Cincinnati History is Black History — Prelude Episode
Cincinnati is a city with 52 diverse, yet very disconnected neighborhoods.
For many of these communities’, their African American been lost in the shadows of the more prominent Black areas of Cincinnati like Over-the-Rhine and the West End.
To ensure our city represents the history of all people, Urbanist Media has worked to establish the Urban Roots podcast as a tool for encouraging inclusive historic preservation, community engagement, and public history. Through the podcast, we were able to create a special truth and reconciliation series called Lost Voices of Cincinnati where we coupled archival audio and primary research with oral histories we collected from Black residents in Evanston, Avondale, and South Cumminsville to explore and explain why these neighborhoods have been so underrepresented Cincinnati’s history.
We are so excited to kick off our first season of Urban Roots by exploring 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 — like how a Cincinnati barber helped execute the biggest North American escape of enslaved people, ever; how and why a mob attacked Cincinnati’s African American community (with cannons, no less) in 1841; and how the West End became one of the most happening Black communities of the 1920s. We show how, throughout the city’s history, African American communities have always faced adversity — but have also always banded together to not only persevere, but thrive. This episode features Kathy Dahl (Hamilton Avenue Road to Freedom) and Dr. Eric Jackson, professor of African American history at Northern Kentucky University.
Part I: The tale of the escape of the 28 [0:00–08:23]
Part II: Early Cincinnati history with Professor Eric Jackson [08:24–17:48]
Part III: A sneak peek of what’s to come [17:49–22:37]
Urban Roots is hosted by historic preservationist Deqah Hussein-Wetzel and journalist Vanessa Quirk. We’re edited by Connor Lynch and mixed by Tim Soarce. Our theme music is by Adaam James Levin-Areddy. Our logo is by Deqah H.W., Shanon Shipley, and Gwyneth Lynn Ravenscraft. Our Lost Voices of Cincinnati series was made possible by a Truth & Reconciliation grant from ArtsWave and our Fundly patrons (Donations always needed/welcomed!). We’d also like to thank Invest in Neighborhoods for their support.