Year 1968 & Cleveland

Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 04/02/2008 - 07:17.

1968 – Start of Cleveland Decline

The year 1968 – 40 years ago – provides rich, if disturbing, historical background to the reason Cleveland is in the shape it is today. For me, 1968 was the year that changed my life and direction. I invite you to read a long piece on that year’s events to see what you think. You may do so by going to I hope readers will take the time to read this piece published today


For a look at Cleveland’s racial division, or as Barack Obama says “racial wounds,” I’ll cite a couple of passages from the 1968 piece, involving among other events, the Glenville shootout:

“The political nature of the trial extended beyond being merely an attack upon black nationalists. Charles R. Laurie, the assistant prosecutor, made broad insinuations about Mayor Stokes’ involvement. ‘Why did City Hall let the police go in there unprepared? Why? What were they going to fight back with? Spitballs?’ At another point, Laurie said: ‘Under the façade of making dolls and dashikis (the program funded by the city with Evans as its head) in the shop… they prepared for war against the men in blue. City Hall gave him the money and what did he do in gratitude? He gave them hot bullets in return.

“The prosecution lawyers, both white, several times during the summation, called the two Negro defense lawyers ‘boys.’ Laurie badgered one young Negro girl, finally screaming, ‘You hate white people, don’t you?’ He then asked her, ‘Wasn’t my color the people that put up the money for these (poverty) programs?’”

And another from the testimony of an NBC cameraman:

“Boros was trying to take film during this period. A number of police started to attack him.
“’I was lying down, and they pulled my back, my shoulders and I was scared to death here that they will pound my head and I will die. That’s when I started screaming. I said, ‘God help me, please. Please help me.’ That was the worse. This position because there was so many on my and that’s when I did look up, you know and I see Charlie Ray (also an NBC cameraman) next to the wall, you know, and very clearly I see two cops behind him with sticks – I shouldn’t say two. I should say not one, more than – maybe three or four… I don’t know. But more than one policeman behind him pounding his back, you know, hitting, and his hands were up and his head was looking down, watching me and he said, ‘Jules,” and I said, ‘Charlie.’ You know that was the one worked I could say but that was when I was sure I will die because I have the feeling if one will grab me and hit my head down, that is it.”
The events of 1968 still reverberate in the consciousness of Cleveland. They color our feeling, whether we admit or recognize it or not.

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40 years

Look back and look forward.  Where is the next generation going?  See this week's Case Observer.

A right to engage

"I’d like to think that I have followed for these many years the command of Leonard Levy, a leading historian of the free press in early America.  He said the First Amendment gave the press...

“A right to engage in rasping, corrosive and offensive discussion of all topics of public interest.”"

I think this is largely missing in today's media and I so appreciate your journalistic standards and your telling of the real story and your asking the hard questions over the years, Roldo.

It seems that we have not moved forward in the last 40 years. Perhaps we have even moved backward. The corruption you describe seems as evident today as it was then.

These 60s-70s were trying times for us as a nation. The period was ripe for change - we protested the war and gender and racial inequality. But as my husband who attended Kent State University around that time said - when they shot the 4 at KSU, the whole student movement went underground. "No, we're not going to say anything more - not if you're going to shoot us. Fuck that; we're just going to quietly go to class and try to earn good grades. No officer, I am just walking here on my way to class - I want a good paying corporate job and I plan to stay enrolled until the war is over..."

Now we live in what James Howard Kunstler calls a Clusterfuck Nation. Great!

We need more muckrakers like you, Roldo. Thank god you had this epiphany and committed to writing Point  of View. Thank you.

Roldo speaks at the City Club in 1968

Roldo Speaks at the City Club in 1968 - from Cleveland Memory

from the speech:
"So, people are starving in America today and the government’s answer has been intimidation, rationalization, subterfuge and public relations to make truth a lie and lies the truth." - Roldo

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Take the time to listen to this 40 year old "podcast". Prophetic...

Growing up

  FROM this week's Case Observer:

Grow up, Case Western.

Several incidents of vandalism in residence halls have been reported over the past month. At least one involved a mess of biological matter that had to be subsequently removed by service workers.

According to one RHA officer, this is nothing new. This type of revolting vandalism happens every year, and there's really no way to stop it.

Seriously? This is something that should happen only in an elementary school. It's appalling that a college student, and furthermore, a Case student, would even come up with the idea to do such a thing.

This editorial and the whole issue leaves me pondering our future.