Buildings and monuments on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are embedded in the fabric of American history and the National Park Service is furthering its efforts to ensure they are preserved. The agency recently announced $7.7 million in grants will go towards the restoration and conservation of historical structures at HBCUs.
The grant will fund 18 projects at historically Black colleges across 12 states. The money will directly support initiatives surrounding architectural plans, pre-preservation studies and the physical repair and rehabilitation of historic properties. Among some of the projects that will receive funding are the Samuel T. Graves Hall Exterior repair and restoration project at Morehouse College in Atlanta, the renovation of the Historical Susie Jones Alumnae House at Bennett College, the University Memorial Chapel window preservation project at Morgan State University and the Historic Cottage Row District conservation project at Langston University. The grants are distributed annually as part of the Historic Preservation Fund. Over the past 25 years, the National Park Service has provided over $60 million in grants to at least 80 HBCUs across the country.
“These grants help us to honor the legacy of HBCUs in serving our nation’s higher education needs,” National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela said in a statement. “Funding awarded this year will help preserve 18 historic properties on HBCU campuses in 12 states, many of which are listed in the National Register.”
Several organizations are working towards preserving historic Black landmarks and empowering individuals to pursue careers in preservation. In 2019, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched a youth program dedicated to preserving sites tied to Black achievement and activism. Among some of the projects the program participants worked on was the rehabilitation of the former homes of late songstress Nina Simone, playwright August Wilson and John and Alice Coltrane.