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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

REED, J. ELMER - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

REED, J. ELMER (6 May 1903-27 Dec. 1983) instrumental in integrating the sport of bowling on the local and national level, was born in Cleveland, the son of James E. and Harriet Brown Reed. He went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in 1922 and remained there for 36 years, retiring in 1958. In 1932 Reed established the Cleveland Bowlers group, which was formally organized as the Cleveland Bowling Senate in 1940 to govern local black leagues. Reed also built the United Recreation Center at 8217 Cedar Ave. in 1941, the first black-owned bowling alley in the country. A tireless promoter, Reed helped found the National Bowling Association in 1940 to promote blacks in bowling, serving as its secretary, and fought the caucasian clause in the American Bowling Congress (ABC) constitution which prohibited blacks from joining their ranks. The clause was removed in 1950, and as a result, Reed was admitted to the Bowling Propietors Committee of the ABC in the early 1950s and named to its Board of Directors. Reed's achievements were recognized in March 1978 when he was the first black elected to the ABC National Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport. He also gained membership in the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame that year.

Reed married Ruth Stanard Lockhart 18 June 1938. After her death in May 1964, he married Margaret E. Jordan 29 Oct. 1966 who survived him. There apparently were no children. Reed died in Aurora, Ohio, and was buried in Cleveland.

Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:11:38 PM

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