Thursday, October 26, 2000

Family center honors Berry

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The late Theodore M. Berry, Cincinnati's first African-American mayor, will be honored Wednesday when officials break ground on a new $4 million Head Start center bearing his name in the West End.

        The Theodore M. Berry Head Start Children and Family Learning Center will be at Court and Linn streets and should be completed by September.

        Mr. Berry, a community leader for decades, died Oct. 15 at age 94.

[photo] An artist's drawing of the Head Start center to be named for the late Theodore M. Berry, Cincinnati's first African-American mayor.
(Wilson & Associates Inc. photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency's Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its Aug. 28 meeting to name the building for Mr. Berry.

        “This is indeed a fitting honor to name the new Head Start facility for Mr. Berry in light of his service to our community and our country,” said Board Chair Randal S. Bloch.

        Among Mr. Berry's numerous public service activities in Cincinnati and Hamilton County was his creation of the city's first Community Action Commission in 1964. That act enabled Cincinnati to participate as President Lyndon Johnson's new Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), launching the “War on Poverty.”

        In 1965, Mr. Johnson appointed Mr. Berry as head of OEO's Community Action Programs, which include Head Start, Job Corps and Legal Services.

        In December 1972 he became the the city's first African-American mayor.

        Mr. Berry's family said he was aware before his death that the building was going to be named in his honor, said community action spokesman Donald Washington.

        “He was very honored and pleased that it was going to take place,” Mr. Washington said.

        The 34,445-square-foot building will house 10 classrooms and administrative offices. Funding includes $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, $80,000 from the Fifth Third Foundation, and $50,000 from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

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