Mansfield Frazier talks about his project in the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland, OH. He is a native of Cleveland, and currently resides in the Hough neighborhood. He talks about his past, and what led him to start this project. He also talks about his thoughts about Cleveland as it is now, issues regarding race, and trying to change common misperceptions about the Hough neighborhood. The main goal of the project is to try to create jobs for people in the area, do something that will help the environment, and try to get more people to rethink their ideas about what the Hough neighborhood is really like. Also discussed is the overall plan and goals of the project.
McKay Gregory (interviewer)
Frazier, Mansfield (interviewee)
Gregory McKay [00:00:01] Hi, this is Greg McKay from Cleveland State University, and I'm here, this is April 7th, 2010. I'm here talking with Mansfield Frazier. Can you please start out with telling us where you were born?
Mansfield Frazier [00:00:17] Cleveland, Ohio.
Gregory McKay [00:00:18] And what area specifically?
Mansfield Frazier [00:00:23] It's called the Central area. It's right where Tri-C community college, across the street from Tri-C. 30th and Community College, but it was called Scovill back then.
Gregory McKay [00:00:37] And what you were you born.
Mansfield Frazier [00:00:38] 1943.
Gregory McKay [00:00:44] So you're you're a native Clevelander. Have you lived here all your life?
Mansfield Frazier [00:00:47] No, I left in about 1970 and didn't return till 1995.
Gregory McKay [00:00:57] Why did you choose to leave Cleveland for a while?
Mansfield Frazier [00:01:01] Better opportunities elsewhere. Wanted to see the world.
Gregory McKay [00:01:06] Just felt that you got a better aspect of things if you were to leave the Cleveland area?
Mansfield Frazier [00:01:13] Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. New York seemed more exciting, and it was. So was Los Angeles. A lot, a lot of places more exciting than Cleveland.
Gregory McKay [00:01:25] What excited you about those places as opposed to Cleveland.
Mansfield Frazier [00:01:30] Cleveland's very provincial, very small-minded. There were people from all over the world living in New York City. Same thing in Los Angeles. People go to those cities from all different parts of the country. You got the restaurants from... Sample food, meet people from all different parts. Very creative environment. Cleveland, unfortunately... I was pursuing an acting career for a while. And you can't go very far in acting in Cleveland other than a little theater and you go to where the work is.
Gregory McKay [00:02:04] Would you be able to describe, I guess, both the neighborhood you grew up in Cleveland and the other neighborhoods you might have lived in, such as Los Angeles and New York, that you just mentioned?
Mansfield Frazier [00:02:16] The neighborhood I grew up in Cleveland was older. It was one of the first neighborhoods that they tore down with urban renewal in the '60s. The whole neighborhood is gone. Jane Addams High School sits there now. And thank God they tore it down. Most of the houses were falling down anyway. It was a very old, very decrepit neighborhood. My father owned the business there, so we could afford to live somewhere else but he wasn't about to drive to work, so we stayed in this old, decrepit neighborhood. In Los Angeles, New York, I lived in a lot more upscale environments, put it that way.
Gregory McKay [00:02:57] Now how about also when you came back to Cleveland, what was that neighborhood like?
Mansfield Frazier [00:03:02] Oh, it's a decent neighborhood. It was a suburban area, and met my future wife and we built a home in Hough. One of the... Well, ten years ago. We built it ten years ago. It's an upscale home like you would see in Solon, Westlake, anyplace else.
Gregory McKay [00:03:23] So when you came back, what what about the Hough area made you choose to go there instead of, say, somewhere else in Cleveland or even another city?
Mansfield Frazier [00:03:33] I was looking to live in a place that had a good mix of ethnic backgrounds and peoples. If I had my choice, I would have liked... I would prefer to live near the Ohio City area because there's whites, blacks, Hispanics, a lot of different cultural mix around the West 25th Street Market area. Problem is, they didn't have enough land to build a type of home we wanted. We built a 3000 square foot home with a huge yard for our dog, so my house sits on over half an acre right in the city, and you can't get that much land anywhere but in Hough, and it's hard to get it in Hough even now because most of the big lots like we have are pretty much taken. So that's why we wound up in Hough. And then it's a matter of appreciation. In the last decade and a half, two decades, the two areas that have appreciated the most in the city are Tremont and Hough, there within the city itself, because that's where the... You have to understand for houses to appreciate, you have to have other new houses around them. And that's where the most new homes have been built. And I certainly did not want to live in the suburbs. The goal was... The goal in Hough is to recreate the Black middle class and I, over the years, I'm just not a great fan... Well, I'm a fan of integration, but I think integration has to go both ways. That takes two races to integrate. So why should I be moving to suburbs when I can strengthen my own community? I'm very political, and it'll be a cold day in hell before you'll see a Black mayor in Solon, trust me.
Gregory McKay [00:05:28] Now, do you feel that others share your same view on, at least on the neighborhood in terms of the land and why you chose this specific area? Did you see, say, other people sharing these views and wanting to go there more?
Mansfield Frazier [00:05:41] Yeah, there's hundreds of new homes in Hough. They proved it. They proved it by spending upwards of two hundred and fifty to one million dollars building new homes. So they took, put a substantial investment to live in Hough. Yeah.
Gregory McKay [00:05:53] And you know how far back these investments have gone or...
Mansfield Frazier [00:05:56] No, it started... I know exactly when it started. It started with a police captain, police commander Billy Tell. He built the first home on 86th and Chester about 17 years ago, and he was ridiculed, laughed at. They had him on... This guy Joel Rose used to do this radio program and he called him up and submarined him and said, Are you crazy building, putting that kind of money in that neighborhood? And Billy and I, we called it Billy's last laugh. He got the last laugh. The people in Cleveland State and some of my friends like Norm Krumholz, said it wouldn't work, said you couldn't do it, but we proved them wrong. You can recreate middle-class urban neighborhoods.
Gregory McKay [00:06:43] So you've been... You said you've been in the Hough neighborhood since the '60s, right?
Mansfield Frazier [00:06:46] No, no, no. I we built a home there in 2000. I've been there 10 years. I've been back in Cleveland since '95. I I left Cleveland in the '70s, 1970. I didn't come back till '95 and we... And we moved in. I lived in suburban areas until we built the house.
Gregory McKay [00:07:15] Now what... Were there any other, besides the groups that you're involved with now, is there any other, any other groups or organizations that you're involved with that are related to the Hough neighborhood who are trying to make the Hough area better?
Mansfield Frazier [00:07:32] Yeah, there... We have a meeting, in fact, in this library. I think the next Tuesday, over land use, I'm putting in a vineyard and there's a couple of other groups that have land through the Re-Imagining project where they're putting in market gardens and starting small farms, actually. So yeah, I'm involved with that. But also I'm involved politically in my neighborhood
Gregory McKay [00:08:05] Now as a whole, and it could be for the Hough neighborhood, also Cleveland, how do you feel about the community?
Mansfield Frazier [00:08:17] I love... We have a saying, I, when I leave Hough, I'm going to heaven. I have... I've put my roots here. I intend to stay here. And there's a woman, Majora Carter. I don't know if you're familiar with her. She's from the Bronx, New York. She's an environmentalist, and she was just saying that... She was actually in town. I believe you shouldn't have to move to live in a better neighborhood. That says a lot. Make your own neighborhood better. I think that's what urban pioneers do. Are there challenges? Yes. Across the street from me there is a decrepit house that needs to be tore down. I'll get it torn down eventually. But I... It's not a bland neighborhood. Suburbs are very bland to me. I don't know. You know, number one, I don't like commuting and number two, each house looking like the other house and everybody looking like everybody else, I find not very interesting. And the whole notion of separating yourselves from other people, I think, is what's wrong with America. So I don't believe that you should be an arm's... I know arm's length liberals that say we want to help areas, but I don't want to live there. So how do you seriously say you want to help, but you want to live somewhere else? That's arm's length liberalism.
Gregory McKay [00:09:48] What are some things that people either in the field have the wrong impression about Hough or is there something that you could tell them about this community, either that they get wrong or just to let them know what this community actually is all about? What would you say?
Mansfield Frazier [00:10:03] Well, first I tell them to come look at it. They're always surprised when they ride through and see that are streets that you'd think you were in Westlake or Solon. There are house after house in the 250 to 500,000-dollar range. Whole streets of them that people don't know exist. They don't know how much we've turned the community around. It's a community that's been stabilized. That in spite of the fact that the market has turned down, I can show you where four new homes are being built as we speak. Two that just moved into about a month ago, and two are under construction right now. So it's a vibrant, growing community that has inner-city challenges. It's not... It's certainly not for everybody. It's certainly not... Most... I build homes in Hough and some people would not be comfortable. And I tell people you... And not... it's not race-centered. It's that, you know, if you want every house to look exactly like yours, all upscale, that's not Hough. We built a home next to... Across the street from a big, ugly apartment building. But I knew that I could get the apartment building torn down, and I did. So... But in terms of value, it's probably more value in Hough. The appreciation, there's more room for housing values to go up and then if you're going to change... Then there was the politics of it. And politics plays a very, very big role. One of the whole things they're talking about regionalism, the whole issue of regionalism in county government. That's a power issue. I wouldn't... My wife's a precinct committee person. I don't think she would be a precinct committee person, or it'd be harder for her to be a precinct committee person, in a suburban area. And I think that you dilute your vote or you dilute your political power when you disperse into larger populations. So I'd like to concentrate the political power.
Gregory McKay [00:12:18] And did you come to that thought just through experience or...
Mansfield Frazier [00:12:20] A lifetime of being involved in politics.
Gregory McKay [00:12:25] Would you be able to tell us a little bit about what got you involved in the Re-Imagining Cleveland project or what got you interested in doing a project like this?
Mansfield Frazier [00:12:38] You mean, like talking to you? Or the Re-imagining Cleveland?
Gregory McKay [00:12:42] The Re-Imagining Cleveland.
Mansfield Frazier [00:12:43] Well, when I built... When we built the home, I did all the landscaping and we put a garden in, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And from that, I started becoming a consultant on other homes for other people that wanted to build homes. I was the lubricant between builders and the client because often there's friction between the two. And from that, I became a housing developer. I have a partner. We're developing a six-home complex on 79th right in the heart of Hough. Well, when the market fell, I knew that it's going to be hard to build homes in Hough. So it's a land-use issue. If you're not going to build homes on 'em, what are you gonna do? Let it sit vacant for another 30 or 40 years, like it's been vacant since the Hough riots in '66. There's a whole movement in America of urban farming. The whole... The movement is to try to get people to eat food that is grown within five miles of where you live. Now, it makes a lot of sense because why should you ship a bell pepper from California? You're using oil to do it, you're polluting the environment by driving that truck across the country, so the local food movement makes it a lot of sense. And Blacks have been involved in it forever because during slavery, if Blacks didn't have a garden and grow their own fresh vegetables, they wouldn't have any. So it's been part of Black culture to have gardens for years, but we're moving away from it. Our young people are moving away from it. But there are a lot of gardens in backyards in my neighborhood. So the when the Re-Imagining idea came about, it was just a natural fit. I've been advocating—and I'm a journalist by profession—I've been advocating it for a long time. Now, if it came along that there was another housing boom, I would tear out to garden in a heartbeat to build a house there. I make more money with houses, put the garden somewhere else. But there is a tremendous amount of vacant land that you... It's a land-use issue. What else are you gonna do with it? Let it sit there? Might as well grow something on it. It just makes all the sense in the world. And it creates jobs. It can be a job creator. In Philadelphia, they are reaching at about $60,000 per acre. That's how much they're generating off one acre of land inside of the city limits in Philadelphia. There's a gentleman, I can't think of his name, he got a MacArthur Genius grant up in Minneapolis. He has the largest urban farm in the United States. He's... They're going to start vertical farms. They're going to... You're going to see greenhouses. And what they're doing is going to institutions like Cleveland Clinic. If you want to build a greenhouse and you can get Cleveland Clinic to buy all of your produce to serve to patients, that makes it, that makes it very doable. Yeah.
Gregory McKay [00:15:44] Now you talked a little bit about this while you're explaining there, but is there anything from your past, either, you know, events or people that kind of shaped you to take on this kind of a task or to get involved with these kinds of groups?
Mansfield Frazier [00:16:01] Not particularly. I don't think it's that it's... I think you have to be able to engage in non-linear thinking and think outside the box. I know some of my contemporaries, my councilman don't quite get it. I know my mayor, who's a very good friend of mine. He thinks bell peppers grows and Dave's back room. You know, a lot of urban people don't understand the value and nature of farming, so... But I was... My father had a farm when we were kids. We didn't go out there that often but... So it's, you know, thinking outside, it just requires being to think outside the box and and see where America is heading. So it's not... It's not that hard a concept to grasp, I don't think.
Gregory McKay [00:16:45] Now, why did you write the grants for this project?
Mansfield Frazier [00:16:51] Like asking Dillinger, why did you rob banks. I needed the money! No! [laughs] I wrote the grant because I'm a writer and I knew that mine would rise to the top of the heap. And I think I had a very good idea. I think I had a good proposal a solid proposal. Mine... You have to understand, the vineyard is only to spark the idea for building a winery. The winery so I can create jobs in the inner city to hire people. So it's really a land-use and job issue. I will hire... Eventually I'll be able to hire people to tend the vineyards. I'm certainly not going to be doing all that work myself. I'll have to figure out a way. Initially, I'll probably use court community service people. But all of this is how do you use land to create wealth? Wars are fought over one thing and one thing only— land. So land and how it's used, and I firmly believe if in the community that I live in, if I don't come up with good ideas and and put forth some ideas, somebody else is gonna come along with some ideas. And then minorities get mad when somebody comes along and start using their land in a way they might like, not like. So the best way to stop that from happening is you use it yourself. So I can always come up with ideas. That's why I build homes, and I'd like, like you say, I'd rather build homes with... This'll do, this'll do until the homebuilding takes off again, which it won't, not in my lifetime, unfortunately.
Gregory McKay [00:18:21] So you're basically hoping that this provides a good enough spark to hopefully either increase the number of these projects or to help out the neighborhood in some way?
Mansfield Frazier [00:18:30] Oh, I think it's... I think it's... The horse has left the barn. I mean, it's started. There's 58 projects. Each year you're going to see it grow more. Some will fail. Some won't do well. And it'll be natural attrition. The ones that don't know what they're doing, they'll get lazy. They won't know how to do it right. They won't do the studying. I'm a great student of anything. I mean, you give me, give me a book, I can figure out how to do... Most things are not difficult, if you're willing to work and work at it. So how do you make your project good is, you know, you go around and look at vineyards and then you have good advisors. The vineyards that my partners, my advisors... He was born on a vineyard in Italy. His family goes back to the year 1500 on the same plot of land. I think he knows how to put a vineyard in. He advises me on how to do it. I'm an expert on... In wine, I'm an expert taking the cork out [of] the bottle. As all I know about. It's really all I want to know. I don't want to become an expert at growing grapes, nor do I want to become an expert in making wine. I want to become expert at creating jobs. That's different. And it could be a winery and grapes this year. If something else comes along that it makes more sense, then I'll do that. It's about job creation. That's neighborhood development to me.
Gregory McKay [00:19:50] Now looking around not just Hough, but just all areas of Cleveland, there's... You can find either several vacant lots.
Mansfield Frazier [00:19:56] Mm-Hmm.
Gregory McKay [00:19:58] Other houses or other sites that are being currently emptied or have stuff working on them right now. What made you choose this specific site to put the vineyard there?
Mansfield Frazier [00:20:08] Because it's right across the street from my house. It's easy. I can fall out of bed and do it. Yeah. Location. Right across the street. Any location would have done, but it was the perfect one. It was right across the street from my house.
Gregory McKay [00:20:24] And do you know what was there in the past?
Mansfield Frazier [00:20:27] Yeah, it was apartment building. When I built my house, there was apartment building that I twisted Hood's arm and foreclosing on and tearing it down to make a vacant lot. There was drug dealers in there, so I got 'em out. They were lowering my property values. The reason I put the vineyard there, better than a vacant lot. If there's a vineyard, my property value goes up. Most of stuff I'm talking about is about making money. This increases my property value. If I'm growing grapes, if somebody else is growing vegetables, if it's... Vacant lots don't create wealth. Making the lot productive creates wealth. My property value goes up. So it's all... I mean, if, you know, I mean, I won't call it greed, but there's certainly a financial consideration. That's how you make your neighborhood more valuable. And everything I do is to try to increase the value not just of my neighborhood, but of Cleveland. You know, and of the world, you know. All I'm trying to do is have a big funeral, you know?
Gregory McKay [00:21:25] Do you find that others, at least that you've ever come in contact with, have there been a lot of people that have tried to make a similar push to what you're doing to making the neighborhood better, or is it more of a it's gonna fix itself or even they're not trying to get involved?
Mansfield Frazier [00:21:42] I think it's all three of 'em. I know some that are intimately involved. I know some that says you're wasting your time. And I know some that... We're having a meeting next week. Some will say, show me, I'm more than willing to help. So I think it's just like in any other area or any other field of expertise. You're gonna get people from across the board and some of each.
Gregory McKay [00:22:03] And do you find more people either changing their minds as this goes like more people are starting to realize, Hey, we can change this?
Mansfield Frazier [00:22:10] No. What's going to do it, when they see the vineyard. People have to see it. Once they see it, once they see it work, then they say, Wow! It's a visual thing. That's why I put it across the street from me. Once they see the vineyard up, producing grapes, once they see a market garden up producing crops, then people will say, wow, this can work. Some people, you know, like I can envision, I sell houses. Some people, you show them a blueprint, they can't imagine what the house would look like. I can. So I can imagine what the end result will be. And yeah, people get on board with it. Sure, they will. Or they don't have to. It doesn't take a tremendous amount. What'll have to happen, though, is we have to start programming to train young people on the skills, the requisite skills, and that, I leave that to somebody else. But there are... There will be people that will be training young people in how to do horticulture, how to do urban farming. And it's a skill set. It's not a high-level skill set, but there are some things you really need to learn, and there'll be training classes that will spark off of it. And you can teach people who don't want to go to college how they can make a decent living running an urban farm. I really believe that if done and done right, and they're doing it in other places—it ain't like we're in, you know, it ain't rocket [science], it ain't like we're reinventing the wheel—it's already happening in other places. The same thing about urban winery, that's... I didn't invent the idea of urban wineries. There are ones in Oakland, and there's three of them. I visited all three. And I made friends with 'em. They'll come show me how to do it. Urban wineries are the thing of the future.
Gregory McKay [00:23:47] We've basically been alluding to this, for the most part, but can you tell me, tell me either more extensively what your project entails or what your full plan is for the vineyard?
Mansfield Frazier [00:24:03] To make it produce grapes, to hopefully... There's two other vineyards going in, one about a mile away and the other about four miles away. I hope to convince other people to put in vineyards. And then if there's enough grapes being grown, then the idea of a winery becomes much easier to sell because you've already got the grapes. So the idea of the vineyard is to create the will to do a winery, which is much, a lot more complicated. It's a lot more expensive and you have to understand, a winery... You're never going to grow enough grapes in all of Cleveland to supply a winery because certain grapes won't grow in Cleveland. So you have to import grapes from all over the world to make a successful winery. You need about 40 different varieties of wine, and you can't grow the grapes here. Certain grapes will go here. So some of them you will import, some of them you'll grow. But that should go.
Gregory McKay [00:25:07] And you said that this is basically for the either... Is it just gonna be for the neighborhood, or you're going to try to actually sell these at other locations?
Mansfield Frazier [00:25:15] What, the wine?
Gregory McKay [00:25:15] Yes.
Mansfield Frazier [00:25:16] Oh, I want to sell the wine to restaurants. I've talked... I know a lot of restaurateurs around town. My goal is to my goal is to sell it as far and wide as you... See, wine is very subjective. You might say, God, this is horrible wine, and somebody else might say it's great wine. So it's according to how good your wine is will depend on how far you can sell it. If you can make a decent wine, nobody knows where the grapes come from, and wine is very tricky that way. Nobody... It's very hard to determine what's going to make a good wine. They still ain't figured it out. So if you make a wine that will sell, people will carry it and buy it, it's that simple. You get into the market. And yeah, I'd like to sell it across the country, across the world. Why not? I'd like to win a gold medal at the wine tasting at a wine competition. Why not?
Gregory McKay [00:26:11] So you're just looking to see how far this goes and...
Mansfield Frazier [00:26:14] Take it as far as you can go. Take it as far as it possibly can go as a financial venture. You know the best wines in the world? You know where they're made? They're made in garages in Paris in the back of little buildings. They're made by Algerians who couldn't get a job. They were brought to France by the French government to do all of the dirty work. They ran out of dirty work for them. They had nothing to do. They started making wines. The trick to making good wines is small batches. They make it in small batches, and they're selling it for like 200 dollars a bottle. The best wine in the world is made by Algerians in garages in Paris today. People you hear about, you know, all of those Appalachians, all the different places out in the countryside, mm-mmm. Made in garage... the car garage wine's the best in the world. They win every competition. Go figure. The trick to the small, small batches. They're very labor intensive. Go ahead.
Gregory McKay [00:27:25] What are your hopes and dreams for what this what this site might become.
Mansfield Frazier [00:27:30] Change the world. No. [laughs] But don't we always make the world a better place than what you found it? That's the goal. I would hope that this project would spur others and hopefully would spur a winery that would create jobs.
Gregory McKay [00:27:52] For people that you have talked to about this or shared your vision in the way, how receptive have they been towards this?
Mansfield Frazier [00:27:58] Through the roof. Everybody. They do backflips when... Every time I make a presentation, they do backflips. People buy into it, and I get some people like my neighbor and one of my financiers, my banker, who's a millionaire he's a teetotaler. He said, Why don't we do grape jelly? Because he doesn't believe in drinking. Well, I said, we'll do grape jelly on the side, but I'm gonna do wine. You have to understand that in Europe, wine is part of the food process. In America, wine is used as alcohol. In Europe it's viewed as food. So people, every European table has wine on it. So wine is, you know, there is red wine, the skin of red wine, resveratrol. You ever heard of it? There's a product resveratrol that's a product in the skin of red wine that is very, very healthy. They found that a couple of glasses of wet rind is very good for the heart and a lot of other parts. So there are a lot of people who are very, very excited by the possibility. And the name Chateau Hough.... 'Cause when people think of Hough, they think of the riots, so I just put a new name in front of it. It's about changing opinions, that's all.
Gregory McKay [00:29:08] From what it sounds like, and kind of like what we mentioned earlier, that it already seems like it's having a positive effect on people and it might be...
Mansfield Frazier [00:29:16] Yeah, in terms of possibility, and there are people that go, people are cynical like he'll never get that one off the ground. That'll never... You know, if I depended... Number one, if it don't fly, my feelings won't be hurt, number one. And you... I've tried so many things in my life that haven't worked. And it's a matter of weeding out. You know, you throw enough crap against the wall, some stick, some don't. If you're afraid of failing, don't try. So if it don't work, at least I tried. I'm not... I'm not afraid of... I'm not afraid of any... Done it too many times, but the only ones I dream about tonight is my successes, and there's been a lot of them, but there's been more failures. But that's true with anything. But it don't mean you don't try. And you know, my... People think it's too big a dream, but I don't think so. I was raised by a father who told me he said, Son, since you got to be thinking, anyway, why don't you think big? It was the best advice I ever got. Nobody ever accused me of thinking too small.
Gregory McKay [00:30:25] You said that you've worked on houses in the past.
Mansfield Frazier [00:30:28] Mm hmm.
Gregory McKay [00:30:29] Was there any other, I guess, projects either that have succeeded or failed that led up to this project?
Mansfield Frazier [00:30:36] The houses that... We got a model home, building my homes, helping others build homes in my community, helping others build a home in my community, seeing my community grow and change. When I built a home, there was a big, huge apartment building across the street. Now across the street, there's a police officer lives right across the street. Next door, there's a police dispatcher. She built a home. So I've seen my neighborhood change, so I know the potential for change.
Gregory McKay [00:31:08] And then just briefly, I was just wondering if you were, your thoughts on, of course, how it would affect the community either socially, environmentally, or any other aspects you think that it might have?
Mansfield Frazier [00:31:21] I think it'll have all of those. Financially, first, I think that the people will go out and walk more when they see plants. I think it'll... The idea for the winery is to create a meeting place, a place for weddings, baby showers. We don't have one in Hough to... A winery would have a restaurant with it. So I think you want to create all of the things within your community that makes it more comfortable and make people want to live there, which again increases the value of my house. Can't leave that part out. [laughs]
Gregory McKay [00:32:04] You mentioned before about the idea, of this idea of integration working both ways.
Mansfield Frazier [00:32:10] Mm hmm.
Gregory McKay [00:32:12] Just working on with that, the economic development of the community obviously, is the goal of this project to help people who are living right now in the community, or do you believe in trying to gather other people from outside and move into Hough?
Mansfield Frazier [00:32:31] Both. Both. Oh, absolutely. I think you do that by improving the community. When I said integration had to work both ways, for years, it's thought of in America, integration means Blacks moving into White neighborhoods. I'm just saying I want to reverse the process. I live in a quarter-million-dollar home that's located very close to downtown. Why wouldn't the White think about moving next door to me? Why is integration always thought [of as] me moving next door to a White person? So that's why I think it should, and the only way it'll ever work in America is if it works both ways because it takes two races to be integrated. If I moved next door to you and you move, then I follow you again, and you move, what does that say about me? And so I get my value by where I live, not who I live next door to. So that's...
Gregory McKay [00:33:19] Do you see that maybe this project being a vehicle for the African American neighborhoods and helping in their economic development?
Mansfield Frazier [00:33:27] Oh, both. I think most of the projects, there's 58 of them, some are in African American neighborhoods. I think it'll build up any neighborhood where there's a vacant lot. Yeah. So I don't think it's... I don't think the project is based on race, just that there's not many Whites that live in my neighborhood. Would I hope that this would make my neighborhood more attractive to Whites? I'd love to have White neighbors. I'd love to. I'd love to make them feel comfortable there. The head of the FBI lives around the corner from me. Retired FBI director lives around the corner from me. But the perception of Hough is something, when people think of Hough, they think of Hough riots. But that was 40-something years ago. When you hear the media write about Hough, they say it's a very poor community. I can take you on a tour that you'd swear you were in any suburban area. And people make those kind of comments without coming to Hough and seeing. And we do that all the time, you know, media drives a lot of perceptions and the perceptions become reality. Truth is not reality, perception is. So I want to change perception. So maybe if I put in a vineyard, people will come to see the vineyard and they'll see the homes, then maybe they want to stay.
Gregory McKay [00:34:36] Thank you.
Mansfield Frazier [00:34:36] Okay.
Gregory McKay [00:34:39] I think that's all we have time for.
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"Mansfield Frazier Interview, 07 April 2010" (2010). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 700003.