Black History Month and Its Place in Ohio - Wesley Glen Retirement Community
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Black History Month and Its Place in Ohio

Every year, the month of February is dedicated to celebrating Black History Month, a time to recognize and honor the contributions and heroic stories of African Americans. Did you know that there have been many significant moments over the decades that have advanced black culture in Ohio? Below we’ve included a timeline of some monumental moments right here in The Buckeye State.


  • 1851 – Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman” at the Women’s Convention Center in Akron, Ohio.
  • 1863 – The first group of African American recruits from Ohio reported for duty in the Civil War. They were the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry which would later be renamed the 5th United States Colored Troops.
  • 1914 – The first version of the gas mask, then referred to as the safety hood, was created and patented by Garrett Morgan from Cleveland.
  • 1930 – The Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in Columbus.
  • 1958 – Dr. Martin Luther King gave the graduation commencement speech at Central State University.
  • 1967 – The first African American mayor of a major metropolitan city was elected when Carl B. Strokes ran and won as mayor of Cleveland.
  • 1988 – Toni Morrison, author who is originally from Lorain, Ohio was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her fifth novel, Beloved.
  • 2004 – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center officially opened in Cincinnati, Ohio.


These special moments not only advanced the African American culture in Ohio, but also advanced the state itself. The rest of this month, we look forward to continuing to thank and celebrate the important individuals who have made a forever mark on our world. From all of us at The Wesley Communities, Happy Black History Month.