Side A: Ludlow, a neighborhood straddling Shaker Heights and Cleveland, was developed in 1905 by Otis and Mantis Van Sweringen. By 1920, they imposed restrictive deed covenants that racially excluded Black home ownership in the community. In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer that such covenants violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result, affluent African American professionals began to buy homes in Ludlow, seeking the suburban atmosphere and good schools for their families. While illegal, the Van Sweringen Company continued to require prospective African American buyers to gain approval from neighbors before they could purchase homes. Subsequently, the idea of African American families moving into Ludlow created white flight as realtors perpetuated unfounded fears that property values would decline in order to “blockbust” and purchase properties at depressed prices.
Side B: On January 3, 1956, a bomb exploded in the garage of a Black-owned home under construction on Corby Road. “For Sale” signs cropped up as realtors panicked long-time residents and began refusing to show Ludlow homes to White buyers. The bombing sparked the “turning point” in Ludlow’s integration. Black and White neighbors gathered in each other’s homes to build trust and a neighborhood coalition that became the Ludlow Community Association (LCA) in 1957. Incorporated in 1959, LCA worked to stem blockbusting and encourage Whites to remain and purchase homes in Ludlow. Influenced by the civil rights movement and the nationwide push for integration, LCA became a national model for community activism toward fair housing. It stemmed the tide of white flight and helped to maintain a well-balanced, integrated Ludlow neighborhood for more than thirty years.