The Cincinnati Ghetto Story
With the black community originally starting around the area of Liberty and Linn and would later expand to other parts of the city, this story shows how the Cincinnati ghetto has become one of Ohio’s biggest urban communities.
The Cincinnati black population has been in the city since the city’s beginning, especially with freed and runaway slaves from nearby Kentucky and Virginia moving into the city, making Cincinnati to have one of the largest black communities in the country during the 1800s.
The first main section for the Cincinnati black community was around Liberty and Linn, in an area that is officially called the West End, as the city’s “Black Laws” limited the people’s movement in the city, during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Thousands of people lived in the West End area, with blacks first living in the lower section towards the Ohio River. When many of the white residents began to leave the community, the West End neighborhood became predominantly black.
Other parts of the city that blacks lived at during the early days of Cincinnati, was Cumminsville and in the area of Lincoln Heights.
Many would arrive during the first World War of the 1910s, as blacks from towns in southern states move to the city for a chance to work in the different job opportunities that Cincinnati had to offer.
Lincoln Heights was a thriving historic community that was originally built in the early 1920s for black families that worked in the nearby factory jobs.
Not until the 1940s did the neighborhood officially become Lincoln Heights, which was originally known as the Black Mill Creek subdivisions made up of seven separate communities. Before the Black Mill Creek subdivisions of the 1920s and 30s, blacks lived around Wyoming Avenue.
The construction of highways and other developments between the 1930s and 1950s relocated people out of the Liberty and Linn area and into the communities of Avondale, Evanston, and Walnut Hills, followed by neighborhoods like Corryville and Mt. Auburn.
By the 1960s and 1970s, many communities were becoming more of a home to the Cincinnati black population.
Areas like Over The Rhine (Down The Way), the housing projects of Winton Terrace, Lincoln Court, and English Woods, which were originally segregated for white families, Reading Road’s Bond Hill and Roselawn, as well as other North and West Side communities.
Right now the city and parts of the Cincinnati ghetto is experiencing gentrification, similar to other cities around the country.
The Cincinnati ghetto of Over The Rhine, or Down The Way, is less active and has fewer people than the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, as it is becoming more and more of a part of Cincinnati’s downtown and less of a community, while the West Side and the North Side is gaining new residents into places like Mt. Airy, Forest Park, or Westwood.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate
Cincinnati Black History Source:
Smith, Carolyn F. Lincoln Heights. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2009. Print.
Taylor, Nikki Marie. Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community, 1802-1868. Athens: Ohio UP, 2005. Print.
“Cincinnati, a Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors”. 1943.