$3.6M+ awarded to 11 historic Civil Rights sites in Alabama from the National Parks Service

Carver Theatre
A portion of the grant money will be awarded to the Birmingham Black Radio Museum for a permanent exhibit at the Carver Theatre in Birmingham. (Jacob Blankenship / The Bama Buzz)

On Monday, May 16th, Congresswoman Terri Sewell announced that over $3.6M in funding from the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights grant program will be awarded to help preserve historic civil rights sites in Alabama. Keep reading to learn more about the grants and which Alabama sites will be affected.

$3.6M from the National Parks Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant Program

Rep Terri Sewell
(Rep. Terri Sewell)

In a press release from the office of Congresswoman Terri Sewell, the Alabama Representative announced that a large portion of the National Park Service’s (NPS) African American Civil Rights Grant Program had been awarded to 11 historic sites in Alabama.

“I am thrilled that over $3.6 million in funding from the National Park Service is being invested into Alabama to preserve the living history of the Civil Rights Movement. As the Representative of America’s Civil Rights district, I’m proud to lead the congressional effort every year to increase funding for the National Park Service Civil Rights Historic Preservation Grant Program to ensure that America’s civil rights history lives on. This is a big win for the State of Alabama and the many Foot Soldiers and Freedom Fighters on whose shoulders we stand.”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell

According to the National Park Service, the African American Civil Rights grants program, “documents, interprets, and preserves sites and stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens.” The program funds a variety of projects in coordination with state, Tribal, local government and nonprofit parters in two projects categories:

  • Preservation grants, which are used for the repair and upkeep of historic properties.
  • History grants, which are open for interpretive work, including exhibit design and historical research.

The grant money is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund, a program established in 1977 and authorized to distribute $150M in funding each year through 2023.

Grants awarded to 11 historic Alabama Civil Rights sites

Alabama’s grants—which total $3,665,408—will be distributed to 11 different sites in the state:

  • $500,000 to Saint Paul United Methodist Church for preservation, restoration, and repair. (Birmingham)
  • $50,000 to the Birmingham Black Radio Museum for the permanent exhibit at the Carver Theatre. (Birmingham).
  • $499,799 to Auburn University for stabilization and exterior rehabilitation of the Tankersley Rosenwald School. (Hope Hull)
  • $469,500 to the Alabama Historical Commission for stabilization and preservation of the Schooner Clotilda, the Last-known Slave Ship to Import Enslaved Africans to the United States. (Mobile)
  • $500,000 to the Mount Zion Center Foundation, Inc. for the rehabilitation of the Mount Zion AME Zion Church Memorial Annex. (Montgomery)
  • $50,000 to the Alabama Historical Commission for the Freedom Rides Museum Interior Exhibit Plan. (Montgomery)
  • $50,000 to the City of Montgomery for the civil engineering of “The Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama: The Planned Destruction of a Prosperous African American Community.” (Montgomery)
  • $46,588 to Auburn University for “Memory and the March: Oral Histories with Selma’s Foot Soldiers.” (Auburn)
  • $500,000 to the Historic Brown Chapel AME Church Preservation Society, Inc. for the preservation of the endangered Historic Brown Chapel AME Church. (Selma)
  • $500,000 to the Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Selma AL Legacy Foundation, Inc. for critical systems and accessibility upgrades to Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church. (Selma)
  • $499,521 to the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth & Reconciliation for rehabilitation of the Historic Sullivan Building for use as a community and culture center. (Selma)

“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

Chuck Sams, Director of the National Park Service of United States government

Which projects are you most excited to see these grants support? Tag us @thebamabuzz on Instagram and Facebook to let us know!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.

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