Trolley tours for black history


Sofia Syed

The John Brown memorial at the Akron City Zoo.

By Sofia Syed, Arts & Life Writer

Some people may not be aware of the famous speech delivered by Sojourner Truth at Akron’s Women’s Rights Convention Center in 1851.

“If women want any rights more than they‘s got, why don’t’ they just take them, and not be talking about it,” Truth said.

In honor of Black History Month, UA’s Rethinking Race program partnered with the Summit County Historical Society and the City of Akron provided a free historical trolley tour on Friday, Feb. 6.

This is the second year that the Historical Society has offered the Rethinking Race trolley tour. The next 2105 tour is on Feb. 13 from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Boarding for the trolley is located at the College Street circle off of East Buchtel Avenue in front of the Honors Complex and Arts & Science Building. Seating is limited.

The trolley tour allows passengers to learn about influential black history. It also educates passengers on the significance of the different buildings and the people who made each location so historic.

On the first tour, a handout was given to each participant that allowed them to use their mobile device to scan QR codes. Each code contained more in-depth facts about some the sites that were visited.

Additionally, the trolley tour pointed out the various monuments that commemorate some of the buildings that have been demolished or relocated over the years.

Towards the end of the tour, there was a short hike to visit the John Brown Monument located in the Akron Zoo. Dave Lieberth, chairman of the board for the Historical Society, then lectured about the abolitionist John Brown and his multiple efforts to abolish slavery.

Leainne Neff Heppner, executive director for the Historical Society, narrated details while conducting the tour.

Heppner says that the purpose of the tours is to make people aware of diversity in the Akron community by highlighting historic sights. She added that it encourages people to look more into the history and see how it relates to them.