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Marker showcases Cleveland's role in Civil Rights history

First of 10 markers unveiled Friday
Civil Rights History Marker
Posted at 8:12 PM, Dec 10, 2021

CLEVELAND — Some key moments in Civil Rights history happened here in Northeast Ohio. Multiple visits from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are part of Cleveland's storied history. But now, groups from across the state are kicking off a project to bring more of that history to the public.

"We want to honor those names we know," said Natoya Walker Minor, the chairperson of the Civil Rights Trail Project.

Walking outside the Cory United Methodist Church in Glenville, people may not realize what's here. The church, which was originally built as a synagogue, hosted visits from both King and Malcolm X. From the outside, there was nothing to mark this place of history.

Until Friday morning.

"You certainly cannot imagine in some ways what it means to stand in a place of such history," said the church's current pastor Gregory Kendrick, Jr.

During a 30-minute ceremony in front of the church, the first of 10 historical markers on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail was unveiled.

"Most people don't realize the civil rights trail came through the city of Cleveland but in fact it did," Walker Minor said.

The trail, when it's done, will showcase 10 places in the Cleveland area that had an impact on the civil rights movement.

"The history stands as a strong foundation for us to launch forward," she said

The next few markers will be at Glenville High School and in the Hough neighborhood. And while these markers are for the names known to history, Kendrick wanted to remember people of the congregation who've led the way for rights locally.

"But I also think we're missing the voices of those who don't have as great [of a] name, and yet, still journeyed to ensure that justice would happen," he said.

Now that the marker is up, Walker Minor hopes the words will stir more change for the next generation.

"This marker will remind the ever day man or woman, boy or girl that walks down this street of the historical accounts for progress," she said.

In February of this year, News 5 highlighted the efforts of the organizations behind the Civil Rights Trail Project.