Side A: Cory United Methodist Church is an icon of Cleveland’s civil rights movement. As one of the city’s largest Black-owned churches during the 1960s, Cory hosted events for national, local, and grassroots organizations such as the Fair Employment Practices Committee, NAACP Cleveland Branch, Cleveland Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and United Freedom Movement. Over 75 years later, Cory UMC continues its long tradition of community programming that promotes equity and education. Originally designed by architect Albert F. Janowitz to house the Anshe Emeth Beth Tefilo congregation, the building served as the Cleveland Jewish Center from 1922 to 1945. The Methodist congregation purchased it in 1946. Since 1961, the building has also been home to the Glenville Recreation Center. Cory UMC was designated as a local landmark by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission in 2012.
Side B: Cory UMC became an influential civil rights platform, hosting such speakers as activist and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois (1950) and renowned civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall (1951). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the church several times between 1963-1968. On May 14, 1963, when thousands of people packed the sanctuary and surrounding streets to hear him, King told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he had never seen a “more aroused response … than I’ve seen in Cleveland, Ohio, tonight.” CORE brought both Malcolm X and author Louis Lomax to speak in Cleveland on April 3, 1964. It was from the Cory pulpit that Malcolm X delivered the first iteration of his famous “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech, often praised as one of the best American political speeches of the 20th century.