The Legacy March and Celebration in Norwood that honored past Civil Rights leaders was led by Bishop Sonny James of Keep It Real Worldwide Ministries in Norwood, and Norwood Mayor Victor Schneider, both shown in front with 7-year-old Trenton Burdine holding the sign. Photo by Michael Mitchell

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

Photos by

By Michael Mitchell

The late Rev. Shuttlesworth Sr. imagined a world that transcended hatred and embraced love. He, along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., led a peaceful equal rights movement in Birmingham facing brutal violence from police that was televised in the early days of television, which inspired the nation and the world.         

A number of participants showed up on October 28 to march from the Norwood Middle School on Sherman Avenue to the steps of Norwood City Hall on Montgomery Road, not in protest, but in a show of unity for those who walked before them and endured discriminatory laws and practices in overcoming segregation.

The Rev. Peterson Mingo leads in prayer at the Legacy March. From left are Bishop Sonny James, Mingo, Alanee Wright and Rabbi Gary Zola. Photo by Michael Mitchell

Norwood was chosen because at one time it was one of thousands of small “sundown cities” in the country, or cities where African Americans could be arrested or assaulted if they were within the city limits after sundown, march organizers said. There is a report about Norwood as a sundown town released by Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Miss.

Legacy March and Celebration was led by Bishop Sonny James of Keep It Real Worldwide Ministries in Norwood, and the Rev. Steven Bester, the grandson of the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Sr., a national Civil Rights icon who led The Birmingham Crusade for Civil Rights and later moved to Cincinnati.

The Rev. K.Z Smith and Gina Ruffin Moore attended the celebration. Photo by Michael Mitchell

Greater New Light Church in Avondale, which was founded by Shuttlesworth, is continuing the legacy of those who walked among us, fighting for equality.

“This is not a protest. It’s symbolic of the vision Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth had when he insisted that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. go to Birmingham, Alabama to help fight segregation,” assistant event planner Alanee Wright said.

Family members and friends of the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Sr. pose for this group photo on the steps of Norwood City Hall following the Legacy March. Photo by Michael Mitchell

“This march is fostering more leaders to empower individuals to step up, take action, and play an active role in shaping our collective future, committed to ensuring the dreams of leaders like Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth becomes a reality.

This celebration is more than just a gathering; it’s a symbolic movement to carry forward the legacy of those who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice and equality for all. This march symbolizes unity, dialogue, and the shared commitment to ensuring that every individual has a rightful place at the table.

Bishop Sonny James spoke on the steps of Norwood City Hall. Photo by Michael Mitchell

A number of local officials participated, including Ohio Senator Cecil Thomas, Judge Nadine Allen, Dr. Hollie Johnson of Xavier University, 7-year-old Trenton Burdine, and members of different faiths, who chanted “I am the change!” led by Bishop James.

Norwood Mayor Victor Schneider also participated and presented a proclamation from the City of Norwood to the Shuttlesworth Family.

Ruby Shuttlesworth. Photo by Michael Mitchell

Norwood removed its “sundown town” affiliation in the 1980s, and today is a diverse community.

Independent film producer, Mark Purushotham is adding this march to his documentary film about Shuttlesworth, titled, “A Fire You Can’t Put Out.”

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