The Move to West Akron: The Akron Ghetto Story
Akron, Ohio is a small city that is 30 minutes south of Cleveland and has became famously known for being the hometown and birthplace of basketball superstar, LeBron James.
This article of the Akron ghetto gives a short story on how the urban community of Akron began around North Street and expanded into other parts of the city.
West Akron History and more…
The black history of Akron Ohio began around North Street, as people moved to Akron for employment opportunities in the rubber factories (Goodyear and Firestone were both created in the city of Akron).
Allegedly, the community began to deteriorate over the years making the city of Akron label the neighborhood of North Street as an Akron ghetto or slum, which led to the building of the Elizabeth Park housing project in the 1940s.
Akron’s original housing projects that were built in the 1940s were Elizabeth Park, Edgewood Homes, and Park Lane Manor.
Elizabeth Park was built for the city’s black residents, Edgewood Homes was for the white families, and Park Lane Manor was a public housing complex for war veterans until the housing authority sold the complex.
Beginning in the 1960s, African-Americans would begin to move into the Edgewood Homes, which would later change the West Akron community by eventually becoming Akron’s largest black populated area.
‘Hoods & Communities
From Vernon Odom to Delia, West Akron is the biggest side of the city with the heart of the neighborhood being around Copley Road, known as the Hilltop.
Other well-known areas of West Akron, is the Valley that is centered around W. Thronton and West Miller / Summit Lake which an area that can be considered as Southwest Akron.
The East Akron ghetto is based around South Arlington Street, with most people living in the apartment complexes of Joy Park, Wilbeth-Arlington, and Rosemary.
Other than the apartment complexes, Akron’s East Side consists of a small area in Goodyear Heights around Newton Street, Laird Street, and other neighborhoods between Interstate 77 and Kelly Street.
The North Side was once home to the old Elizabeth Park projects, which was recently rebuilt in the early 2000s into Cascade Village.
Currently, the main community of the North Akron ghetto is in the North Hill section of Akron around Howard Street.
The diversity of the South Akron ghetto can be seen driving along Grant Street or in the Firestone Park neighborhood, while smaller than the other sides of the city and less known, South Akron is still located directly in the heart of the city.