Photo Essay - African Americans in Cincinnati
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Opened in Cincinnati in 2004, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was established to connect the general public with the history of the Underground Railroad and the abolitionists who risked their lives aiding escaped slaves to freedom, including several prominent African American Cincinnatians. In addition to preserving this historical legacy, the Freedom Center—and its outreach organization End Slavery Now—work to apply lessons learned from the Underground Railroad to contemporary abolition movements in the US and across the globe, challenging individuals to continuously make freedom accessible to all people. freedomcenter.org and www.endslaverynow.org
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, Greater Cincinnati Urban League
Founded in 1948 the Greater Cincinnati Urban League was established as an independent social service agency dedicated to improving economic opportunities for African American residents throughout the tri-State area (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky). The city's first black Mayor, Ted Berry, and first black City Solicitor, Judge William McClain, were early trustees of the group. In general, the Urban League efforts have been concentrated on five areas: job training, job placement, health and wellness, youth development and leadership, and community advocacy.
Courtney Groeschen, 'Mr. Dynamite' A Tribute to James Brown
Standing on the corner of Liberty and Main, the mural was completed in 2015 as a tribute to the legendary James Brown. Brown recorded many of his early hits, including 'Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud' with Cincinnati's King Records. 'Mr. Dynamite,' based on a photo of a young James Brown Performing, was designed by Jenny Ustick through ArtWorks, a non-profit organization working to unite the Cincinnati community through art, and in partnership with Urban Sites.
Courtney Groeschen, Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cincinnati Museum Center is located in Queensgate, several blocks away from Cincinnati's West End– the heart of the African American community in the city until the 1940s. The Museum Center was originally called Cincinnati Union Terminal when it opened in 1933 as a passage railroad station that enabled thousands of individuals to travel from coast-to-coast via train. Hundreds of local laborers were used to build this facility, including numerous African American Cincinnatians. Though a small section still functions as a train station, with the decline of rail travel most of the building was converted to other uses, and now houses two museums (The Cincinnati History Museum and the Museum of Nature History and Sciences), an I-MAX theater, and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library and Archives, as well as other special travelling exhibitions.
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, Southern Baptist Church
Located in North Avondale, Southern Baptist Church was founded in 1917 in the home of Deacon and Sister S. C. Carter as a Sunday school mission. The name "Southern" came from the founding members' southern roots. The church, unlike most in the north, practiced a southern style of worship (shouting, clapping, etc.). This connection continued as the first Reverend grew the congregation by going to the train station to invite new arrivals from the south to join the church.
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, Carmel Presbyterian Church
The Carmel Presbyterian Church has a long history of community engagement. These activities intensified when the church moved from its original location in downtown Cincinnati to North Avondale during the late 1950s. Today the church continues to work with the local, predominantly African American community in a number of ways, including working with sixteen different social agencies as a part of the "Every Child Succeeds" program which offers support to first-time, at-risk mothers.
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, Greater New Light Baptist Church
The Greater New Light Baptist Church was formed in 1966 by former members of Revelation Baptist Church. Initially, the group met in their homes, the Old Melrose YMCA, and the Metropolitan C.M.E. annex until they could purchase their own property on North Crescent Avenue in North Avondale. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, who fought along with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama, was their first pastor.
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, Bethesda Oak Hospital
For over one hundred years, Bethesda Oak was the primary hospital for African American residents residing in Avondale. During its existence, thousands of African Americans sought healthcare at this facility, more than any other hospital in the city. In 2000 the hospital was closed temporarily until it was purchased and reopened by Tri-Health.
Dr. Eric R. Jackson, St. Joseph Parrish
In 1846, land was purchased at Linn and Laurel Streets for the construction of St. Joseph Catholic Church and St. Joseph Catholic School. These facilities, located in the West End, were partly started to African Americans who sought Catholicism as their faith. However, the school was not built until 1847. By 1848 both facilities were opened and their missions and goals were combined. St. Joseph Catholic School is a member of CISE (Catholic Inner-City Education Fund), and affiliate of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.