Check out the short film we made for the ArtsWave Truth & Reconciliation grant showcase at the Freedom Center! The photos used were shared by the Robert O'Neal Multicultural Arts Center (ROMAC) archives.
Urban Roots is a podcast that tells little known stories of urban history, highlighting the stories of women, people of color, and other marginalized groups in an effort to preserve, remember, and hear their important perspectives, contributions, and lessons. Urban Roots is a collaboration between Deqah Hussein-Wetzel, a Somali-American historic preservationist based in Cincinnati, and Vanessa Quirk, a cities journalist and podcaster based in New York City.
Check out Deqah's first podcast, Deeply Rooted Heritage!
In January 2021, Urban Roots was honored to be awarded a Truth & Reconciliation Grant from Artswave to develop a special series exploring the unique African American histories of three Cincinnati neighborhoods: Avondale, Evanston, and South Cumminsville.
This series, titled, Communities of Color: Lost Voices of Cincinnati combines oral histories from long-time Black residents with expert interviews and archival audio. This audio documentary seeks to uncover patterns of wrongdoing, preserve memory, and give voice to those whose stories have been forgotten or ignored.
We are so excited to kick off our Lost Voices of Cincinnati series with this episode that explores the rich African American history of Cincinnati. You can think of this episode as a kind of prelude of sorts. We go back, way back, to Cincinnati’s beginnings, and tell stories you’ve probably never heard.
In this episode we will explore how the black community of Avondale responded to religious and cultural shifts permanently changed the neighborhood both physically and socially. After being pushed out of the West End, African Americans purchased homes in Avondale and North Avondale...many of which continue to live there today.
After basically being cut in half by the construction of Interstate-71 during the mid-20th century, Evanston residents were the not only the victims of eminent domain, without neighborhood continuity, over time, mom-and-pop stores vanished and storefronts were, and continue to be, vacant.
The theme of this episode is homeownership, black homeownership. Although the neighborhood has lost its business district, community members have thrived and remember the vibrancy that once existed.
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