Black historic sites need to be preserved, said officials from the National Trust for Historic Preservation who have started a $25 million fund to ensure that protection.
More than $3 million has been collected for the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a multi-year effort announced Wednesday.
The legendary Phylicia Rashad is serving as both an advisor and ambassador for the preservation society’s fund effort. Rashad, an avid activist who has fought for the protection of the historic Brainerd Institute in South Carolina, showed her support in a video.
The project, with Rashad’s help, will keep history alive.
“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African-Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in a release.
Meeks continued: “We believe that this fund will be transformative for our country, and we are committed to crafting a narrative that expands our view of history and, ultimately, begins to reconstruct our national identity, while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for our diverse historic places.”
Many of these sites have been overlooked or underrated in importance, a rallying cry of activists fighting to protect sacred grounds. The fund’s operators hope to correct this pattern, restore these desecrated places and address “critical” funding gaps.
Shockoe Bottom, an epicenter for the slave trade in Richmond, Virginia, is a huge site being eyed for restoration. Much of the site has been destroyed, The Associated Press reported. Also on the list is Fort Huachuca Black Officer’s Club in Arizona, among other sites.
The effort is supported by partners the Ford Foundation, JPB Foundation, Open Society Foundations and more companies that will help funnel money to the reserve.
Officials want the initiative to also help people discover the stories tied to these sites. They also are looking to inspire research around “contemporary problems that disproportionately affect communities of color” and “advocacy for preservation funding in underrepresented communities.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press