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New historical marker honors important Cincinnati couple

An Ohio Historical Marker stands before a brick church.
Bill Rinehart
One side of the marker honors Sarah Fossett. Her husband is recognized on the other side.

A couple who changed Cincinnati in the 19th century is now immortalized with an Ohio Historical Marker. Sarah and Peter Fossett owned their own businesses, supported orphanages, and served on a school board. All of this after they escaped enslavement. Vanessa McWhorter with the First Baptist Church of Cumminsville says the Fossetts are very deserving.

"They were very prominent people in Cincinnati. Very prominent for Black people," she says.

Sarah Fossett ended segregation on Cincinnati's streetcars.

"They wouldn't allow the women to ride even in snow, rain, anything," McWhorter says. "She went to court to sue them. It was a long, drawn out case, but she eventually won, because she didn't give up."

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The Fossetts were involved in an orphanage, advocated for prison reform, and started their own businesses. "They were big abolitionists. They played part in the Underground Railroad as well."

McWhorter says Sarah Fossett started a hair styling business and Peter had a catering business, and together they founded the First Baptist Church of Cumminsville. He bought and surveyed the land that became the Union Baptist Cemetery.

"They just did so much! Things that were not heard of for Black folks back in that day."

McWhorter says church members and the Cincinnati Preservation Society will dedicate the historical marker Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., at 3640 Roll Avenue.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.