The inside story of how Larry Doby broke the American League’s color line 76 years ago – Terry Pluto July 5, 2023

Larry Doby in his first MLB game with Cleveland on July 5, 1947.

The inside story of how Larry Doby broke the American League’s color line 76 years ago
by Terry Pluto, Wednesday July 5, 2023
The link is here

Hollenden Hotel: Downtown Cleveland’s glamorous, colorful hotspot for nearly 100 years

Superior Avenue, 1905. Landmarks include the Arcade Building at right, Hollenden Hotel and newspaper offices of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Hollenden Hotel: Downtown Cleveland’s glamorous, colorful hotspot for nearly 100 years
by Tom Matowitz
Thursday, April 06, 2023 from FreshWater Cleveland

The link is here

Bill would ‘thwart the will of Ohioans.’ State Ed board independent for reason| Opinion 12/8/22

Bill would ‘thwart the will of Ohioans.’ State Ed board independent for reason| Opinion
“The people of Ohio passed the 1953 amendment to make the state board of education a fourth branch of government,” William L. Phillis, Guest columnist

Oct 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; LGBTQ+ allies protest outside the Ohio Department of Education building as the board hears public testimony on a resolution that opposes proposed changes to Title IX, the federal law that prohibited discrimination in schools on the basis of sex. Introduced by board member Brendan Shea, the resolution lays out an "unequivocal opposition" to the Biden Administration's proposal to expand Title IX's protections to gender identity and sexual orientation. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

 William L. Phillis is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and assistant superintendent of public instruction.  He is currently the executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.

Leaders of the Ohio Senate seem to be inebriated with power.

With a super majority, they do what they want. They are in a position with a super majority in both chambers of the legislature, to overpower the Governor’s office if they wish.

Senate Bill 178 would neuter the State Board of Education by transferring most of the duties of the State Board of Education to the Governor’s office. The move is counter to Article VI, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution.

In 1953 Ohioans, with a constitutional amendment, removed the state education agency from the governor’s office by establishing an independent state board of education.

A history lesson — which some state officials would ignore — is in order.

Ohio did not have a state school officer until 1837, when the legislature enacted the office of superintendent of common schools and employed Samuel Lewis as superintendent. After three years, Lewis resigned, and the legislature repealed the law which established the position.

This guest column is available free: Support the exchange of local and state ideas by subscribing to the Columbus Dispatch.

The Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1850-1851 called for the common school system.

Delegates debated, but ultimately rejecting the idea of establishing in the constitution a state officer for education.

In 1853 however the legislature enacted legislation providing for a state commissioner of common schools to be elected on a three-year cycle. During the constitutional convention of 1912, delegates crafted language to replace the state commissioner of common schools with a superintendent of public instruction.

Ohioans approved the amendment, and the legislature attached the position to the governor’s office.

In 1953, Ohioans passed a constitutional amendment as follows:

There shall be a state board of education which shall be selected in such manner and for such terms as shall be provided by law. There shall be a superintendent of public instruction, who shall be appointed by the state board of education. The respective powers and duties of the board and of the superintendent shall be prescribed by law.(Article VI, Section 4)

Ohioans removed the superintendent of public instruction and thus the state education agency from the governor’s office.

In the 1990’s Governor Voinovich requested the legislature to allow the governor to appoint State Board of Education members as a means to gain control of the state education agency.

The legislature gave Voinovich the authorization to appoint eight members in addition to the eleven elected members. This action paved the way for a dysfunctional environment that continues to this day.

State officials should restore the state board to an all-elected body to regain the credibility and the respect the state board had from 1956 to the Voinovich era.

The people of Ohio passed the 1953 amendment to make the state board of education a fourth branch of government.

Senate Bill 178 would thwart the will of Ohioans. But that does not matter to some current state political leadership.

The redistricting fiasco is another proof that the will of the people is of no concern to some current state officials.

Senate Bill 178 should be ditched.

William L. Phillis is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and assistant superintendent of public instruction.  He is currently the executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.

“If you build it, they will come” by Robyn Marcs, WRHS

Cleveland’s Professional Baseball Stadiums

Fans at League Park on Opening Day 1930, Image courtesy of the WRHS Library

“If you build it, they will come”
by Robyn Marcs, WRHS (March 2022)

With the recent name change of the Cleveland Indians to the Guardians, one may want to reflect on how far our team has come since its founding in 1901.  The American League Cleveland team has called three ballparks home: League Park, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and Progressive Field (also known as Jacobs Field to those of us who grew up with that name).

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Florence Ellinwood Allen: The First Woman State Supreme Court Justice from The Brennan Center

State of Ohio/The Columbus Metropolitan Library Image Collections/General Photographic Agency/crossroadscreative

The link is here

Florence Ellinwood Allen: The First Woman State Supreme Court Justice from The Brennan Center
A century later, her story of perseverance and support from women’s rights activists still inspires.
by Amanda Powers

One hundred years ago, Florence Ellinwood Allen became the first woman to serve as a state supreme court justice. It was one of many firsts throughout her life: she was also the first woman in America to serve as a prosecutor, be elected as a trial court judge, and be appointed to a federal appeals court. Allen overcame numerous barriers based on her gender throughout her legal career, often with the support of grassroots suffragists who rallied behind her. Her achievement is underscored by the fact that there wasn’t another woman on a state supreme court for nearly 40 years.

Allen spent her first year of law school at the University of Chicago, where she was the only woman. She later wrote in her memoir that it was “terrifying to have to enter a classroom first while a hundred men stood aside.” Allen transferred to New York University, which had been accepting women to its law school since 1890. There, she described feeling “on equal terms with men” and became involved in the women’s suffrage movement.

Allen graduated law school second in her class in 1913 and returned home to Ohio, where she opened a private law practice, volunteered for the Legal Aid Society, and continued campaigning for suffrage. While advocating for a ballot initiative to grant Ohio women the right to vote, Allen gave speeches in 88 counties across the state. She later argued and won a case before the state supreme court that granted women the right to vote in municipal elections, although the policy was soon overturned by referendum. In 1919, Allen was appointed as a prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, a national first for a woman.

Just 10 weeks after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, Allen was elected to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas and became the first woman elected to judicial office in the country. Because she entered the race late, she had to collect signatures to be listed on the ballot. Her friends in the Woman Suffrage Party circulated petitions throughout the county and collected enough signatures to complete the nomination process. Upon Allen’s election, her male colleagues on the court suggested that she should only rule on marital disputes. Allen disagreed, responding that since she had never married, “she lacked sufficient expertise in the domestic domain,” unlike the men on the bench.

The women’s movement remained deeply involved throughout Florence’s tenure on the court. When Allen called attention to disorganization at the court due to the lack of a chief justice, women’s groups contacted the press and organized mass meetings to raise awareness of the problem. Allen later wrote that this burst of civic engagement among women occurred “because for the first time they were serving on the jury and also because they saw a member of their sex sitting on the bench . . . in a way that made them feel a special ownership in the Court of Common Pleas.”

In 1922, Allen ran for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. She was the underdog against a decorated World War I veteran backed by the powerful state Republican party. However, Allen prevailed by a significant margin. Her campaign was driven by “Florence Allen clubs,” which had been organized by suffragists in almost every single Ohio county. Allen relied on this network of volunteers to circulate petitions, organize door-to-door canvassing, schedule speaking engagements, and secure endorsements from local newspapers.

Suffragettes' storefront HQ in OhioLibrary of Congress
Florence Ellinwood Allen (holding flag) at woman suffrage headquarters in Cleveland in 1912.

Allen wrote in her memoir that on her first day on the bench, she “was aware of a certain uneasiness among the men” due to her gender. Allen overcame their uncertainty and asserted her judicial authority during her 11 years on Ohio’s highest court, issuing decisions on questions of education, labor, municipal governance, taxes, and more.

In 1928, the Florence Allen clubs returned in force, and Allen was reelected by a margin of some 350,000 votes.

After unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate and House, Allen was nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1934. She faced considerable opposition throughout the confirmation process but found support from unlikely allies. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Will Stephenson, who had staunchly opposed the idea of a woman justice when Allen was first nominated to share the bench with him, traveled to Washington to testify that “there is no Court too big for Judge Allen.” Allen was confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first woman to sit on a federal appeals court bench. She remained in this position for 25 years.

On the Sixth Circuit, Allen maintained that her role as a judge should not be impacted by her gender. Upon noticing that the chief judge was not assigning her to hear any cases involving patents, Allen insisted that she no longer be excluded from this category. She later wrote several opinions on patent-related cases that were affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Allen received national attention when she presided over a three-judge panel in the case of Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. Tennessee Valley Authority, ruling that the federal government had the authority to build dams and reservoirs and regulate interstate commerce on interstate waterways like the Tennessee River.

This case raised Allen’s national profile, and she was considered for the Supreme Court by several presidents. Many allies called for Allen to be nominated, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote in her newspaper column in 1948, “if a President of the United States should decide to nominate a woman for the Supreme Court, it should be Judge Allen.”

Florence Ellinwood Allen was a trailblazer who understood the importance of diversity in the courtroom. In her words, “When women of intelligence recognize their share in and their responsibility for the courts, a powerful moral backing is secured for the administration of justice.”

A century after her election to the Ohio Supreme Court, Allen’s story reminds us of the importance of a representative judiciary to affirm the legitimacy of a system that administers justice for all. There is still much work to be done on that front: as of last year, only about one-third of active lower federal court judges were women, and 12 states had only one woman on the bench of their state supreme court.

Cleveland History Self Study: A 5 Week Syllabus of Recommended Essays

Cleveland Stories: An Informal Look at the City’s Past

A 5 Week essay-based syllabus suggested by Dr. Marian Morton, professor emerita at John Carroll University with expertise in Cleveland area history.

Overview: A discussion of some of Cleveland’s most interesting and important people, places, and events
Objective: To link the city’s past with its present policies, politics, and practices

Week 1. Introduction. Read Teaching Cleveland Stories (TCS)John J. Grabowski, “Cleveland: Economics, Images, and Expectations”

Week 2. TCS: Mike Roberts and Margaret Gulley, “The Man Who Saved Cleveland.” Elizabeth Sullivan, “Immigration”  John Vacha, “The Heart of Amasa Stone”; Joe Frolik, “Mark Hanna: The Clevelander Who Made a President”

Supplemental: Timeline of Cleveland/NE Ohio; The Western Reserve, 1796-1820, and Pre-Industrial (Erie and Ohio Canals), 1820-1865 and The Industrial Revolution/ John D. Rockefeller/ Mark Hanna, 1865-1900

Week 3. TCS: John J. Grabowski, “Cleveland 1912 – Civitas Triumphant”; Joe Frolik, “Regional Government versus Home Rule”  John Vacha, “When Cleveland Saw Red”  Margaret Bernstein, ‘’Inventor Garrett Morgan, Cleveland’s Fierce Bootstrapper”  Marian Morton, “How Cleveland Women Got the Vote and What They Did With It”

Supplemental: Progressive Era/Tom L. Johnson/ Newton D. Baker, 1900-1915 and Fred Kohler/City Managers/Political Bosses, 1920s and The Van Sweringens/ Depression … 1930s

Week 4. TCS: Thomas Suddes, “The Adult Education Tradition in Greater Cleveland”  Bill Lubinger, “Bill Veeck: The Man Who Conquered Cleveland and Changed Baseball Forever”  Jay Miller, “Cyrus Eaton: Khruschev’s Favorite Capitalist” Roldo Bartimole, “One Man Can Make a Difference”  Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 1960s” and “Cleveland in the 1970s”

Supplemental: World War 2- Post War, 1940s; Carl Stokes- Civil Rights, 1960s and Ralph Perk-Dennis Kucinich, 1970s

Week 5TCS: Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 1980s” and “Cleveland in the 1990s” Supplemental: “10 Greatest Clevelanders”; “12 Most Significant Events”; Cleveland Politician Interview Series (George Forbes, Jim Rokakis, Louis Stokes, George Voinovich, Michael R. White); Mike Roberts, “Cleveland in the 2000s

General questions: what is the main point of each article? Did you agree or disagree? What did you find most interesting? What would you add? Or subtract? 


The Equal Rights Amendment: Why We Needed It and How Lawyers Have Fought Gender Discrimination Without it by Jonathan L. Entin Nov 12, 2020 at 7pm

The Equal Rights Amendment: Why We Needed It and How Lawyers Have Fought Gender Discrimination Without it
Jonathan L. Entin, David L. Brennan Professor Emeritus of Law and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Case Western Reserve University

Thursday, November 12, 7pm via Zoom
The videos here:

Gender-based distinctions used to pervade American law. The ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment gave women a constitutional right to vote, but did nothing to disturb other forms of gender discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would have guaranteed equal rights regardless of sex, but was never ratified. This program will examine the historical background of gender distinctions in the law and more recent efforts by lawyers such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg to reform the law with or without the ERA.

Zoom RSVP here:

Made possible with a generous donation from Lin Emmons.

Sponsored by Cleveland History Center, CWRU Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning, League of Women Voters-Greater Cleveland

How Cleveland nonprofits plan to survive COVID-19 by Briana Oldham

Summary of Video forum from May 21, 2020 by Briana Oldham
The pdf is here
Rachell Dissell, moderator, Emily Campbell, Assoc Director, Center of Community SolutionsMelissa Graves, CEO, Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy CenterCynthia J. Ries, Exec Director, Greater Cleveland Community SharesSondra Miller, President & CEO, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

How Cleveland nonprofits plan to survive COVID-19
by Briana Oldham

COVID-19 has changed everything. Creating a new landscape for the future comes with adjusting to the times.

In a forum held Thursday night, a panel of representatives from several nonprofits in the city of Cleveland came together to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and how to adapt to the new normal.

The hour-long discussion, presented by the Shaker Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Greater Cleveland opened with remarks from former Plain Dealer reporter, Rachel Dissell.

How can nonprofits continue to deliver services to Cleveland residents during a global pandemic?

Panelists Emily Campbell, Associate Director from the Center for Community Solutions, Melissa Graves, CEO of the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center, Sondra Miller, President & CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and Cynthia J. Ries, Executive Director of the Greater Cleveland Community Shares took to Zoom to answer this and so much more.

Graves, who has spent her career working with vulnerable families, noted that decisions on how to provide services during this time were made immediately. Due to all the uncertainty right now, which abusers don’t like, the center felt it best to keep critical services open.

“We knew it was going to be a very volatile and dangerous situation [having abusers at home around the clock] so we pivoted very quickly,” Graves said.

What Graves and the staff found when trying to provide remote services was that it forced the center to go in a direction that they had already been moving toward but had yet to complete. The staff has been able to attend virtual trainings and webinars to provide advocacy services to work with clients remotely.

“There is a curiosity around what’s been happening with domestic violence and child abuse,” Graves said.

With that idea in mind, the mission is now more important than ever, and their efforts have been well received. Since people still need housing, the center has also worked diligently to expedite permanent housing in order to provide some level of social distancing.

Pivoting was a resounding theme during the forum, as several agencies had to move to immediately decide how to proceed and without a lot of information at the time.

The Center for Community Solutions conducted a survey about problems agencies were facing and how they were dealing with them. Campbell wanted to look at data to get a sense of if the reports they received were across the board or just in some area pockets.

There were 734 groups across the state of Ohio over the span of two weeks in late April who participated in the survey. Though all 88 counties were represented, the core of the responses came from Cuyahoga County where community solutions has the deepest reach.

The biggest question was what the level of disruption was on the various agencies due to COVID-19 and/or the Stay at Home Order.

“We thought it was important to ask about those two things together because what we’re seeing is that it’s not just about the virus, it’s the response to the virus as well,” Campbell said.

What they found was the vast majority of service providers reported their services had been disrupted. Though 38% indicated that there was some disruption, but it was manageable, 20% listed significant disruption and they expect the return to services to be difficult.

“We are most concerned with the 20% because these are the groups that have faced some real challenges over the course of the last two months,” Campbell said.

A big takeaway was that over 75% reported shifting to providing services over the phone or via video chat as a way to adjust. The responses came from agencies ranging from a staff size of five people to those with over 500 employees.

There are pivots that pertaining to certain agencies had to make that most others might not have had to consider. This holds true for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center due to the inability to have in person visits and provide emergency room support.

Miller described coming up with goals at the beginning of the year to transition to providing services via telehealth but didn’t think they would be implemented so quickly. Telehealth is the ability to provide health services and support electronically using various means of technology.

“Staffing clients who started out being a little bit resistant to it, came to really enjoy it and feel like that it was an even better experience,” Miller said.

Some chose not to participate, as this method of receiving advocacy is not for everyone. The center also had to navigate the hospital emergency rooms since there were a lot of mixed reactions to new protocols in place.

Miller believes there is an opportunity for telehealth services to continue, especially in parts of the state where they do not have 24-hour sexual assault nursing units.

“I see telehealth being woven into what the future could look like there,” Miller said.

Financial challenges agencies are facing have also become a huge topic of discussion when it comes to nonprofits. Ries began to hear from agencies the Greater Cleveland Community Shares partners with and serves almost immediately at the peak of the pandemic.

Ries mentioned getting a lot of calls and a lot of questions. This is in large part due to most of the members being performing arts groups. Ries notes there being a lot of anxiety about canceled events and what that means for funders.

Though many organizations received loans, the help provided only temporary relief and what the future looks like would still need to be addressed.

“I think what we’re going to see in the next couple months and next year is that fundraising is definitely going to be different,” Ries said.

Ries thinks Cleveland is a generous community and will rally together. She mentions that several foundations have already stepped up and that it has been impressive to watch.

The arts groups have gotten creative when coming up with ways to serve young people and keep them connected and engaged.

“Our arts groups, our members have really stepped up, and have been doing great community based, family based, meaningful work,” Ries said.

The concept of community shares is the idea of being able to help each other. People still have the desire to do this even during such an unprecedented time and it is clear the support is a mighty force.


How will some of Cleveland’s most critical non profits survive Covid-19?
A video forum on May 21, 2020
with Rachel Dissell, former Plain Dealer Reporter and panelists:
•Emily Campbell, Assoc Director, Center of Community Solutions
•Melissa Graves, CEO, Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center
•Sondra Miller, President & CEO, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center
•Cynthia J. Ries, Exec Director, Greater Cleveland Community Shares