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National Park Service awards $3 million to preserve historic Civil Rights sites in Alabama

Rep. Terri Sewell leads the congressional effort to increase funding for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program.

The Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma. Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium
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Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, announced more than $3 million from the National Park Service’s (NPS) African American Civil Rights Grant Program to preserve historic sites in Alabama related to Civil Rights and the African American struggle for equality.

Each year, Sewell leads the congressional effort to increase funding for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program to preserve America’s Civil Rights sites and HBCUs.

“Each year, I am very proud to lead the effort in Congress to increase funding for the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund to ensure that Alabama’s rich Civil Rights history lives on for generations to come,” said Rep. Sewell. “We are thrilled that our efforts have once again paid off, with Alabama receiving more than $3 million to preserve sites associated with the Civil Rights Movement. Protecting and advancing our Civil Rights legacy will always be a top priority of mine. After all, those who don’t learn from our history are doomed to repeat it.”

NPS has awarded the following grants, which total $3,006,141, for historic sites in Alabama:

  • $750,000 for Auburn University to rehabilitate the Tankersley Rosenwald School in Hope Hull
  • $750,000 for the Lincolnite Club to make structural and masonry repairs to the Historic Lincoln Normal School Gymnasium in Marion
  • $744,545 for the Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Legacy Foundation Inc. to replace mechanical systems at the Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma
  • $686,596 for the Alabama Historical Commission to rehabilitate the Historic Moore Building in Montgomery
  • $75,000 for the Alabama Historical Commission to support the Freedom Rides Museum Virtual Reality Experience in Montgomery

“Our team is honored and thrilled to continue partnering with the Tankersley Community on the important preservation work of their Rosenwald School,” said Mr. Gorham Bird, Assistant Professor at Auburn University. “This funding will support the design and construction of the rehabilitation of the building for its future use as a community center. This project serves as a vehicle for university outreach, where faculty and students engage with communities across the state to provide preservation expertise for the preservation of this important artifact of African American Civil Rights history.”

“Heating and cooling a historic 102 year-old building has many challenges. We are so happy as we look forward to having consistent heating and cooling everywhere in all seasons,” said Dr. Verdell Lett Dawson, Board Chair of the Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Selma, AL Legacy Foundation, Inc. “This is a blessing as we continue to tell and preserve the story of our historic church for all generations.”

“The Alabama Historical Commission is thrilled to receive this funding from the National Park Service and would like to thank Congresswoman Sewell for her efforts in advocating for the preservation of Civil Rights historic sites like the Freedom Rides Museum and the Moore Building,” said Lisa D. Jones, Alabama Historical Commission Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer. “Her dedication to historic preservation continues to highlight the importance of preserving important stories in Alabama’s history and their impact on the nation.”

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“This grant is a major step toward repurposing the gymnasium as a Multi-Purpose Community Center, highlighting our history and struggle to achieve voting and civil rights in Perry County, Alabama,” said Thomas Miree, a Trustee of the Lincolnite Club.

The African American Civil Rights Grant Program helps document, interpret, and preserve sites and stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens. Grants fund a broad range of planning, development, and research projects for historic sites including survey, inventory, documentation, interpretation, education, architectural services, historic structure reports, preservation plans, and “bricks and mortar” repair.

Since its establishment in 1977, the HPF has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, Tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Administered by NPS, HPF funds are appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources. 

For more information about NPS historic preservation programs and grants, please visit http://go.nps.gov/grants.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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