Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Toledo's Finest


In this exhibit, we are exploring the effects of transformational leadership in low- and moderate-income communities in Toledo by collecting oral history interviews of some transformational leaders. In her study of transformational leadership, Amelia Gibbons posits that this type of leadership could be a model for positive change in communities that are underserved or even failed by traditional services and structures of support: “Faith [...] in a leader that understands the needs of that same community and more importantly has the ability to cast a vision for change can be the catalyst for reform of the systems that do not provide effective solutions” (2). The stories of some of Toledo’s finest transformational leaders illustrate this process of catalyzing reform.

In the course of this project, we had the opportunity to hear stories about how people from Toledo’s communities changed their lives for the better. Often this change came through education--Olivia Holden shared how law school helped her change career paths so that she could provide resources to small business owners in her community; Lola Glover worked for years to provide equal access and opportunity to all students in Toledo Public Schools; Tempie McConnell also served in TPS administration and advocated for students who faced challenges due to race, class, and ability; and DeVon Overton is still pursuing her educational goals in her Ph.D. program. Participants in this project also shared stories of their struggles due to the systemic obstacles in our society--race, gender, and class--yet they all have created and inspired positive change, developing life philosophies that we all can benefit from. As DeVon Overton notes, it is important to learn our history so that we can recognize progress. 

We learned a lot by working with Reinvest Toledo to collect the stories of these transformational leaders--technical skills like how to conduct an effective interview, how to track metadata, and how to build this web site, of course. But even more importantly, we learned about realities of life in some of Toledo’s low and moderate income communities, how they are underserved and sometimes unserved by many institutions. Nonetheless, these transformational leaders have been agents of change, and by preserving their stories in this exhibit, we hope to help them change the narrative.      

"Toledo’s Finest" is a collaboration of Reinvest Toledo, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and the Lourdes University Digital and Media Studies Program. This exhibit has been created by students in the Fall 2021 DMS 300: Introduction to Digital and Media Studies class taught by Dr. Susan Shelangoskie.

Thank you to Amelia Gibbons from Reinvest Toledo and staff in the Local History and Genealogy department of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.

Student researchers and exhibit contributors from the Lourdes University Digital and Media Studies program:

  • Ulises Barradas
  • Sarah Chilvers
  • Kortney Ellison
  • Garrett Helle
  • Brenden Marsden
  • Jack Murphy
  • Lauren Pippin
  • Nick Stambaugh