Thanks to pandemic-caused closure, Alabama’s historic Brown Chapel AME Church is in “horrible shape” and tops America’s list of most endangered historical places, AP reports.
The church, founded in 1908, was made famous during the voting rights movement in the 1960s when hundreds of demonstrators were attacked by Alabama state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The date became known as Bloody Sunday and served as one of the starting points for voting rights.
But after being forced to close its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, church members returned to a building ransacked by termites, water leaks, and filled with mold, according to church member Juanda Maxwell.
“It’s in horrible shape,” said Maxwell. “It’s a tough time. Because we were closed for a year it exacerbated the problem with water coming in.”
As a result, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Brown Chapel AME at the top of the 2022 list of the nation’s most endangered historic places. Maxwell, along with other church members, is working to raise funds to start working on the $4 million worth of repairs the historical structure needs.
“Our goal is to try to receive over $3 million in grants to do the foundational work. After that we hope to get in more private donations,” Maxwell said.
Other locations on the endangered list include:
- The Deborah Chapel, a Jewish mortuary established in 1886 in Hartford, Connecticut
- Francisco Sanchez Elementary School, in Umatac, Guam
- Minidoka National Historic Site in Jerome, Idaho
- Camp Naco, a base for Black Buffalo Soldiers dating back to 1919 along the U.S.-Mexican border in Naco, Arizona
- Picture Cave in Warrenton, Missouri, a sanctuary holding indigenous artwork dating back over 1,200 years by the Osage Nation
- Brooks Park Art and Nature Center, in East Hampton, New York
- Palmer Memorial Institute, a boarding school, built in 1902 for Black youths in Greensboro, North Carolina