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Fred and Anna Marie Johnson Interview, 2008

Angela Robinson via ClevelandVoices


Fred Johnson and Anna Marie, long time Cleveland residents discuss growing up in Cleveland as African-Americans. Fred, a former Cleveland policeman, discusses racial discrimination faced by African-American policemen from the 1950's through the 1970's, the Black Shield Officer's Association and National Black Police Association. Anna Marie describes the Cedar Central neighborhood, shopping and movies, streetcars, and layout of neighborhood now known as Fairfax. Other topics include the positive and negative effects of integration, including lack of African-American economic infrastructure in Cleveland, problems in the Murray Hill area between the Italian community and African-Americans, and problems with Cleveland schools. The Johnsons compare the overt racism in the South with the more covert racism in the North, and relate their memories of the Glenville and Hough riots, and the lack of truthful reporting on the incidents. Anna Marie describes various outreach programs run by churches and other organizations in the Hough neighborhood. They debate the growth of the Cleveland Clinic and University Circle, and the positive and negative aspects of that growth, including health and exercise programs for seniors, and the need to include low income families in activities at the cultural institutions in University Circle.


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