In commemoration of Black History Month, the Dayton Human Relations Council is hosting “Moments in Dayton Black History through the eyes of the HRC.” We are excited to celebrate and honor our expansive growing black history. Just as black history is more than a month, so too are the numerous events and figures that are often overlooked. This month we will to bring you facts, people, and events in Dayton’s history that have helped contribute to our mission of influencing and ensuring a culture of fair treatment, inclusion and equal access to opportunities for all who live, work, play, and gather in the City of Dayton.
Alyce D. Lucas
A longtime Dayton civil rights activist, YWCA of Dayton Lifetime Achievement award winner and one of the City of Dayton HRC’s own.
After World War II Alyce Lucas began working for the City of Dayton Human Relations Council, where she advocated for the inclusion of minorities and women in contracting. In 1984 she was appointed to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, where she investigated complaints of race and gender discrimination. She was one of the first Black women on WDAO radio in the mid-1960s, and was actively involved in calming West Dayton communities after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. In 1976, Lucas founded an organization called Twentig Inc, which established an endowment fund with the Dayton Foundation for scholarships for Black students interested in the arts. She created Beautillion, for young African American men, a scholarship and mentoring program that is now national and part of Jack and Jill of America Inc. Lucas, an avid golfer, also worked to eliminate the “Whites Only” clause from the Professional Golfers Association bylaws, which helped Black professional golfers play in tournaments.
Edward King served as the first Executive Director of the Dayton Human Relations Council. He opened the agency in 1963 after it was proposed by religious, civil rights and community groups and authorized by the City Commission. King made it his mission to see strong anti-discrimination laws and independent civil rights groups established in order to address issues related to civil and human rights. The experience of being denied bed and bath because of the color of his skin in World War II is an experience that could have produced angry rhetoric and action. However, for King, that meant long range planning and carefully conceived programs to produce comprehensive change. In 1963, the federal government handed him and the Dayton Human Relations Council the assignment of making that possible.
In 1961, Don Crawford was elected as the first black Commissioner in the City of Dayton. Crawford sat on the Commission from 1962 until 1967. He then served as executive assistant and commission clerk before retiring in 1990. Crawford was an advocate for change in the city and was mostly responsible for the creation of the Human Relations Council. Addressing the need to adopt policy for the formal support of the HRC, Crawford stated, (see image below)
Former Commissioner Dean Lovelace
Former Commissioner Dean was the longest running Dayton city commissioner in the city’s history, with 22 years under his belt. Lovelace was one of the region’s most-respected leaders who battled social injustice and implemented policies and programs focused on economic justice issues. Commissioner Dean Lovelace worked tirelessly fighting the punishing effects of predatory lending.
Former Mayor and Commissioner James H. McGee
Former Mayor and Commissioner James H. McGee. James H. McGee, Dayton’s first black mayor, was first elected in 1970 serving through 1981. His 11 years in the position makes him Dayton’s longest serving mayor. Prior to his work with the Dayton City Commission, McGee served as the Vice Chairman of the HRC Board and oversaw its Public Relations Committee.
Civil Rights – Low Interest Community Investment Loan Program
In the early 1970s, the HRC earned national acclaim for its comprehensive and powerful civil rights legislation: (expanding the Fair Housing, Contract Compliance and Human Rights Ordinances which prohibit discrimination in contracting, housing, employment and public accommodations) and further expanded its work to prohibit discriminatory real estate practices.
Minority Contractors Assistance Program
The Minority Business Assistance Center provides free business and technical assistance to minority businesses since 1979. For centuries, public money has primarily flowed into the hands of a select and privileged few, particularly business owners running large companies. To a large degree, MWBEs still find themselves locked out from working with governments. Between 1969 and 1989, race-conscious remedies to discrimination in public contracting expanded throughout state, city, and local governments. While programs varied among localities, many included outreach, training, and mentorship programs as tools to strengthen the competitiveness of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).
Procurement Enhancement Program
In 2009, the City of Dayton formally adopted policy to establish the Procurement Enhancement Plan (PEP) Program to ensure that businesses seeking to participate in contracting and procurement activities with the City are not prevented from doing so on the basis of the race or gender of their owners and that the city not a passive participant in any form of discrimination. PEP, led by the Human Relations Council, establishes aspirational goals to overcome barriers for minority-owned, woman-owned, small and local companies. The Dayton HRC continues to lead the city’s efforts to ensure full and equitable participation in City procurement activities. As a result of the HRC’s work, the City of Dayton’s 2020 construction awards included almost $8 million pledged to small, minority-owned, woman-owned, and Dayton-local small businesses in the City’s Procurement Enhancement Plan (PEP) program. This represents 28.8 percent of City spending on construction projects eligible for a PEP goal.
Former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin
She is a third generation politician and community activist, following in the path of her father and grandfather. She earned several firsts and multiple political accomplishments. She served six years in the Ohio House of Representatives and in 1994 she became the first African- American woman elected to the Ohio State Senate. She was the first African-American woman to serve as Ohio Senate minority leader. In 2002 she became the first female mayor of Dayton serving until 2010. In 2005, she served as the first African-American woman to head the Ohio Democratic party.