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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOYD, ALBERT DUNCAN - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BOYD, ALBERT DUNCAN "STARLIGHT" (14 Feb. 1872-8 Dec. 1921), was a colorful Republican businessman whose association with Republican county chairman MAURICE MASCHKE† and control of Ward 11 politics ranked him among the most powerful local blacks in the early 20th century. Born on a plantation in Oak Grove, Miss., the son of Walker and Hannah (Caleman) Boyd, he came penniless to Cleveland in his teens, soon becoming a handyman, clerk, and bookkeeper in a lodging house. By 25, he purchased his own tavern on Canal Rd., beginning a career as a tavernkeeper and real-estate speculator that netted him a small fortune. Boyd's tavern became a popular center of political activity. Following the drift of the black population to the lower Central-Scovill district, he built more elaborate quarters at E. 14th St. and Scovill Ave. His Starlight Cafe, remodeled in 1907 to include a barber shop, bath facilities, and a pool room, became the unofficial headquarters for the Republican party in Ward 11. Boyd gained the loyalty of a growing black population by providing aid to needy families. His control of ward voters was well respected despite charges of vice and corruption in his businesses. Boyd's support for THOS. W. FLEMING†, the city first black councilman, was the center of controversy during Fleming's campaigns for election, especially between 1917-21. Black political and religious leaders charged that under Boyd and Fleming's control, the ward was the vice center of the city. The Republican party, however, continued to support Fleming with Boyd's active endorsement until Boyd's death at age 50.

Boyd and his wife, Isabel, had 2 children: Isabel D. and Albert, Jr. He died surrounded by his wife and his son. Boyd is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 14 Jul 1997 03:32:20 PM

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