Westerville had sites of segregation.
Ohio passed a Public Accommodations Law in 1884 that forbid racial discrimination in public buildings, but there was still de facto segregation.
Rosslyn Lawson, a 1950 graduate of Westerville High School, remembered that segregation here was “more hidden, and that’s what I didn’t like… you always had to be careful. You had to watch your back.” She described how “everyone knew” that African Americans like her could not go to the movie theater on North State Street or Glengarry Swimming Pool. Lawson also felt uncomfortable going to the five and dime store at 24 North State Street because the employees watched her like they expected her to steal something. At least one restaurant in town, Williams Grill, discouraged Black customers from eating there by giving them higher-priced menus. African Americans could not be buried inside Otterbein Cemetery’s mausoleum.
Housing was also segregated. In the 1930s-1960s, most African Americans lived on Mossman and Broadway Avenues, and Broad Streets. A 1934 housing study noted that their households had fewer indoor amenities like electricity, gas, and flushing toilets than white households. East Broad was known as a “blighted” neighborhood, but the pro-integration Human Relations Council explained that African Americans did not have the option to live anywhere else. Ongoing research in partnership with The Ohio State University is revealing racial covenants in housing deeds.
The act of restricting African Americans to separate spaces and public services from white Americans, especially regarding transportation, housing, education, employment opportunities, etc.
Oral History Interview with Rosslyn Lawson, 12/1/2021, Westerville History Museum.
 Oral history interview with Rosslyn Lawson, 12/1/2021, Westerville History Museum.
 “Westerville in Focus: Westerville, Ohio’s History, People, and Places” (H17271), File on History, Westerville (H17), 1999, Westerville History Museum; “Deed for Crypts, Westerville Mausoleum: R.R. Johnston” (C102033), File on Cemeteries, Otterbein Cemetery Association (C102), 6/17/1944, Westerville History Museum.
 Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002; Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012; “Report of a Westerville Housing Study” (H20046), File on Homes, Housing, and Buildings (H20), 1934, Westerville History Museum; Human Relations Council Vertical File (H40), Westerville History Museum.
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