Resources for African American History

Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is Cleveland and Northeast Ohio’s premier storyteller of our region’s past, with six sites located in four counties. Founded in 1867 as the trusted steward of Northeast Ohio history, WRHS is one of the largest and most diversified historical societies in the United States.

We prioritize people, place and purpose. WRHS strives for a culture of excellence, diversity, access and inclusion for all people and the communities we serve. We apply best practices on the stewardship of our properties, collections and digital resources. We strive to empower the entrepreneurial spirit to create, promote and sustain a relevant, experience driven organization. We approach our work through an equity lens to ensure collections, experiences, volunteers, interns and WRHS Team members reflect the rich diversity of Northeast Ohio.

As we reflect and celebrate African American History and Culture during Black History Month and throughout the year, please refer to the following resources developed by our WRHS Team

Thank you!


WRHS Archives & Collections

The African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society were established in 1970 to collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents, photographs, memorabilia, art, and artifacts pertaining to African American life, history and culture in Northeast Ohio. The collection includes manuscripts, photographs, microfilm, and newspaper collections specific to the African American experience, and covers a wide range of topics and categories.

  • Collections Catalog | Follow this link to see a curated list of African American history resources available in the WRHS Library.
  • Stokes Oral History Project Collection (MS5416) | This collection includes 34 interviews with family and friends, associates and staff, and was conducted to commemorate the 50th anniversaries of Carl Stokes’s election as Cleveland’s first African American mayor and Louis Stokes’s election to Congress. Follow the link to explore.



  • Cleveland Starts Here®, sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation | at the Cleveland History Center



WRHS Events | 2022

  • Frederick Douglass Speaks on Democracy – February 17 & 19, presenters Nathan M. Richardson, Living History Interpreter and Rania Assily, Professor of History at Cuyahoga Community College
  • Past Masters, Master Teachers, and Modern Artists | Closing Concert – April 3 Details coming soon at
  • The Preservation of Her Calling: The Life of Dr. Tameka Ellington, from Inner City Poverty to Internationally Recognized Designer and Speaker | May 1, presenter Dr. Tameka Ellington




  • Youth Entrepreneurship Education | Created in partnership with Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) with leadership funding from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the program inspires the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth using historical examples of African American innovators and entrepreneurs.
  • Margaret R. Barron Scholarship Fund | WRHS offers the opportunities for paid student internships in the WRHS African American Archives through the Margaret Barron Scholarship Fund. The African American Archives Processing Intern will assist in the arrangement and description of archival materials related to the African American community of Northeast Ohio. The intern will gain experience in organizing and processing archival materials for researchers to access, broaden research skills, and expand knowledge of WRHS resources. Email interest or questions to
  • Speaking of Cleveland – WRHS Speakers Bureau | Online or in-person programs available for booking including:
  • Praying Grounds: African American Faith Communities
presenter Dr. Regennia N. Williams,
WRHS Distinguished Scholar of African American History and Culture
  • Black Innovators of Northeast Ohio
presenter Dr. Mary Manning
PK-12 Education Youth Entrepreneurship Education (YEE) Project Director
  • New Education Curriculum | Cleveland Underground: Resistance and Compliance developed in partnership with University Circle Inc. and our partnership with the Cozad Bates House Interpretive Center in University Circle



Resources in Our Community