Black History Month | 8 Inspiring Black Men from Cleveland

Keymah Durden III, Randy McShepard & Damien Forshe  

  • Three best friends that grew up in Cleveland’s Lee-Miles neighborhood
  • Co-Founders of Rid-All Green, focused on growing food, creating jobs, and building healthy, green neighborhoods
  • Dedicated to bringing urban farming to Cleveland
  • Durden is an environmental educator who has lead programs and activities both nationally and internationally. He is currently involved in projects in Ghana, Kenya, Belize, and Israel. 
  • McShepard is also the Co-Founder and Chairman of PolicyBridge, a public policy think tank serving the Northeast Ohio region. 
  • Read about Forshe in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world


Bobby Womack (1944-2014)

  • Born and raised in Cleveland’s Central Avenue neighborhood
  • Singer, guitarist songwriter 
  • Wrote songs for the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and Janis Joplin
  • Preformed guitar back up for Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin
  • Launched a solo career that reached its peak in the 1970s
  • In 2009, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Frank Robinson

  • Born and raised in Cleveland
  • Played outfield for the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles 
  • After a playing career, he was hired in 1975 by the Cleveland Indians as a Coach, making him the first black manager in MLB history
  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982


Louis Stokes (1925-2015)

  • Born and raised in Cleveland
  • American attorney, civil rights pioneer and politician
  • Served 15 terms in the US House of Representatives 
  • Was the first African American congressman elected in the state of Ohio
  • In his retirement, Stokes worked as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University


Jim Brown

  • Born and raised in Cleveland
  • Athlete, actor, activist
  • One of the Cleveland Browns greatest players(19571965)
  • Every season Brown played, he was voted into the Pro Bowl, and he left the league strong by scoring three touchdowns in his final Pro Bowl game
  • Brown retired in July 1966, after nine seasons, as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher
  • In retirement, Brown pursued acting starring in Dirty Dozen and Ice STation Zebra. 
  • Most notably, Brown was the first African-American to announce a televised boxing match in the United States