The National Trust for Historic Preservation created a $50 million fund to preserve Black historic landmarks across the country. Established in 2017, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund marks the largest effort to preserve Black historical sites and recently announced it will fund 40 projects of historical and cultural significance for Black people.
“It’s exceptionally important that the Black experience is preserved and visible upon the American landscape,” Brent Leggs, executive director of the fund, told National Geographic.
“It’s important that we tell these stories that are overlooked to equitably understand what it means to be American. It’s important that we invest in historic Black communities to stimulate revitalization and to foster interest in places that today seem to exist without history,” Leggs added.
This year’s grants were awarded to a variety of organizations including libraries, museums, churches, universities, community theaters, and more. It’s the largest monetary distribution in the fund’s history. In the fund’s first three years, it raised $30 million with donations from the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“We are delighted that the Action Fund continues to affirm the centrality of Black voices and experiences to historical preservation in the United States, and to broaden public awareness of the significance of these landmarks,” Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation told the outlet.
“The 2021 grantees … represent vital cultural sites that enrich our cities, small towns, and rural communities, and that serve as a testament to the fortitude and ingenuity of the African Americans who created them.”
The National Negro Opera Company in Pittsburgh, the first Black opera company established in the US in 1908 and the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, the church where Emmet Till’s funeral was held are both among the recipients this year.
Check out the full list of projects receiving funding here.