Monday, May 11, 2015

Cleveland African-American Cultural Garden ground breaking ceremony is May 11 at 1 pm at 890 MLK Boulevard in Cleveland, Mayor Jackson, city council members, some community activists to attend....By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's Most Read Online Digital Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: 
Kathy Wray Coleman is a community activist, legal and political reporter, and a 22- year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. ( / (

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, other city officials, members of city council, and officials of the association of the African-American Cultural Garden will host a ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremony at 1 pm on Monday, May 11 at 890 Martin Luther King Boulevard in Cleveland to announce the extended development of the African-American Cultural Garden, a strip along East and MLK Boulevards on the city's largely Black east side. (To make a donation visit any Key Bank location).

Some community activists said that they will attend

The garden remains almost empty after some 40 years in spite of an elaborate $2.5 million garden that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson envisioned with a black granite map of the slave trade, a hillside stream, and a fountain designed by architect W. Daniel Bickerstaff . The mayor made such a public announcement in 2011, but development has been stalled since that time. 

"I have been a member of the association of the African- American Cultural Garden for 40 years and this has been in the making for 40 years," said community activist Dionne Thomas Carmichael, a member of the grassroots group the Carl Stokes Brigade. "Why this has taken so long is another story."

Organizers hope to raise a half a million dollars to begin phase 1 of the project. 

Booker T. Tall, a Cuyahoga Community College black studies teacher, dedicated the four-acres of land for the African-American garden  in 1977,  and  $250,000 seed money set aside by former Cleveland Mayor Michael White has not catapulted the effort into a reality.

White is Black, and so is Jackson, a three-term mayor of the majority Black major American city.

And in spite of curiosity, no major business association has stepped up to push the initiative to build the cultural garden for the Black community and others.

Jackson, and Natoya Walker Minor, chief of public affairs for the city of Cleveland, who is a member of the garden's task force, are spearheading Monday's event for the city, along with members of the association of the African-American Cultural Garden, which is led by Carl Ewing as president.

Local dentist a Dr. Eugene Jordan, a Cleveland NAACP executive board member like Ewing, is vice president. 

"We need this garden as a means to highlight the history and plight of African-Americans, in Cleveland in particular" said Jordan, who also leads the grassroots group the Underground Railroad. "It is long over due."

The garden is among some 30 gardens of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, including the Yugoslav, Slovenian, Czeck, Armenian, and Albanian gardens, some of which were dedicated as far back as 1922. 

Ward 10 Councilman Jeff Johnson is also a member of the garden's task force, and is slated to attend the event too, organizers said. ( / (