Ohio Historical Marker at Cory UMC

The Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) is pleased to announce a new award of $529,038 in grant funding from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights program funded by the Historic Preservation Fund. This 2023 grant builds upon an initial $500,000 grant from the National Park Service in 2021 to fund Phase I of the exterior masonry and terra cotta stabilization of Cory United Methodist Church and its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Phase I, funded by the $500,000 grant, will repair the main entrance steps and the west elevation terra cotta. Phase II, funded by the recent $529,038 grant, includes brick cleaning and repointing on the entire envelope, chimney repair, and terra cotta repairs for the north and south elevations.

In 2021 Cory was selected for inclusion on Cleveland’s African American Civil Rights Trail for its significance in civil rights during the 1950s and 60s. Given its then large membership, topping 3,000 members, and expansive connection to the community, the worship place became a key venue for grassroots organizing in the quest for civil and human rights and what was considered by many as the single most important platform for nationally known figures to address Cleveland’s Black community.

Cory has become synonymous with hosting Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., arguably two of the most influential and fiery orators in U.S. history. In 1964, Malcolm X, otherwise known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, delivered his famous “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech at the former synagogue, while Dr. King spoke at Cory on numerous occasions. In 1963 an estimated 5,000 people filled the streets surrounding the church during Dr. King’s visit.

Cory’s current pastor, Rev. Gregory Kendrick Jr., believes the grants from the National Park Service ensure that the legacy of advocacy and organizing for African American Civil Rights in the city’s Glenville neighborhood and throughout Greater Cleveland will endure. The awards from the National Park Service are steps in the right direction in community partnership and reimagining its future by drawing on its history, Kendrick said.

This project is supported, in part, by an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.