John Grabowski

“War and Pestilence: Cleveland Confronts the ‘Spanish Flu’ 1918”

John Grabowski, the Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in the Department of History and senior vice president for research and publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society, will offer a free remote lecture through the CWRU-Siegal Lifelong Learning Program. Grabowski will present “War and Pestilence: Cleveland Confronts the ‘Spanish Flu’ 1918” Wednesday, May 6, from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

In October and November of 1918, Cleveland was at war on two fronts. On one front, many of its young men were serving in World War I and at home that war had already changed daily life, boosting industrial production and fostering a hyper-patriotic mood. The second front, “the Spanish Flu,” opened in earnest in October 1918. It would take more than 4,000 lives and it lingers in the city into the early months of 1919. This presentation will examine how both of these wars changed Cleveland and, in particular, consider the differences and similarities of its responses to the flu then, and our response to COVID-19 today.

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