The Cleveland I Knew Forever Changed: The Aftermath Of The Hough Riots

The Hough District

My great-grandparents escaped from an oppressive and toxic world of hatred in Tetyiv, Ukraine, a city that at the time (1890s) was 95% Jewish but would see thousands murdered, decades before the Nazis came to town.

Fortunately for me and thousands of others, there was a mass movement of people from that area who relocated to Cleveland, where they could find jobs and freedom.

Diving Into Cleveland's Hough District History In The 1960s by @SRobbinsAuthor #cleveland #hough #history

Cleaning up after the 1966 Hough riots. Courtesy of

I was born just blocks away from the family hardware store that remained in Hough from the late 1920s through the 1960s, and spent weekends and summers working there to help out. But by the early 1960s, the melting pot became a boiling, charred cauldron of decay, prejudice, filth, crime, and disease.

Though there were no walls around the area, it might as well have been gated.

Discriminatory Practices

By 1965, Cleveland had 50,000 homes deemed to be unfit and substandard (the bulk in the Hough district), but an impotent administration saw only 299 warrants issued by the courts for housing violations.

The city’s urban renewal office, which was supposed to help people find suitable housing, relocated Blacks into the primarily black Hough area, which compounded the problems, further building a de facto ghetto.

Coupled with overt discrimination by the realtor community blocking purchases in white areas to blacks, the people of Hough could not leave the ghetto area and settle elsewhere, even if they had the means to move up. The effect of all this was that the ‘near east side’ of Cleveland encompassing Hough went from seventy-four percent black to eighty-eight percent in just five years from 1960 to 1965.

The Hough Riots

As a 16-year-old, I watched as the life I knew came crashing down, the building burned and looted, and the “mom and pop” business ended. For the small businesses and people who tried to stay and help those locked into the poverty of the area, it became an untold, forgotten story of those who are swept up in the broom that tries to clean the mess made by racial injustice.

The riot was a very serious subject, but it made the perfect setting for The Healer’s Miraculous Discovery to show healing (of both body and mind) in the face of violence.


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The Healer’s Miraculous Discovery is highly recommended for libraries looking for crossovers between sci-fi and fictional representations of personal and social change. Its plausible possibilities create many insights and reflections that readers won’t see coming.”

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