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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WILLIAMS, GERALDINE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WILLIAMS, GERALDINE (1915-30 Aug. 1993), civic activist and strategist in POLITICS, planned and worked with other AFRICAN AMERICANS to draft and elect Carl Stokes as mayor of Cleveland (see MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION OF CARL B. STOKES). Williams was born in St. Louis, MO. A Fisk University graduate, she also studied at Kansas City Teachers College and the University of Colorado. As a teacher in Kansas City for a decade, Williams had extraordinary success in raising the test scores of underachievers. During WORLD WAR II, Williams volunteered with the USO (United Service Organization) at Fort Riley, KS and there met Elliott S. Pogue, Jr., of Cleveland, whom she married in 1943. After the war they returned to Cleveland and operated the private 32nd-Cedar Club in the Park-Lang Hotel. Williams helped manage the club after the couple divorced (1949). She was later employed by the URBAN LEAGUE OF GREATER CLEVELAND, the HOUGH AREA DEVELOPMENT CORP., and Community Action Against Addiction.

In early 1965 Williams met with former City Council member (later Judge) Jean Murrell Capers to draft a mayoral candidate. After Stokes was elected in 1967 she worked as executive assistant in the mayor's office for a few months in 1968. A Democrat, Williams herself made unsuccessful bids for CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL (1961) and the U. S. Congress (1968). She presided over MADONNA HALL and served on the boards of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, and the National Council of Negro Women, among other agencies. Williams died in the MARGARET WAGNER HOUSE.

Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 02:09:22 PM

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