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The downfall of Winston Willis: Searching for a miracle in Cleveland, part II

Winston Willis (left) and Dizzy Gillespie (right) in rear of Jazz Temple Building. Gillespie was making one of several appearances at the club when this photo was taken in 1963. (Courtesy Gayle Photography/Willis Family Photographs)
Winston Willis (left) and Dizzy Gillespie (right) in rear of Jazz Temple Building. Gillespie was making one of several appearances at the club when this photo was taken in 1963. (Courtesy Gayle Photography/Willis Family Photographs)

We pick up the story of Winston Willis’ downfall.

For a time, Willis was a multi-millionaire, the largest employer of Black people in the Midwest and a bold business mogul with a big reputation. But all his wealth and property was taken from him by officials for reasons still not fully understood.

This excerpt is from WBUR’s Last Seen podcast, Cleveland writer and race educator Ajah Hales tries to find out more information about Willis’s downfall.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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