Selma church receives National Trust Preserving Black Churches grant

National Trust
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma (Rep. Terri Sewell Facebook page)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has chosen Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama to receive a Preserving Black Churches grant.   

One of 31 Black Churches nationwide

The church, which was damaged by last year’s January tornadoes that swept through Selma and Central Alabama, is one of 31 Black churches across the country to be awarded grants totaling $4 million. Since launching the Preserving Black Churches grant program in 2022, the Action Fund has provided $8.7 million in grants to over 70 historic churches.

“We created the Preserving Black Churches program to ensure the historic Black church’s legacy is told and secured. That these cultural assets can continue to foster community resilience and drive meaningful change in our society.”

~  Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Description of Tabernacle’s Preserving Black Churches grant

Here is the National Trust’s description of the Tabernacle Baptist Church and the grant that will be given to this beloved place of worship.

Constructed in 1922, Tabernacle Baptist Church, known for its Classical Revival architecture, has four identical quadrantes connected by an open dome and clerestory that brings continuous brilliance to the sanctuary’s interior, reflecting Jesus Christ as The Light of the World. Grant funding will allow the church to replace its deteriorated lead-coated copper dome roof, damaged by severe weather and a January 2023 tornado.

Sacred cultural centers

16 Street Baptist Church
16th Street Baptist Church. (Jon Eastwood / Bham Now)

“Black churches have been at the forefront of meaningful democratic reform since this nation’s founding. They’re a living testament to the resilience of our ancestors in the face of unimaginably daunting challenges. The heart of our spiritual world is the Black church. These places of worship, these sacred cultural centers, must exist for future generations to understand who we were as a people.”

~ Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian and advisor to the Action Fund

To learn more about The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s Preserving Black Churches grant visit SavingPlaces.org

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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