Monthly Archives: September 2005

In This Issue: Fall 2005

In The Current Issue:

From its inception, the Northeast Ohio Journal of History has endeavored to make the best use of the technology available to provide our readers with a high-quality alternative to print-only periodicals. From the virtual museum exhibit that has been a feature of every issue, to the recently-added interactive discussion board function, we have tried to take full advantage of the possibilities open to online journal.

This issue of NOJH provides yet another exciting new example of the potential of electronic publishing. For the first time, we are publishing an article that is accompanied by video clips. Kenneth Bindas and Molly Merryman examine the intersections of race, discrimination, class, gender, and memory during the civil rights era in their feature article, “Out of the Shadows: Informal Segregation in Warren, Ohio, 1954-1964.” After reading the article, click on our “Exhibit” section to visit some of the oral history clips the authors used as source material. As compelling as these video clips are, we hope other authors will be encouraged by this precedent to submit articles accompanied by video or sound files for future issues.

Our “Notes and Comments” section features a piece by Gregory Wilson describing the million-dollar “Teaching American History” grant he wrote in conjunction with the Akron Public Schools. The three-year professional development program for elementary and secondary school teachers is already underway and has brought in nationally-recognized scholars to participate. “Public History Partnerships through the Teaching American History Program” highlights projects from the Akron, Cleveland, and Youngstown areas.

While you are visiting the journal, please take the time to drop by our new discussion board. Taking advantage of the technology available to us as an electronic journal, we believe this new feature will make our journal more interactive and serve to engender substantive debate, discussion, and exchange of information for all people interested in the history of Ohio.

In addition to the usual book reviews, we also encourage the reader to explore the other features of our site. For those who missed earlier issues, please visit our “Archives” link, which contains the entire contents of previous volumes. We have expanded our “Research Links” feature, adding not only more primary sources but also more links to local historical agencies. We strongly encourage the reader to suggest or send new links for this page. The same is true for items in “Current History,” which is a clearinghouse for information on events of a historical nature in Northeast Ohio. Because we update this section constantly, please feel free to send announcements for it at any time.

We would also like to remind our readers that printer-friendly versions accompany each article and review. These PDF files are not only easier on the eyes when printed, but also contain basic issue data and page numbers for convenience in citation.

As always, please address any inquiries about this project (or about any other aspect of the journal) to the editor at kkern @ uakron. edu. We welcome all comments and suggestions.

Kevin Kern

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Notes & Comments: Public History Partnerships through the Teaching American History Program

By: Gregory Wilson, University of Akron
Publication Director, Northeast Ohio Journal of History

Schools, colleges, universities, museums and other institutions across Northeast Ohio are building creative partnerships with one another through the federal government’s Teaching American History grant program. Begun in 2001 and funded through the Department of Education, each grant is for a three-year period. The goals of the national professional development program for elementary and secondary teachers are to improve the quality of American history instruction and generate student interest and performance in American history as a distinct subject within social studies. The Teaching American History grant program represents a major public history initiative across the country and Northeast Ohio has been well-represented within it, receiving 40 percent of the grants in Ohio. Since the program began, there have been 539 projects funded across the country. Of these, 20 have been in Ohio and the 8 projects in Northeast Ohio are highlighted below. Continue reading

Book Review: Ohio and the World

Ohio and the World, 1753-2053: Essays toward a New History of OhioEdited by Geoffrey Parker, Richard Sisson, and William Russ Coil. (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2005. xiii, 256 pp. Cloth, $49.95, ISBN 0-8142-0939-4. Paper, $22.95, ISBN 0-8142-5115-3.)

In an essay titled “Ohio States” from the book of the same name, Jeffrey Hammond noted that Ohio appeared average because it was, meaning that Ohio is an amalgam of U.S. society, notable for being the middle against which more radical, trendy or controversial events are measured.1 In his introduction to Ohio and the World, Andrew R.L. Cayton, author of several books on Ohio and frontier North America, takes exception to this characterization as incomplete. As he notes, Ohio possessed real leadership, since from “the mid-eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century, Ohio was at the forefront of most major developments in the Americas and Europe” (2).

Ohio and the World began as a series of lectures in honor of Ohio’s bicentennial. Now revised and edited, the essays by R. David Edmunds, James Oliver Horton, Eric Foner, Kathryn Kish Sklar, James T. Patterson, Herbert Asher, and William Kirwan seek to explain Ohio’s past and future as intimately involved with globalization. The larger purpose is to push Ohioans to once again make the state a destination point, an economic and socially progressive leader. Continue reading

Show 1 footnote

  1. Jeffrey Hammond, Ohio States: A Twentieth-Century Midwestern, Kent: Kent State University Press, 2002.

Book Review: Religion in Ohio

Religion in Ohio: Profiles of Faith Communities. Edited by Tarunjit Singh Butalia and Dianne P. Small (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. 408 pp. $16.95, ISBN: 0821415522).

This book celebrates Ohio’s religious heritage after 200 years of statehood. It is the result of a collaborative effort by the Religious Experience Advisory Council of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio.

Within the book the reader will find a brief history of over forty of the major (and some major-minor) Christian denominations in the state, as well as a history of nine non-Christian religions which have found a home in Ohio (Native American Spiritual Traditions, Judaism, Islam, Hindu Dharma, Buddhism, The Sikh Faith, The Bahá’í Faith, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism). The articles are generally written by adherents of each faith, or, in the case of groups no longer in the state (Shakers, Society of Separatists at Zoar), by a scholar familiar with them. There is a detailed index covering both articles and illustrations, and a brief biographical sketch of contributors. Continue reading

Book Review: Cradles of Conscience

Cradles of Conscience: Ohio‘s Independent Colleges and UniversitiesEdited by John William Oliver Jr., James A. Hodges, and James H. O’Donnell. (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2003. ix, 588 pp. Paper $50.00, ISBN: 0-87338-763-5.)

Ohio has an unusually rich and deep heritage of private institutions of higher education. Apart from Pennsylvania, no state has more independent baccalaureate colleges and universities, and this ambitious book of forty-three essays examines the history of all of them, along with many more that no longer exist. Although uneven and marred by editing and organizational problems, this book nevertheless is an important contribution to the historical literature of higher education in Ohio, and serves as a valuable reference work for anyone interested in the state’s “Cradles of Conscience.”

College histories are an idiosyncratic literature, written for and appealing to largely parochial audiences with personal interests in the school studied. As a result, most college histories stand more or less alone, with only passing references to other colleges of the time or area. Thus, while the reader may get a deep understanding of the institution studied, often the comparative element is missing, leaving the reader unaware of just how ordinary or unusual events and trends in school history were. With only about ten to twenty pages devoted to each school, Cradles of Conscience can not hope to rival traditional college histories in depth, but provides instead unprecedented breadth in examining the landscape of private colleges in Ohio. The succinctness of each chapter also shows, in sharp relief, the major themes and trends evident in the history of each school, facilitating comparisons with other colleges and universities throughout the state. Continue reading

Book Review: Lest We Be Marshall’d

Lest We Be Marshall‘d: Judicial Powers and Politics in Ohio, 1806-1812. By Donald F. Melhorn, Jr. (Akron, Ohio: The University of Akron Press, 2003. 352 pp. $44.95, ISBN 1-931968-01-2.)

Lest We Be Marshall‘d is an anecdotal history of politics and the judiciary in Ohio from 1806 to 1812. Author Donald F. Melhorn, Jr., is a Toledo attorney and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toledo . Melhorn is no stranger to scholarship since he published previously on the law. The focus is on the power of the courts to exercise judicial review relative to state laws. Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury versus Madison, 1803, established the issue of judicial review on the national level. Still it remained a very controversial issue in state politics. Ohio seemingly went beyond reason by subjecting judges to impeachment if they ruled on the constitutionality of a legislative act. Several judges were impeached because they exercised judicial review: Calvin Pease and George Tod.

“Lest We Be Marshall’d” were words spoken as a reference to the influence of the Marshall Court . Melhorn’s anecdotal style is a fresh and scholarly interpretation of politics and personalities during the formative years of Ohio after it had achieved statehood in 1803. Melhorn introduces readers to the dynamics of frontier politics, personalities, and constitutional issues as manifested in the impact of Ohio ‘s “Sweeping Resolution.” In a limited way, Melhorn captured the zeitgeist in Ohio between 1806 and 1812. However, the work is wanting because Melhorn failed to address how Ohio politicians and the judiciary dealt with the black community during these years. When Ohio entered the Union in 1803 under the principles of the Northwest Ordinance, its members narrowly defeated a measure to allow slavery. While the 1887 Ordinance prohibited slavery in the Ohio territory, once it became a state, Ohio could approve or reject the institution. However, between 1804 and 1808, Ohio adopted a series of “Black Laws” which prohibited migration to the state and denied equality to blacks in the state. Thus, it is difficult to appreciate fully any interpretation in 21 st century America that is not inclusive of how politics and courts reacted to Ohio ‘s black community during its formative years.

W. Sherman Jackson
Associate Professor, Miami University

Book Review: Builders of Ohio

Builders of Ohio: A Biographical History. Edited by Warren Van Tine and Michael Pierce. (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2003. xi, 338 pp. Paper $24.95, ISBN: 0-8142-5121-8.)

If an instructor could use only two books to teach an undergraduate course in Ohio History, he or she and the students would be well served by using Builders of Ohio and George Knepper’s, Ohio And Its People. As the editors state in the introduction, “The twenty-four essays in this volume use biography to explore Ohio’s history. They are not intended to provide a narrative history. . . . Nonetheless, they do provide a historical overview of the state’s development. . . ” (vii). Thus each work serves to complement the other, one providing the full narrative history and the other providing the human dimension to that narrative.

Editors Van Tine and Pierce purposefully chose the biographical approach to Ohio history for three reasons: (1) The personal narrative of a biography brings the work of academic historians more easily to the attention of the interested public; (2) Biographies emphasize the connections between historical events and the contributions of individuals; and, (3) Biography as an historical method “offers the most promising synthesis of culture and history.”(viii). Through the biographical sketches of twenty-four individuals, Ohio’s settlement, development of political and economic institutions, contributions to social reform, and the slow and sometimes painful transformation from an industrial-based to a service-based economy are highlighted. Continue reading

Out of the Shadows: Informal Segregation in Warren, Ohio, 1954-1964

By: Kenneth J. Bindas & Molly Merryman

Former educator and long-time Warren-area resident Cliff Johnson looked relaxed and comfortable sitting for his interview. When asked what he remembered best about the 1950s and early 1960s in the small northeast Ohio city of Warren, he talked about the separateness that permeated his world and his discomfort with this invisibility: “I personally would rather have someone call me a bunch of dirty names and at least acknowledge me as a person than to act as if I wasn’t even there.” Being invisible for Johnson was “probably the worst thing to ever do to a human being.”1

Historians studying the United States after 1945 have begun to investigate the
effect and pervasiveness of the Civil Rights movement on a local, less visible level.
How did ordinary Americans, particularly outside the South, act and react to the social and legal revolutions that swept the country through 1965? The people from Warren, Ohio, offer an interesting case study through which we can begin to provide insight into the complexities of this question. Continue reading

Show 1 footnote

  1. Clifford Johnson, interviewed by Laurie Dangerfield, October 2002, Documenting Justice DVD, produced by Molly Merryman and Kenneth J. Bindas, 2002. Hereafter DJ. These interviews were part of a community history project discussed in the text and involved the digital video interviewing of 14 people.