On Being a White Person Living in Cleveland’s Hough Neighborhood
What do YOU think it’s like? Here’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the typical week for a white woman living in Hough, a 97% African-American neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio:
- Check email and Facebook every day. It’s way better than TV.
- Push my kids on the swings in our backyard.
- Feed our six chickens.
- Teach the neighborhood kids that eggs come from chickens.
- Do the laundry and then fall asleep and forget about it in the dryer and my husband has to fold the clothes so our sons have pants to wear.
- Convince a screaming three year old that it’s not a big deal his socks have bumps; he still needs to put on his shoes so he can go to pre-school.
- Go grocery shopping at Aldi because we ran out of milk and bananas.
- Curse the banks for the abandoned house next door.
By the way, I do this all while being one of few white families in the African-American Hough neighborhood. The one that went up in flames in 1966 during the Hough riots because some idiot white restaurant owner put “No water for N*&&#%s” in the window and the National Guard had to come in? Yeah, that one.
My husband and I met because we both independently decided we liked the neighborhood. I had friends who took me to the Afro-centric Catholic Church called St Agnes + Our Lady of Fatima and I became a member. He worked in a lab at the Cleveland Clinic and wanted to walk to work. Neither of us let race or abandoned houses distract us from the great things this location has to offer. So we fixed up an abandoned house and now live there with our two boys, six chickens, and an attack cat.
I wish more people did the same.
Think you can handle the neighborhood? I’ll be doing a series of posts for Rust Wire about living in Hough: a short history, why Hough is like a small town, Hough is rough, money flight, things black people say, finding food in the desert, and a virtual neighborhood tour.
Renovated house, late evening sun by flickr user cafemama http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/1399548174/
A machine-fun team from Landsturm Infanterie Batallion ‘Gotha’ (XI 24) by flickr user drakegoodman http://www.flickr.com/photos/drakegoodman/4424397894/
Hot Tub by flickr user rvoodoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/rvoodoo/198739282
Bleacher crowd, League Park by Louis Van Oeyen, on Cleveland Memory Project http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/press&CISOPTR=370&CISOBOX=1&REC=10
Freedom Riders on bus, unknown, from Mississippi Department of Archuves and History http://mdah.state.ms.us/freedom/index.php