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Historic church where MLK and Malcolm X spoke receives $500K grant

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King Solomon Baptist church was awarded the preservation grant through the National Park Service

Exterior of a brick building with stone columns and other stone details on the facade. Above an awning it says “Solomon Baptist Church” in wobbly block letters. Wikimedia Commons

A Detroit church visited by seminal figures in the black civil rights movement has received a grant to continue preservation efforts.

The National Park Service (NPS) awarded King Solomon Baptist Church $500,000 through its African American Civil Rights Grants Program. NPS gave out $12.26 million in grants to 44 projects in 17 states.

“By working with underrepresented communities to preserve their historic places and stories, we will help tell a more complete narrative of the African American experience in the pursuit of civil rights,” NPS deputy director P. Daniel Smith said in a release.

King Solomon on 14th Street is most well known for receiving two visits from Martin Luther King Jr. and one from Malcolm X, who delivered his famous “Message to the Grass Roots” address there in 1963. Former U.S. Rep. John Conyers, civil rights activist Al Sharpton, Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy have all visited the church.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Built in 1917, the brick exterior of the striking Tudor Revival has stone accents and patterns on its facade. According to the Detroit News, it’s the only remaining work in the city of architect J. Will Wilson. The current congregation, which is still active, moved into the building in 1952.

Michigan Advance reports that the grant money will be used in part to replace the church’s aging roof.