Side A: On November 19, 1968, the Columbus Metropolitan Library dedicated the first public library in the nation named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, the East Side Community Council requested that the new library being planned for the King-Lincoln Bronzeville community bear his name. The King family had both family and civic ties to Columbus and were honored by the tribute. More than 1,000 people gathered outside 1600 E. Long Street to hear Martin Luther King Sr. deliver the November dedication speech. Continuing the King family tradition, Martin Luther King III cut the ribbon to open a new branch building at 1487 E. Long Street on October 18, 2018. The Martin Luther King Branch was the first Columbus public library to bear an individual’s name.
Side B: Leon Andrew Ransom Jr. was an early African American architect practicing in Columbus. Born in Columbus in 1929, his family moved to Washington, D.C., two years later. After earning his MA (1953, architecture) from Catholic University of America, Ransom was hired by a Columbus architectural firm in 1954. He and Sylvester C. Angel, opened Ransom & Angel in 1964, the city’s first African American led architectural firm. In 1966, Ransom opened his own firm, Leon A. Ransom & Associates. During his career Ransom was involved in such well-known buildings as the Christopher Inn, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, the Union Grove Baptist Church addition, and Fire Station No. 8. In 1968 he designed the Martin Luther King Branch Library at 1600 E. Long Street. Ransom died at the age of 42.