Chicago church where King preached could become landmark

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Mayor Rahm Emanuel says a church on Chicago’s West Side where Martin Luther King Jr. preached could become an historic landmark.

Emanuel said on Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday that the city’s Landmarks Commission will consider the designation for Stone Temple Baptist Church.

The North Lawndale church was built in 1926 as a synagogue for Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Romania. An African-American Baptist congregation that supported civil rights bought it in 1954. The congregation’s pastor was friends with King, who spoke there starting in 1959.

A six-to-nine onth designation process would begin if the commission votes to initiate landmark status for the church. The Chicago City Council would consider any final recommendation for the honor, which would protect the building from significant alteration and demolition.

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