Hillsboro’s “marching mothers” and their children are being inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Katie Burwinkel, project director for the Lincoln School Story project at the Highland County Historical Society, said the induction will be held Oct. 5 at the statehouse in Columbus.
The marching mothers were a group of African American women who walked with their children each day to Webster elementary school in Hillsboro from 1954-56 to peacefully protest their children not being permitted to attend Webster instead of the inferior Lincoln elementary school.
Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the integration of Webster in what is considered the first test case in the north of Brown v. Board of Education. The historical society recently opened a new permanent exhibit commemorating the event.
Burwinkel said the society has scheduled a Croswell bus to take people to the ceremony. The bus will leave from the Presbyterian Church at 7:15 a.m. and return about 3 p.m. Cost is $20.
At the statehouse, there will be a ceremony, followed by a catered reception. Reservations can be made by calling the Highland House Museum. The $20 fee must be paid prior to Oct. 5.
Burwinkel said the event is “pretty exciting,” adding that expected to be on hand is Gov. John Kasich, along with well-known businessman Les Wexner, who will be the keynote speaker.
According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission website, “The Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame was created in 2009 through the collaborative efforts of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, Honda of America Mfg., Inc., Wright State University and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.”
The Civil Rights Hall of Fame “seeks to acknowledge outstanding Ohioans who are recognized as pioneers in human and civil rights and who have advanced the goals of equality and inclusion. Inductees of the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame are individuals who have made significant contributions in support of civil rights, cultural awareness and understanding in furtherance of a more just society.”
The “marching mothers” consisted of Imogene Curtis, Gertrude Clemons, Sallie Williams, Selicka Dent, Joanne Zimmerman, Maxine Thomas, Norma Rollins, Minnie Speech, Francis Curtis, Dellia Cumberland, Alberta Jewett, Alberta Goins, Nellie Zimmerman, Zella Cumberland, Zora Cumberland, Rose Kiligore, Elsie Steward Young, Glea Clemons and Roxie Clemons.