Cincinnati’s Unveils Statue Honoring Civil Rights Activist Marian Spencer

A statue of civil rights pioneer Marian Spencer was formally unveiled along Cincinnati’s riverfront Sunday.

The pandemic delayed its reveal in Smale Park, but the statue was finally uncovered Sunday evening. The statue stands, circled by a partial wall carved with some of her most famous words: “Be smart, be polite, vote and keep on fighting.”

The statue of Spencer is Cincinnati’s very first statue honoring a woman.

“For those of us who got to know and work with Marian it was a living reminder of the good, the bad, the promise and ultimately the hope for a better future and a better today,” said John Cranley, Cincinnati mayor, at the reveal event Sunday evening.

Spencer was Cincinnati’s first Black female city councilmember and the first Black woman to serve as vice mayor; she was best known for her fight to integrate Coney Island and its swimming pool in the ‘50s and for her fight to desegregate Cincinnati Public Schools.

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SOURCE: WCPO, Courtney Francisco and Mariel Carbone

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