There have been many efforts lately to conserve historic Black sites across the country and in a push to keep them going, a new initiative has been launched to diversify the architectural and preservation industry, the Washington Post reported.
A summer program—dubbed “Preservation in Practice”—was created as an avenue to empower students at historically Black colleges and universities to pursue careers in historic preservation, the news outlet writes. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. During the eight-week program, HBCU students travel to historic sites to learn lessons about architecture and have the opportunity to get hands-on with restoring certain structures. Six students from Morgan State University—who are all architecture majors—were a part of the program’s inaugural class. They’re being mentored by architectural professionals and have visited historic sites in Baltimore and Wyoming; including the Peale Center.
“Historic preservation is important because we’re in an age where things are becoming less permanent,” student Akiel Allen told the news outlet. Dale Green—who serves as an agricultural professor at Morgan State—believes that there is a need for more monuments and spaces that reflect Baltimore’s rich Black history. Morgan State is the first HBCU where the program was implemented but leaders of the initiative hope to introduce it to other institutions.
A program like “Preservation in Practice” is needed during a time where there is a major racial and gender gap in architecture. According to the Washington Post, a mere 0.3 percent of licensed architects are African American women.