Some of my first memories of growing up on Noah Ave. permanently occupy a space in my mind…no less relevant than many of my adult experiences, nearly fifty-years later. I remember being carried down my parents driveway, and being transferred from the protective arms of a Ohio National Guardsman, into the familiar grasp of my hard-working father, Paul Robinson. He was called home from busting his ass at ONE of his two or three jobs, working the graveyard shift at B.F. Goodrich, due to a riot that had its nexus on streets and avenues named Raymond,Wooster and Edgewood. It was serious because my mother, Minnie Mae Robinson, was the type of woman who could more than hold her own. The widespread violence that held The Rubber City hostage for nearly one week began on July, 17, 1968.
Although I was two-months shy of turning five, the vision and smell of tear gas filling the air and my innocent lungs simultaneously, are still as palpable as a memory from yesterday morning. The Wooster Avenue Riots represented the pent-up angst of not only the Black community of Akron, Ohio, but the entire nation. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr.– and Bobby Kennedy in 1968 represented the tipping point of tolerance that had already been encroached upon with the senseless outright executions of JFK(1963), as well as Malcolm X(1965).
Daddy came home from work that night, because neighbors and law enforcement believed that someone had tossed a bomb behind our garage and the neighbor behind us. I remember the fear in my normally fearless mothers eyes, when the Akron Police Department showed up, along with men covered in military camouflage. It was real, it was bad, and most of all, I still remember.~Daryl (Edit help by Ms.Veronica Johnson)