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Dr. Marian Spencer Cincinnati Celebration of Life

August 10, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Fifth Third Bank Arena

Marian Spencer
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Photo forwarded by Jan-Michelle from Greater Cincy Foundation

 Cincinnati will remember the life and legacy of Dr. Marian A. Spencer

The University of Cincinnati will host the Dr. Marian Spencer Cincinnati Celebration of life in a special way. The public memorial for the Cincinnati pioneer and civil rights leader will be on Saturday, August 10th at Fifth Third Bank Arena. It is free and open to the public.


Marian Spencer CincinnatiThe schedule for the ceremony is as follows:

  • 1:30 p.m. – Doors Open
  • 2:30 p.m. – Special ceremonies by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Inc.
  • 3:00 p.m. – Celebration program followed by a reception

Free parking is available in all UC garages. Vans will transport from garages to the arena. Also, there will be golf carts at the Corry Street Garage (off Calhoun) to transport those with difficulty or inability to walk. For more information, call 513-961-3331 ext. 700.



About Marian Spencer
Born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1920, Marian Alexander graduated as a co-valedictorian of Gallia Academy School in 1938. Upon graduation, Alexander enrolled in the University of Cincinnati and became active on campus with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. While a student at UC, Marian met and fell in love with Donald Spencer. The couple married in 1940, but Marian continued her studies and earned a degree in English Literature in 1942. She gave birth to two children, Donald and Edward Spencer.


Marian began her public fight for civil rights in 1952 when she led the desegregation effort at Cincinnati’s Coney Island Amusement Park. After a representative of the park admitted that the event was not open to black children, Spencer filed a lawsuit against the park with the help of the NAACP. Spencer led a biracial team of 28 witnesses to victory in the case and desegregated the park.


Throughout the rest of her life, Spencer dedicated herself to civil rights activism and racial equality in Cincinnati. For over twenty years, Marian chaired the Cincinnati NAACP Education Committee, working to end racial isolation in schools and to achieve educational equity. She later became Chapter President of the NAACP of Cincinnati. Spencer won election as the first African American woman on the Cincinnati City Council in 1983 and also served the city as Vice Mayor.  Also, Spencer has worked with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Ohio Advisory Board, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Planned Parenthood, and the Cincinnati Human Services Task Force.


As a result, Marian’s accomplishments and efforts in the community earned her the Cincinnati Enquirer’s “Woman of the Year Award” in 1972. The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce named Spencer a “Great Living Cincinnatian” in 1998, and the city government currently honors Spencer’s contributions through the downtown street named for her, Marian Spencer Way.

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Fifth Third Bank Arena
2700 O'Varsity Way
Cincinnati, OH 45221 United States
+ Google Map
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