Cleveland: NOW! Records

Cleveland: NOW! was a multiracial joint public and private program for extensive urban renewal and revitalization in Cleveland, Ohio, created by Mayor Carl B. Stokes following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. The program planned to raise $1.5 billion over ten years. The first 2-year phase called for spending $177 million for projects in eight areas: neighborhood housing rehabilitation; accelerated urban renewal; the creation of 16,000 jobs; expansion of small business opportunities; city planning; health, welfare, and day care centers; summer recreation programs for youth; and the construction of Camp Cleveland. The program was discredited due to the Glenville Shootout of July 23, 1968, a gun battle between police and members of the Black Nationalists Organization of New Libya who obtained weapons with funds received indirectly from Cleveland: NOW! Stokes and the NOW! trustees were sued in 1970 by 8 policemen wounded in the shootout, but the suit was dismissed in 1977. Although Cleveland: NOW! met many of its initial goals, the organization ceased activities for the most part after 1970, and was formally dissolved in 1980. The collection consists of articles of incorporation, minutes, board of trustees records, correspondence, financial records, records of the major programs, publicity information, newspaper clippings, and proceedings of lawsuits. The collection pertains to a dramatic, multiracial attempt on a large scale to address and ameliorate a wide range of social ills by initial infusions of large amounts of money. The financial records and contributors correspondence contain detailed information for a possible demographic examination of contributors to the program.