Virgil Brown, 16 April 2008


Virgil E. Brown Sr., resident of Cleveland Heights, moved to Cleveland in 1929 at age twelve. Brown relates his experiences growing up during the Depression, including local schools, baseball games and the availability of part time jobs. Brown discusses the changes in shopping habits; the shift from local shops and downtown stores to malls and big box stores, and the loss of vibrant neighborhoods. Brown recalls the frustration of the City Council dealing with riots in the 1960's and the atmosphere of the city at that time. He also describes the area as it changed from a mostly Jewish to a black neighborhood and the property decline as homeowners continued to move out over the years. He describes the devastation and abandonment of buildings due to the riots and the declining economy, and briefly describes the entertainment district near 105th and Euclid which served as a second downtown, with its bright lights, big name entertainers, and theaters "all lit up," like New York and mentions museums at University Circle.