City Council gave the honorary name of “Carl B. Westmoreland Way” to Auburn Ave. at the intersection of Dorchester Ave. in the Mt. Auburn neighborhood on Friday, October 27. “Carol Gibbs contacted our office and said that Mr. Westmoreland deserved a street named in his honor,” said Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney. “Not only was he senior advisor to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and responsible for finding the slave pen in Maysville, Kentucky and moving it to the Freedom Center, but he worked for many decades to create affordable housing for underserved communities in Cincinnati and across the country.”
Westmoreland formed the Mount Auburn Good Housing Foundation in 1967, and he was involved in the renovation of more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Cincinnati and nationwide. He was a leader in urban revitalization and preservation from the grassroots community level to improve communities and education through history.
One of his best friends, Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., recalled how Westmoreland’s affordable housing work started when Rev. Lynch suggested that his church, New Jerusalem Baptist, donate land that the church owned on Bigelow Street in Mt. Auburn. When Mr. Westmoreland asked Rev. Lynch how much the church would charge to sell the land to his non-profit, Rev. Lynch said, “How about zero?” And the rest is history.
Westmoreland’s sons, Carl B. Westmoreland, Jr. and Guy Westmoreland talked about how they were raised to take care of their community. They swept their entire street every Saturday morning. They also accompanied their dad to business meetings and City Hall conferences as their dad created affordable housing in Mt. Auburn. Westmoreland headed organizations small and large from Madisonville Housing Services to the Cincinnati Housing Service to the Ohio Preservation Alliance. He was the first African American to serve on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati’s Graduate School of Community Planning and lectured around the world on African American history, the preservation of Black churches, urban revitalization, and the creation of affordable housing.
Vice Mayor Kearney added, “The street sign will remind generations to come of the legacy left by a Cincinnati icon, Carl B. Westmoreland!” He passed on March 10, 2022.