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Aundra Willis Carrasco

Winston Willis: A Memoir - Paperback

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"Winston Willis: A Memoir” recounts the remarkable journey of a young Black entrepreneur, Winston Willis, who reshaped Cleveland’s east side in the 1960s and 1970s. Starting at the historic East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue, one time known as Doan’s Corners, Winston created an “inner-city Disneyland,” defying the odds during a tumultuous era. By the age of 28, he became a self-made millionaire, leveraging the aftermath of urban riots to invest in commercial real estate, reviving a crime-ridden area into a symbol of Black prosperity.

Yet, Winston’s meteoric rise ignited a firestorm of racial hostility, transforming him into a prey for the vultures of political and judicial malfeasance. Authored by his sister, Aundra Willis Carrasco, this explosive narrative rips the veil off the ferocious war over prime real estate, pitting Winston against a relentless White power structure. Cloaked in the guise of “urban renewal,” the City callously snatched his hard-earned land, feeding it to the insatiable expansion ambitions of the mighty Cleveland Clinic. This book delves deep into the heart of Winston’s unbreakable spirit, tracking his journey from the challenges of a Montgomery, Alabama boyhood, to the gritty streets of Detroit, Michigan, where he honed the grit and tenacity that would define his epic saga.

The Kenyan proverb rightly points out: “Until lions have historians, hunters will be heroes.” And so, herein is the lion’s story. This memoir probes the contentious struggle of Winston Willis, now 84, reflecting on the nature of righteousness in such conflicts. The story is a testament to one man’s undaunted fight against overwhelming odds, offering a fresh perspective on a forgotten man and a chapter of urban and racial history.