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Second Wind

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, PhD
The Truth Contributor

The only way for a fighter to get back in shape is to fight his way back.  

                     -  Sugar Ray Leonard 


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

One of the more intriguing council races will be in District 4 between Yvonne Harper, the incumbent, and challenger June Boyd, who returns again to campaign for elected office.

While Harper garnered over 71 percent of the primary vote, expect to see fireworks on the campaign trail as there is no love lost between the two passionate politicians.

Whether the underdog Boyd, a tireless local party regular for more than a half century, can outpace the energetic Harper remains to be seen.

I was able to track Boyd down to discuss her campaign and past experiences in Toledo.

Perryman: Tell me a little bit about June Boyd.  You have been around in the community for as long as I can remember and you donít yet seem out of breath. Were you born in Toledo?

Boyd:  I was not.  My mother brought me here from Georgia at the age of two and our first residence was in the good old Brand Whitlock Homes.  In 1943 when I was eight years old, we moved to City Park Avenue, directly across from what is now Savage Park, and we were one of the first black families in Lenkís Hill or German Village as it was then called, other than Dr. Edward Hart, who lived next door.  We also lived right across the street from what is now Dale Funeral Home. 

Perryman: Where did you go to school?

Boyd:  My first four years before I converted to Catholicism was public schools, Washington and Roosevelt and I still have a lot of good friends from there, but by the fourth grade I had converted to Catholicism and I went downtown to St. Francis De Sales because the old St. Patrickís would not take black children back then.  I went on to high school at St. Ursula Academy. In fact, Iím the first African American to graduate from there in 1953.

Perryman:  Youíve also had some firsts with your work history, havenít you?

Boyd: I have had a lot of firsts and its fun being a pioneer, but the advantage is that when youíre paving the way for someone you want to make sure you have a good path for them to follow. Frances Belcher and her husband Dick, who owned the black newspaper The Bronze Raven, were involved in local politics and they kind of got me started.  I was volunteering for many of the candidates and I think my first exposure with the Democratic Party was in 1958 helping candidates, and by 1959 they got me a job in the Board of County Commissioners, also a first.  And it was a great experience because I was then working for Ned Skeldon, who was the President of the Board of Commissioners and thatís probably where I learned so much about county government.  And it was also a period in Toledo where there were very few black women even working in downtown Toledo, but gradually in the later 50ís they started coming in like one woman at a time. 

I stayed there about six years and then left to go to the Board of Elections and I worked there for eight years. During this time Ned Skeldon, being probably one of the more powerful men in the city, I was able to get a lot of jobs for people in our community that werenít previously accessible, like positions in the Lucas County welfare department because all those were under the umbrella of the County Commissioners.  Carol Rice became one of the first black supervisors on the voting machines at the Board of Elections and Janice Collins was the driverís examiner. So, I feel when you have these opportunities and that kind of power, that we should be utilizing it. I donít see that happening much today, though.

Perryman: Many people know that you and Edna Brown were the first two African-American women to be elected to serve on Toledo City Council and served together from 1993-1997, but what other experiences have you had?

Boyd:  I passed the real estate exam in 1966, was quite successful and I always worked that as a second job. I worked at the Affirmative Action with Perlean Griffin and also Board of Community Relations first with Burt Silverman.  I was the associate director there and did a lot in human relations and anti-discrimination work. 

Perryman:  Letís talk about your campaign. I think you told me before you were 80 years old, is that right?

Boyd:  No, Iím 84 and proud of it.  My doctor says I look 64 and health wise I did get a physical because I would not have even attempted to become a candidate without getting a physical.  She says I have a heart of a 50-year-old.

Perryman: Why, at this point in life when youíre 84, have had a long career and could sit back and enjoy your children, grandkids, great grandkids, why get into this now?

Boyd:  Probably, if I had not had to raise my great grandson, I would not, but Iím running for him and all of these other children who need better leadership because no oneís really paying attention to their needs.  If I were to be elected, I would not run for a second term. I would be grooming another young person to succeed me. But youíve got to pave the way for them because evidently, no oneís doing that right now and someoneís got to do it.

Perryman: What is your campaignís platform?

Boyd:  Basically, this whole campaign is about leadership and integrity and it means that you need the kind of leader that can recognize the problems in the community, a lack of economic development and we must stress working with the schools, both parochial and public, on quality education, and creating jobs. There are many adults around here who graduated from school and theyíre illiterate and then you wonder why they canít get any jobs, and not to mention the drug problem, the homelessness, the abandonment and the fact that people have gotten so beat down until they donít have any encouragement to do anything else.

Perryman: So, what do you bring that no one else brings to the table?

Boyd:  Right now, a vision.  A vision of what is not being done in our community and I think if you look around you can see it.  Now, District 4 is the most unique out of all the six districts. Weíve got our world-famous art museum on Monroe Street.  If you continue down Monroe, you come to ProMedica, the Mudhens Stadium, the Walleye, youíve got a lot of economic development, lofts, new apartments surrounding Uptown Toledo. But the heart of the central city sits right in there and no oneís doing anything about it. 

Perryman: What are your strengths as a candidate?

Boyd:  Leadership and integrity with a no-nonsense approach. And, you know, I donít have to bully anybody to get anything done, I can do it just by negotiating and bringing people together.    I just left George Mance Commons this afternoon and those people are so glad for you to just come over and talk to them.  Some need a sense of direction and then there are others that just want to follow and say well okay, letís get it done. 

Perryman: Can you provide our readers with specifics of your agenda for the community?

Boyd: Well, itís a whole package.  The first thing, I have a question, what has happened to all of the CDCís, the Community Development Corporations?  Theyíre all gone. And you never hear of community development block grant funding and thatís the reason we donít have anything going on in the central city.  What happened to it?  And thatís going to be one of my first questions and first projects. 

You see all these homes that they built and the people were supposed to live in them 15 years and own them? Thereís a lot of controversy.  Some of them say that now theyíre running into difficulty, but half of them are boarded up, so whatís going to happen to those homes? Those are things that we need to investigate and find out because they could possibly be made into quality homes, but they could also be stripped by the drug addicts.  I donít know for sure, but thereís probably not a neighborhood in the heart of the central city that doesnít have several of those homes just boarded up and abandoned.  Why?

Perryman:  Do you have a vision to replace the CDCís or for economic development in the central city?

Boyd:  Yes, and the city should take some responsibility in doing that.  Iím familiar with the Department of Neighborhoods somewhat, but I donít know what their mission is right now today, but I know what it should be.  And of course, the bottom line is to get into those agencies, work with them and find out well letís get moving and get these neighborhoods cleaned up.  Theyíve torn down a lot of the homes, but for the ones that are left at least try to preserve them and make some decent housing for some people.  Even if the city had to take them over, at least itíd be a tax base if they could sell them.

Perryman: What is it about June Boyd and your campaign that you hope will resonate among voters?

Boyd:  The one thing that I want you to remember is this campaign is totally about leadership and integrity and thatís what the community needs, thatís what our children need because they deserve better than what theyíre getting.

And, that Iím a proud mother of two children, a grandmother to four, I have six great-grandchildren and Iím a fighter and Iím looking to provide a better future not only for my family, but for all of these little children that I spend time with. 

Perryman: Thank you.

Boyd:  Thank you and you have a blessed day. 

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org


Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/19/19 09:43:58 -0400.



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