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The Story of Pleasant Litchford

Pleasant Litchford and his family, all freed slaves, settled in Perry Township, Ohio, now Upper Arlington, in 1832. A blacksmith by profession, he eventually became the fourth-largest landowner in the area. By the early 1900s, restrictive covenants barred people of color from living in neighborhoods across the country. Later, the remains of the Litchfords and other African-American residents were uprooted and moved to unmarked graves — as if to erase their roles in the community’s history.

Photos courtesy of: Columbus Metropolitan Library, Doreen Uhas Sauer, Franklin County Engineer’s Office, Franklin County Recorder’s Office, Jarrod Burks, Second Baptist Church, University District Organization and Upper Arlington Historical Society