A Biography of Beverly Blackburn and a History of the JFK Rec Center in North Omaha

The John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, also called the Blackburn Recreation Center after its founding owner Beverly Wead Blackburn Jones, was located at 4514 North 24th Street between 1965 and 1970. Mrs. Jones began her work with youth when she was 17 at the Kellom Community Center, and became the director in 1957 at the age of 20. In […]

A History of the Case of Rice and Poindexter in North Omaha

Omaha, Nebraska, was founded on white supremacy. Since then, both formal and informal forces throughout the city have worked continuously to impose, maintain and expand white supremacy throughout the city, state and nation. The stories of Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter are examples of what that looks like. Understood in the context of North Omaha history, it is easy to see they aren’t the only examples; however, they are among the most powerful.

A History of Early 20th Century Crime Bosses in North Omaha

In a time of mobland gangsters, illegal booze, dirty gambling halls and open prostitution, several African Americans rose high enough in Omaha’s criminal underworld to become the crime lords of North Omaha.

A History of the 24th and Lake Historic District in North Omaha

North Omaha is screaming full of history, and the new 24th and Lake Historic District is a tremendous example of how that’s so. After its first developments in the 1870s, this intersection evolved to become a hotbed of the African American community; as well as the heart of the Jewish community; a farm supply area; and much, much more. In 2016, 38 buildings were included in a new listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This article is an introduction to the powerful, poignant past of a large jewel in North Omaha’s historical crown.

A History of Mob Violence in Omaha

Mobs have terrorized Omaha since the city was founded in 1854. Defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims,” terrorism was been the weapon of Omaha’s mobs from the beginning. Early on, they were seemingly concerned with horse thieves, claim jumping and break-ins. In more recent times, mobs attacked people in Omaha because of their race and ethnicities. 50 years ago, mobs lashed out at businesses. Notably, there haven’t been any mob terror trials, monuments, or other acknowledgments of the acts of the masses in Omaha throughout its 160+ years of existence.

The History of An Unsolved Murder in North Omaha

Adam’s note: I’m a little hesitant to share this story, but I’m going to. Bad things happen in communities, and this story is part of North Omaha’s history. I’ve removed family names out of respect for the families involved. In September 1909, an 11-year-old African American boy named Othello was murdered in North Omaha. In […]

A History of Lead Poisoning in North Omaha

For more than 15 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been fighting lead poisoning in North Omaha as part of a citywide environmental cleanup focused on the 27-square-miles east of 72nd Street.

A History of the Execution of Cyrus Tator in North Omaha

Since before the Nebraska Territory was founded in 1854, executions including lynchings, shootings and hangings happened in Omaha. The Omaha Claim Club, established by the city’s founders, used intimidation, threats, and drownings in order to enforce their homesteading over anyone who tried to disagree with them. In 1860, the US Supreme Court made their actions […]

A History of the Near North Side Neighborhood in North Omaha

As far as I’m concerned, the history of Omaha’s Near North Side neighborhood is the richest in all of Omaha. It has been home to working class families, poor people, and the wealthy; northern Europeans, African Americans, and eastern Europeans; Lutherans and Catholics, Jews and Black Muslims; slums, family homes, and mansions; looked like a pioneer town, had country gentleman farms, been a suburb, and had slums; professional offices, warehouses, manufacturing plants, local storefronts, printing presses, training centers, supermarkets and pop-up shops; giant churches and synagogues, and tiny storefront temples and more. So much has happened here, and clearly its story is still being written…

A History of the June 1969 Riot in North Omaha

While African Americans have known about police racism for more than a century, white people across the US are beginning to acknowledge the effects of legalized harassment, white privilege, systematic discrimination, the school-to-prison pipeline and other forms of white supremacy that constantly plunder communities and the entire nation of its potential, power and purpose. With a vibrant, vital, and obvious story, Vivian Strong must be remembered today.

A History of Redlining in Omaha

The history of North Omaha includes redlining starting during the 1920s, and being made illegal in the 1960s. This article explores that history, including the context in which it happened and some of the outcomes.

A History of the North Omaha Riots

Because of when the riots happened and what they did, there are scars on North O that that haven’t healed almost 50 years later. Here’s a history of what happened.