More Than $3M In Grants Will Protect 40 African American Historic Sites Across The U.S.

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) has announced it will give out $3.8 million in grants to preserve and protect 40 African American history sites.

The announcement coincides with Juneteenth, and recipients of the grants will focus on preserving HBCUs, theaters, historic heritage trails, and more.

“The history embodied in these places is emblematic of generational aspirations for freedom, the pursuit of education, a need for beauty and architecture, and joys of social life and community bonds,” Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund said, according to Veranda. “That’s why the Action Fund believes all Americans must see themselves and our shared history in this year’s grantee list if we are to create a culturally conscious nation.”

The Action Fund, a program within the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is in its sixth year and has raised more than $95 million. It’s considered the largest resource dedicated to preserving African American historic sites. The grants range from $50,000 to $150,000 to support preservation efforts in four categories education and programming, project planning and development, building capital, and  increasing organizational capacity,

Historical sites the grants will help preserve include the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, where augmented reality will guide visitors along the Black Heritage Trail to view 3-D representations of people and places.

Another site that will receive grant funding is Elktonia Beach Heritage Park. The park was purchased in 1902 by formerly enslaved veteran Fred Carr and Elktonia-Carrs Beach became a Green Book-listed recreational area where Black beachgoers could safely enjoy leisure activities.

Grant funding will go to the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin to inventory and preserve the sites of Alonzo Robinson Jr., the first registered Black architect in Wisconsin. Robinson’s career spanned over 40 years, designing several civic and commercial buildings, houses, and community churches in Milwaukee and surrounding areas.

Other sites receiving grant funds include the Neosho Colored School, the Southgate Street School, the Nantucket African Meeting House, and the YMI Cultural Center. The full list can be seen here.