Ezzard Charles Statue in Laurel Park

Ezzard Charles is a Cincinnati legend. More than a Heavyweight Champion of the World, Ezzard Charles was a West End resident, entrepreneur,  renowned jazz enthusiast, and a brilliant Renaissance man.  A West End advocate during his life, he now represents honor, dignity, respect, and strength.

This is why we  are erecting a statue to commemorate the legacy of Ezzard Charles in Laurel Park.

Laurel Park serves as an important greenspace and gathering place for the West End community. Who better to be represented within this Cincinnati park than Ezzard Charles? West End residents will see him standing tall on the street named for him, connecting and respecting the neighborhood’s history, and inspiring today’s young people.

Local artist John Hebenstreit is sculpting the 13-foot statue. Mr. Hebenstreit was previously selected to create the Black Brigade monument at the John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. 

The Ezzard Charles Statue

Rendering of the Ezzard Charles statue in Laurel Park

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.We aim to install the statue by mid-2021. To date, our campaign is:

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

How You Can Help

Join our GoFundMe fundraiser for neighborhood donations to meet our “Knockout Goal” of $10,000 from individual donations. This is a small part of hitting our overall fundraising goal of $287,500.
Donations over $1,000 can be made on the form below or by contacting: jennifer@cincinnatiparksfoundation.org

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.
 Ezzard Charles works over the light bag during training at the Uptown Gym, in New York, NY
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 5, 1948: Ezzard Charles works over the light bag during training at the Uptown Gym, in New York, NY on December 5, 1948. (Photo by The Stanley Weston Archive/Getty Images)
 Ezzard Charles walking between 2 friends below sign reading: WELCOME HOME EZZ - CINCY'S 1ST WORLD HEAVY CHAMP, through city streets of Cincinnati. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Heavyweight boxing champ Ezzard Charles walking between 2 friends below sign reading: WELCOME HOME EZZ – CINCY’S 1ST WORLD HEAVY CHAMP, through city streets of Cincinnati. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Heavyweight boxing champ Ezzard Charles refereeing 2 youths in gym of the YMCA, Cincinnati. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Heavyweight boxing champ Ezzard Charles refereeing 2 youths in gym of the YMCA, Cincinnati. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Heavyweight boxing champ Ezzard Charles pushing ice cream cart as group of local black youths follow him in city streets, during visit to hometown. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Heavyweight boxing champ Ezzard Charles pushing ice cream cart as group of local black youths follow him in city streets, during visit to hometown. (Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Photo by Norman J. Gordon/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Photo by Teenie Harris Archive/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images
Photo by Teenie Harris Archive/Carnegie Museum of Art/Getty Images

 

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is proud to partner with:

 

If you would like to give a gift to support this project, please fill out the form below. For questions, please contact jennifer@cincinnatiparksfoundation.org.

 


Donate To the Ezzard Charles Statue Now