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Akron's Black History Timeline
1940-1949: A Decade of Hope
"This district, covered with dilapidated houses was inhabited mostly by Negroes and had long been notorious as a breeding place for crime and disease. Akron civic leaders had talked many years about doing something to improve conditions there – but all they did was talk."   ~ Grissmer, Akron and Summit ~


Civic Enterprise

  • Akron’s black residents were forced to reside in the worst districts
  • Akron Council of Negro Women acquired an 11-room house on Wooster Ave to house black working girls. The home was administered similar to the YMCA – organization motto – "Lift as we climb"
  • More than 12,000 new Negro citizens in Akron since 1940 – only 75 new homes built and occupied by Negroes
  • The Negro Directory and the Akron Informer came into being

Individual Accomplishments:

  • George Stevens – Negro Philanthropist – donated to the Akron Foundation
  • Herbert R. Bracken – Akron’s first black teacher
  • Esther Spruill – pioneered preschool education – opened a day care center on Perkins Street
  • Jessica Brazil – Negro soprano – Akron native
  • Julia Perry – Negro composer – Akron native
  • Emmer Lancaster – Advisor on Negro Affairs to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Luther R. Johnson, Jr. – first Negro assistant law director
  • Martha Averett – first Negro nurse in Akron’s city hospitals


Top Requests
and Concerns

Mayor Don  Plusquellic

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