African-American Civil Rights Trail

Walk in the footsteps of Cleveland’s African American civil rights activists and follow their fight for legislative and social progress.

Explore the Trail

From historic Cory United Methodist Church to the Pegg House and Ludlow Community Association, through the Hough Neighborhood and historic stops in-between, you’ll follow a trail that features iconic destinations, each steeped in the history of Cleveland’s civil rights movement, commemorating the struggle and fight for equality.

History Was

We invite you to walk the path to equality and learn the history that was made across Cleveland during the 1950s, 60s and 70s—history that’s still being made today. Stand at pivotal sites, hear the stories that influenced change, and immerse yourself in the powerful story of our city’s courageous contributions to sweeping legislative and social progress.


Each stop on Cleveland’s African American Civil Rights Trail tells its own story—one that’s part of a greater history. We invite you to step back in time, one stop at a time, to learn more about the struggles, triumphs, leaders, and sites that all played a role in creating a more equitable future for African Americans in Cleveland—and across the country.

Ali Summit and the Negro Industrial and Economic Union

The Ali Summit and Negro Industrial and Economic Union represented the submerging of civil rights activism, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and professional athletes’ involvement in national and local politics. Cleveland Browns players had a central role in organizing the summit and the Union.

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Parents and children holding protest signs outside Board of Education
Desegregation of Cleveland Public Schools

Beginning in the 1950s, segregation in Cleveland Public Schools was at the center of the city’s civil rights movement. The United Freedom Movement, a coalition of 50 civic, religious, and parent organizations, initiated demonstrations, sit-ins, and pickets, to galvanize the fight for equality. 

Terry v. Ohio

This criminal case from Cleveland, Ohio, resulted in a landmark opinion issued in 1968 by Chief Justice Earl Warren of the Supreme Court of the United States. In Terry vs. Ohio, the nation’s highest court affirmed the ruling of Cuyahoga County Judge Bernard Friedman, which defined the limits of police action for when they “stop and frisk” suspects based on their suspicion of criminal activity. 

Additional Markers Coming Soon


None at this time. Upcoming marker unveilings to be announced in 2024. 


We are honored to acknowledge the following sponsors and grantors who embrace our mission of historic preservation.

This material was produced with assistance from the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

This website is made possible, in part, by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This project has been funded in part by a grant from the Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additional support is provided by a generous anonymous donor, and Maxine Isaacs, daughter of Bernard Isaacs, co-founder of the Ludlow Community Association.


Whether Cleveland is your home or you’re visiting our great city, we urge everyone to rediscover the heart, soul and tenacity that lives in its history. Visit any of these sites to gain new perspective and a new appreciation for the history behind Cleveland as it is today.