Muckraker Roldo Bartimole Will Revisit Cleveland History in New Series


Forbes tosses journalist Roldo Bartimole out of a now infamous special council meeting in 1981. - CLEVELAND PRESS COLLECTION, CLEVELAND STATE
  • Cleveland Press Collection, Cleveland State
  • Forbes tosses journalist Roldo Bartimole out of a now infamous special council meeting in 1981.
Muckraking Cleveland journalist Roldo Bartimole, who more or less retired from active reporting and commentary last year, will revisit recent Cleveland history in a local blog series highlighting editions of his old newsletter, Point of View.

Bartimole self-published Point of View for 32 years (1968-2000), often railing against Cleveland's elite sacred cows: big business, foundations, politicians and the news media. Last year, Scene profiled Roldo on the occasion of his retirement.

Now, on the local blog Have Coffee Will Write, Roldo intends to discuss important stories that he covered through the years. The first installment features a story from Point of View's second-ever issue, in June, 1968. Roldo uncovered that local businesses had been covertly paying black nationalists to keep them "cool" in the lead-up to the 1967 mayoral primary, in which Carl Stokes prevailed.

Roldo told Scene that the idea for the series came after a conversation with Norm Krumholz, the local urban planning legend, who arrived in Cleveland in 1969 and "didn't know anything" about the Glenville riots. (Last year, Scene republished Roldo's in-depth report for The Nation in 1969, on the one-year anniversary of the riots.) He recognized that there were others with significant gaps in their knowledge of Cleveland's 20th century history.

"Institutional memory is the life blood of journalism and history," Roldo writes on the blog. The series, like much of his earlier work, is dedicated to the idea of educating citizens — and other journalists! — to help them understand current events in a clearer historical context.

In this first piece, Roldo savages business leaders for their strategic racism, and notes, correctly, that businesses can be counted upon to be racist up until the moment it affects the bottom line. 

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