As a new Cincinnati resident, Lois Conyers knew about Kennedy Heights as an employee of the Urban League. She was asked to give assistance to residents who were dealing with the issues of red-lining and the resulting difficulties in the neighborhood brought by realtors trying to sell homes.
Her message: “Organize. Connect with residents to develop goals and a plan of action. Get people involved via small and large group gatherings. Decide who will take on various tasks, such as speaking with individuals in the city, schools and other relevant systems that relate to the issues of targeting a neighborhood for racial change. Request what needs to be addressed and changed.”
Some of the people involved at that time were Mrs. Ann McGorian, who called the Urban League, requesting professional assistance. Paul Henry was an active neighbor interested in trying to stop the negative actions of Realtors.
Lois identified a house for sale that she liked, bought it, and moved to Kennedy
Heights in 1967. At the time, very few blacks lived south of Woodford Rd. In time, that demographic changed. .
Lois served on the Board of KH Community Council for several years and also was President. During her tenure, fund-raising teams, complete with captains, were organized to go door-to-door requesting residents to give to KHCC. The Council felt it was important that people value the neighborhood enough that they would contribute to its ongoing mission. The city of Cincinnati also began giving funds to neighborhoods who requested assistance. That resulted in hiring a community worker which enabled many programs and efforts to take place. Ernestine Jackson was significant in that role.
Lois’s present hopes for the community include more horticultural areas, landscaping, and maintaining a well-developed clean-up program. She is excited about the development work of the Cultural Arts Center and hopes that community business development and activities continue as a benefit from that effort. Improving existing housing is another area of importance so that the neighborhood continues to be attractive to those considering moving here.
To those who are moving to Kennedy Heights, she suggests that people get to know their neighbors. “It’s a close-knit community, diverse, good housing with excellent location to downtown and surrounding areas.”