The Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) is pleased to announce an award of $500,000 in grant funding from the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund. This grant will be used to stabilize the exterior envelope of Cory United Methodist Church and nominate this historic building to the National Register of Historic Places. Earlier this year, Cory United Methodist Church was selected for inclusion on Cleveland’s African American Civil Rights Trail due its significance in the struggle for civil rights during the 1950s and 60s.

As one of Cleveland’s leading public platforms, Cory hosted both Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s. Malcolm X delivered his famous “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech at Cory in 1964. Dr. King spoke at Cory on numerous occasions, drawing enormous crowds. An estimated 5,000 people packed the streets surrounding the church during King’s visit on May 14, 1963.

Current church pastor Rev. Gregory Kendrick noted, “This grant from the National Park Service will ensure that the heritage of advocacy and organizing for African American Civil Rights in Glenville and Greater Cleveland will be an enduring legacy.” Kendrick went on to say, “This first phase of preservation is a step towards partnering with our community to reimagine its future by drawing on its history. We are grateful for this grant award and the opportunity it will create.”

The 2020 Conditions Assessment prepared by the CRS Sacred Landmarks Support Initiative guided the church in how to prioritize repairs and have a better understanding of how to best approach repairs from a preservation standpoint. This report provided a foundation for the repairs proposed in the grant application.

Support of this project is received through a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service, Department of Interior.