In this 2005 interview, William Merriman, a deacon at St. Patrick's Church on Bridge Avenue on the near west side of Cleveland, discusses his involvement with the Ohio City community since beginning to do volunteer work at St. Patrick's in 1969. Mr. Merriman exhibits a wealth of knowledge about the development of Ohio City as an independent city and later as an important neighborhood of Cleveland. He speaks at length about the importance of diversity to Ohio City and how he, through his Church and in other ways, contributes to the Ohio City community. Mr. Merriman also talks about important historic institutions in and near Ohio City, including the YMCA building on Clinton, St. Patrick's Church on Bridge, and the old kosher stockyards near Clark Avenue. He also discusses court-ordered busing and how in the 1970s it damaged existing diversity on the west side of Cleveland.
Merriman, William (interviewee)
Yanoshik-Wing, Emma (interviewer)
"William Merriman interview, 19 November 2005" (2005). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 955014_999005.
William Merriman [00:00:10] [Silence for 10 seconds before audio commences] ... and you know, he helps you work through the crisis of the day for her. And one of our closing comments is that's the fourth time it's happened to me this summer. The radiator hasn't been demolished. C.J. will get behind the wheel, turn the ignition and barrel off down the street. Wait a minute. That's the fourth time this has happened to you this summer. What are you rushing off to? And he's going [makes a sound]. But you have to just go slowly to see where you're going sometimes and she was going too fast. And then another encounter with a runaway, a young woman running away from something, looking for a sense of family. And there he is. And they spend the night huddled around a campfire and has been, you know [unintelligble]... It's awesome. It's a little story. There's a gem. It's always just a gem.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:01:04] Yeah, I will. I will definitely look this up. [laughs] Oh, but I think I met that woman who hit the deer [unintelligable – Merriman laughs] in one summer. Like literally! She was the woman driving in front of me when I was driving through upstate New York and I hit a deer. And I was all, you know, upset. And she's like, don't worry, honey. I've done it like four times this year already. And it was only like June.
William Merriman [00:01:29] Yeah, the season is young.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:01:32] Yes. Okay. You ready? Okay. I'm gonna get started.
William Merriman [00:01:39] Okay.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:01:40] This is Emma Yanoshik-Wing interviewing Bill Merriman and it is November 18, 2005. Can you tell me about where you were born? The city in the neighborhood.
William Merriman [00:01:52] I was born December 6, 1943. Yeah, on the southwest side of Chicago in Little Company of Mary Hospital. My parents lived in a Polish Irish Lithuanian neighborhood southwest of the Stockyards. And my dad was working for a trucking company at the time. My mom, except for working for the telephone company briefly after high school, never worked. She just raised myself and my sister. And my earliest recollection is the street light. The light from the street light coming in my bedroom window and this sense of peace and quiet. I mustn't have been more than 18 months, less than two years old at the time. It's just an eerie sense of peace, of light coming through the darkness and everything being all right. So I grew up on the southwest side. From there, we went to a neighborhood that was basically working-class pre- and post-World War II housing. And I left there in 1965. When I was about to be drafted, I joined the Army and when I got out of the army and had a chance to travel around, my parents were in an inner-ring suburb of Chicago, also on the southwest side, called Evergreen Park, living on Lawndale Avenue. And Lawndale is famous as being the birthplace and neighborhood of the Unabomber. It's a very conservative neighborhood on the southwest side, similar to perhaps to parts of Parma, Ohio.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:03:31] Now, when did you move to Cleveland and how did you make that move?
William Merriman [00:03:36] I went to John Carroll briefly prior to going through the Army. I wasn't a successful student. After I came out of the Army, I tried to go back into school again unsuccessfully at John Carroll University, getting by on monthly checks because of the G.I. Bill, paid for tuition, room and board, and some living expenses. That was in 1969. I started volunteering at St. Patrick's Parish, living at 38th and Whitman doing open gym and tutoring and so forth, stopped going to school and just began to get deeper and deeper into the neighborhood and more involved in volunteer services mixing with the people. I must say that this is in response, not just to accidentally ending up in that neighborhood or it's being coincidental, but it was a response to having been abroad for three and a half years. No, Yeah. Three and a half years when I was in the army in Ethiopia and Eritrea and traveling around for half a year after that in East Africa and in India, mostly usually hitchhiking, getting by on a dollar a day or less. Perhaps it was in response to having seen the other side of the coin for such a long period of time and seeing the real condition of the world that I was able to connect in a very personal way with this neighborhood and the people and their circumstances.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:05:14] So even though you were going to John Carroll. You always kind of lived on the near west side. Or did you.
William Merriman [00:05:22] Yeah. Yeah, since 1969, I have not lived anywhere else. It seems like a short while ago.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:05:29] And what street exactly do you live on?
William Merriman [00:05:30] I live on Church Avenue, which is off of Detroit. It's right off of well, at the end of Church Avenue is the home of St. John's Episcopal Church building, put up in 1836. It's the oldest church in Cuyahoga County. And along with other churches, it was the terminus of the Underground Railroad where slaves escaping from Virginia and from Kentucky crossed the river and came up to the Great Lakes region from Oberlin going northwest to the Detroit River area or directly north towards Cleveland or in some cases towards Buffalo to cross over there. Those who are coming into Cleveland would touch base at St. John's Episcopal, also Second Presbyterian, which doesn't exist anymore. Twenty-ninth and Detroit, right off Church Avenue. But if a person were to be out on Detroit Avenue in the mid or late '50s, early '60s, there would have been this scurrying about in the shadows as people were pouring in from the south are lining up for passage by boat over the over the lake to Ontario. I mentioned second Presbyterian because the tradition is that they took one of the ropes from the carillon from the bell tower and hung it on the outside of the tower so that if anyone saw a bounty hunter in the community, you could ring that particular bell alarming the neighborhood to the presence of bounty hunters. And they would be sure to get everyone else, get everyone undercover. If a bounty hunter, were able to capture somebody, they would take that runaway slave to the court and get documents allowing them to transport this slave back to to you know Kentucky or Virginia. I'm told that the last person to be taken prior to the firing on Fort Sumter was a woman caught on Church Avenue, the very last one prior to the beginning of the Civil War was actually a woman caught on Church Avenue. So it's a narrow street. Most of the housing on Detroit Avenue was originally an Indian trail connecting the end of the Cuyahoga River with Fort Detroit on the Detroit River. An old beach line raised up high that allowed the the Native Americans to run out of dry-shod. And then as Europeans came and they use the same trails to get to Fort Detroit. And then it became a stagecoach route and an interurban railroad line went on that same beach line. And sometimes you find highways and expressways going along the same way. So it's hard. But right off of that was a very modest street, church avenue. Working-class cottages. And one of the things that we've managed to do is help save the last of the housing on our block. We've my wife and I've fixed up three houses, built a new house, and had a hand in saving half a dozen others on the street from being torn down. So the whole thing might have looked like a parking lot. Such as you see. Between 25th and 29th Street, a lot of parking lots down there.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:09:02] Was that kind of outside of working at St. Pat's. One of your first I guess endeavors in community activism was working to preserve...
William Merriman [00:09:13] Housing. When we first married, we didn't have much money. Bob began actually moved out of his place. He was running for 50 bucks a month and he left some of his furniture in the place. We didn't have much of an income like I had indicated. I was going to school on the G.I. Bill and I was tutoring a little bit, but we were getting by on very, very little. I think we resonated with those who were severely marginalized in terms of housing opportunities and so forth, and coming out of Chicago. It broke my heart to see all of the beautiful housing stock being torched, being abandoned, being bulldozed, being burned. And I was involved directly with with others in boarding up some of the vacant properties. I tried to save the big houses that were on Clinton Avenue. And with almost without an exception, they were all the ones that are gone are gone because I just couldn't keep the boards on the doors and the windows. But on Church Avenue, I managed to keep the plywood up until people were found to express an interest. One fellow was moving out of the neighborhood and he was ready to give us a house for 10,000 dollars. I found out a man and woman and their two children who needed a house for custom 10,000 dollars and I just paired them up. Another young man soon to be married was looking for a house, and I plugged him into a house. It was going to be vacated. I boarded up a couple houses myself. Another house I could have, you know, we could have left to be bulldozed, was saved because of our intervention. And then we fixed up a house for ourselves. We've got a refugee family living there now, a family of a eleven. Another four suite is the headquarters of the Jesuit volunteer community for their Cleveland experience. And there is a single mom and her two kids and another house still. So we kind of have helped, along with others, stabilize affordable housing on one street. And, when I say I mean my wife, too, because without her support and her patience with me, none of this could have happened. She could have left me, I guess, a time ago. But I was part of Near West Housing Partners, which 25, 30 to 25 years ago or more was involved in stabilizing housing, boarding-up vacant properties, getting them rehabbed. I was first rehabbing going on in our neighborhood. Women's Transitional Housing on 25th Street was one of our projects. It's a former motel best known for lunchtime rendezvous with men and women from the offices downtown. And at night there's quite a bit of prostitution involving children going on down there. So with once pressure was you know put on that place, the Sisters of St. Joseph expressed interest in securing the building, and it was turned into a long-term residence for women who had been in shelters. The Miller building at 32nd and Lorain, which is paired with the Gordon Square and the 3607 Clinton building, was first saved from demolition by our group that jumped in and bought it up at an auction, keeping it from demolition. She spent a number of housing-related things that I've been involved in, along with other good people in the community. 3607 Clinton building was had 23 units and about. Three or four years ago, the for sale sign was stuck in front of the building and I quickly pulled together some resources, including Tony Schuerger, the pastor at St. Malach's, who came or came up with fifty thousand dollars as a loan to secure a promissory note so that it could be kept off of the open market and preserved for affordable housing. And this is real. You know, I was very fortunate that we're able to do that when the county nursing home closed, it was initially at 32nd and Franklin. The history of that location, 32nd and Franklin across from the old YMCA building, there were two framed buildings a hundred and fifty years ago that were developed as the German Women's Hospital, which eventually became known as Fairview Park Hospital. And and then the county nursing home took over that site. When Fairview Hospital moved to Kamm's Corners and Metro finally took over the county nursing home and prepared the site for demolition, our block club jumped in and requested that we be able to work with the developer to develop 40 units of affordable housing at that site, which we did. Of the 40 two and three bedroom apartments, probably 80 percent of them are affordable and the remainder are market rate. I just say it's been the neighbors and the has been an opportunity for me to kind of let some of my interest and my gifts, so to speak, you know, come to the surface. If I'd been in some other place, maybe I'd just be reading a lot of books. But in this neighborhood, seems like it all makes sense. I like your smile. [laughs]
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:14:33] Thanks. You mentioned the old YMCA building.
William Merriman [00:14:37] Yes.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:14:38] Can you tell me a little bit about that? Is that. Is that still there?
William Merriman [00:14:44] Yeah. Still there. Still there.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:14:46] But its no longer a YMCA correct?
William Merriman [00:14:47] No about 10, 15 years ago there were four Pick n Pay grocery stores on the Near West Side. And I was reading a Crain's Cleveland Business publication and they reprinted some data indicating that Pick n Pay was told that each of the four profitable stores could provide a greater cash flow if one by one they were closed, forcing people to enter the remaining store. You lower overhead that way. And sure enough, they did that until finally they were there were two over on Clark, there was one on Lorain-Fulton, and there's one at 65th and Franklin. And one by one, they closed these stores, forcing the community to find transportation to go to the remaining store. And finally, the remaining store was closed. That model of you know lowering overhead cost and placing the onus of transporting upon the consumer rather than the provider so that the people are going to the big box store, in a sense, to get the groceries from the warehouse rather than the warehouse bringing the groceries into the community, that model was assumed by the YMCA. They tried to shut down that Y maybe five years previously and the chairman of the board at the time wasn't able to do the dirty deed. So the local board of the YMCA brought in a new man from Chicago, a hitman who is a street fighter and really bright guy. A lot of guts, a lot of raw knuckles, a lot of savvy. And Glenn, Glenn I forget what his last name is. But basically the flagship Y down on Prospect Avenue was hurting real bad. They didn't have enough membership. They didn't have enough cash flow to cover the costs of overhead. And so they decided to close two local Ys that were in effect competing for a limited market. And so they closed West Side Y. And I don't know whatever happened to Glenville and also the Brookside or the Brooklyn Y at 25th and Denison and, you know, is very, very vulnerable. It's the same model used elsewhere. And that is so contrary to that, the tradition of what the Y is all about. At that site in 1901, 1903 was a mansion. The Wilson Mansion was the name. Mr. Wilson seeing the large numbers of kids wandering the streets without education, with nothing but time and trouble on their hands, donated his mansion for the care of young, young boys in the neighborhood. And after two years, the mansion was torn down, replaced with the current structure. The wealthy of the community donated the money, and there was no national organization. There was no, no, no, no big united way. Anything like the people did it themselves because it's the right thing to do. And in terms of times changing it's too much bottom line now the like I say the downtown Y wanted that membership and so they pulled the plug on the west side Y in spite of the fact that the somewhat old at this outdated building and needed it a lot of repair, but they didn't give us a chance. They just told they gave us a date. So this is when it's closing. And instead of closing, at the end of the day, they actually came in at midnight the day before and slapped locks on everything. It was the same kind of dirty stuff they do in corporate America. And that's the kind of people that they get nowadays to do the dirty stuff. They could get street fighters. It's quite a lesson.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:18:28] Now, there was some discussion about Detroit Shoreway actually purchasing the Y.
William Merriman [00:18:33] Or collaborating with Ohio City.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:18:36] Okay.
William Merriman [00:18:36] Because it's in the OCNW service area and you won't find one local to my corporation interfering or competing or being active in an adjacent area. And OCNW will, you know, will I think state full confidence that, you know, they do collaborate with Detroit Shoreway, that there isn't any kind of tension between the organizations that they collaborate and that they're willing to do so. There may be some, you know, some scuttlebutt or rumor or even misinformation and maybe some truth to some of the above. I don't know. But I think in order for these things to succeed, there has to be collaboration. The 3607 Clinton building is managed by Tremont West Development Corporation because Ohio City Near West doesn't have staff to do that. We are when the Fairview Gardens 55-plus senior housing building was put together, OCNW was a local developer, but Detroit Shoreway did the social services component because Ohio City Near West doesn't do that. So whenever they do things well, you get a lot more points if you do it with fellow players.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:19:52] Now at what point the Ohio City and Detroit Shoreway CDCs were actually one unit. Is that correct or...
William Merriman [00:19:57] I don't recall that. No. No, I don't. Ohio City Near West, we've had a block club—it was the Church-Clinton Block Club—going back into the early '70s, and in the mid-'70s the Ohio City Block Club Organization proposed spending some federal dollars on decorative street lamps and benches or something like that. And a number of the people in the longstanding block clubs said that that may not be the best use of those federal dollars. We talked about developing infrastructure and services for the needy. And then the Ohio City and that block club organization was called Near West Neighbors in Action. Perhaps 15 years ago, the Ohio City Block Club people resurrected with Helen Spaeth, the councilperson, and there was a shotgun wedding between Ohio City Development and Near West Neighbors to form Ohio City Near West Development Corporation. At that time, I don't think there was a relationship with Detroit Shoreway. Detroit Shoreway, as I recall, came out of I think a couple activities, a very couple, a very important couple of people. Father Frascati of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Ray Pianka in their development of Villa Mercedes and the housing back here behind us. And Ray Pianka and block club people working on specific projects and a small scale like the big umbrella development corporations, I don't think were, you know, I don't think they were interacting because they were based on... There were small, more limited activities going on. And there wasn't the one large scale stuff happening. I don't know if they were coordinating too much. There used to be more block clubs or more development corporations, if I'm not mistaken, at one point and they used... the organizers and social activists used to huddle. The organizers were frequently funded through the I guess it was... I think they get a lot... They had a lot of funding through the church and the city and others, and the organizers tended to huddle and probably find agendas among themselves that weren't always, you know, they didn't always share with the neighborhood people what their goals were, that the organizers' goals were. So there was a little bit of tension there. So, yeah, there was some there is some communication, but it wasn't as open. And it wasn't that on the on the on the administrative level at the time. Maybe it was maybe on a lower level.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:23:02] But what years were was this kind of happening?
William Merriman [00:23:08] I mean, 20, 25 years ago, I think, on the activist level dealing with poverty issues. There was a lot of collaboration at that time. When the development dollars started coming in at Enterprise Foundation, and then they said, I'm sorry, I can't think of, you know, the sources of the, you know, this funding. Then you ended up having admin, you know, local development corporation administration capable of moving a lot of dollars around and locating major developers. I don't think at that time the money was interested in these neighborhoods all that much. It was more like addressing the safety concerns and school concerns in the community. That's where the neighborhood organizations were. And in controlling blight, abandonment of housing or restoring housing, renovating housing, not in the fashion that we see more recently along Detroit, Bridge, and Franklin. But on the side streets, keeping arson down. Issues like that. And it's only the past 10 years, I think, that we've seen this big upswing in major development.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:24:35] Can you explain to me about the block clubs and your involvement?
William Merriman [00:24:44] I think that from looking at it, from my experience, it takes an awful lot to raise a family in an urban environment like this. And if you don't have a family, if you're single or a couple, there are a lot of rewards. Living in the city and there are a lot of tensions on my street, for example. We deal with drugs and prostitution every night. And you need to have something to counterbalance that. The. And we've met and I talk about 30 years ago. The arson, for example, and how we had come out in the morning and find the hoods up on the cars and all the batteries gone, or tires slashed. The presence of crime has always been a challenge in the neighborhood. One of the consistent reasons for having a block club is support you get for one another. Personal support and the ability to go to the police or the Board of Education as necessary or any public authority and, you know, deal with this in a political way, exerting pressure to get more protection or more services. That includes the schools and the recreation department. I remember back around 1971 or '72. The community wanted a recreation center, didn't have one around here. And we organized a meeting at the old William Dean Howells Junior High School and Margaret McCaffery, the councilwoman, was invited to speak and she hemmed and hawed. And at the end of this presentation in an auditorium, she presented the community with a basketball and a basketball hoop. And that's how she responded to our needs for a recreation center. Later on, we were it was suggested that maybe our recreation center might involve purchasing a Hungarian social club that was about to be vacated. And that could be our recreation center.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:26:58] Where was that?
William Merriman [00:26:58] Around 40th and Lorain on the south side of the street. There's a convenience store set way back with it's now a child care. And Bodnar Funeral Home is on the corner as well as on the southeast corner of 41st and Lorain. And I use the Turners Hall, which mysteriously burned. So instead of being sold to the city for a recreation center, the Turners Association collected a big insurance package and were able to build a new facility using the funds from the fire. When it turned out, actually, you know, one of the bad things turned out to be an asset to the neighborhood. When I-90 went through and took out so much of the housing from the community, the plan involved an enormous opening at 65th and Lorain and I don't know if we ever thought twice about why so much land was torn down for that section of I-90, around 65th Street. They didn't have to tear down as much as they did, but they did. And there was all of this space without any explanation. And then one Monday morning we woke up and the explanation was on the front page of the newspaper. There was going to be an interchange at 65th and Lorain with a connecting expressway from 65th and Lorain to 45th and Detroit, roughly where the Harp Restaurant is east of Max S. Hayes High School, and the community wasn't told about it. And by then, our our trust in state government and the administrators and the transportation people had been totally poisoned. And there was you know the march on Columbus began. In the end, the state had to withdraw their plans for bulldozing right through St. Stephen's Church and stuff like that. They were they just saw this as open land and they withdrew. They withdrew the that leg of the interstate. Then having that open land available, the community, people like Glenn Fisher went to the city and said, now that we have the land, we have a place for you to put up the recreation center. And that's how Zone Recreation Center came to be. It was provided through a, you know, maybe a a good outcome coming out of a bad situation that we lost a lot of housing and businesses. This is because of the interstate demolition, but they have provided us with an opportunity to develop local recreation. So there was good evidence named after Mike Zone from this neighborhood. He and his wife and now his son have done well by the community.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:29:49] What year 90 put in?
William Merriman [00:29:52] They were taking down housing in the late '60s. And I'm not sure when they ended up, you know, pouring concrete late '60s to late '70s. It took a long time. It took a long time. And the firetrucks would be over along those streets almost every night putting out another house. Kids would go over there and torch house after house after house. And when they ran out of houses, the kids came over to this neighborhood and looking looking for empty houses and started burning those houses.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:30:24] You had mentioned the March on Columbus and that was to.
William Merriman [00:30:31] Well, yeah, I. Yeah. In this case, when I say march maybe. You know, they they put pressure on the Transportation Department to abandon that using our own local political resources, our city council people and Mary Rose Oakar and in Washington and others would have banded together to present a broad spectrum, an alliance opposed to demolishing anymore of the near west side Columbus, you know the Department of Transportation using federal dollars. I think you know ridden roughshod over urban areas. And now, you know, I was talking with Nancy McCormack you know and she referred to Tim Walters, who's going down to Columbus almost every other week dealing with utility rates and and other services and funding for so, you know, for the poor and the needy, the elderly.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:31:39] Another successful fight against the interchange, but was there an active, I guess, community action against the highway.
William Merriman [00:31:49] Itself?
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:31:50] Going through
William Merriman [00:31:50] Initially, I wasn't here then. I came in '69 and the demolition was well underway. And the buying out of properties. Yeah, you did. Yeah. I don't know how much of Cuyahoga County and Lorain County was built up at that point, but it precipitated along with the busing, school busing. It just resulted in emptying out maybe 40 percent of the neighborhoods in the presence of the interstate gave people an opportunity to relocate in Westlake and North Olmstead and beyond and still come back in to go to work downtown while there were still jobs downtown and in the steel mills. And then you had the busing situation prompted even more people to abandon the city, especially the west side.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:32:48] When was the busing?
William Merriman [00:32:51] Mid-'70s. Mid-'70s. Yeah. I mean, when did it begin? Perhaps '77 like the legal procedure started before then, and then it was enacted later in the '70s, as I recall. And people who had the means did the unfortunate thing about this neighborhood as it was so heavily integrated already. The Near West Side has always had at least some African American population, Native American population, Southeast Asian population, Hispanic population, what's known as Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway probably was already a model community. And the kids went together to the same schools. Not always, you know, not always totally integrated. But there was a greater presence then than there was ever at any time thereafter in terms of integration, economically and racially, culturally. But with the the you know, when these families saw their kids getting on a school bus and heading off to the east side, many of them sold their homes and relocated outside of the city school district were resulting in what may be one of the good outcomes as that is they abandoned neighborhoods, they created housing opportunities for African American families to relocate from the east side. So actually, the neighborhood became heavily integrated because of those conditions.
Emma Yanoshik-Wing [00:34:27] Do you know up until what year busing was still used? Still heard.
William Merriman [00:34:35] So they used. I think maybe you should ask the people down at Cleveland State that question. Yeah. We still have busing but the cost of busing has forced the Board of Education to reduce the number of kids who can have access to a bus. Kids who are 5 years old going to kindergarten through high school. Kids have to walk up to two miles to get to a public school now. And the more the Board of Education's budget is cut back, the more reason they find to pretty much withdraw the buses. So economic conditions have brought an end of busing as much as political conditions, perhaps. You know, I it's hard to say. I don't know what's happening elsewhere around the city. But on the Near West Side, pretty much kids who are going to the schools live within two miles of the schools are attending. The exception being in some schools have been closed because adjacent public housing projects have been emptied out, through because of renovation, Hope 6 program, whatever. And when those public schools closed, the kids are are they they try to keep the kids intact. And so they will bus those kids into you know the same school if possible. Or maybe the school is being torn down and being replaced; those kids will end up on a school bus. So those buses are being used to maybe keep some of the classes that have been together for years intact in another school until something more permanent you know is arrived at with replacement housing or a new school building back in the old neighborhood. They still do have buses, but the act of it is driven down by economics. And I think maybe the you know that the courts have found that Cleveland is no longer the segregated community that it was in the '60s. So much attention was given by Paul Briggs, the head of the Board of Education in the '60s to architecture and these beautiful buildings—he thought they were beautiful and innovative—were frequently nailing down intact white communities. And I don't think he was necessarily providing the same quality buildings to black neighborhoods. The white neighborhoods were getting better buildings and they were being placed in order to pull together white students from white neighborhoods and they tended to keep racially diverse communities from mingling in the same building. So he was kind of cementing that the integrated communities together when he was the head of the Board of Education. He was kind of a shining knight with his new buildings, but
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