African Americans have made a significant impact on Ohio and U.S. history. Here is a short list of some of the highlights.
1851 – Soujourner Truth gave her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the Women’s Convention in Akron.
1856 – Wilberforce University, the country’s oldest, private black university was founded.
1862 – African American men in Cincinnati were impressed to build fortifications to defend the city from Confederate attack. They were designated the Black Brigade.
1863 – The first regiment of African American recruits from Ohio reported for Civil War service in Delaware, Ohio. They were the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry; renamed the 5th United States Colored Troops.
1880 – George Washington Williams was the first African American to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.
1888 – George Myers purchased the barbershop in the Hollenden House, Cleveland’s finest hotel, and it became a hot spot for Republican Party operatives.
1893 – Paul Laurence Dunbar, renknowned poet from Dayton, published his first collection of poetry, Oak and Ivy.
1898 – Charles Young from Ripley and Wilberforce commanded the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers in Cuba during the Spanish American War.
1914 – Garrett Morgan from Cleveland patented the safety hood, an early version of the gas mask.
1923 – Garrett Morgan from Cleveland patented the three-way traffic symbol.
1930 – The Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was chartered in Columbus.
1946 – The Tuskegee Airmen 477th Composite Group was transferred to Lockbourne Army Air Base in Columbus.
1947 – Central State became a separate institution from Wilberforce University. In 1965 it attained the status of a university.
1958 – Martin Luther King gave the commencement address at Central State University.
1967 – Carl B. Stokes became the first African American elected mayor of a major American city when he was elected mayor of Cleveland.
1972 – Ellen Walker Craig became the first African American woman elected to the office of mayor when she became mayor of Urbancrest.
1988 -National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center opened in Wilberforce.
1988 – Toni Morrison from Lorain won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her fifth novel Beloved.
2002 – Halle Berry, from Cleveland, was the first African American woman to win Best Actress for Monster’s Ball.
2004 – National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in Cincinnati.