John O. Holly from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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HOLLY, JOHN OLIVER, JR. (3 Dec. 1903-20 Dec. 1974)founded the FUTURE OUTLOOK LEAGUE in 1935 tohelp secure equal employment for AFRICAN AMERICANS in Cleveland; on 23 Oct. 1988, the General Mail Facility at 2400 Orange Ave. at Cleveland’s main post office, was named for him. Holly was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Educated at private and publicschools, he quit school at 15 to work in the coal mines, after he and his family moved to Rhoda, Virginia. The family moved again, to Roanoke,Virginia; Holly resumed his studies and graduated from Roanoke Harrison High School. He worked with his father’s Detroit, Michigan trucking business and at other jobs there, for a time attending the Cass Technical Commercial School in Detroit.

Holly moved to Cleveland in 1926 after his marriage to Leola Lee. The couple had two sons, Arthur and Marvin. Holly worked as a porter at HALLE BROTHERS CO. and later for the Federal Sanitation Company, a chemical manufacturing company. As director of the Future Outlook League, he soon devoted most of his energies to controversial business boycotts and battleswith unions. In Sept. 1941 Holly served a 10-day jail sentence for illegal picketing, but only a few weeks later was appointed by Mayor FRANK LAUSCHE to the city’s Fair Rent Committee.

Holly, an active Democrat, unsuccessfully challenged Herman Finkle for the 12th ward council seat (1937) and attempted to secure a nomination to Congress (1954). Holly founded the state-wide Federation of County Democrats of Ohio, Inc., and served as a trustee of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and on the executive board of the Cleveland Chapter of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. He held offices in Champion City Lodge No. 177. Holly died at Richmond General Hospital, leaving his wife Marguerite; he was buried in Highland Park Cemetery.


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