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Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church
Historical Marker Unveiling
November 2nd, 2023 at 10:30am

Join Cleveland Restoration Society at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 at 10:30am for the unveiling of the Greater Abyssinia Historic Marker, to honor the church’s important role in Cleveland’s Civil Rights movement. The church will be open for tours a half hour before and after this ceremony. This program is free and open to the public. 

Following the marker unveiling at 11:30am, Cleveland Restoration Society’s annual Community Luncheon will be held at the neighboring Cory United Methodist Church. This is a ticketed event, and registration is open HERE.

Greater Abyssinia stands as a landmark in Cleveland’s civil rights movement. Under the 62-year leadership of Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness, the church has been a hub for civil rights activism and community engagement. In 1964, members of the church formed a Civil Rights Committee to aid and assist the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the United Freedom Movement (UFM). The church served as the headquarters of the UFM, which was on the frontlines of Cleveland’s civil rights campaign to desegregate its public schools. The Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, its leadership, members, and community engagement are exemplary examples of Cleveland’s civic leadership and commitment to racial equality.

The steady leadership of the Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness in both the civic and political life of Cleveland and his exceptionally long tenure in religious circles distinguish him and the church he leads in the Civil Rights movement in Cleveland. 

In conjunction with the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church Historic Marker Unveiling Ceremony, the Cleveland Restoration Society’s Community Luncheon this year will honor Rev. Dr. Caviness, pastor of Greater Abyssinia. Installed at Greater Abyssinia in November 1961, Rev. Caviness has been a crucial player in many pivotal moments of Cleveland’s Civil Rights movement. A friend and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Caviness organized clergy in Cleveland to support King’s Selma to Montgomery movement and supported his voting registration efforts in Cleveland to elect Carl B. Stokes, the nation’s first African American mayor of a major U.S. city.

Stokes later appointed Caviness as the first Black person to chair the Zoning Board. Caviness also served as Councilman for Ward 25. Cleveland Mayor George V. Voinovich appointed Caviness as special assistant, and as governor, named him the chair of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Rev. Dr. Caviness’s relationship with Governor Voinovich proved crucial in saving Central State University, one of Ohio’s most important historically Black land-grant universities in Wilberforce, Ohio. These political positions allowed him unique access to power that he used to help further civil rights, social justice and economic parity issues.

Learn more about Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. Caviness HERE.

Ali Summit Historical Marker Unveiling
at Cleveland Browns Stadium, South Plaza
September 8th, 2023 at 4pm

Join Cleveland Restoration Society and the Cleveland Browns at the Cleveland Browns Stadium for the unveiling of the Ali Summit Marker to honor the historic event and the Cleveland Browns athletes who were involved. 

It happened right here in Cleveland. On June 4, 1967, at 105-15 Euclid Ave. at the Negro Industrial and Economic Union headquarters, boxer Muhammad Ali sat among a group of ten men and reiterated to reporters his refusal to be inducted into the Vietnam War. The men, who consisted of former and current professional and collegiate athletes—largely from the Cleveland Browns—and then-attorney Carl Stokes, all stood alongside Ali after failing to change his mind. On principle, they stood in solidarity with him and received criticism for their decision. Just two weeks later, an all-White jury found Ali guilty of draft evasion. He was released on bail pending an appeal, but had his passport confiscated and took a hiatus from boxing. In 1971, the Supreme Court reversed his conviction.

The Ali Summit and Negro Industrial and Economic Union represented the merging of civil rights activism, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and professional athletes’ involvement in national and local politics. Members of the Union were embedded in Cleveland’s Black community, understood its struggles, and used their resources and status as celebrities to facilitate change. For these reasons, the summit and the Union have been chosen as a part of the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail.

Learn more about the Ali Summit and Negro Industrial and Economic Union HERE.

African American Cultural Garden Juneteenth Celebration & Historical Marker Dedication,
June 19, 2023

Cleveland Restoration Society is pleased to announce its first Partner Site on Cleveland’s Civil Rights Trail!

The African American Cultural Garden will be another stop along the Trail. The African American Cultural Garden marks the struggle for equitable access to public space and the representation of Black cultural heritage. Please join the Association of African American Cultural Gardens and the Cleveland Restoration Society for a historical marker dedication on June 19th! The ceremony will be held at 11:45 am in the Cultural Gardens and is a part of the organization’s Juneteenth Celebration beginning at 10:00 am.

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park were designed as part of an effort beginning in 1926 to promote ethnic pride and cultural understanding. Yet, non-whites were not considered a part of this effort for many years. The effort to establish an African American Cultural Garden began in 1961. After 16 years of fighting for a space in the garden, land was dedicated in 1977. Learn more about the fight for equitable representation in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and its association with Cleveland’s Civil Rights Movement HERE

Visit the African American Cultural Gardens website for additional information HERE. 

Glenville High School Marker Unveiling,
April 29, 2023

Dr. King at Glenville High School

Cleveland Restoration Society is coming together with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to make the next stop on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail official. This event combines an historical marker unveiling ceremony at Glenville High School, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s message to young people more than 50 years ago along with the 10th Annual Glenville High School Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program. This event will take place on Saturday, April 29th, 2023 at 10am at Glenville High School, 650 East 113th Street in Cleveland.

Glenville High School Principal Latonia Davis is organizing the event, sponsored by the Glenville Alumni Association and the Glenville Parent Organization.

Admission is free. All proceeds benefit the scholarship program, and donations are accepted. A rebroadcast of Dr. King’s speech to the high school on April 26, 1967, is a primary program feature, plus video of related events.  

Contact Peggy Sexton, CRS Events Coordinator, at 216-426-3102 or email with questions

History of Civil Rights in Cleveland Webinar

In this webinar, Nishani Frazier, an Associate Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Kansas discusses the civil rights movement in Cleveland. In conjunction with the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail, Frazier covers the long arch of political activism among Black Clevelanders from around the city’s founding to the modern civil rights era, and documents how this rich history relates to the present day.

Ludlow From Hough to Ludlow: Exploring Cleveland’s History on the Civil Rights Trail, January 11, 2023

Hop onto the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail website and you’ll be greeted by an invitation 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.” Not all cities are so fortunate as to have a historical resource like this one, where visitors can literally stand in the place where change happened and become immersed in the powerful stories of Cleveland’s courageous contributions to legislative and social progress. In advance of MLK Day, learn about the early grassroots organizing efforts by civil rights leaders who helped reshape our city and about the civil rights trail that documents their path. Moderator Natoya J. Walker Minor, Chair of the Trail’s Community Engagement Committee, is joined by Kathleen Crowther of the Cleveland Restoration Society, the organization that carefully maintains the trail, Donna McIntyre Whyte, Ph.D., research consultant with the Cleveland Restoration Society, Aaron G. Fountain, Jr., Ph.D., Scholar in Residence at the Civil Rights Trail; and Patricia Hoover, Daughter of the Rev. Odie Hoover, a Civil Rights Trail contributor.


From left to right: Kathleen Crowther; Patricia Hoover; Donna Whyte, PhD; and Aaron Fountain, PhD. Photography courtesy of Suzanne Zilber.
Ludlow Community Association Marker Unveiling, October 20, 2022

Members are invited to the unveiling of a historical marker for the Ludlow Community Association on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m., at the intersection of Hampton and Corby Roads in Cleveland.

This ceremony will recognize the Ludlow Community Association as a national example of a neighborhood development model. Established in 1957 after the bombing of a home that belonged to an African American family, it remarkably reversed white flight and maintained a well-balanced, integrated neighborhood for at least 30 years and rebuked widely-held beliefs about integrated living. For this reason, the Ludlow neighborhood has been selected as a site of significance on Cleveland’s African American Civil Rights Trail.

The event will feature a historian, public dignitaries, as well as current and past officers of the Ludlow Community Association.

The event will take place rain or shine. Free on-street parking in the neighborhood will be available.

For more information about this event, contact Peggy Sexton, Events Coordinator, at

Carl B. Stokes Marker Unveiling, June 8, 2022

The Cleveland Restoration Society & Cleveland African American Civil Rights Trail Committee cordially invites you to attend the historical marker unveiling ceremony honoring the first Black mayor of a major American city Carl B. Stokes. The ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Cleveland City Hall, 6-1 Lakeside Ave. E. Immediately following, the Cleveland Restoration Society will be serving a 50th birthday cake in honor of its anniversary.

Cory United Methodist Church Marker Unveiling, June 8, 2022

On December 10, 2021, the Cleveland Restoration Society unveiled its first marker on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail, which belongs to the Cory United Methodist Church in the historic Glenville neighborhood.

Check out the photo gallery HERE

Cleveland Jewish News


Cory United Methodist Church marker unveiling. Staff photograph.