NEW ORLEANS (AP) — This is a list of historic sites receiving grants from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an effort by the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
— African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School (Museum of African American History) – Boston, Massachusetts. The oldest extant black church in America was built in 1806 as a gathering place central to the abolitionist movement and early legal battles for education equity. Built in 1835, the school was the first public education facility for free Black children in Boston.
— Alabama Historical Commission. The Alabama Black Heritage Council is Alabama’s only statewide organization with the mission to preserve African American historic places.
— Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church – Barrington, Massachusetts. NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois considered this unassuming wood frame church the “crucible” in which his vision was born. The vacant church also recalls the religious and cultural heritage of African Americans in 19th- and 20th-century rural New England.
— Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – Charleston, South Carolina. This pillar of Charleston’s African American community, built in 1891, was the tragic scene of the racially motivated 2015 shooting of nine black parishioners. The Gothic-style church hosts the oldest African Methodist Episcopal congregation south of Baltimore.
— Emmett Till Interpretive Center (Emmett Till Memorial Commission) – Sumner, Mississippi. The Center, located in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, interprets Emmett Till’s murder and the courageous response by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in helping to ignite the civil rights movement.
— Explored Landscapes of Afro-Virginia (Virginia Humanities). Virginia Humanities will establish and staff a statewide African American historic preservation advocacy and resource team to expand interpretation of historic places affiliated with African American life in Virginia.
— The Forum (Urban Juncture Foundation) – Chicago, Illinois. The oldest community meeting and performance hall in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, the long-vacant Forum was a gathering place for artistic and cultural leaders like Nat King Cole and B.B. King who drove the Chicago Black Renaissance of the early 20th century.
— God’s Little Acre (The Preservation Society of Newport County) – Newport, Rhode Island. The largest and most intact Colonial-era African burial ground in the country.
— Harriet Tubman Home – Auburn, New York. In 1857 the famed abolitionist and freedom fighter Harriet Tubman purchased this homestead, now the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. The historic site documents over 50 years of Tubman’s work,
— Historic Evergreen Cemetery (Enrichmond Foundation) – Richmond, Virginia. The overgrown Historic Evergreen Cemetery is a memorial park and 60-acre monument to African American achievement from the Civil War era through the early 21st century.
— Historic Westside Las Vegas (Nevada Preservation Foundation) – Las Vegas, Nevada. The Historic Westside Las Vegas is an African American segregation-era community that experienced substantial disinvestment after national desegregation efforts.
— Hutchinson House (Edisto Island Open Land Trust) – Edisto Island, South Carolina. Currently in a state of deterioration, this rare, intact freedman’s home was built by Henry Hutchinson, son of the formerly enslaved Union soldier James Hutchinson, as a wedding gift for his wife.
— Langston Hughes House (I, Too, Arts Collective) – Harlem, New York, New York. Langston Hughes, one of the foremost figures of the Harlem Renaissance, spent the last 20 years of his life at this Harlem brownstone.
— McGee Avenue Baptist Church, Stuart Street Apartments (Bay Area Community Land Trust) – Berkeley, California. Established in 1918 as the first African American Baptist church community in the area, this church moved to its McGee Avenue location in 1933. The church aims to transform its Stuart Street Apartments into an affordable housing co-op empowering one of the oldest African American communities in Berkeley.
— Morris Brown College’s Fountain Hall (Association for the Study of African American Life and History – Atlanta Branch) – Atlanta, Georgia. With its distinctive tower, Fountain Hall housed W.E.B. Du Bois’ office, where he wrote his seminal work “The Souls of Black Folk.” Though vacant, it’s the oldest surviving building associated with Atlanta University, one of the first historically black colleges and universities in the South.
— Oregon Black Pioneers Corporation. This 26-year-old organization is dedicated to preserving African American history in Oregon and educating the public through research, exhibits and publications.
— Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice – Durham, North Carolina. This site supports the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, a 20th-century African American human rights activist, Episcopal priest, lawyer, feminist, poet, and member of the LGBTQ community. The home is located in a historically working-class African American community and is being restored.
— Satchel Paige House (Historic Kansas City Foundation) – Kansas City, Missouri. In 2018, a fire critically compromised the home of famed Negro League pitcher and National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Satchel Paige.
— South Carolina African American Heritage Commission. Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, this commission supports statewide efforts to promote and preserve sites of African American history across South Carolina.
—Texas Endangered Historic Black Settlements & Cemeteries (Texas Freedom Colonies Project). Formerly enslaved people established Freedom Colonies after the Civil War to create once flourishing and self-sufficient communities. The colonies’ historically significant cemeteries and buildings are unrecognized.
— Treme Neighborhood Microgrants Program (Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans) – New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood is one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in the country, but a rapid rise in real estate values has put long-time residents at risk. The microgrants program enables homeowners to maintain homes and make preservation-friendly repairs,
— Wright Building (Greater Union Life Center, Inc.) – DeLand, Florida. Built in 1920, the building served as a grocery and general store for African Americans in segregated Florida. Black-owned business pioneer James Wright empowered local black entrepreneurs by leasing retail spaces on the second floor. The building will soon be restored to again foster economic development in the Black community.
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