A collection of grants totaling $1 million will go towards the preservation of historic African American sites throughout the country. The grants are a part of an initiative dubbed the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund which is being spearheaded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, NBC News reported.
Through the fund, the organization aims to restore and preserve places that are embedded in the fabric of Black history. “Through the action fund we have the opportunity to raise the visibility and the full contributions of African Americans to our nation,” said Brent Leggs who oversees the fund. “We have the opportunity to highlight stories and places of activism achievement and community, to rewrite history and tell a new story about a Black America.”
Amongst the places that will benefit from the grants include the houses of writer August Wilson and jazz legend John Coltrane, churches in Birmingham that were the epicenters of the civil rights movement, and an area in Virginia called Shockoe Bottom that dates back to the slave trade. A total of 16 grant recipients were chosen from a pool of 860 applicants. The organization aims to raise $25 million by 2023.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been working hard to help underfunded historic institutions that are integral to Black culture. In June, the Tryon, North Carolina childhood home of legendary songstress Nina Simone was named a designated a national treasure by the foundation.
“Nina Simone’s distinctive voice and social critique in the mid-20th century was unlike anything America had ever heard before. And while her musical and social justice legacy burns bright, her childhood home has been neglected,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We’re delighted to work with the home’s new owners and the local community to chart a new future for the property that will honor her tremendous contributions to American society and inspire new generations of artists and activists to engage with her legacy.”