On November 11, 1918, across the Atlantic, an important paper was signed. The paper said World War I was over! The news made the soldiers of one mind. ALL of them saw a house in America, and they wanted to get back home. They saw THEIR house, and THEIR loved ones, and they wanted to get back home! America’s ships brought the soldiers back to welcoming parades, and a taste of glory, But, when they reached their own home places, The soldiers found a different story. The War Years had brought many changes. Back home, worry took the place of the glory, fobs were scarce... money was scarce... Yes! The soldiers found a different story! In the South, where many Blacks lived, the story was that of a barren land. Black soldiers returned to nothing! Their homes were on barren land! These Southern Blacks, never used to much, could not work on a nothing land. Rocking, and reading their Bibles, they dreamed of a "Promised Land"! "Come on up North! Come North! This is your Promised land!" Called out Newspapers and relatives. "This is your Promised Land!" The dreamers got the message! Glad to get any helping hand, Thousands of Blacks left the South, bound for the good "Promised Land". The thousands of dreamers got off as the trains puffed into each huge town. They looked. They laughed. Then they woke up... To find a life not up, but down! The Northern cities were ever so crowded, With Blacks squeezed into small spaces. The dreamers took what they could take... Once more, they had to learn "their places". Some thousands of dreamers came to Ohio, some came to Columbus, the Capitol. They walked around. They found their friends. They thought their new life would not be dull. But Columbus was ever so crowded, With Blacks squeezed into small spaces. The dreamers took what they could take... The BlackBerry Patch was one of their places. The dreamers who held their dream tightly, And SUR VIVED--survived to make history! Most young people haven't heard of it, but older people, especially older Black people here in Columbus, can tell you a lot about it. Some of them even lived there. Well, let's say that many Blacks lived where there were many blackberries. Back in the 1920's and in the early 1930s, it was hard to make a living in the southern part of this country, So..., many Blacks came up here, to the North. They took over parts of cities. In Columbus, the BlackBerry Patch became a little Black city.
The BlackBerry Patch- Presented by Munira Aubbule
Mifflin High School - 2022
Ohio Avenue Day Home and Nursery. Miss Anna V. Hughes was Matron when it started in 1919. Located at 162 N. Ohio Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. The Day School and Nursery were Established shortly after the Columbus Home for Colored Girls in 1917, and after the YWCA housing and day school in 1910. It was established to help African American families migrating north during the great migration. The nursery freed older children from watching their siblings so that they could make it to school each day. Anna V. Hughes, also served on the committee that formed the Social and Industrial Welfare League. Prior to 1910 welfare institutions for African Americans were almost nonexistence in Columbus. However, in 1902 a white ladies group opened a day nursery for black children while an African American women’s club managed the day care. The daycare became known as Ohio Day Nursery.
The Ohio Daycare (Ohio Avenue Day Home and Nursery) - Presented by Shyvonne Hoover - Mifflin High School 2022
Mrs. Isabelle Ridgway, an African American Ohio native, was born in 1858, five years before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. She married John Ridgway in 1880, and to that union was born one son and four daughters. She founded the Old Folks Home of Franklin County in 1912 and worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the old, elderly, homeless, and poor. Although she died on April 4, 1955, at the age of 97, her life’s work and witness continued through the Isabelle Ridgway Care Center until it was sold in 2015. The Isabelle Ridgway Care Center began in 1912 to benefit persons of African American descent who were poor and disenfranchised. At that time, there were no entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. Families looked after older family members as they aged. If there was no family, usually African American churches would step in and fill that need. In the case of Mrs. Ridgway, one can surmise she saw the need as ministry or her calling to serve a need in her community. To honor Mrs. Ridgway’s legacy and continue her work without a brick-and-mortar facility, the Isabelle Ridgway Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of The Columbus Foundation, was launched May 18, 2017. The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of life and the systems that impact aging African American seniors. Like Mrs. Ridgway, the foundation values service, stewardship, efficacy, wisdom, and openness. "Old Folks Home" as it was called, occupied a few locations over the years,1240 East Long Street, 159 North 21st St., then later moved to the Old Jeffrey Mansion at 71 Winner Ave.
The Isabelle Ridgway Care Center - Presented by Kourey Sho Ahme - Mifflin High School 2022
Early records of Black firefighters in the Columbus Fire Department are limited. Historical records indicate that perhaps the first Black firefighters entered the fire department sometime after the Civil War. Firefighters P. Higginsbothom and J.M. Logan are believed to have been the first Black firefighters in Columbus. By 1892, P. Higginsbotham, then the oldest firefighter in the service of the department, was Captain of Chemical Engine Company No. 1. This station was located at Oak Street and Marble Alley which was the Old 12 House. J.M. Logan was Lieutenant at the same fire station. History records indicate that this firehouse was manned by the "Colored Contingent." In 1892 two additional Black firefighters entered the fire department and were stationed at the Oak Street firehouse. These men were R.C. Smith and Jesse G. Payne. Family records reveal that during his history years of service with the fire department Payne, never received a mark against his record. He attained the rank of Captain before he retired on January 1, 1931. The waning years of the 1920’s and early 1930’s saw the end of a period in the history of blacks in the Columbus Fire Department. Almost immediately though, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, there emerged a new group of young men selected from a Civil Service eligibility list to undergo a thirty-day period of concentrated and strictly disciplined training in fire department procedures. Thus, in the summer of 1935 a new era begun. Installed in No. 8 Fire Station on North Twentieth Street were sixteen Black firefighters assigned to Pump Co. 8 and Truck Co. 5. Of these men, A. Green, J. Costen, W. Brown, V. Green W. Huckleby and J. Jones were promoted to Lieutenant, C. Alston and C. Johnson became Captains, w. Boyer and C. Jones became Battalion Chiefs and Herman Harrison became Deputy Chief, second in command only to the Chief of the department. After sixteen Black firefighters entered the department in 1935, the following ten-year period between 1937 and 1947, saw six additional men join their brothers. In 1948, eight additional firefighters entered the fire department. This brought the total number to twenty-eight, the highest number at any one time in the history of the department. When the next group entered the department in February of 1954, a significant change took place. Fire Station No. 8 that had been previously occupied by all black, became desegregated. A new Firestation #8 was built in 1968 at 1240 E. Long Street. This sight was the previous location of the “Old Folks Home”, which later became the Isabelle Ridgway care center after moving to a new location.
Fire Station #8 - Presented by Jaleea Harvey - Mifflin HS 2022
From 1899 to 1910, the Board of Education argued over the establishment of a “separate school” for Black students. When Black community members learned of the proposed building of the Champion Avenue School, then called The Hawthorne School, the Black community was split over whether to support or protest the building of the school considering the newly constructed school board sought to avoid the integration of black teachers into public schools. In the end, in 1909 the Champion Avenue School was built and assumed into an all-black school because it was placed in the heart of the growing African American community. Consequently, by law, it was not an all-Black school. It was a matter of circumstances or de facto segregation that it had a majority Black student population, and an all-black teaching force. Thus, the Champion Avenue School became the First All Black DE Facto Segregated Urban Northern School in Columbus that valued hiring the best qualified black principals and teachers. The school remained at its original location at 1270 Hawthorne Avenue until 2009.
In partnership with the Columbus City School and our friends at The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, we look forward to presenting this video soon.
Public Library access has always played a role in the African American community. The original African American Library located on Long Street in Columbus, Ohio. It sat on the same land as the current Martin Luther King Jr. Library. It was the first branch library in the United States to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The new building’s architecture is designed to emulate carved stone reflecting the historic civic buildings nearby, but also the stone monument of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in Washington DC. It is a metaphorical response to the quote carved on the monument: “Out of a mountain of sorrow, a stone of hope.”
The First Library in the Nation to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The MLK Library presented by Love Jackson - Mifflin High School 2022
The origins of the neighborhood date back to the 19th century when freed and escaped slaves from across the South began to settle in Columbus. Originally settled more southward by the Scioto River, many Black families moved eastward into the community we know now at Bronzeville!
Columbus Black History
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