Side A: Sarah Mayrant Walker was born enslaved in Charleston, South Carolina, and sent to New Orleans as a young girl to study under a French hair specialist in the art of hair and scalp treatment, and goods manufacturing. Brought to Cincinnati around 1840, she used her networks to build a hair salon empire that catered to elite and wealthy women. In 1859, Sarah single-handedly desegregated the Cincinnati streetcars when she successfully sued The Passenger Railroad Company after a conductor refused her passage and pushed her off the moving car. As a result, Black women and children could ride inside a streetcar while men could ride on the platform. She and her husband, Peter Fossett, founded First Baptist Church of Cumminsville circa 1870. Both are buried in the Union Baptist Cemetery.
Side B: Peter Farley Fossett was born enslaved at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation. As a youth he learned culinary arts from his mother, Edith, who was the chief enslaved cook. Only Fossett’s father, Joseph, was freed after Jefferson’s 1826 death. He worked systematically to purchase his wife and eight children and bring them to Cincinnati. After Peter arrived in 1850 he worked in catering, gaining notoriety with elite locals. He married Sarah Walker in September 1854. The couple were active in the Underground Railroad and were founding members of the Colored Orphans Asylum. Fossett was a member of the Black Brigade, served on the board for the city’s segregated school system, and advocated for prison reform. Fossett served as the first pastor of First Baptist Church of Cumminsville for 32 years.