The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been at the forefront of trying to protect landmarks across the country that are embedded in the fabric of Black history and are integral parts of American history as a whole. In observance of Black History Month, the nonprofit organization has launched a powerful campaign with the help of actors to spread awareness about the influence and importance of Black landmarks.
The campaign—dubbed #TellTheFullHistory—features actors Phylicia Rashad, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Aldis Hodge, and Marcus Scribner. In a video created for the campaign, each celebrity shares a personal story about an impactful experience that they’ve had or a personal connection to a historic landmark in an effort to illustrate how these places shaped our country. Hodge talks about the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The hotel was later transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum. Rashad highlights the Brainerd Institute which was a South Carolina-based educational institution for freed Africans during the Reconstruction era. Mowry-Hardrict talks about her grandmother’s journey to America and Scribner discusses the influence of the West Angeles Church in California.
“This month and every month, we at the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to tell the full history. By saving African American places, we not only celebrate the tremendous impact that African Americans have made to the life of our nation, we transmit that impact to the present and into the future,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “Having the voices of Phylicia Rashad, Tia Mowry-Hardrict and others join with us to advocate for preserving sites of Black history is powerful and a privilege. We all have places that tell our story and we hope by weaving together our narratives we can tell a fuller, truer, American story. We challenge you to tell us about a place that to matters to you.”
The organization created a year-long campaign to preserve several places and has distributed $1.1 million in grants to different historic sites. Amongst the sites that received funding from the organization was Madam C.J. Walker’s estate and the home where songstress Nina Simone grew up. The grants were also used to expose youth to careers in preservation. Check out the #TellTheFullHistory video below.