My Lesson in Racism

John Malvin
Cleveland Ohio Negro (Not A Slave) Led Fight To End Ohio's Black Codes

Curator: Strothers
(216) 324-4783

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Welcome to the John Malvin Web Site Location
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About this site:
This site was created to finally give a web location to those who are researching the history of African Americans in Cleveland Ohio.
Site creator and webmaster Strothers initially got interested in this topic during a history class he was taking at Cleveland State University.  However, following the assignment and reading of the Peskin text referenced below, Strothers decided to dig further into John Malvin and find out more data.   Because it is expected that this site will be under construction for quite some time, new material will be added when available.   To save you time any documents found, photos and or other data has been scanned using the Adobe Acrobat Reader system, which you can download for free by clicking the above button.
Pay close attention to the text as there will be time and money saving links to provide you
with the actual documents, articles and other items of use.
It is strongly suggested that you visit the Western Reserve Historical Society and or
purchase or get from your local library if available:
the Allan Peskin text:  "North Into Freedom"
Your comments are very much appreciated, let Jerry know that you visited this web site location, and whether it helped your research, and if this is a school project, what grade did you get?
You can also fax a copy of your thesis or report paper to fax number: 216.324.4783
Or if you can, send a copy to:
Contact via regular phone: 216.324.4783

Who was John Malvin?

1.  John Malvin was born in 1795 in Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, of a slave father but of a free mother.  Under the slave code, he inherited the status of his mother and was, therefore, free.   (Journal of Negro History, October 1938, page 426)

2.  "The Eventful Career and Noble Work of a Worthy Man Whose Thoughts Were of His People (Cleveland Leader Story - Click here to see whole text)

The Allan Peskin text provides the best concept of John Malvin, however based on the many readings and searches so far that I have done, John Malvin was a pioneer of Civil Rights in Cleveland.  He migrated to Cleveland after a time in Cincinnati, where the Black Codes were rigorously enforced.    I found a neat location that talks about Ohio's Black Codes which will give you a better insight about what they were, possible I will try to add links to sites that may help your research.
    From what I have researched, Malvin became a minister and for the most part utilized his skills to fight for the integration of churches in Cleveland, mainly the First Baptist Church of Cleveland.     He also had considerable ties with the Underground Railway.
Wife, Harriet and he actually started the First Baptist Church in 1835 at Champlain and Seneca Streets, according to Russell H. Davis book, Black American in Ohio's City of Cleveland, George Peake, The First Settler To Carl Stokes, The First Black Mayor  , Associated Publishers, Washington D.C.  (Very Much Out of Print but available at Western Reserve Library)  I had to scan a few pages from that book just to get some additional background data.
    A majority of the research done by Peskin has been incorporated into other texts, such as the Russell Davis book: Memorable Negroes which I copied one page of to show how others referenced the Peskin text.
    My current research has been into the group organized in 1965, which had plans to get a tombstone for Malvin, who appears to have been buried without one.  I have scanned my notes and an incorrect story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer which lists Malvin as being born a slave might give some data.  I have been looking to find Icabod Flewellen, Donald Sutherland or anyone who knows what happened back in 1965.  Also thanks to David R. Mitchell from the City of Cleveland Department of parks, Recreation & Properties, 21400 Chagrin Blvd, Cleveland, OH  44122, 216.348.7210, there was another group formed which finally did get a tombstone on the Malvin grave, currently that story which appeared Saturday, November 15, 1997 has not been scanned, but is available.
    As mentioned above, I will be adding to this site any additional data that I may find.   Newest material so far, are my pictures of the John Malvin grave site and cemetery location.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate one single picture of John Malvin
However, here are some pictures of his grave site which if you do visit the
Erie St. Cemetery location and enter from E 9th Street, is on the left
hand side about half way back.
Click on any image to get the full view, these are only thumbnails

 To date I have not been able to locate a picture or portrait of John Malvin
however, as mentioned above, I am still looking!
If you have any leads, please contact me right away.

This web site is and will be under construction until the complete story of Cleveland's Negro pioneers such as John Malvin, finally see the light of day. Special thanks go out to the following people who have and continue to work with me to make more information about John Malvin, and his accomplishments in the City of Cleveland, Ohio available to everyone; also in advance here are the credits and references, links etc.:

Allan Peskin - "The Originator"  - Get His Book
Peskin, Allan. North Into Freedom.  Cleveland:
The Press of Western Reserve University, 1996
His book is a must have item
For ordering information Click below:
The Western Reserve Historical Society
 Edited and Introduction by Allan Peskin. 1966 (reprinted 1996). 93 pages, paperback. Index.
 Western Reserve Historical Society Publication No. 183
 ISBN: 0-911704-48-5 LIST: $7.95

Art DeMatteo - My Professor for History 215 at CSU
who introduced me to John Malvin in the first place
and got me to read the Peskin book.
He has also greatly contributed to
the formation of this site.

Western Reserve Historical Society - "The Keepers"
Most of my research to-date has been done
at their library and archives using public records
old newspapers, books etc.

City of Cleveland
Department of Parks, Recreation & Properties
David R. Mitchell
Who helped me to locate the grave site of John Malvin

 Rose, Willaim Ganson. Cleveland: the making of a city  Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1990
This book is available at some libraries and is in-print

Jerry's Final Notes:
August 2003
I need a photo lithograph or painting of John Malvin.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

And according to the Milano Monument Company, who made the tombstone:
address for John Malvin Society
was: P.O. Box 54186, Cleveland, OH  44101
I am also looking to find:
D. Wilson who got the headstone thing done.
Expect some new additions once I do track her down for comments.

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