On Friday, December 10th, we went to the Cory United Methodist Church (Cory UMC) on East 105th Street to attend the unveiling of the first historical marker on the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail, a collaborative project of the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) and the Ohio History Connection.
As we read on the CRS website, “the project involves the installation of ten (10) Ohio Historical Markers at the “top ten” sites in Cleveland associated with the struggle for civil rights for African Americans between the years 1954-1976.”
Indeed, Cory UMC is an excellent choice for such a marker since it has long been a resource center for the surrounding Glenville community and, as such, has helped many people move forward.
In addition, Cory UMC has hosted such civil rights advocates as W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (i.e. several times) and Malcolm X; in fact, it was at this locale that the latter first gave his renowned “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech.
Along these lines, the ceremony, itself included a section wherein Mr. Prester Pickett, Coordinator of the Howard A. Mims African American Cultural Center, and Mr. Kel Shabazz, the teacher at Cleveland Central High School, took turns reading passages from the speeches of Dr. King and Malcolm X which both contained calls for social justice, love, and peace.
Other speakers of the day included Reverend Gregory E. Kendrick, Jr., Pastor at Cory UMC; Mr. Burt Logan, Executive Director/CEO of the Ohio History Connection; Cleveland City Councilperson Kevin Conwell; and Ms. Natoya Walker Minor, Deputy General Manager of Administration and External Affairs of the Greater Cleveland RTA, as well as the wife of Dr. Tony Minor, Senior Pastor of the Community of Faith Assembly in Cleveland.
Regarding the ongoing struggle for civil rights and social justice, Ms. Walker Minor quite eloquently said that we must never forget that “we stand on the shoulders of so many” so, in turn, our own shoulders must be strong to help those who will come behind us.