by Jennifer Bowen, Katie Dragga, Emily Garvey, Lauren Hennen, Christina Ipavec, Brittany Moffat, Kim Schneider, Colleen Smitek, Beth Stallings, Carly Toyzan, Erick Trickey & Jim Vickers; edited by Colleen Smitek
Sherrie Tolliver Cultural history interpreter & actress | 53
Why she’s interesting … Since joining the Cleveland Metroparks in February 2008 as the cultural history interpreter, Tolliver has designed a tour of the closing Catholic churches. Once a theater student at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City, she also performs as about three dozen historical figures for Women in History.
History’s lessons … Through her Metroparks position, Tolliver hopes “to get people to appreciate the area’s history not in a textbook sense, but in a human sense.”
On the churches … “They’re beautiful architecturally, but historically, the role they played in Cleveland is important. They tell the story of a community. I would just like to say a respectful, loving goodbye.”
The women she portrays … taught her: “The impossible is possible for the ordinary person.”
Favorite figures to be … Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to become a licensed pilot
The apple and the tree … She got her love for history and the arts from her parents. Her mother owned the controversial Negro History Bookstore, and her father, prominent civil rights lawyer Stanley Tolliver, taught her about storytelling and working a room.
Cleveland comedy rocks … It’s been 25 years since Tolliver debuted at the Cleveland Comedy Club and started working with the likes of Drew Carey and John Henton. “I worked a lot back then, but doing the road as a single mom is hard. I hung up my jester’s hat.”