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$250,000 Grant Will Help Renovate Clayborn Temple

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A civil rights landmark in Memphis will be restored. Clayborn Temple, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ‘I Am A Man’ speech, has been unoccupied for 20 years. But thanks to a generous grant, the Temple will get the facelift it needs.

It was announced Tuesday during a rotary club luncheon that Tennessee Lawmakers approved $250,000 in the upcoming budget. The grant money will be used to help restore Clayborn, a huge piece of Memphis history.

“This is one of the jewels in Memphis,” said Rotary Club of Memphis President Arthur Oliver.

Clayborn Temple holds a sacred place in the heart of Memphis.

“Memphis has really embraced Clayborn Temple,” said Rob Thompson, the Executive Director of Clayborn Reborn.

Now the city can restore it and honor the history it holds.

“In the sanitation workers strike in 1968, this was the focal point where the strikers would gather and meet every day before they would march on the city,” said Oliver.

Tennessee Legislators approved $250,000 which will be used to restore Clayborn. After decades of non-use, the roof needs to be replaced and the inside needs repaired.

“I think it means a great deal to our city to invest in the building and to see it restored so that the history is preserved,” said Thompson.

The building, which was renamed Clayborn Temple in 1949, became a hub during the Civil Rights movement which spread throughout the south. Clayborn served as a safe haven for those fighting for racial equality, including Dr. King.

“It was one of several locations that figured very prominently in the recent MLK50 commemoration,” said Thompson.

Clayborn Temple is listed on the National Historic Registry.


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