Ezzard Charles Statue Fundraising in the Final Round

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is proud to lead the fundraising efforts to erect a statue commemorating the legacy of Ezzard Charles. Join us in the final round as we “knock out” our fundraising goal by the project deadline!

About Ezzard Charles

Vintage photo of Ezzard Charles with neighborhood children.

There are few Queen City heroes like Ezzard Charles. Charles was a longtime resident of Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood, a Heavyweight Champion of the World, an entrepreneur, a community leader, and an all around Renaissance man. He fought in 38 matches over his boxing career, winning 33 of them. Twenty-one of his victories were by knockouts. Outside of the ring, Charles was a goodwill ambassador to the children and families living in Cincinnati’s West End. He provided vital mentoring and support in his community.

The Ezzard Charles Statue

Rendering of the Ezzard Charles statue in Laurel Park

To honor Charles’ legacy, the “Society of the Cincinnati Cobra” Committee was developed in 2016. In 2017, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation with support from Cincinnati Parks, the City’s Planning Commission, The West End Community Council, and Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses took on the Ezzard Charles Statue project officially.Local artist John Hebenstreit is sculpting the 13-foot statue. Hebenstreit previously created the Black Brigade monument at the John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. He is sculpting the statue at Taft’s Brewpourium live, so that Cincinnatians can view the progress in real-time.

Funding and Timeline

West End neighborhood residents including Andrew Van Sickle, pose with "believeinezz" signs.

The projected installation date is in October of 2020, to be celebrated with the 3rd Annual “Ezz Fest” in West End community. October 6th is officially recognized as “Ezzard Charles Day” by the City of Cincinnati.The total project cost is approximately $287,500 and includes two phases.Phase 1 “Statue Fundraising Goal”: Includes materials, bronze casting, artist fees, construction of a new plaza, and installation.Phase 2 “Entire Project Goal”: Includes all Phase 1 costs, a maintenance endowment, on site signage, and park programming.To install the statue by October, we must reach our Phase 1 “Statue Fundraising Goal” by May of 2020.

As of February 2020:

  • Fundraising is 68% to the Phase 1 “Statue Fundraising Goal”
  • Fundraising is 44% to the Phase 2 “Entire Project Goal”

Get Involved

A group of people watching John Hebenstreit sculpting

You can support the statue Ezzard Charles in Laurel Park, on the street renamed for him, in the heart of the neighborhood he inspired! Donate now on the Ezzard Charles Statue GoFundMe page to be part of this exciting project! Those who wish to make donations over $1,000 should contact jennifer@cincinnatiparksfoundation.org to learn more about large donations and the donation benefits. 


You can learn more about the life and legacy of Ezzard Charles at TWO upcoming lectures by Ezzard Charles biographer, Biographer William Dettloff. Ezzard Charles II will be in attendance at both events.


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