Marian Spencer

marian spencer
Courtesy of the University of Cincinnati

Not far from Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus – where hundreds of friends and admirers of the late civil rights icon Marian Spencer met to celebrate her 99 years of life – there is a residence hall named after her.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati will honor the life and work of Marian Spencer this weekend, with a celebration at the University of Cincinnati. The civil rights activist died last month at the age of 99. She was the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati council, and the first woman to lead the local chapter of the NAACP.

marian spencer
Courtesy of the University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati civil rights pioneer Marian Spencer died July 10 at the age of 99. Spencer appeared on Cincinnati Edition in 2015 to discuss her then-new biography, Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer. Here, host Michael Monks revisits that conversation and speaks with former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory about the loss of the city's "fearless fighter for justice."

marian spencer
Courtesy of the University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati could not have asked for a better mother figure than Marian Spencer.

Or a more fearless fighter for justice.

Marian Spencer Hall
Jay Yocis / University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is formally dedicating its newest residence hall Monday afternoon. Marian Spencer Hall honors one of Cincinnati's most well-known civil rights activists.

Marian Spencer Hall
Jay Yocis / University of Cincinnati

Updated 12:30 p.m.

The University of Cincinnati's Board of Trustees is approving a recommendation to name UC's new dorm in honor of Marian Spencer, a local civil rights leader.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

When her children were denied entry to Coney Island in the 1950s because of their skin color, Marian Spencer stood outside the gates and demanded change. Her subsequent lawsuit led to the park's desegregation.

She didn't back down then, and the words "keep on fighting" have best described her ever since.

This interview originally aired on June 28, 2015.

Marian Spencer was born in 1920 in Gallipolis, Ohio, one year after the “Red Summer” of 1919 that saw an upsurge in race riots and lynchings. Following the example of her grandfather, an ex-slave and community leader, Ms. Spencer joined the NAACP at thirteen and grew up to achieve not only a number of civic leadership firsts here in her adopted home of Cincinnati, but a legacy of lasting civil rights victories. Ohio University Press has just released the biography, “Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer,” written by Dorothy Christenson. She and Marian Spencer join us this afternoon.

A re-broadcast of Barbara Gray’s recent discussion with civil rights activist Marian Spencer and her friend Dot Christenson about their book, Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer.

Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer is the recently released biography of the 95 year-old Cincinnati activist.