Side A: African-American history began in Piqua with the settlement of Arthur Davis in 1818 and expanded with the settlement of the freed Randolph slaves of Virginia in 1846. African-American religious heritage in Piqua began with the Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1853 and the Second Baptist Church (Park Avenue) in 1857. Segregated education started in 1854 at the Cyrene Church and ended in 1885 at the Boone Street School. Several Piqua African-American men circumvented Ohio’s early ban against Civil War military service by joining the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiments. Following the Civil War an African-American Co-operative Trade Association established Piqua’s first African-American retail store. Continued on/from other side)
Side B: Continued from other side) Goodrich Giles (1846-1927) exemplified the enterprising spirit of the first African-American Co-operative Association. During his fifty plus years in Piqua he became the first local African-American to become a prominent employer (Cottage Livery Stable), to run for public office (election of 1886), and to become a large scale capital investor (stockholder of the Third National Bank). In 1927 Giles and Carl P. Anderson built the Classic Theater in Dayton, Ohio, one of the first Ohio theaters run by African-Americans for African-American audiences.