Jane Edna Hunter and Black Institution Building in Ohio by Virginia R. Boynton
Google book link here
From: Builders of Ohio: A Biographical History
edited by Warren R. Van Tine, Michael Dale Pierce, Michael Cain Pierce
Cleveland-A Black Hospital at Last By Vanessa Northington Gamble
Chapter from: Making a Place for Ourselves: The Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945 By Vanessa Northington Gamble
Norman S. Minor (1901-1968)
Norman S Minor was an african-American attorney, orginally a prosecutor
and then a defense attorney. He helped to train a number of Cleveland’s prominent black attorneys including Louis and Carl Stokes
The late Congressman Louis Stokes who trained under Mr. Minor called him the “Greatest criminal trial lawyer this state has ever known” in this interview (12:32)
From Encyclopedia of Cleveland History:
MINOR, NORMAN SELBY (19 July 1901-15 May 1968), noted criminal trial attorney under whom a number of Cleveland’s prominent black attorneys, including Merle McCurdy and Louis and CARL STOKES, trained, was born in Oak Park, Ill., to Arthur and Rebecca Walden Minor. He came to Cleveland when he was 4. After 2 years at the University of Michigan, he graduated with an LL.B. degree from John Marshall Law School in 1927, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1928. From 1928-30, Minor was associated with the firm of Payne, Green, Minor, & Perry, taking cases of men in jail who needed a free lawyer in order to gain trial experience. Appointed assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor in 1930, he was assigned to cases in which the defendants were black since the discriminatory system at the time limited general use of his skills. He worked effectively to change the policy for subsequent black prosecutors and, despite discrimination, became one of Cleveland’s best criminal trial lawyers. He prosecuted more than 5,000 felony cases, including 13 successful prosecutions for 1st-degree murder, his most famous case being that of Willie “The Mad Butcher” Johnson, convicted of murdering 12 women during the 1930s and 1940s. Involved in Democratic party politics, Minor polled the largest vote of any black candidate to that time in a 1937 election defeat for a municipal court judgeship. In 1948 Minor returned to private practice as a criminal defense lawyer specializing in homicide cases.
Minor married three times and had two children. He had a son, Harold Craig (Green) Minor (b.1921-d.1988); a daughter, Valena (Williams) from the Feb. 1922 marriage to Grace C. Jones which ended in divorce in 1926. Minor married Norvell Major (d. 1937) in 1928; and in 1938, Minor married Mary Christian. He is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Obituary from Plain Dealer
Ebony Magazine article on Norman S. Minor, November 1963
Click here (8mg pdf)
Incredible quote from Ebony essay:
“(Minor) has been either the prosecutor or the defense lawyer in almost every heinous crime committed in Cleveland since 1930, the year he began his trial work.”
Google books link is here
Nice group of short profiles for Black History Month done by
Plain Dealer in 2012
The link is here
Artha Woods, who died Monday, once burst into Mayor Dennis Kucinich’s office, got him to cancel a meeting and took him to see hookers hawking their wares in her ward.
She also traced some of the customers’ car registration tags and called their homes.
Woods longtime councilwoman and council clerk, died at McGregor at Overlook after a long illness. Different public records put her age at 94, 90, 88 and younger.
She broke the color line at Ohio Bell, managed boxers, ran a racially pioneering modeling school, mentored Jayne Kennedy and other stars and led local and national civic groups.
The slim, tall woman was known as “Lady Artha.”
“She was a great woman,” said her companion, Stanley Tolliver, former Cleveland school board member.
“She was a convergence of formality, professionalism and street smarts,” said long-time Councilman Jay Westbrook.
“She was always trying to advance black women,” said Councilman Ken Johnson.
Woods often denounced sexism and racism. In 1985, blasting police neglect of her East Side ward, she said, “This is getting to be a prime area, and I’m beginning to wonder if they don’t want black people living in the area.”
Yet she reached out to all races, especially after beating Councilman John Lawson for a new Ward 6, combining her old Fairfax ward with his University Circle one. She was named an honorary Italian at Holy Rosary Church and blessed by Pope Paul VI in Rome for her work with Catholic leaders.
She was born Artha Mae Bugg in Atlanta and had four younger siblings. The family moved to Cleveland before she started kindergarten. She became valedictorian of Central High School and won a district award as a top Latin student. She was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, without shows or dances. She later joined Antioch Baptist Church near her long-time home on E. 89th St.
Woods attended Western Reserve School of Education and took courses elsewhere in shorthand, modeling, sewing and more.
After public protests for diversity, Ohio Bell hired her and 18 other blacks in 1941. All the black women operated elevators at headquarters on Huron Rd. Black women had to sit at a separate table from white women in the cafeteria. She started boycotting the room.
She rose during 40 years at Ohio Bell and retired as public relations manager. Along the way, she led civic projects for the company, including “Reaction Line,” a program with Parent-Teacher Associations for city schools. Woods also managed two boxers and sewed rhinestone robes for them. She owned Cedar Ave. Millinery Shop and sold hats to Dorothy Fuldheim, Billie Holliday and Zelma George.
She had trouble finding black models. With partner Jon McCullough from Ohio Bell, she founded Artha-Jon Academy of Modeling and Charm at her E. 89th St. home, one of the nation’s first such schools for black women.
She ran the school for 30 years and passed it on to a granddaughter. She formed a foundation to teach the underprivileged for free. She also created a pioneering charm course for clients of the Cleveland Society for the Blind
She edited “International Image” for the Modeling Association of America International and became the group’s first black president in 1978. She and McCullough were inducted to the Models Hall of Fame.
Woods founded the Fairfax Area Community Congress, donated its building and created its Starlight Cotillion for female graduates of nearby public high schools.
“These young women deserve a moment in the spotlight,” she told The Plain Dealer in 1990.
Woods was also president of the Champs scholarship organization, the Booth-Talbert Clinic and Day Care Center Auxiliary and the Business and Professional Women’s Club. She belonged to the Cuyahoga County Democratic Executive Committee. She was second vice chairperson of the Metropolitan Health Planning Corp. and second vice president of the Urban League. She was a convenor of the National Black Caucus of Girl Scouts of America.
In 1977, she ran in Ward 18 against incumbent Councilman James Boyd, convicted of bribery inJuly. A few days before the election, he was jailed and removed from office. She was appointed to the seat, then won a full term at the polls.
On council, Woods helped the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Playhouse expand and pressed for minority contractors. To fight graffiti, she proposed registering buyers of spray paint. She also fought for improvements at the public Woodhill Homes.
“Very little is being done for you,” she once told Woodhill tenants. “Instead, they’re doing it to you.”
In 1981, she won the merged Ward 6. Nine years later, she stopped serving on council and started serving it as clerk. Westbrook, then a new council president, said, “She was an invaluable part of the team that moved us forward.” She oversaw renovations of council offices, put the city’s dormant consumer affairs department under council’s wing, and got the office’s first fax machine.
Among many hobbies, Woods liked to sew, swim, landscape, watch sports and raise German shepherds. She built a heated swimming pool and brick doghouse at her home. She won a landscaping commendation from Governor John Gilligan. Among many other honors, Artha Woods Street and Artha Woods Park are named for her.
Woods outlived her two children, one of them killed by gunfire at age 24.
She once said, “There was always rebellion in me, but I rebelled in a productive way, even in the face of blatant segregation.”
Artha Mae Woods
Survivors: two granddaugh ters, Gaile Ozanne of Pepper Pike and Deborah Enty of Cleveland; and six great-grandchildren.
Arrangements: E.F. Boyd & Son
Artha Woods:First Black Woman City Council Clerk Passes Away
Posted May 13th 2010
Artha Woods was the kind of woman who, when she entered a room, drew the positive attention of almost everyone who saw her. Those in government leadership positions in Cleveland City Hall speak of her using the terms “elegant” and “class.”
She was often affectionately called “Lady Artha” because of her bearing. Artha Woods was a longtime Cleveland City Councilwman. In 1977, she was appointed to the seat held by Councilman James Boyd, who, convicted of bribery, had to give up the seat. She then won a full term to the Ward 18 council seat. Years later, she was selected as the clerk of city council.
Artha Woods died Monday of natural causes. In recent years, she was a resident of a Cleveland nursing home.
Councilman Jay Westbrook remembers Woods as a woman who was “elegant,” but one also who was dedicated to the people.
“Artha was always quick sot stand up for her community; stand up for what she knew was right,” said Westbrook. “She was defintely her own person.”
During her years as clerk of council, Woods kept up with the many pieces of legislation passed by the councilmembers. She worked closely with then-council president Westbrook.
“She would let me know what she thought even if I did not agree with her,” said Westbrook as he spoke of the woman who worked by his side.
Councilman Jeff Johnson remembered Woods as one of two women on the council who helped guide him through his freshman year.
“One was the late Fannie Lewis and the other was Artha Woods,” said Johnson. He said Woods showed him the ropes of how legislation was passed in city council.
“She was tough,” he said with a smile on his face.
“She was the velvet glove over the iron fist; that’s how Artha was,” said Johnson. “But get her riled up and when she was fighting for a cause, that came out, too.”
She had many talents, which showed themselves even in the earliest years of her life. In 1941, after public protests for Ohio Bell to integrate its office, Woods and 18 other blacks were the first blacks hired by the telephone company. All the black women operated elevators at Ohio Bell’s headquarters on Huron Road in downtown Cleveland.
When she learned black women had to sit at a separate table from white women in the cafeteria, Woods began to boycott the room.
She persevered at the company during her 40 years with Ohio bell. She retired from the company as a public relations manager. She was also involved with a modeling school for young women. She even managed two boxers.
At Cleveland City Council’s committee room, Woods’ portrait hangs on the wall with those of two other council clerks. She has long been held in high esteem because of her ability to bring a relative quiet to political arguments on the council floor.
That was always quite a job because of the large numbers of councilmembers. When Woods joined the council, she was one of 33. Later, the council was pared down to a lesser number.
When Woods retired from the clerk of council job in the late 1990s. ther were tributes in her honor at city hall. When she died Monday, many at City Hall took notice.
“She made advancements for women, for African-Americans, for community residents and for City Hall,” said Westbrook. “She was a real voice for people.”
Johnson called her a “giant.”
The impression she left was the same one she brought — dedication to the people and dignity for herself. Her longtime friend, community activist and former Cleveland School Board member Stanley Tolliver, called woods “a remarkable woman.”
Her funeral will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Liberty Hill Baptist Church, 8206 Euclid Ave., in Cleveland. It will follow a 10 a.m. wake for the woman many in City Hall called “Lady Artha.”
Records put her age at 99, 90, or 88. Tolliver said she was 90. Whatever was her age, Woods left a strong and positive impression at Cleveland City Hall and throughout the Northeast Ohio community.