Akron, OH

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The Akron Ghetto Story

Akron, Ohio is a small city that is 30 minutes south of Cleveland and became famously known for being the hometown and birthplace of basketball superstar, LeBron James.  The Akron ghetto story gives a short account on how the urban community of Akron began around North Street and expanded into other parts of the city.

akron ghetto

The black history of Arkon 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 to 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 projects that were built in the 1940s was Elizabeth Park, the 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 apartments to its residents.

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Beginning in the 1960s, African-Americans would start to begin to move into the Edgewood Homes, which would later change the West Akron community to becoming predominantly African-American and Akron’s largest black populated area.

akron ghetto

West Akron

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, centered around W. Thronton and West Miller / Summit Lake, 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.

akron ghetto

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.

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Check out more of Akron and Ohio communities with videos, maps, and more.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

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  • Megedagik Official

    I can tell you that Opera is a gang off the outskirts of the southwest side. I am part of it. We were actually here for getting our neighborhood cleaned up. Addicts trying to run it, and we don’t want that. As far as when the Black Ling Mafia was around, the were strictly protection for the kids. Keep them from being mugged, and keep them off drugs. Those are gangs, but they are/were also keeping the community together. (At least for the time they are/were around) Black Ling Mafia used to be found in Kenmore, but they later disbanded, leaving it for the community. They were not too popular, so not many locals know about them, but they were there.

  • Don’t like it

    This article is missing alot. When I visited Akron in the 70’s, the whole city was booming! The blacks was very prosperous from working at the rubber plants. They used to come to the high schools to recruit seniors to work there. Back then, there was alot of black businesses also Beautiful homes. two and three nice cars in the driveway. Akron was the first place, I seen cable T.V.

  • Tonya Kaye Booker

    This article is not written well at all and as far as Akron’s history get it right, the black people move to Akron to work in the rubber factories, the goverment put up the projects to control the blacks read The New Jim Crow !

    • Lykes

      Lol no it’s not… SMH
      Tellem Tonya