Doris Allen was originally born in Shelby, Alabama, and moved to Cleveland when she was two years old. She had a very established great uncle living in Cleveland, Robert Hardy, who was the first African American to own property east of East 55th Street in Cleveland. Her father was drafted into the Army when she was 9, and their family moved back to the South for one year while he served. She returned to Cleveland, moved into the Glenville neighborhood. She enjoyed her education in Glenville, which, at the time was going through a "transition." Their neighbors were mostly Jewish. When she was married and had children, she and her husband sought out housing through an unspecified real estate agency that steered them towards buying a home in Shaker Heights, though they wanted to live in Cleveland Heights. When they found a home they wanted to buy in Cleveland Heights, the agent was not pleased and said the house would be $2,000 more expensive. The original homeowners, however, sold the house to the Allens for the original price. The Allens were the first black family on the street and one of the first in the community. Their children were repeatedly stopped and questioned by the police, and in one case men with swastikas bombarded the YWCA in retaliation to integration of the Heights. They began the Committee to Improve Community Relations (CICR) to raise awareness of the discriminatory instances, and how to properly assess them.


Allen, Doris (interviewee)


Hallowell, Bethany (interviewer)


Provost Summer Program



Document Type

Oral History


71 minutes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
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