinnati before, during and after the Civil War. By the time of his death Gordon was a minor celebrity; he turned up in national accounts of wealthy Blacks during reconstruction and was covered[…]

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[…]

Robert Gordon, businessman

Robert Gordon, a Black man who lived in Cincinnati from about 1847 through his death in 1884, makes occasional appearances in obscure historical accounts of nineteenth-century Cincinnati. He pops up in popular press accounts as a former slave who made a fortune in the coal business. Yet it turns out that Gordon left a considerable[…]