University of Cincinnati's Black History

A trip though UC's historic people, places, and events

University of Cincinnati's Black History

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, United States

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Tour Information

This tour will take you through some of the most important people, places, and events in UC’s Black history. We present some pioneers like Jennie Davis Porter, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at UC in 1928 and one of three in all of the US at the time. We present some triumphs, like the creation of the African American Cultural Resource Center, but we also present some of the unpleasant realities of UC’s relationship to race, like the tragic murder of Samuel Dubose by a UC police officer in 2015. We hope this trail will help educate UC students, faculty, and neighbors on the important African American history around us every day and push us all to work for a better racial future for our school, our city, and our nation.

The University of Cincinnati Black History Trail was developed as a small group project in Dr. Anne Delano Steinert’s African American History in Public course in the spring of 2021 by Sandy Chan, Raya Fitch, Killy Kilgallon, Liz Killius, Rocky Jones, Aaron Rapach, and Darby Smith.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Charles McMicken, born 1782, was the founding donor of the University of Cincinnati. He was also an enslaver. McMicken lived for much of his life in Louisiana where slaves ran his household and where he transacted property sales in both lan... Read more
Here on Sunday, January 17, 1982, the night before the school holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), sponsored a Martin Luther King Jr. “trash party.” Flyers that encouraged attendees to bring canceled welfare ch... Read more
In 1969, the United Black Association (UBA) occupied the university’s administration building to force the University of Cincinnati to evaluate the ways Black students were being treated on campus. The takeover started at 11:00 a.m. and l... Read more
Jennie Daivis Porter was born in 1876 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was an undertaker and her mother was a school teacher. In 1893, Davis graduated from Hughes High School then located in the West End. She then followed in her mother’s ... Read more
At the age of 57, Dr. Loretta C. Manggrum became the first African American woman graduate of CCM’s predecessor, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, when she earned a Master’s degree in 1953. Dr. Manggrum’s musical career began during h... Read more
Ralph Belsinger attended UC from 1911 to 1915 and was the university’s first African American athlete. He ran for the track team here in Nippert Stadium for all four years at UC, participating in relay events and running the mile. Belsing... Read more
This is the Veterans Memorial Bridge, also known as the Tangeman Bridge, which originally ran at a ninety-degree angle to its current location. The original bridge was removed during UC’s recent campus redesign, but was a major hotspot fo... Read more
The Quadres Society was a club of UC students founded in 1935 by Donald Spencer (husband of Marian Spencer). The Quadres sought to promote Black inclusion in extracurricular activities at UC during a time of segregation in campus organizati... Read more
Willard Stargel (not to be confused with Willie Stargell of MLB fame) was a popular student athlete who began his college athletics career in 1942 and eventually became a star player on the UC football, basketball, and track teams. A majori... Read more
Steger Student Life Center is home to the offices of UC’s Racial Awareness Pilot Program. Established in 1985, RAPP is a nine-month-long social justice focused racial awareness program. This program was founded after insensitive stateme... Read more
In the early 1900s African American students were excluded from fraternities and sororities on most campuses across the nation. The first African American Greek organizations, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, appea... Read more
Born in 1909, Dr. Vera Clement Edwards grew up in Texas where her local school administrators did not support integrated colleges. After she earned her Bachelor’s degree from the segregated Prairie View College, in Prairie View Texas, she... Read more
In 2018 Sinna Habteselassie became the first African American student body president at the University of Cincinnati. Between March of 2018 and April of 2019, Habteselassie represented over 36,000 undergraduates. As the student body preside... Read more
Oscar Robertson was the first African American to play on UC’s basketball team. In 1960, UC’s yearbook The Cincinnatian declared: “‘The fabulous Oscar Robertson’ —the greatest athlete ever to participate for the University of Ci... Read more
Lawrence C. Hawkins was a pioneering African American member of UC’s administration. He was born in 1919 to South Carolina sharecroppers and moved to Cincinnati in 1926. Hawkins earned a Bachelor's degree in education at the University of... Read more
African American scholar Dr. P. Eric Abercrumbie worked for the University of Cincinnati for decades. He came to UC as a counselor and cultural sensitivity trainer in 1972, and became the Program Coordinator for the Office of Minority Affa... Read more
Everette Howard was an eighteen-year-old Black student studying at the University of Cincinnati’s Upward Bound Program in the summer of 2011. Upward Bound is a program for high school students that provides summer academic support for min... Read more
In 1947, at the age of 16, Darwin T. Turner became the youngest student to ever graduate from the University of Cincinnati. This is an impressive accomplishment for anyone, but more impressive because Turner was a Black man. Turner graduate... Read more
Civil Rights activist Marian Spencer became the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1983. Born in 1920, Spencer was inspired to work on civil rights by growing up in a racially integrated, but internally segre... Read more
This small bench commemorates the life of Samuel Dubose. On July 19, 2015 local Black resident Samuel Dubose was fatally shot by a UC policeman during a routine traffic stop. Following the shooting a student group called “The Irate 8” f... Read more
*Trigger Warning: This discription uses derogatory terms toward African Americans in some contextaulized quotes.* In 1936, Lucy Oxley became the first African American woman to earn an MD from UC’s College of Medicine. At this time, th... Read more
Between 1960 and 1972 the University of Cincinnati was the site of federal Department of Defense-funded full-body human radiation experiments to investigate how radiation impacts human beings. The founder of the nuclear medicine program at ... Read more


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