Robert Madison was originally born in Cleveland. However, his family moved to Selma, Alabama, when he was only six months old. Their reason for leaving the city was because his father could not find employment in his area of study because he was "Colored." Madison eventually made it back to Cleveland to attend East Tech High School where he would be allowed to study/concentrate on Architecture. When he graduated from East Tech, he moved to D.C. (again) to attend Howard University. Three years into studying at Howard, he joined 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 passed, or, better, excused Madison from many classes which 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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