National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Heritage Action Fund is awarding $4 million in grants this year to 35 historically black churches, and three are in Northeast Ohio.

Called The preservation of black churchesprogram “will help historic black churches and congregations reimagine, redesign, and redeploy historic preservation to meet the needs of the institutions and the cultural assets and histories they serve.”

Honorees include Cory United Methodist Church and Euclid Avenue Christian Church (Mount Zion East Baptist Church) in Cleveland and Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Akron.

“No pillar of the African American community has been more central to its history, identity and vision of social justice than the Black Church,” said Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor, historian, director and advisor to the African American Heritage Action Foundation. in the statement.

Founded in 1911, Cory United Methodist Church originally located at Scoville Avenue and East 35th Street. In 1947, the growing congregation moved to its current location, a former synagogue. Cleveland’s largest black church, Cory United Methodist Church, hosted revolutionary scholars and activists such as Dr. UEB DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Today it is a stop on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail.

Thanks to a grant from Preserving Black Churches, Cory United Methodist Church “will hire its first director of preservation to lead efforts to restore the building and continue its legacy as an active church and transformative public landmark.”

East Mount Zion Baptist Church was founded in 1908 by Alexander Robertson, who came from South Carolina to Cleveland during the Great Migration. After meeting in various locations over the years, East Mountain Zion moved to the historic Euclid Avenue Christian Church building in 1955, where it has served its congregation and community ever since.

The Preservation of Black Churches grant will support [East Mountain Zion Baptist Church’s] the company’s feasibility study and rehabilitation plan, further strengthening its multi-year, multi-million dollar conservation project.”

in Akron, Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church has been Akron’s oldest black congregation since 1864. The church, which is a pillar of the community, dedicated its current church building almost a century ago in 1928.

Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion “will use the grant to replace the roof and repair the chimney. Now this long-standing core of the religious, cultural and civic activities of the black community will be preserved in its original beauty.”

The Preservation of Black Churches grant project is funded Lilly Endowment Inc.a private charitable foundation in Indianapolis that supports community development, education and religion.

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