Horace Sudduth pioneered Cincinnati’s early twentieth-century business scene, advocating for Black home ownership and economic empowerment. He overcame segregation, became “Cincinnati’s Colored Real Estate Agent,” and established the iconic Manse Hotel as a cultural hub. Born in Covington, Kentucky, Sudduth’s legacy inspires equality and fosters an equitable future for African Americans.
Early Life and Entrepreneurial Spirit
Horace Sudduth was born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1888 and grew up in a segregated neighborhood. As a young man, he focused on his education. After high school, he got a job on the railroad, traveling and seeing the nation as a porter for the Pullman Company. Sudduth returned to Cincinnati in 1910, reconnected with his high school sweetheart, and became an outspoken advocate for Black home ownership and economic empowerment.
Sudduth established himself as “Cincinnati’s Colored Real Estate Agent,” serving African American and white clients in property management, leasing, loans, and sales. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to venture into various businesses, including real estate acquisition, mortgage transactions, and entertainment.
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Manse Hotel and Community Impact
One of his most notable accomplishments was the establishment of the Manse Hotel, which opened in 1931 in Cincinnati’s West End; it became a cultural hub and gathering place for artists, intellectuals, and social activists, showcasing African American talent and achievement.
Black travelers found a place of safety at the fully integrated Manse Hotel in Walnut Hills. It also played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement, hosting events for Black organizations such as the 1946 NAACP National Convention.
The hotel ended operations in the late 60s and is now used as low-income housing for senior residents. Still, its existence speaks to the fortitude laid by Sudduth, inspiring generations to strive for success. An Ohio Historical Marker commemorates the landmark.
Sudduth’s commitment to the community extended beyond his business ventures. He was president of the Industrial Building and Loan Association, which offered savings accounts and mortgages to African Americans in the West End and Walnut Hills. Through this role and his real estate expertise, he facilitated numerous opportunities for Black residents to become homeowners, contributing significantly to the development of Walnut Hills.
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Politics and Empowerment
Sudduth made a bold political venture in 1921, running for Cincinnati City Council despite limited opportunities for Black people. Although he was disqualified due to voting discrepancies, his candidacy embodied resilience and determination, inspiring future leaders and laying the groundwork for better representation in the years ahead. Later in life, he served as president of the National Negro Business League and the New Orphan Asylum for Colored Children.
Horace Sudduth passed away in 1957 after a life of embracing economic uplift and community development. His pioneering property work, political involvement, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship inspire and empower future generations. Today, one can’t help but admire Sudduth’s impressive journey as a true visionary whose contributions have shaped Cincinnati’s history and enriched the lives of countless African Americans.
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- “Horace Sudduth: Promoting Black Home Ownership and Entrepreneurship in Cincinnati” – Cincinnati Refined
- “Horace Sudduth: A Trailblazer in Cincinnati’s African American History” – National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- “Cincinnati’s African American Entrepreneurs: The Legacy of Horace Sudduth” – Cincinnati Magazine
- Middleton, Stephen. ” ‘We Must Not Fail!!!’: Horace Sudduth, Queen City Entrepreneur.” Queen City Heritage 49 (Summer 1991): 2-20.
- Walnut Hills Stories. (n.d.). Horace Sudduth. Retrieved from https://walnuthillsstories.org/horace-sudduth/
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