Glenville, Ohio is a neighborhood area of Cleveland. It is located to the northeast of Cleveland. Historically, this neighborhood has been home to various ethnic groups.
The region that now comprises Glenville was settled by whites in the late 1700s. Initially, most residents earned their living through farming, helping construct Cleveland's various buildings, or working on the Ohio and Erie Canal. As Cleveland emerged as a major industrial center following the American Civil War, many of Glenville's residents found employment in Cleveland's factories.
Following World War I, Cleveland's Jewish population began to move into Glenville. By 1930, more than fifty percent of Cleveland's Jews lived in this neighborhood. Many of these new residents established family-owned businesses, while others still found employment in Cleveland. During and following World War II, Glenville's Jewish population began to move elsewhere. During this war, thousands of African Americans moved to Cleveland, seeking work in the various defense plants located in this city. Many Cleveland suburbs had restrictions or practices that prohibited African Americans from residing in these communities. Glenville had no such restrictions, and the neighborhood's African American population soared. In 1930, only eight percent of Glenville's population was African American. By 1950, African Americans comprised ninety percent of the population. By 1953, not a single Jewish child was enrolled in Glenville High School. During the 1930s, ninety percent of the school's students had been Jewish.
Glenville's new residents primarily found employment in Cleveland's industrial and service businesses. Unfortunately, most residents could only attain low-paying jobs. This was partly due to the racism that existed in Cleveland at this time. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, many African Americans and their supporters began to seek political, social and economic equality. With the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many people believed that equality was attainable for African Americans. Nevertheless, a number of younger African Americans believed that their futures remained bleak. Beginning in 1965, some civil rights activists rejected the nonviolent protests of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. Some of these people became quite outspoken as they demanded equality in America.
Beginning in 1965, civil unrest became common in many Northern and Western cities. The most famous outbreak occurred in the Watts District of Los Angeles, California. There were a number of other violent incidents. Several of these took place in Ohio cities. The Hough Civil Disorders of 1966 and the "Glenville shootout," both took place in Cleveland. Sometimes these incidents occurred because of the over-reaction of police forces or because of a lack of hope among African Americans for economic, social, and political advancement.
In 1968, significant violence took place in Cleveland. In what became known as the "Glenville shootout," police officers and a number of African American men confronted each other in Glenville. After an hour of violence, four African Americans and three policemen had been killed. This incident set off forty-eight hours of additional violence, as looting, arson fires, and beatings occurred. Local authorities reestablished order in the city. Many African American residents of Cleveland believed that the city, state and federal governments were not meeting their needs.
Since the 1960s, city officials have attempted to improve the economic situation of Glenville residents. The neighborhood's residents continue to consist overwhelmingly of African Americans.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.