Are you determined to help uncover history and share it with the rising generation? Would it help to have resources at your fingertips so that you can recite stories and relate accomplishments? A serious study of the history of African Americans in Ohio, like in any other state, helps to write the contributions of African Americans back into history. A few findings from the resources below have been highlighted. Select a collection and study its holdings to learn more.
A slave named Lewis
Ohio History Central: African Americans
This Ohio Historical Society resource has several entries where you can learn about the experiences of African Americans in the history of the state. One of the entries illustrates the great extent a slave named Lewis took to be free. Lewis escaped from Kentucky to Ohio where he was put on trial. He was defended by the future President Rutherford. B. Hayes, but to prevent being found guilty of escaping, Lewis took measures into his own hands.
“Lest We Forget”
Historian, Author and Veteran, Bennie McRae, Jr. has partnered with Hampton Institute to continue to provide access to his great research and resources. Visit “Lest We Forget,” and select “Ohio” from the list of categories. Learn about the Smith Underground Railroad Station in Washington County, Ohio. Also, enter “Ohio” in the search field on the homepage to link to more great resources.
Joseph Black Joe Hodge in 1796
The Western Reserve Historical Society’s African American Archives
The Western Reserve is part of the northeastern section of Ohio. African Americans have been documented in history in the Western Reserve as early as 1796 when a free person of color, Joseph Black Joe Hodge, left New York state to serve as a guide and Native American interpreter. He helped lead the Connecticut Western Reserve Surveying Party to an area just east of present day Cleveland. A plan created under the direction of Augustus Porter for dividing the Western Reserve into towns and cities in 1796 is included above. See “History of African Americans in the Western Reserve.”
The Cincinnati History Library and Archives: Guide to 20th Century African American Resources
Most of the resources in this collection are available by request, but the resource guide is a great place to learn about the history to be found at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Some of the subject categories provide a wealth of information and link to more resources. One of the community leaders highlighted is William A. McClain who became the first black in the United States to hold a high municipal post. He served as Cincinnati’s City Solicitor (March 1963-June 1972).
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