News Release

National Park Service awards $21 million to help preserve African American civil rights history  

A street corner with a yellow and red brick building with a lit, neon sign that says Prince Hall.
The Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, the office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the first African American-owned radio station, on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.

Charles Lawrence, Lord Aeck Sargent

News Release Date: May 25, 2023


WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) awarded $21 million today to 37 projects in 16 states as part of the Historic Preservation Fund’s African American Civil Rights grant program, which funds preservation projects and efforts of sites tied to the struggle of African Americans to gain equal rights.   

“The National Park Service is proud to award this grant funding to our state and local government, and nonprofit partners to help them recognize places and stories related to the African American experience,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Since 2016, the African American Civil Rights program has provided over $100 million to document, protect, and celebrate the places, people and stories of one of the greatest struggles in American history.”  

This year’s grants will support the preservation of sites like the Ashby Theatre, St. Paul United Methodist Church and the Americus Colored Hospital.    

  • Atlanta’s Ashby Theatre opened in 1934 offering African Americans a state-of-the art experience and welcomed them through the front door to watch movies on the main level. Herman Perry, a successful African American entrepreneur who founded Citizens Trust Bank, which is among the largest African American-owned financial institutions in the country today, built the theater. Grant funds will support removal of hazardous material, building assessments, stabilization, and exterior improvements.   

  • During the Birmingham demonstrations in 1963 against racial segregation, St. Paul hosted mass meetings and held training sessions in nonviolent civil disobedience for the young demonstrators who participated in the Children’s Crusade marches. Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was pastor of the church. The grant funding will improve mechanical and plumbing systems. The applicant is providing $26,000 in matching funds.   

  • The Americus Colored Hospital in Georgia provided high-quality, full-service health care to African Americans from 1923 to 1953 and was a facility where black medical professionals could train, practice, and serve. With a significant population of health professionals, Americus had a thriving African American middle class. In the 1960s, the building became one of two Freedom Centers to help people register to vote. This grant will fund installation of new electrical and HVAC systems and provide interior repairs.   

Congress appropriated funding for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program in fiscal year 2022 through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to assist with a broad range of preservation projects and mitigate the loss of nonrenewable resources by funding the preservation of other irreplaceable resources without expending tax dollars. Established in 1977 and authorized at $150 million per year through 2023, the HPF has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, Tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations.     

Administered by the NPS, Congress may appropriate HPF funds to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources. For fiscal year 2023, $24 million will be available for African American Civil Rights grants in the summer of 2023.   

For more information about NPS historic preservation programs and grants, please visit


State   Project   Grantee   Award  
Alabama, Anniston   Story Mapping and Formalization of Operations and Maintenance for the Anniston Civil Rights Trail   City of Anniston   $74,800  
Alabama, Birmingham   Historic Bethel Baptist Church: Preserving the Past to Secure the Future   Historic Bethel Baptist Church Community Restoration Fund   $750,000  
Alabama, Birmingham   Preservation, Rehabilitation and Repair of St. Paul United Methodist Church   St. Paul United Methodist Church   $750,000  
Alabama, Montgomery   Repair, Rehabilitation and Preservation of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage   Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church   $750,000  
Alabama, Montgomery   Freedom Rides Museum Vintage Greyhound Bus Virtual Reality Experience   Alabama Historical Commission   $75,000  
Alabama, Montgomery   Moore Building 2nd Floor Rehabilitation   Alabama Historical Commission   $750,000  
Connecticut, Bridgeport   Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation of the 1848 Eliza Freeman House   The Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community   $750,000  
Florida, Pensacola   Ground Penetrating Radar Survey and Interpretation of a Possible 19th Century Unmarked African American Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida   City of Pensacola   $22,160  
Georgia, Americus   Rehabilitation of the Historic Americus Colored Hospital to create the Americus Sumter County Civil Rights Museum and Cultural Center   Americus-Sumter County Movement Remembered   $749,200  
Georgia, Atlanta   Interpretive programming about the church and the key role of Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy in the Civil Rights Movement   Ralph David Abernathy III Foundation, Inc.   $75,000  
Georgia, Atlanta   Rehabilitation of the Historic Ashby Theatre as part of a multi-use business and community center in westside Atlanta   Atlanta Business League Foundation, Inc   $749,000  
Georgia, Atlanta   Prince Hall Masonic Lodge Rehabilitation Project   The Trust for Public Land   $750,000  
Georgia, Savannah   Springfield Terrace School Rehabilitation Plan   Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah   $50,000  
Georgia, Warm Springs   Saving the Last Rosenwald School; The Eleanor Roosevelt School   Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation   $694,522  
Kentucky, Louisville   Brown Memorial CME Church Building Rehabilitation   Louisville Preservation Fund   $750,000  
Maryland, Baltimore   Survey of Civil Rights in Baltimore   Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Historical Trust   $50,000  
Mississippi, Marks   Marks Rosenwald School Rehabilitation: Phase 3   Quitman County School District   $408,500  
Mississippi, Meridian   Renovation/Rehabilitation Wechsler School 1951 Addition Cafeteria/Multipurpose Area   The Wechsler Foundation   $750,000  
Mississippi and Illinois,  Various sites   Emmett Till Landmark – a Digital, GPS-enabled Guide to 23 Sites   Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County, Inc.   $74,096  
New York, Rye   Rye African American Cemetery Pre-Preservation Initiative   Town of Rye   $35,450  
North Carolina, Elizabeth City   ECSU Rosenwald Practice School and Principal's House Rehabilitation/Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute   Elizabeth City State University   $750,000  
North Carolina, Elizabeth City   ECSU Rosenwald Practice School and Principal's House/Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute Exhibit Design and Construction   Elizabeth City State University   $75,000  
North Carolina, Sedalia   Preservation of the Tea House at Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Historic Site   NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources   $555,334  
North Carolina, Southern Pines   Trinity AME Zion Church Rehabilitation Project   Triangle J Council of Governments   $748,303  
North Carolina, Southern Pines   Museum Exhibition Planning and Research for the West Southern Pines Cultural Center   Southern Pines Land & Housing Trust Inc.   $67,200  
Ohio, Cleveland   Phase II: Masonry and Terracotta Repairs for Cleveland's Top Civil Rights Landmark, Cory United Methodist Church   Cleveland Restoration Society, Inc.   $529,038  
Ohio, Cleveland   Pre-preservation Work on the Historic Sidaway Bridge   Neighborhood Progress, Inc.   $75,000  
Pennsylvania,   Washington Crossing   Calling Forth the Legacy of Jacob Francis: The Revolutionary Road to the Civil Rights Movement   Friends of Washington Crossing Park   $61,955  
South Carolina, Columbia   Booker T. Washington High School Auditorium Building Rehabilitation   University of South Carolina   $5,000,000  
South Carolina, Ninety Six   Stabilization and Preservation Planning of the Former Edgewood School, an "Equalization School," Now Serving as Edgewood Community Center   South Carolina Rural Education Grassroots Group   $750,000  
South Carolina,  Orangeburg    Phase II Preservation of All Star Bowling Lanes   Center for Creative Partnerships   $750,000  
South Carolina,  Orangeburg    Preservation and Repair of Historic Trinity United Methodist Church: Phase IV   Trinity United Methodist Church   $750,000  
South Carolina, Sumter   2022 Lincoln High School Preservation Application - Phase II   Lincoln High School Preservation Alumni Association   $750,000  
Texas, Galveston   Elevation of the 1859 Ashton Villa   Galveston Historical Foundation, Inc.   $750,000  
Virginia, Sutherland   Historic Rocky Branch School Initial Building Stabilization Project   Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities   $288,000  
Virginia, Various sites   Sanctuaries of Governance and Social Structure: A Collaborative Project to Recognize the Role of African American Churches from Reconstruction to Civil Rights   One Shared Story   $74,942  
West Virginia, Various sites    African American Experience of Struggle and Achievement in West Virginia's Allegheny Highlands   Friends of Blackwater   $65,000  
 16 States    37 Projects      $21,097,500  

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Last updated: August 8, 2023