Robert Madison was born in Cleveland. However, his family moved to Selma, Alabama, when he was six months old Their because his father could not find employment in his area of study due to his being African American. Madison eventually returned to Cleveland and attended East Tech High School where he developed his interest in architecture. When he graduated from East Tech, he moved to Washington, DC, to attend Howard University. After three years he joined the ROTC and went to fight in Italy during World War II. He returned to Cleveland and again wanted to pursue his passion for architecture. He went to Western Reserve University, where he faced many obstacles and tests. Western Reserve professors who did not want to teach Madison "excused" him from some classes that were ordinarily required. He ran into multiple cases where his race limited his opportunity, but excelled in spite of the hardships. He earned a masters degree from Harvard, and received the Fulbright scholarship to study architecture in France. He moved to Cleveland Heights one year after he came home from France, and ran into many issues with the neighbors, for he refused to be “bought out” by them.
Madison, Robert P. (interviewee)
Provost Summer Program
"Robert P. Madison Interview, 11 June 2013" (2013). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 990015.
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