By Sameer Rao
Colorlines, November 15, 2017 —
The African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund plans to raise $25 million toward restoration and community outreach efforts for overlooked historical sites with connections to Black history.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation seeks to protect and promote the nation’s many threatened Black historical sites through the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a philanthropic initiative that was unveiled today (November 15).
The trust’s announcement says the project will “[uplift] the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans by establishing a grant fund for the protection and restoration of African-American historical sites.”
The trust is partnering with The Ford, Open Society and JPBFoundations—along with a council of civic and academic leaders—to raise $25 million for the fund. That money will support restoration costs, research about preservation’s economic impact on Black communities and community outreach. The statement adds that the fund will enable the trust’s Hands-On Preservation Experience Crew—a program that trains high school students in the technical side of historic preservation—to contribute to fund-targeted preservation efforts.
Two sites have already been selected for fund support: Shockoe Bottom, a major marketplace for the sale of enslaved Black people in Richmond, Virginia; and the Mountain View Black Officers’ Club at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, one of the only remaining World War II-era social clubs for Black military personnel. The trust notes that both properties are in danger of demolition. Commercial developers already destroyed and paved over significant tracts of Shockoe Bottom, and the U.S.Army has been considering proposals to demolish Mountain View since 2013.
Learn more about the fund at SavingPlaces.org.