CANTON – A statue honoring Marion Motely will be unveiled at noon Aug. 3 near Stadium Park Drive and Harrison Avenue NW in Stadium Park.
“We’re going to be inviting multiple family members (Motley), and there are multiple members who live in northeast Ohio,” said Dave Jingo, one of the organizers behind the plans.
The campaign to honor Motley, a graduate of McKinley High School and one of the first black football players of the modern era, began in 2020. Marion Motley Avenue NE was the only Motely commemoration in Canton, where the Hall of Famer was elevated and became an active member of the community.
After:Marion Motley honored with 5K, memorial design has begun
The memorial fund committee – made up of Jingo, Jill Thomas, Mike Hairston, Antonio Hall and RJ Van Almen – raised approximately $128,500 for the memorial just east of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They held a grand opening last summer and work on the site began in earnest this year.
“We have the wall been built, the pedestal has been built. They will be backfilling and adding the little plaza and sidewalks here very soon,” Jingo said. “We expect the law to be transported from Pittsburgh here to Canton here in the coming weeks.”
Local artist Spyro Spondyl created the concept for the memorial, which will depict Motley running on derogatory signs in front of a brick wall displaying “1946” – the year Motley and three other black players entered professional football.
The bronze statue was made in Italy and will be installed by Massillon Plaque. Akron artist Michael Thompson was also involved in the project as a graphic designer.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” Jingo said. “All committee members are very excited and very proud to have been part of this.”