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Doris Allen Interview, 4 August 2013Allen, Doris (interviewee); Hallowell, Bethany (interviewer) (EngagedScholarship@CSU, 2013-08-04)Doris Allen was originally born in Shelby, Alabama, and moved to Cleveland when she was two years old. She had a very established great uncle living in Cleveland, Robert Hardy, who was the first African American to own property east of East 55th Street in Cleveland. Her father was drafted into the Army when she was 9, and their family moved back to the South for one year while he served. She returned to Cleveland, moved into the Glenville neighborhood. She enjoyed her education in Glenville, which, at the time was going through a "transition." Their neighbors were mostly Jewish. When she was married and had children, she and her husband sought out housing through an unspecified real estate agency that steered them towards buying a home in Shaker Heights, though they wanted to live in Cleveland Heights. When they found a home they wanted to buy in Cleveland Heights, the agent was not pleased and said the house would be $2,000 more expensive. The original homeowners, however, sold the house to the Allens for the original price. The Allens were the first black family on the street and one of the first in the community. Their children were repeatedly stopped and questioned by the police, and in one case men with swastikas bombarded the YWCA in retaliation to integration of the Heights. They began the Committee to Improve Community Relations (CICR) to raise awareness of the discriminatory instances, and how to properly assess them.
Ora Sims Interview, 11 July 2013Sims, Ora (interviewee); Taylor, Katherine (interviewer) (EngagedScholarship@CSU, 2013-07-11)Ora Sims was born on a cotton farm in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1917. Her parents owned the farm, which was rather unusual for African Americans in that area at the time. She recalls the hardships of farm life, including the boll weevil, but adds that in the Great Depression, she never felt poor because they grew all the food they needed. Sims recounts how her father fed passersby who were desperate for food and work during the Depression. She remembers the time before the Tennessee Valley Authority rural electrification program transformed life in Mississippi. Sims also tells stories of her father rescuing at two men from the threat of lynching, and she recounts a humorous story of how her young son saw Jim Crow water fountains. She attended Alcorn State Normal School and Tennessee State and then taught for 50 years. Sims arrived in Cleveland in 1946 and lived in Glenville. She recalls the difficulties of being a black shopper in some downtown Cleveland stores and reflects on the separate and unequal schools on either side of the Cuyahoga. Late in the interview she discusses Antioch Baptist Church and how Councilman Leo Jackson shut down Cafe Tia Juana, a storied jazz and blues club on East 105th Street.