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2944 N 9th ST | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

2944 N 9th ST

National or State Register of Historic Places
2944 N 9th ST | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:St. Matthew Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Reference Number:100003909
Location (Address):2944 N 9th ST
St. Matthew Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church
2944 North 9th St., Milwaukee, Milwaukee County
Architects: Leenhouts & Guthrie
Date of Construction: 1915

St Matthew C.M.E. Church was at the heart of the Milwaukee Civil Rights Movement from 1964 to 1967. Under the leadership of its pastor, Rev. B.S. Gregg, the church served as headquarters for the Milwaukee United School Integration Committee (MUSIC). MUSIC held its regular meetings at the church, and on three occasions the church welcomed freedom schools. The freedom schools were opened during three school boycotts organized by MUSIC. The freedom schools introduced students to black history and culture and taught nonviolent direct-action protest techniques. When its protests failed to move the school board, MUSIC pursued a federal lawsuit, winning its case in 1976.

The building on 9th Street was commissioned by Milwaukee’s First German Reformed Church; the St. Matthew congregation purchased the church in early 1958. The church’s architects, Cornelius Leenhouts and Hugh Guthrie, practiced in Milwaukee from 1900 to 1935, designing residences, apartments, commercial buildings, club headquarters, and churches.

The church has an auditorium-type sanctuary with floral stained glass windows and a large window depicting the 12-year Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. In keeping with trends among Protestant congregations in the early 20th century, the church building on North 9th Street included classrooms, club rooms, a dining hall and kitchen, and a gymnasium. The presence of classrooms and a gymnasium allowed the church to accommodate meetings of MUSIC and other community-oriented groups as well as the freedom schools.

Nearly unchanged from its 1960s appearance, St. Matthew C.M.E. Church is one of the strongest tangible links to the most important civil rights period in the city’s history.

Period of Significance:1964-1967
Area of Significance:Ethnic Heritage/Black
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Religion: Religious Facility
Architectural Style:Late Gothic Revival
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Leenhouts & Guthrie
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:05/08/2019
State Register Listing Date:02/15/2019
Number of Contributing Buildings:2
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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