June 10th, 2017

Back at the end of March I mentioned Todd Michney’s book Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900–1980. The book is well worth the reading time—specially if you live in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County—but if you a strapped, Michney emailed me to let me know that Belt Publishing had just added an article to their online magazine:

A distillation of research completed for my book on Cleveland’s African American middle class, more accessible to a popular audience and having contemporary policy implications.

Michney begins:

The trim, brick and wood colonial at 15508 Talford Avenue is unassuming. Located in the southeasterly Lee-Harvard neighborhood, the house was built in 1947 and comes in at just under 1,200 square feet. Modest by today’s standards, it represents an earlier, post-World War II dream of suburban single-family housing – and stands as an object lesson on the troubling history of race and housing inequality in Cleveland.

Lee-Harvard is a ‘suburb in the city’—one of several outlying neighborhoods fitting that description that lie within Cleveland’s municipal boundaries. Most of Talford Avenue’s initial residents were Czechs, Italians, Hungarians, Poles, and Jews who moved from closer in, identifiably ethnic neighborhoods—like Mount Pleasant, Corlett, and Glenville—chasing a more affordable version of the suburban lifestyle to be had in Shaker Heights, Maple Heights, and Garfield Heights. Many were young families striving after this newly-available version of middle-class respectability. Some of the men were veterans of World War II who now worked as skilled tradesmen or small proprietors.

If you can’t find time to read the book, read the article.

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