NewsBlack History Month


Black trailblazers from Akron's past and present honored with new banners

Posted at 11:59 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 11:59:16-05

AKRON, Ohio — Multiple banners hung throughout the city of Akron are honoring Black trailblazers in a variety of fields during Black History Month.

“This month, and throughout the entire year, it is important to take stock of the remarkable achievements of these featured individuals, and the tremendous contributions the Black community has made here in Akron,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in a news release. “It is vital that we continue to work each day to ensure we create more opportunity, equity, and hope throughout the City to light the way for the next generation of trailblazers.”

The City of Akron hangs banners honoring Black trailblazers.
The City of Akron hangs banners honoring Black trailblazers.

The Akronites featured on the banner represent a range of backgrounds, from politics to sports to education and manufacturing—all of whom have helped inspire the community and push the city of Akron forward.

Those featured include:

  • Aimee Wade - 1st Black Female Executive Director of the ADM Board of Summit County
  • Charles Gladman - 1st Black Chief of the Akron Fire Department
  • Christine Fowler-Mack - 1st Black Female Superintendent of Akron Public Schools
  • Dorothy Jackson - 1st Black Woman Appointed to Mayor’s Cabinet as Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Ed Davis - 1st Black President of Akron City Council
  • Edward Irvine - 1st Black Chief of the Akron Police Department
  • Emilia Sykes - Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives
  • Fritz Pollard - 1st Black Quarterback & Coach in Pro Football
  • Gus Johnson - 1st Black Professional Basketball Player from Akron
  • Harold Stubbs - 1st Black Law Director in the City of Akron
  • Helen Arnold - 1st Black Woman Elected to the Akron Board of Education
  • James Williams - 1st Black Akron resident appointed to U.S. Attorney General of NE Ohi
  • Bishop Joey Johnson - Senior Pastor, Chair of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force
  • Joseph Rouhlac - 1st Black Judge Elected in the City of Akron
  • LeBron James - 4x NBA Champion, philanthropist, and hometown hero
  • Marco Sommerville – Former Akron City Council President, Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Affairs, and 1st Black member of Summit County Board of Election
  • Margo Sommerville - 1st Black Woman Elected President of Akron City Council
  • Marian Hall - Founder of the Summit County Committee for Adequate Welfare
  • Martin Chapman -1st Black Administrator of Akron Public Schools
  • Rev. Raymond Burgess - 1st Black Member of Summit County Council
  • Ray Dove - 1st Black Chemist to Work in the Akron Tire Industry
  • Rita Dove - 1987 Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet and 1st Black Poet Laureate of the U.S.
  • Sylvester Small - 1st Black Superintendent of Akron Public Schools
  • Tamiyka Rose -1st Health Equity Ambassador for the City of Akron & 1st Black Deputy Chief of Staff

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