Author Appearance: ‘Believing in Cleveland’ & ‘Surrogate Suburbs’

Friday, December 1 @ 7:00pm

Join us for an evening of Cleveland History with authors J. Mark Souther and Todd Michney

Believing in Cleveland by J. Mark Souther

Detractors have called it “The Mistake on the Lake.” It was once America’s “Comeback City.” According to author J. Mark Souther, Cleveland has long sought to defeat its perceived civic malaise. Believing in Cleveland chronicles how city leaders used imagery and rhetoric to combat and, at times, accommodate urban and economic decline.

Believing in Cleveland recounts the long, difficult history of a city that entered the postwar period as America’s sixth largest, then lost ground during a period of robust national growth. But rather than tell a tale of decline, Souther provides a fascinating story of resilience for what some folks called “The Best Location in the Nation.”

Souther is a historian based in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He is a Professor of History and Director of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University, where he teaches courses on 20th-century U.S., public, and urban history.


Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland 1900-1980 by Todd Michney

The story of white flight and the neglect of black urban neighborhoods has been well told by urban historians in recent decades. Yet much of this scholarship has downplayed black agency and tended to portray African Americans as victims of structural forces beyond their control. In this history of Cleveland’s black middle class, Todd Michney uncovers the creative ways that members of this nascent community established footholds in areas outside the overcrowded, inner-city neighborhoods to which most African Americans were consigned.

Todd M. Michney is an Assistant Professor in the School of History and Sociology at the Georgia Institute of Technology who focuses on urban history, digital history, African American history, and the history of race and ethnicity.