The National Park Service is advancing its efforts to conserve structures that are symbolic of Black resilience and liberation. The agency’s latest initiative is centered on preserving historic spaces that served as backdrops of the civil rights movement.
NPS announced it would allocate $16,247,500 to create African American Civil Rights grants. The endowments would be distributed amongst 44 projects across 15 states that have a collective mission of rehabilitating and protecting landmarks that are interwoven into the history of the fight for social justice.
Among the past grant recipients is the Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey, one of the nation’s last-standing Negro League baseball stadiums. The Miami-based Masjid al-Ansar mosque, which was a pillar for Black Muslims who integrally contributed to the development of civil rights campaigns in the South, will receive funding this year.
The endowments will also support conservation projects designed to amplify the narratives of changemakers at the forefront of the civil rights movement in Selma and pay homage to the legacies of Black trailblazers from Tulsa’s Greenwood District.
“The African American Civil Rights grants are critical to helping preserve and interpret a more comprehensive narrative of the people, places, and events associated with the African American Civil Rights movement,” NPS Director Chuck Sams shared in a statement. “Sites like Hinchliffe Stadium are rare, and they provide a tangible reminder of this complex history. It was exciting to see the ongoing preservation work at a site that bore witness to more than 20 baseball Hall of Famers in its time and has inspired generations to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.”
The Alabama-based Schooner Clotilda—one of the last slave ships used to bring Africans to the United States forcibly—will also receive a preservation grant to ensure that a difficult part of the country’s history isn’t enshrouded.
News about the grants comes two years after the National Park Service provided $7.7 million in funding for restoring and conserving historical structures at HBCUs.