Preserving Lee-Harvard’s Rich History
Lee-Harvard, a historic neighborhood nestled in the southeast side of Cleveland, Ohio, has overcome the test of time, embodying resilience, unity, and cultural vibrancy. Established in the late 1940s post-World War II, this neighborhood initially thrived as a majority-white, middle-class community, where veterans flourished under the G.I. Bill, creating generational prosperity. However, demographic shifts have transformed Lee-Harvard into a predominantly black neighborhood. Despite challenges like an aging population, reduced homeownership, and disinvestment, the spirit of Lee-Harvard persists.
CHARP EDucation Consulting, in collaboration with the community and supported by the Harvard Community and Service Center (HCSC), a nonprofit organization, invites you to join us for the inaugural Lee-Harvard Block Party. This event aims to bring together residents, local businesses, and organizations to celebrate the neighborhood’s rich legacy and foster joy, unity, and inspiration for the future.
The Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS), renowned for its Preservation Services Program, has been instrumental in preserving the historical and architectural heritage of the region. They have also co-authored a book titled “Lee-Harvard: A Suburb in a City” in collaboration with Dr. Todd Michney, documenting the area’s rich history.
During the post-war period from 1945 to 1970, Lee-Harvard experienced remarkable growth, witnessing the construction of over 5,000 homes. It evolved into a flourishing African-American community characterized by a strong middle class, 80% homeownership, and a highly educated population. This legacy endures even as the neighborhood grapples with identity challenges, an aging population, and past discriminatory practices like redlining and the foreclosure crisis.
Today, Lee-Harvard boasts over 20 active block clubs, a diverse local business landscape, and essential amenities in the Lee Harvard Shopping Center, originally built in 1949. The neighborhood houses seven city parks, including the expansive Kerruish Park, JFK High School, three elementary schools, and numerous churches that play vital roles in community life.
To further uplift the community, HCSC and the City of Cleveland have embarked on the Lee-Harvard Master Plan to enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses. This comprehensive plan focuses on attracting investments, promoting high-quality housing and commercial development, and making the neighborhood more pedestrian, cyclist, and transit-friendly. The plan seeks to preserve the cultural fabric that defines Lee-Harvard while fostering innovative and practical land-use strategies.
The Buckeye Law Group (BLG) is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Lee-Harvard Block Party. With decades of experience in personal injury law, their attorneys emphasize client service, ethics, and results. Over the years, BLG has shown its dedication to uplifting Ohio communities through various charitable initiatives.
The inspiration for this event came from the commitment to protect and celebrate black spaces, akin to the ethos of Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, and View Park in South Central Los Angeles, as seen in the TV show “Insecure” and through the efforts of Issa Rae. In the face of gentrification and demographic shifts, these neighborhoods continue to evolve and embrace their cultural roots.
The Lee-Harvard Block Party promises an unforgettable experience filled with live music performances, delectable food, local vendors, and exciting family activities. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, September 9, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and join us in celebrating the spirit and resilience of the Lee-Harvard community.
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Phone: (216) 209-2108
CHARP EDucation Consulting
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