Warrensville Heights, OH

Warrensville Heights Eddie L Chambers Left Legacy; Get Up and Do What is Right

Brown on Cleveland

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Eddie Leo ChambersCourtesy of the Chambers Family

Warrensville Heights, Ohio. - Every community has an "old-head" and a pillar that people refer to as the "go-to" person. This person typically sits in the background and watches as they give orders. They are actively involved in all aspects of the community; church, politics, and schools. Community members highly respect them, and most elected officials fear them. Some outsiders see them as the overseer of the village.

Mr. Eddie Leo Chambers, 92 of Warrensville Heights, is the man that most people in this community admire. Originally from Georgia, Chambers and his family migrated to Warrensville Heights in the 1960s, several years after the city corporated from a village. During this era, there were very few blacks in the town that sits southeast of Cleveland. Chambers and his family became direct targets of early racism and discrimination. Coming from the south, this environment was not unusual, but it was still alarming. Chambers was a true believer in fighting for what was right. As the demographics of Warrensville Heights changed, Chambers would not settle for nor would he allow politics as usual without visible representation from individuals that resembled the city. He organized and mobilized the people. He was involved with local politics and successfully sought blacks to run for local office. "Mr. Chambers was not in agreement with us not being represented in the schools or local government. He stressed representation for the people," said School Board Member Ray Freeman.

Speaking with several Warrensville elected officials and community leaders, they often remember Chambers reminding them of a meeting with David Whitehead and Arnold Pinkney. They were holding a private meeting at the home of Whitehead. Upon completing the conference, they found two nooses hanging from the tree in the backyard as they exited the house. Freeman says, "this incident always reminded Mr. Chambers how much we needed to get up and do something. It's our responsibility to make changes. He helped many of us in the community, including former Mayor Marcia L. Fudge."

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Warrensville Heights Councilwoman Elona WhiteCourtesy of Elona White

Recently on a zoom call with leaders of Warrensville Heights, Councilwoman Elona White laughed at herself and a colleague as they remembered Chambers. White told the group that she and another colleague came to a city council meeting after being elected wearing jeans. Chambers scolded them, and they never wore jeans again. When he spoke, all of us listened. "Mr. Ed Chambers is the epitome of a beloved community member. He was a genuinely reliable public servant. Chambers took the lead in helping to get school levies passed. He served on various political campaigns, including Marcia L. Fidge - the first woman and first African American to be elected the Mayor City of Warrensville Heights. Mr. Chambers's community work included introducing tennis to our young people in many capacities. He brought tennis to Warrensville Heights - making the city leaders build the courts in the city," said Councilwoman White.

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Mr. Chambers Children Kenny, Iris, Vonn, RonnieCourtesy of the Chambers Family

Mr. Chambers was married to his wife, Lee, for 71 years. They had three boys and one girl. "For 64 years, he was "dad" to me. I still can't wrap my head around how he was so influential in the community and yet was present physically and spiritually in my life. His life-long legacy was tapping into the potential of people and exercising the belief that God gave everyone a unique talent. I hope that Warrensville will stand by that philosophy and pour into the youth internship opportunities, the expansion of the STEM program, and jobs. So that no matter where you start in life, you can overcome and achieve," stated Iris Chambers Williams.

February is Black History Month. On this 13th day of February 2022, we recognize Warrensville Heights Eddie Leo Chambers, the public servant who believed that you get up and do what is right. He was a pillar in the community. Williams says, "he left so any legacies in each of us; he will always be present in spirit."

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, licensed social worker, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown experience is with investigative reporting.

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