CLEVELAND — Less than a year before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to 8,000 students in Glenville High School’s gymnasium. 

On Saturday, the school was recognized on Cleveland’s Civil Rights Trail, a series of markers at historical sites across the city created by the Cleveland Restoration Society.

What You Need To Know

  • Glenville High School was regonized as a historical marker on Cleveland's Civil Right Trail

  • Hosiah Huggins Jr. met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he visited the area in 1967

  • Huggins Jr. says his interaction with the civil rights leader changed his life forever

  • The Civil Rights Trail is a series of markers at historical sites across the city, created by the Cleveland Restoration Society

Dozens gathered for the unveiling of the historical marker.

Hosiah Huggins Jr., now a leadership coach and consultant, was a student in the 1960s at a Catholic school near Glenville.

“I went to Catholic school, but everything I did was just Glenville,” Huggins said. “I just saw the pride. I made friends. It was just such a wonderful place to be.”

He was devastated when found out he had missed out on Dr. King’s speech, until three months later, when he got word Dr. King was back, registering folks in the community to vote.

He said he ran into Dr. King behind a van.

“Then I just, everything stopped,” Huggins said. “When I thought out from that moment, I was a different person. My life had changed. The whole trajectory of my life shifted.”

Huggins said he was at a crossroads at that point in his life, and Dr. King took him under his wing for the day, something that changed his life forever. 

“When you’re in the presence of greatness, it transforms everything around it,” Huggins said. “I was transformed.”

But King’s efforts went beyond the personal connections he made.

His visits to Cleveland helped lead to the election of Carl Stokes as Cleveland mayor, the first Black mayor of any major city in the U.S.

Glenville High School Principal Latonia Davis said the historical marker will serve as an inspiration for her students.

“We have something called Townhall, so this is definitely going to be at the top of our town hall meetings,” Davis said.

It’s a big deal for the rest of the community as well.

“Dream on,” Huggins said. “Keep dreaming. If you’re 60, dream. If you’re 20, dream. Dream. Your dreams don’t stop when you finish high school. They just begin. The message is to keep going.”