It is important to recognize and discuss the events of the past as we make steps toward reconnecting communities and dreaming of what can be.

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1850s-1860s - The 1850 Census revealed that Akron’s black population had grown to 73 people, but by the 1860 Census only 24 black people were living in Akron.

1870s-1920s - Akron saw a boom in the rubber industry thanks to key individuals, making Akron the “Rubber Capital of the World.” Akron soon became the largest growing city in the United States.

1950s - Akron witnessed a second Great Migration. The community’s African American resident numbers grew rapidly.

1962-1965 - The idea of the Innerbelt was created. Most projects targeted African American neighborhoods for new expressways.

1965 - The Innerbelt project is listed to cost $47.4 million with work to begin within 2 years.

1971 - Acquisition for the Innerbelt began. Entire communities were wiped off the map.

1975 - The State of Ohio agreed to begin construction on the Innerbelt. Many African American families were forced from their neighborhoods.

1983 - Work continues on connecting the Innerbelt. Residents continue to lose land to eminent domain.

1999 - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic urges redevelopment of the Innerbelt.

2017 - Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announces the decommission of the Innerbelt.

2021 - Consultant Liz Ogbu/Studio O hired and Advisory Group convened to help guide community conversations about the Innerbelt’s past and future.

2022 – Reconnecting Our Community initiative formally launches. Innerbelt Reunion, an event to bring together former residents and commemorate what was lost, is held at the Akron Urban League. 

2023 – Innerbelt History Collection launches on Summit Memory website. Akron awarded one of 45 inaugural Reconnecting Communities grants from the US Department of Transportation to fund a master plan for the Innerbelt. Phase 1 report of the Reconnecting Our Community initiative released.