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Ohio Civil Rights Hall Of Fame

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, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and PNC.* 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.

Nomination period for the 2022 Civil Rights Hall of Fame is now closed

The nomination period for the 13th Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame is now closed. Watch this space for the announcement of this year's class of inductees! This year's Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on October 6, 2022 in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. The Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame nomination process requires a nominator's statement of intent, three letters of support from members of the community, and a summary of the nominee's accomplishments.

For more details, see the official nomination form.

Completed nominations were required to be postmarked or received by email by June 10, 2022.

12th Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission welcomed the following 2021 inductees at the 12th Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame induction ceremony on October 7, 2021 at 10:00am at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. 



Meet the 2021 Inductees

Granville T Woods photo

Granville T. Woods (1856-1910)

Granville Woods, born in 1856 in Columbus, Ohio, was a trailblazer through his work as the first African American to be an electrical and mechanical engineer in the post-Civil War era. He was nicknamed the “Black Edison” and was constantly compared to his white colleagues and other inventors, so much so that Thomas Edison tried to sue Woods over rights to the invention of the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph. He started the Woods Electrical Company in the late 1880’s due to the success of that invention and actually held more than 60 patents in the United States. Woods died later in 1910, in New York and in 2006 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


WS McIntosh PhotoWaters Sumpter "W.S." McIntosh (1921-1974)

Waters Sumpter McIntosh was born February 2, 1921 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1960, McIntosh heard the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was inspired to continue civil rights work in Dayton, Ohio. Like others during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, McIntosh used many nonviolent methods, such as sit-ins and boycotts, to advocate for the right of minorities to work at establishments in Dayton. Along with serving as the executive director of CORE in Dayton, McIntosh also demonstrated leadership and service to civil rights in Ohio by serving as the president and founder of the West Side Citizens Council and advisor to the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also worked with the community directly and was able to gather Black students from Roosevelt High School to challenge restaurant segregation. McIntosh tragically passed away at the age of 53 on March 4, 1974. He was shot outside his family business in Dayton while he tried to stop a robbery.

Otto Beatty, Jr photo

Otto Beatty, Jr. (1940-2021)

Otto Beatty Jr. was born in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio and went on to earn his BA and MA in business administration from Howard University. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Beatty went on to get his JD from The Ohio State University College of Law. Beatty was a renowned businessman and lawyer who was dedicated to the advancement of minority-owned businesses, reform, and healthcare for the state of Ohio. He served in various leadership roles in state government as well as within his own community. Otto Beatty, Jr. served as a State Representative in Ohio for 18 years and dedicated most of his time and work to minority businesses and underrepresented groups. He was also the former chairman of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, former president of the Franklin County Trial Lawyers Association, and the former chairman of Public Utilities Unit. Beatty was known as a mentor and inspiration to many other Black lawyers in Ohio.


Commissioners' Community Spirit Award

photo of Lydia J. MorganLydia J. Morgan

Lydia Morgan was born and raised in North Carolina, but moved to Cincinnati in 1975. Morgan went on to become an educator in a predominantly white school district in which she faced discrimination and racism as one of the district’s few Black educators. Despite the challenges she was facing personally, Morgan made sure her classroom remained a safe and educational space for all her students and those in the district. Morgan created and implemented the Juneteenth Celebration in Cincinnati, Ohio, with celebrations continuing over the past 33 years. Many supporters of her nomination believe her work to shed light on Juneteenth helped lead to its 2021 establishment as a federal holiday.


Due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, it was necessary to cancel the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame induction ceremony that was scheduled for October 8, 2020. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Hall of Fame sponsors, and Governor DeWine helped to create a video to celebrate past inductees and provide inspiration for the future. To view the video, click below.


* Acknowledgement of the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame sponsors is not intended as an endorsement of these organizations.