Remarkable Ohio

Results for: african-american-community-activism
Greenfield Cemetery, N. Washington Street
Greenfield

, OH

Augustus West, an African American, was born in Madison County, Virginia on March 20, 1814, and moved to Ohio in 1837. Legend has it that West was a runaway slave and worked as a farm laborer before designing a scheme to purchase his own farm. West, with abolitionist Alexander Beatty, traveled into slave territory no fewer than three times where the pair would sell West, help him escape, and split the profits. After splitting the profits, West used his portion of the money to purchase 177 acres of land in Fayette County where he built his “mansion.” To remain inconspicuous and secure, West built the “mansion” as far from the main road as possible. (continued on other side)

1350 Brush Row Road
Wilberforce

, OH

In the early 1800s, William and Eleanor Kendall owned this land, known for its natural springs, beauty, and farmland. In 1850, Elias Drake, lawyer and former speaker in the Ohio General Assembly, purchased the property and named it Tawana or Xenia Springs. He developed a health resort hotel surrounded by summer cottages, all of which were completed the following year. “Tawana” is believed to be Shawnee for “clear or gold water,” alluding to the clear, mineral-rich springs. From its beginnings, the resort did not fare well as it was popular among southern planters who, much to the consternation of nearby antislavery sentiment, brought slave entourages whenever they came. In October 1855, negotiations for its sale opened with the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which purchased Tawana Springs, including 54 acres and the hotel and cottages, for $13,000 to establish a university for African Americans. (Continued on other side)

202 W. Main Street
Cairo

, OH

Memorial Park hosted the famous Kansas City Monarchs during a barnstorming tour on August 4, 1961. The home team was the Lima Metro League’s Cairo Merchants. Legendary pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige (1906-1982) appeared on the mound for the Monarchs. The first African American to pitch a World Series, Paige was famous for helping the Cleveland Indians win their 1948 championship. After the Cairo exhibition game, he thrilled fans by signing autographs. Although the score of the 1961 game is forgotten, the impact of meeting Paige and other Kansas City players is remembered. During an era of racial tension and national change, a baseball game between an all-Black and all-White team taught many in attendance that they had much in common, including a love of the game.

6646 US 127
Bryan

, OH

Pulaski and Pulaski Township in Williams County are named for Casimir Pulaski, a Polish cavalry officer who died to win America’s independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. Charged with attempting to kidnap the king of Poland, Pulaski (1747-1779) fled to Paris and then to America in 1777, met General George Washington, and joined the colonies’ struggle. At the Battle of Brandywine, Pulaski covered the American retreat with a daring charge at pursuing British forces. After Brandywine, the Continental Congress commissioned Pulaski a Brigadier General of Cavalry. Pulaski later resigned his command and petitioned Washington to organize what came to be known in March 1778 as Pulaski’s Legion.

10750 Mayfield Road
Chardon

, OH

Fowlers Mill (originally Fowler’s Mills) developed around a group of mills built in the 1830s on the Chagrin River. Opportunities from these mills led to Fowlers Mill becoming the commercial center of Munson Township. From the 1830s into the twentieth century, the community expanded with construction of churches, a post office, township hall, stores, hotel, blacksmith shop, schools, and houses built in such styles as Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne. This type of community center was common in rural, nineteenth century America, but rarely survives with so much original fabric intact. On Mayfield Road, the Disciple Church was built in 1842. East of the church, the brick central school built in 1913 replaced earlier one-room schoolhouses. The gristmill is the only mill standing in Geauga County. The cemetery contains burials dating from the 1830s. The Fowler’s Mills Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

2121 George Halas Drive NW
Canton

, OH

On September 17, 1920, representatives from ten professional football teams met in Canton and formed the American Professional Football Association, which in 1922 became the National Football League (NFL). Pro football evolved from club football in the 1890s, and by the early 1900s had begun to spread across the country, concentrating in the Midwest. Jim Thorpe, the first nationally prominent pro, started with the Canton Bulldogs-an early pro football power-in 1915. In 1959, Canton citizens launched a well-organized and ultimately successful effort to have their city, “the cradle of professional football,” designated as the site of a monument to the sport’s historic stars. The Professional Football Hall of Fame opened on September 7, 1963, inducting seventeen charter members. The Hall of Fame interprets and promotes the study of the role of professional football in American culture.

Wooster High School, 515 Oldman Road
Wooster

, OH

Charles W. Follis was born on February 3, 1879, in Virginia. His family moved to Wooster where he attended Wooster High School and helped establish the school’s football team. In 1901, Follis enrolled and played baseball at the College of Wooster and played football for the Wooster Athletic Association where he earned the nickname “The Black Cyclone from Wooster.” In 1904, Follis signed a contract to play football with Shelby Athletic Club, making him the first African-American professional football player. Follis faced discrimination on and off the field leading to many injuries. After a career-ending injury in 1906, Follis played baseball for the Cuban Giants of Long Island. He died of pneumonia in 1910 at the age of 31 and is buried in Wooster Cemetery.

Intersection of Norwalk Road and Avon Lake Road
Litchfield

, OH

Around 1900, the newly formed Litchfield Cemetery and Park Association needed a band to lead processions to and from the town cemetery on Memorial Day. The Litchfield Town Band was born. Urial Crow served as its first director, so the group was sometimes known as “The Crow Band”. Although there were periods when the band was inactive, it has been a community institution for more than a century. The group plays a broad repertoire of standards and marches by John Philip Sousa at Memorial Day and other commemorations, ice cream socials, and various community events. Directors have included Urial Crow, Loren Hayes (c. 1915), Floyd Koons (mid-1920s), Raymond Bradley (1935-1939), Hal Leach (1939-1945), Kenneth Bradley (1946-2011) and Cynthia Bennett (since 2012).