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Listing of Social Justice LEGENDS

The following collection of past Central Ohio leaders is a representative sample of the many social justice advocates who spent their lives making a difference in their community.  Their names are memorialized in a current art exhibit at the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park in downtown Columbus.  A study guide ENTITLED: "Who lives, who dies, who tells the story?", is in development to complement and eventually expand upon the recent research effort that led to establishing a growing historical record of social justice in Central Ohio.  Park volunteers conducted the research based on the initial investigation of the staff of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.  Others are welcome to join the effort and suggest additions for inclusion in the intended study guide.  Please note that a candidate for inclusion is to have a connection to Central Ohio, can no longer be living, and has made a major contribution to social justice causes for his or her community.  Please use the following link to access the park’s Facebook page to make a suggestion


Adam, Mohamed Hassan – homelessness, orphans, youth engagement, Co-founder and Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations, Co-founder of Ask a Muslim. 


Agler, Margaret – underground railroad station – 2828 Sunbury Rd.


Allen, Amy – reformer of Ohio special education 


Allen, Florence – suffragist, 1st female state supreme court justice in U.S., 1st female U.S. Court of Appeals judge


Allen, Nimrod B. – hosted Lighthouse radio program, Director of Columbus Urban League, Founder and National Pres. of Frontiers of America


Alston, Harvey – 1st Black Police Captain in U.S., President of Frontiers Club, City Council


Bachman, Dora Sandoe – sex education, reproductive health, VP – Columbus Equal Suffrage Assn., VP – Ohio Suffrage Assn., 1st woman elected to Columbus School Board and President, League of Women Voters, 1st woman graduate of OSU Law School


Baker, Maud C. – 1st Black woman teacher and 1st Black woman principal of Columbus Public Schools


Barndt, Rev. Bill – civil rights, anti-war, interfaith, Pastors for Peace


Battelle, Annie Norton – suffragist, National Women’s Party, Florence Crittenton Home for unwed mothers, Children’s Hospital, Columbus Metropolitan Library, major funder of Battelle Memorial Institute


Beatty, Otto Jr. – civil rights, voting rights, minority business development, health care access, Chair – Ohio Commission on Minority Health


Beittel, Kent and Mary – Co-founders and Directors of Open Shelter; Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, Open Door Clinic, Huckleberry House


Black, Catherine – founded Community Nursing Assn. (now LifeCare Alliance), founded Columbus Cancer Clinic, founded Columbus Society for Prevention & Cure of Tuberculosis and Ohio Air School for Children


Bowen III, John W. E. – 1st Black Ohio State Senator, YMCA, UNCF


Brooks, Curtis A. – food co-ops, affordable housing, Head Start, Executive Director of CMACAO


Brown, Caroline – underground railroad station, 1200 E. Livingston


Brown, Rowland C. W. – public education, school desegregation, Citizens Council for Ohio Schools, Urban Education Coalition, Chair of Metropolitan Columbus Schools Committee


Bryce, Edna – Pres. of Mt. Vernon Ave. Improvement Association, Columbus Chapter of National Association of Colored Women’s Club


Bull, Rev. Jason – Underground Railroad manager, based at Clinton Chapel – 3100 N. High St.


Cannon, Jr., Wallace – affordable senior citizen housing, Chair, Director, & V-P of United Church Homes


Caplan, Dr. Benjamin – medical missionary throughout the world for 50 years, health care access, recipient of numerous humanitarian awards


Carroll, Antonia – elderly quality of life and services advocate, Co-developer of Senior Options Services and Levy, Director of Franklin Co. Office on Aging


Coit, Elizabeth Greer –President & Founder of Columbus Equal Rights Assn., Ohio Woman Suffrage Assn. Treas.


Cornelius, Dorothy – public health and youth advocate, Exec. Dir. of Ohio Nurses Assn., President of American Nurses Assn., President of International Council of Nurses, President of American Journal of Nursing, Chair of Ohio Girls Industrial School


Coulter, Dr. James E. – Underground Railroad station, hosted anti-slavery meetings, guardian of fugitive slave


Craig-Jones, Ellen Walker – 1st African-American female Mayor in U.S. (Urbancrest), Buckeye Boy’s Ranch


Crane, Loann – racial equity, women’s rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, public education, and founding member of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and Matriots Ohio.


Cromartie, Dorothy – Faith Mission, Bethlehem on Broad St., Weiland Park


Crosby, Eva May – 1st African-American female student of OSU Law, fair housing.


Davis, Helen Jenkins – former African-American teacher who led Columbus school desegregation lawsuit.


Davis, Lewis – Underground Railroad conductor, President of Oberlin University, Founder of United Theological Seminary


DeNucci, George – labor rights, Pres. of Columbus Federation of Labor, Pres. of Franklin Co. CIO


Depp, Abram – freed slave, Underground Railroad Station, part of farm is now Lucy Depp Park


Dickerson, Rev. L. L. – civil rights, pursued housing rights case successfully at U.S. Supreme Court, President of Columbus NAACP


Duffey, Elizabeth Bisbee – Feminist author, women’s health, advocate of co-education and sex education, Founder & Editor of The Alliance – a newspaper that advocated for equal rights of women


Duncan, Robert – 1st African-American to serve as the following: Franklin County Judge, Ohio Supreme Court Justice, Federal Judge of Ohio, and U.S. Court of Military Appeals; decided historical Columbus School desegregation case, American Red Cross


Durham, Barbee W. – civil rights, Executive Secretary of NAACP, Frontiers Club


Edmonston, Golda – suffragist, equal pay, voting rights, 1st female Columbus City Council President, state representative


Evans, Amber – Peoples Justice Project, Exec. Dir. of Juvenile Justice Coalition, OSU Chapter of Occupy Wall St.


Evans, Dorothy Cage – Harmony Project, cofounder of Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands


Evans, Naomi J. – 1st African-American nurse of Benjamin Franklin Tuberculosis Hospital and 1st African-American nurse of Columbus Public Schools


Fernald, Dr. Will – fair housing, civil rights, children’s diabetes and developmental disabilities support


Fletcher, Dr. Sara E. – Columbus Equal Suffrage, National Suffrage March 1913, public health.


Folkman, Rabbi Jerome – Community Chest, Ohio Community Nursing, Mid-Ohio Health Planning Federation, White House Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation, President of Ohio Conference of Family Relations


Foster, Rev. Andrew – interfaith social action, Co-founder of B.R.E.A.D.


Frankenberg, Nancy – community activist, helped to establish in Delaware Co.: Christmas Clearinghouse, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Senior Citizen Center, Legal Aid Society, Alcohol Council, People in Need


Gardner, Ozem – Anti-Slavery Society, Underground Railroad home – 8221 Flint Rd.


Gladden, Rev. Dr. Washington – civil rights, women’s rights, interfaith, labor rights, Co-founder of Gladden Community House, President of the American Missionary Assn., founded Civic Federation of Columbus


Glenn, Annie –  Ohio Board of Child Abuse, National Deafness & Communication Disorders Advisory Council 


Glover, Jessie Stephens -  1st Black female graduate of OSU, YWCA, NAACP, National Assn. of Colored Women’s Club, probation officer for juveniles, advocate of public playgrounds


Hadley, Rev. Alvin – interfaith, children services, and domestic violence recovery support


Hale, Sr., Rev. Phale D. – interfaith, civil rights, President of Columbus NAACP, State Representative, Columbus Area Anti-Poverty Council, President of Columbus Operation Push, Chair of Ohio Civil Rights Commission


Hamlar, Sr., David – Columbus Urban League, Columbus Children’s Hospital Trustee, Pres. of Columbus School Board during school desegregation


Hammond, Jerry – employment and housing discrimination, 1st African-American Pres. of Columbus City Council, Franklin Co. Children Services, Ohio Environmental Board of Review, Chair of Police Community Relations Committee, helped to establish Community Shelter Board and Kings Art Complex


Hanby, William C. – women’s rights, abolitionist, co-founder of Otterbein University – first college to admit women, include women as faculty, and among first to admit people of color, Underground Railroad station 160 W. Main St., Westerville


Harper, Frances Watkins – 1st female instructor of Union Seminary, journalist, poet, speaker for American Anti-Slavery Society, Co-founder of National Assn. of Colored Women, Director of American Assn. of Colored Youth


Hawkins, Alfred M. – Big Brothers Association, Vice-President of Columbus NAACP


Hawkins, James – Underground Railroad conductor


Hayden, Dr. Gillette – suffragist, National Woman’s Party, Natl. President of Altrusa International, Founder and President of American Academy of Periodontology


Heard, Loretta – all-day kindergarten and public school advocate, 1st Black President of Columbus Council of PTA’s, Pres. of Columbus School Board, Pres. of Council of Great City Schools, Pres. of Ohio Community Education Association


Heath, Rev. Uriah – abolitionist, promoted Free Black housing, schools, & prison libraries, Founder/Trustee of Worthington Female Seminary, fundraiser for Wilberforce University, Trustee of Ohio Wesleyan Univ.


Herrmann, Bishop Edward – affordable housing, food pantries, helped establish Operation Feed


Herrera, Rubén Castilla – Latino rights, immigration rights, community activist, Columbus Sanctuary Collective


Hertel, Fred – sustainable resources practices, Founder of Columbus Food Conservation League


Jeffrey, Celia – Co-founder Gladden Community House, Neighborhood Guild Assn., Columbus Urban League, patron of Columbus Children’s Hospital.


Jeffrey, Nancy and Tad – ecology, literacy, mental health, children’s hospital, and homeless support, Cofounder of Community Shelter Board (Nancy)


Jenkins, Rev. Charles F.  – civil rights, Frontiers Club, YMCA, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority


Jenkins, David S. – founded first African-American school & newspaper in Columbus, anti-slavery, women’s rights, Underground Railroad


Jones, Olga Anna – 1st female Columbus City Council member, Secretary of Ohio League of Women Voters, President of Columbus Women’s Assn. of Commerce, Editor of Ohio Woman Voter, Asst. Editor of Ohio Teacher


Kaplan, Rabbi Harry – interfaith, civil rights, Council for Democracy, Director of OSU Hillel, Pres. of University Religious Council, Co-founder of Columbus Town Meeting


Keagle, Anna B. – teacher, Founder of Godman Guild Assn. and Godman Settlement House


Kelton, Belle Coit – Godman Guild, League of Women Voters, President of Columbus Woman Suffrage Assn.,

led court battle to be among first women admitted to The Ohio State University


Kelton, Fernando & Sophia – abolitionist, Underground Railroad Home – 586 E. Town St.


Kilbourne, Anna – Co-founder of Columbus Children’s Hospital


Kilbourne, James – Underground Railroad, founded City of Worthington and its public library.


Kobacker, Arthur – Affordable Health Council, Pres. of Children’s Hospital, Co-founder of I Know I Can, Co-founder Dollar for Scholars, Advisory Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Co-founder Kobacker House and Kobacker Family Charitable Foundation


Langston, Charles Henry – Underground Railroad conductor, among very first African-Americans to attend Oberlin College, editor of the Palladium of Liberty, principal of the Columbus Colored School (1856), leader of Oberlin-Wellington rescue, grandfather of Langston Hughes


Lazarus, Charles Y. – Chair of Ohio Governor’s Committee on Civil Rights, Chair of United Appeal, Community Chest, White House Conference on Youth, Academy for Contemporary Problems


Lazarus, Hattie – founded Mother’s Health Association (now Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio)


Lazarus, Jr., Robert – equal rights, racial justice, Co-founder of Community Shelter Board, Planned Parenthood, Urban League, UNCF, MLK Jr. Center for the Performing and Cultural Arts, Ohio Arts Council


Litchford, Pleasant – Underground Railroad, provided land for an early school for children of color (1869)


Livingston, Alexander W. – Underground Railroad station, prison ministry, tomato seed developer


Looman, Jan  - community activist, public education advocate, neighborhood cleanups, Exec. Dir. of University District Organization


Lowery, Percy – equal opportunity employment, 1st African-American Chair of the Ohio Parole Board


Lumpkin, Clarence – Linden community activist, school desegregation, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, healthcare access


Lynch Sr., Amos – journalist, editor and publisher:  Ohio Sentinel, The Call and Post, The Columbus Post; Columbus Urban League, Co-founder of Columbus MLK, Jr. Breakfast, civil rights activist


Martin, Ada and Harold – Co-founders of Take It to the Streets Foundation 


Matesich, Sr. Mary Andrew – race relations, affordable higher education, Chair of Ohio Ethics Commission, United Way, President of Ohio Dominican College, established Operation Second Chance for college dropouts,  founded education enrichment programs: Village to Child, Upward Bound, and Talent Search 


Mattoon, Ansel -abolitionist, underground railroad conductor, hosted Anti-Slavery meetings, underground railroad station 72 E. North St., Worthington 


Maxwell, Richard – disabilities rights, OSU Office of Disability Services, Co-founder and VP of Creative Living, Ohio Wheelchair Athletic Association, Ohio Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities


Melton, Florence – inventor, founder of schools across the country in adult Jewish learning, Meals on Wheels, Prosthetics for Needy Children, established Women’s Division of United Jewish Appeal


Merritt, Agnes – women’ rights, women’s employment and educational opportunities, Secretary of Governor’s Committee on the Status of Women, author of Ohio Government Digest.


Mitchell, J. Arnett – civil rights, Urban League, Pres. of Frontiers Club


Moore, John – labor rights, suffragist, President Ohio United Mine Workers, President of Ohio Fed. of Labor


Moore, Mayme – civil rights, mental health advocate, founding member of Columbus NAACP, Urban League, Children Services


Mulholland, Helen – women’s rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, founding member of Ohio Women, Inc. and Ohio Commission on Status of Women, Chair of Ohio Council of YWCA’s, Action Ohio for Battered Women


Myrick, Isabelle L. – civil rights, Sec. of Vanguard League


Neil, Hannah – food and clothing assistance, Female Benevolent Society, founded Industrial School Assn. to become the Hannah Neil Mission for homeless education & housing


Neil, Robert – abolitionist, Underground Railroad Home – 1842 Indianola Ave.


Nichols, Constance – civil rights, NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality, cofounder of Vanguard League.


Papier, Rose – elderly advocate, 1st director of Ohio Administration of Aging, Columbus Council of Jewish Women, League of Women Voters


Parker, Harriet – education advocate, scientist, Maryhaven, Hillel Foundation


Parks, Eric D. – disabilities rights, Chair of Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, Sertoma Club and its support for Columbus Speech and Hearing Center


Patterson, David – Underground Railroad, African-American farmer and blacksmith, Delaware County


Peterson, Helen – civil rights, women’s rights, equal pay, YWCA, Council for Democracy


Pettibone, Milo S. – abolitionist, President of Ohio American Anti-Slavery Society, founder of Delaware Co. Agricultural Society, founder Waldo, OH.


Poindexter, Rev. James – Underground Railroad conductor, 1st Black school board member, 1st Black city council member, Wilberforce University Trustee


Portman, Maury – Minority Business Development, civil rights.


Poulton, Diane – women’s rights, YWCA, New Directions Career Center, Ohio Women’s Commission


Rajadhyaksha, Kasturi – domestic violence, women’s rights, public health, Co-Founder of ASHA Ray of Hope, Founder of Women of Indian Subcontinent Support Group, Columbus Equal Opportunity Commission


Reams, Evangeline – founded The Friends Rescue Home for unwed mothers, prevent human trafficking, Supt. Of Gilead Social Training School for Delinquent Women


Rector, Florence Hayden – suffragist, National Woman’s Party, 1st Ohio Female Architect


Reis, Fr. Justin J. – prison ministry, Unbound International Mission, B.R.E.A.D. community advocate


Reynolds, Arlene – integrated pre-school director, refugees, interfaith, Habitat for Humanity, Bethlehem on Broad St.


Reynolds, James and Minerva – Underground Railroad station, namesake of Reynoldsburg (James)


Ridgway, Isabelle – established 1st African-American Home for the Elderly


Robinson, Aminah – civil rights activist, 1963 March on Washington, Black history documentarian


Rogers, Julianna Cochran – disabilities rights, Chair of Columbus Handicapped Advisory Task Force, Pres. of Central Ohio Easter Seals, Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities


Rosenfield, Peg – voting rights, campaign finance reform, anti-nuclear proliferation, civil rights, leader of Ohio League of Women Voters


Ross, Charles O. ­– civil rights, voting rights, racial profiling, excessive use of force, institutional racism, 1stChair of OSU Dept. of Black Studies, established OSU College Bound camp for intercity youth, Founder of Harambee Uhuru African-centered curriculum school


Schonthal, Joseph - Founder of Hermine Schonthal Community House, Camp Schonthal, and Jewish Infants Home of Ohio; Co-founder of Federated Jewish Charities


Schottenstein, Irving – affordable housing, Co-founder of Columbus Neighborhood Partnership (Homeport), Chair of Columbus Jewish Federation, Yassenoff Jewish Community Center


Schottenstein, Melvin – hunger, homelessness, Operation Feed, Co-founder of Community Shelter Board


Shaw, Leslie M.  – 1st Black police sergeant in Ohio, Director of Friendly Service Bureau, community relations, Frontiers Club


Shea, Timothy – Pres. of Columbus Trades and Labor Assembly, opposed child labor and prison labor


Shearer, Frank C. – civil rights, Cofounder of Vanguard League, Co-chair of Committee for Democratic Practices to eliminate racial restrictive covenants of property deeds


Shreffler, Ned Lance – Open Shelter, Pastors for Peace, B.R.E.A.D., President of Columbus CCampaign for Arms Control, President of Ohio SANE/Freeze Nuclear Arms


Silvey, Ted F. – labor rights, Editor of Labor Tribune, Columbus Federation of Labor, Exec. Sec. Ohio CIO


Spater, Sandy – civil rights, housing discrimination, employment discrimination, LGBTQ rights


Stansbery, Rev. Les and Peggy – civil rights, anti-war, interfaith, social action


Stoner, George – Underground Railroad conductor and station (Stagecoach Inn) 133 S. State St., Westerville


Sugarman, Rose – affordable housing, Executive Director of Schonthal Community Center and Columbus Jewish Federation


Sullivan, Kevin – Director of Ohio AIDS Coalition


Sullivant, Joseph – abolitionist, founded Columbus library (Columbus Anthenaeum), Columbus School Board


Sully-Walker, Selma – Founder & Director of Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio,


Taylor, Matt – AIDS resource advocate, Co-founder of Project Open Hand Columbus


Thomas, Dave – adoption, completing education advocate


Townshend, Norton – Anti-Slavery Society, led repeal of Ohio Black (Restriction) Laws


Turk, Dolly and Henry – underground railroad station, 108 W. New England St., Worthington


Tyree Sr., Cliff – established Columbus Youth Services Bureau, co-founder of I Know I Can, UNCF, Director of Columbus Human Relations Commission, Vice-Chair of Attorney General’s Juvenile Justice Task Force


Utz, Carolyn – NAACP, Columbus Women’s Roundtable, 1st African-American member of Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra, youth advocate


Ward, Anita Smith – women’s rights, access to education, President of Ohio Assn. of University Women, Sec. of American Assn. of University Women, Board of Regents, 1st woman chair of university trustees in Ohio 


Ward, Eldon – United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, President of Columbus YMCA, 1st African-American Chair of the Columbus Foundation  


Ward, John T. - Underground Railroad conductor


Washington, Lewis – Underground Railroad conductor


Watterson, Bishop John – interfaith, Anti-Saloon League leader, Co-founder of Mt. Carmel Hospital, St. Anthony’s Hospital, and Pontifical College Josephinum


White, Jr., Amos J. – public education, world hunger, public health services, Columbus Literacy Council, Chair of ECCO Family Health Center, Chair of United Church Board for World Ministries, Co-founder of Alpha Rho Lambda Education Foundation


White, Cora Jordan – Exec. Sec. of Blue Triangle Branch YWCA, Chair of City Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs


White, David D. – 1st Black attorney licensed in Columbus, NAACP, Ohio Civil Rights Commission


Williams, Grayce – President of Ohio Council of YWCA’s, President of Columbus YWCA, Co-Founder of Action Ohio Coalition for Battered Women, helped to launch CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence, Ohio Reading Radio Service


Williams, John B. – employment discrimination, community activist, Southside Settlement House, Greater Linden Community Development, Columbus Council of Elders


Willis Sr., Bill – professional sports integration, youth detention reform


Willis, Edward J. – Principal of Champion Middle School and East High School, NAACP, Big Brothers Assn., Columbus Urban League, UNCP, Franklin Co. Society for Crippled Children


Wilson, Nancy – civil rights, Kids to Country, UNCF, Minority AIDS Project, Nancy Wilson Foundation


Young, Mary Miller – women’s rights, Co-Founder Center of New Directions, Co-Founder Ohio Commission on the Status of Women, Co-Founder Ohio Women, Inc., Co-Founder Columbus Metropolitan Club, YWCA


Zacks, Gordon – international immigration rights, Middle East peace initiatives, Chair of National United Jewish Appeal, and Chair of Florence Melton Adult Mini-School


Zelizer, Rabbi Nathan – equal employment, affordable housing, housing discrimination, prison reform, interfaith initiatives, mental health and aging issues

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