Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.
Martin Luther King can be proud: because the US commemorates the life and influence of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is awarding $4 million in its second spherical of Preserving Black Churches grants to 31 historic Black church buildings throughout the US. With over $95 million in funding, the Action Fund is the most important American useful resource devoted to preserving historic African American locations. Since launching the Preserving Black Churches in 2022, the Action Fund has supplied over $9.8 million in grants to over 80 historic church buildings. Even although indicators of Christianity could also be wavering in some communities, the church ought to stand for neighborhood and be a spot to collect.
Black church buildings stand as timeless bastions of religion, resilience, and achievement in communities throughout America. These sacred areas have been the birthplace of actions, the planning grounds for change, and a refuge for these in search of solace, says press materials from the fund. “We created the Preserving Black Churches program to make sure the historic Black church’s legacy is advised and secured.
“That these cultural property can proceed to foster neighborhood resilience and drive significant change in our society,” stated Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Preserving Black Churches is a $20 Million Action Fund program that equips historic Black church buildings and their congregations with the vital assets and technical preservation experience to shield the historic property and legacies they steward.
With this spherical’s grants starting from $50,000 to $200,000, the Preserving Black Churches program helps congregations resolve pressing and ongoing preservation threats reminiscent of deferred upkeep, inadequate funding, demolition, water filtration, and mould contamination.
“Black church buildings have been on the forefront of significant democratic reform since this nation’s founding. They’re a dwelling testomony to the resilience of our ancestors within the face of unimaginably daunting challenges,” stated Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian and advisor to the Action Fund. He is the host of the PBS program Finding Your Roots. “The coronary heart of our religious world is the Black church. These locations of worship, these sacred cultural facilities, should exist for future generations to know who we have been as a individuals.” Sites chosen for this 12 months’s Preserving Black Churches grants embrace historic websites reminiscent of:
St. James AME Church in New Orleans, Louisiana
Founded by a gaggle of freedmen, St. James is the oldest Black Protestant church in New Orleans. It served because the headquarters for the Louisiana Native Guards, Black Union troopers in the course of the Civil War, and was a staging website for marches in the course of the Civil Rights motion. Funding will enable the church to make roof repairs that can cease 18 years of water intrusion within the higher sanctuary balcony and restore the church’s historic facade.
Town Clock Church in New Albany, Indiana
Built in 1852 as Second Presbyterian Church, the constructing served as a station on the Underground Railroad. Oral histories claims that the construction’s basement hid fugitives and an adjoining tunnel led from the north facet of the constructing to what was as soon as a lodge throughout the road. Funding will help endowment development to make sure that the 2014 restoration and preservation efforts are sustained sooner or later.
Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia
The oldest predominantly African American congregation within the Atlanta metropolitan space, Big Bethel AME Church was based in 1847 and is the birthplace of Morris Brown College—the primary academic establishment in Georgia to be owned and operated totally by African Americans. The Church hosted the primary National Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1920. Funding will help time-critical structural repairs and treatment security issues as a consequence of extreme inside and exterior water injury.
Henderson Chapel AME Zion Church
The church was constructed in 1890, and its entrance gable kind represents the architectural fashion of rural church buildings constructed between 1870 and 1950. The church served as a middle of cultural exercise all through the Jim Crow Era as the positioning of lectures, neighborhood picnics, and different social actions. The constructing isn’t presently in use as a consequence of structural points. Funding will help an architectural evaluation and complete preservation plan to revive the chapel in order that it could function a spot of worship, neighborhood occasion area, and vacationer attraction.