CLEVELAND (WJW) — It is one of the iconic moments of the civil rights movement. The nation’s top Black athletes in the 1960s all took a stand.

The Cleveland Summit was a pivotal moment as Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul Jabbar along with future Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and many others voice their support for Ali who refused to be drafted in the army to serve in the Vietnam War.

A moment in the history books that set the stage for many things to come. For former Browns player John Wooten who was at this summit says it paved the way for athletes to speak out

And a new marker in front of Cleveland Browns stadium commemorates one of the most important moments in sports — not on the field, but in a conference room

WJW photo

This marker is the latest in a series of markers around Cleveland highlighting civil rights achievement in the greater Cleveland area, showing just how much of a part Cleveland played in social change across our nation.

A legacy that Wooten says he hopes the next generation of athletes will take to heart. 

“This was outstanding,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better audience of these young guys here in particular. Let’s give the Cleveland Browns the credit for having these young guys in here.”

For more information about the Cleveland Summit and the civil rights trail you can go here.