[News] The Story of Ahmed Evans and the Glenville Shootout

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Tue Dec 13 15:26:55 EST 2016


  The Story of Ahmed Evans and the Glenville Shootout

December 13, 2016

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Part 2 in our blog series on histories of resistance to racist police 
violence, as depicted in the pages of The Movement newspaper.

Fred "Ahmed" Evans 

Fred “Ahmed” Evans

By the summer of 1968, tensions had been mounting between the Black 
residents of Cleveland and the police department for over a year. In the 
spring of 1967, riots broke out after the police shooting of two 
children, one Black and one white. That fall, a young Black lawyer named 
Carl B. Stokes rode a wove of Black disaffection into political office 
when he won the city’s mayoral race. Many Black residents had high hopes 
for a Black-led Democratic administration to usher in an era of 
meaningful change, but by 1968 some were becoming disillusioned as they 
witnessed police harassment of Black militants intensifying.

In the late 1960’s Cleveland had a vibrant Black nationalist scene, 
which centered around Fred “Ahmed” Evans’ Afro Culture Shop and 
Bookstore in the Glenville neighborhood. Evans had opened the shop after 
returning home from serving in the Korean War, and had dedicated himself 
to creating a meeting place for Black residents interested in Black 
nationalist culture and politics. Evans’ shop was burned down multiple 
times, and undercover police were permanently stationed across the 
street in order to monitor the activities of Evans and others who 
frequented the shop.

On July 23, Evans was in bed when he realized the cops were outside his 
house. He looked out the window to see what looked like officers 
shooting down a Black man who was running away from them. Evans took his 
gun into the bushes outside his home and began shooting. A 
fifteen-minute gun battle ensued, leaving 15 wounded and 7 dead. Police 
officers and Black militants on the scene offered conflicting accounts 
of the event, with Evans insisting they had been ambushed and police 
claiming they had been attacked by snipers from Evans’ home. After a 
stand off, Evans surrendered to the police.


National Guard on patrol in Glenville.

The next day, Cleveland broke out into rebellion. The Black residents of 
Glenville protested in the streets for three consecutive days. On the 
night of July 23, fires burned on ten blocks of Superior Avenue. Mayor 
Stokes called in the National Guard in order to quash the rebellion. On 
September 22, Evans was sentenced to death by electric chair for 
allegedly killing three officers. His sentence was later commuted to 
life in prison. He died of cancer in prison in 1978.

He remained unrepentant after his sentencing, stating: “I don’t think 
there is any doubt that the people of my race have every right in the 
world and have every reason in the world to resist and to reach out and 
become what they were created, men–not symbols, I mean–not half 
anything, but whole as I am whole. I fully understand the ways of life 
as they are now, and the truth of the matter is I have no regret….This 
is to be expected. I mean, you just can’t say that you are going to turn 
away from a world of iniquity and walk along a red carpet. It is not 
that way.”

Check out the full story here 


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