African American Civil Rights Funded Projects

African American Civil Rights Grants awarded April 2024 from the Historic Preservation Fund


Auburn University - $750,000

Tankersley Rosenwald School: Interior Rehabilitation – Hope Hull

Over 5,000 Rosenwald Schools were built across the rural Jim Crow South to advance the education of African American children from 1914-1932. Through the leadership of Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee Institute, and the philanthropy of Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears & Roebuck, the Rosenwald Fund was created to build schools and improve education of African Americans in the largely segregated and rural South. Grant funds will be used for structural and interior repairs, including doors and windows, to the building constructed in 1922.


The Lincolnite Club - $750,000

Structural and Masonry Repairs of the Historic Lincoln Normal School Gymnasium – Marion

The Lincoln High School Gymnasium was built as an “Equalization” facility to slow desegregation of schools in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that mandated desegregation of schools. During the modern civil rights struggle, Lincoln Normal School students played a vital and significant role demonstrating, marching, and attending mass meetings to gain voting rights for African Americans. Grant funds will fund phase 3 of the project and repair steel structural members, repoint and clean brick, repair the concrete floor, improve drainage, and repair exterior doors. The applicant will provide $75,000 in matching funds.


Alabama Historical Commission - $75,000

Freedom Rides Museum Virtual Reality Experience on Vintage Greyhound Bus – Montgomery

On Saturday, May 20, 1961, twenty-one Freedom Riders arrived at the Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station and were met by a violent mob. The event garnered international news coverage and led to the Interstate Commerce Commission issuing a ruling to integrate all interstate buses and bus facilities. The grant project will develop a traveling virtual reality program using a vintage Greyhound bus to share experiences and stories of Freedom Riders to schools and organizations across Alabama.


Alabama Historical Commission - $686,596

Historic Moore Building Rehabilitation – Montgomery

The Moore Building looks onto a South Court Street block where in 1961 a violent riot exploded from the Greyhound Bus Station loading ramp onto the street and sidewalks. Young Freedom Riders fled through the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building’s postal loading platform and bystanders huddled in the entrance to the Moore Building. This project will complete the interior rehabilitation of the first floor and provide space for the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Freedom Riders arriving in Montgomery. The applicant will provide $6667 in matching funds.


Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church Selma AL Legacy Foundation Inc - $744,545

Mechanical Systems Replacement at Tabernacle Baptist Church – Selma

Tabernacle Baptist Church was the site of the first mass meeting for the Voters Rights Movement and has national significance for its associations with the civil rights movement in Selma and for the ministry of Rev. D. V. Jemison. The project will replace the mechanical systems in the building to improve air quality and protect the interior improvements. The applicant will provide $5000 in matching funds.


Little Rock School Board - $749,975

Preserving Central High – Little Rock

Central High School was one of the first sites of integration following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Nine black students, known as the “Little Rock Nine,” enrolled in the all-white high school as one of the first federally ordered integration acts in the nation. Phase 3 of the project will replace 22 front facade windows with historically accurate versions as part of fulfilling recommendations outlined in a 2010 historic structures report. Central High School will continue to function as an active school. The applicant will provide $199,626 in matching funds.


University of Northern Colorado - $743,224

Historic Building Rehabilitation at Dearfield National Register Historic District – Dearfield

Grant funds will be used to rehabilitate the historic filling station in the Dearfield National Register Historic District to serve as a visitor’s center and museum for the historic site. The Dearfield townsite, established in northeastern Colorado's Weld County in 1910, grew into a 31 square mile farm colony of African American farms and ranches by the mid-1920s. By 1914, the colony had another smaller but thriving community, Chapelton, home to an official U.S. post office and the colony's own county district school.


Lincoln Hills Cares Foundation - $75,000

Survey and National Register Nomination – Lincoln Hills

The project will document the history of Lincoln Hills, a 1925 summer vacation home development for African Americans outside of Denver. More than 1,100 lots were sold located on steep, forested slopes overlooking the valley of South Boulder Creek and abutting the Arapahoe National Forest. Eligible properties will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

District of Columbia

DC Preservation League - $750,000

Howard Theatre HVAC Repair/Replacement – Washington

The Howard Theatre opened in 1910 with vaudeville acts, talent shows, and live music showcasing black artists and performers. The theater also served as a community gathering space hosting speakers like W.E.B. Dubois, Howard University student groups, and a weekly literary salon. Grant funds will be used to replace the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and update the National Register nomination.

District of Columbia

DC Preservation League - $75,000

Amending the National Register Multiple Property Document on Public School Buildings of Washington, D.C., 1862-1960 – Washington

The National Register Multiple Property Document will be amended to document the period of 1954-1974 and focus on implementing desegregation. The study will explore the years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision through enactment of Home Rule in the District in 1974. The updated study will support future nominations to the National Register and raise awareness of the impact of court-ordered desegregation in the D.C. public school system. The applicant will provide $12,546 in matching funds.


St. Johns County Cultural Council - $750,000

St. Augustine Beach Hotel Rehabilitation - St. Augustine

This beachfront property is the only remaining structure at the site of the civil rights era wade-ins organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and local activists in 1964. A series of demonstrations that occurred on the site were widely covered by national media and contributed to the passage of the national Civil Rights Act immediately thereafter. The rehabilitation work will include waterproofing the coquina exterior, exterior envelope repairs to improve roof drainage, and adding public access and climate control to the 2nd floor. The applicant will provide $144,595 in matching funds.


Campbell Chapel Restoration Project, Inc - $750,000

Preservation of the Historic Campbell Chapel AME – Americus

This grant will support needed repairs to the Campbell Chapel AME Church constructed in 1869 and designed by Louis H. Persley, the first African American registered architect in the state of Georgia. Founded in 1859, the church provided leadership and strength for the community from slavery through reconstruction and Jim Crow. Campbell Chapel was an integral part of the Americus Movement, a civil rights protest that began in Americus, Georgia, in 1963 and lasted until 1965. This grant will fund repairs to structural damage and allow the building to return to use as a church.


Atlanta Business League Foundation, Inc - $750,000

Rehabilitation of the Historic Ashby Theatre – Atlanta

The Ashby Theater represents an important step in the struggle for equality, providing African Americans with a first-class venue to watch movies without being segregated from white patrons in inferior balcony seats. The 300-seat venue opened in 1934 during the Jim Crow era and was one of the first to serve Atlanta's African American community. The theater will be rehabilitated to become a key element in a new Westside Business Center anchored by the Atlanta Business League and a Black Business Hall of Fame.


Augusta Canal Authority - $750,000

Rehabilitation of the Historic Mother Trinity CME Church – Augusta

Mother Trinity is the first and oldest church of the CME Denomination, of which there are over 1 million members worldwide. It was formed when 300 free and enslaved African Americans worshipping as members of St. John's Methodist Church were granted their request to form their own church. This project will address roof and structural problems as the first phase of rehabilitation. Plans for reactivating the building include performance space, historical exhibits, and uses connected to the adjacent trail system.


Friends of Antioch, Inc - $750,000

Preservation of the Historic Antioch Baptist Church and Cemetery – Crawfordville

The Antioch Baptist Church constructed by formerly enslaved African Americans and their descendants was completed in 1899. The Carpenter Gothic designed building has the original foundation piers, siding, windows, and pews. The property also includes a historic cemetery and site of a one-room schoolhouse. In the 1960s the church served as a local strategy center for the civil rights movement with planning meetings and voter registration drives. The grant will fund repairs to the church roof, foundation, siding, porch, restrooms, and the interior of the sanctuary.


Sabine High School Revitalization Management Group, Inc. - $750,000

Sabine High School Rehabilitation ProjectMany

Designed as a segregated K-12 facility for the education of African American students in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, the complex of buildings was constructed between 1957 and 1960. The purpose of this award is to complete the second phase of rehabilitation of the gymnasium. The preserved campus will provide recreation and educational opportunities for the community, as well as a museum.


Leona Tate Foundation for Change, Inc. - $75,000

Permanent fabrication and Installation of classroom and principal's office exhibits at the Tate, Etienne & Prevost (TEP) Interpretive Center - New Orleans

In the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, three six-year-old girls named Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost were escorted by U.S. Marshals into the McDonogh 19 Elementary school in the Lower 9th Ward to attend first grade on November 14, 1960. Two permanent exhibits will be developed and installed in the rehabilitated property to focus on the principal’s office and the first-grade classroom and share the story of the three young girls. The applicant will provide $1,027,807 in matching funds.


Eastern Michigan University - $75,000

Detroit's African American Civil Rights Survey of East Side - Detroit

Grant funds will be used to survey the historic resources in Detroit’s east side related to fair housing, public accommodations, employment, community activism, entertainment, and the role of religion in the struggle for equality. Geographic Information Systems and public engagement will be used to share information on the project. Two National Register nominations and an expansion of the civil rights driving tour will also be developed. The applicant will provide $62,066 in matching funds.


Michigan Strategic Fund - $75,000

African American Recreational Tourism and the Negro Motorist Green Book in Michigan - Statewide

The project will provide a survey of properties and sites related to African American recreation and included in the Negro Motorist Green Book. Resources will include gas stations, rooming houses, and resorts. The survey report will include an extensive historic context on African American recreation tourism in Michigan. A Multiple Property Documentation Form and one National Register nomination will also be developed.


Douglass School Project - $209,800

Douglass School African American Historic Learning and Cultural Center Project – Higginsville

The project will rehabilitate the 1925 Douglass School. The number of buildings that served the African American community has dwindled significantly in the area with only two African American school buildings remaining in the county. A museum and learning center will be established in the building to preserve the rich history of the African American population in this region once known as Little Dixie.


George Washington Carver Birthplace District Association Inc - $239,391

Rehabilitation of the Neosho Colored School – Neosho

The Neosho Colored School was built ca. 1871 to serve as a residence, and in 1872 it became the first school for African Americans in the town of Neosho, a function it retained until 1891. The best-known student at the school was George Washington Carver. After being turned away from a white school near his home, Carver moved alone to Neosho at the approximate age of 10 specifically to attend this school. The project will fund the interior rehabilitation of the historic structure that will be utilized as a public museum. The applicant will provide $121,502 in matching funds.


Mississippi Heritage Trust – $750,000

Riverside Hotel Rehabilitation Project - Clarksdale

The Riverside Hotel and its significance to African American civil rights, spans across three eras. The hotel structure as it exists today, was built around 1925 under segregation and Jim Crow laws as a black hospital and was bought in 1944 by Mrs. Z.L. Hill. The hotel fostered a vibrant black music scene during this era, and it fueled the beginning of an amazing legacy of famous black artists that either stayed or boarded at the Riverside Hotel. The major goals of the project are to structurally stabilize the hotel and the three associated shotgun houses, and complete needed exterior and interior repairs.


City of Drew - $750,000

Drew Rosenwald School Rehabilitation Project – Drew

The Drew Rosenwald School in the small town of Drew, Mississippi was built in 1929 for African American students in the Delta through matching funds provided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund schools program. In 1955, less than five miles away, young Emmett Till was tortured and killed in a seed barn on the outskirts of Drew. The former school will become a museum and visitor center for citizens visiting the new Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. The adaptive reuse of this portion of the Drew Rosenwald School will allow the Milam Plantation Seed Barn site to remain undeveloped. The project will complete the front entrance, provide accessibility entry into the facility, and rehabilitate a portion of the interior space.


Montana Historical Society - $497,712

Union Bethel AME: Stabilization and Access Project – Great Falls

Union Bethel AME church stands as one of the most significant properties associated with Montana's African American civil rights history. Organized in 1890, it was the only African American church in use in the state when congregants dedicated the current building in 1917. Project goals are to stabilize the historic church's failing brick exterior and to address electrical and accessibility issues. The applicant will provide $229,167 in matching funds.

North Carolina

Reinvestment Partners - $750,000

Preservation of Harriet Tubman YWCA – Durham

The grant will fund rehabilitation of the Harriet Tubman YWCA, a key building in Durham’s African American history associated with both the civil rights movement and the feminist movement in Durham, NC. The goal is to restore a key building in Durham’s history and bring it back into operation to meet the growing need for affordable housing. The project will include development of architectural and construction plans to preserve and re-purpose the building. The applicant will provide $4,069,535 in matching funds.

North Carolina

City of Greensboro - $75,000

Research and document African American history in Greensboro – Greensboro

This project will expand knowledge and awareness of the struggle for African Americans to gain equal rights in Greensboro. Major tasks will be to prepare a Multiple Property Documentation Form for structures and sites with civil rights significance and develop an individual National Register nomination for one property of special significance. The applicant will provide $10,000 in matching funds.

North Carolina

Department of Natural and Cultural Resources - $27,500

The Untold Stories of the Struggle for Civil Rights in the Places of Northeastern North Carolina - Raleigh

This project will result in a survey of properties identified from previous studies to document the African American history in the northeastern portion of the state. The survey information will be used to make priorities and recommendations for future National Register nominations. National Register nominations for historic districts will also be updated to include civil rights history and context. The applicant will provide $12,073 in matching funds.

New York

Louis Armstrong House Museum - $750,000

Legacy Renewal: Louis Armstrong's Historic Home Preservation – Corona

This project will preserve and rehabilitate the home of the iconic music and cultural icon, Louis Armstrong. Built in 1910, it was inhabited by the Armstrong family until the death of Louis in 1971 and Lucille in 1983. The overarching goal is to ensure the home remains a vibrant and lasting testament to the legacy of Louis Armstrong, and safeguarding its historical, cultural, and architectural significance. The project seeks to protect the structural integrity of the house and enhance the safety of the environment for staff and visitors. The applicant will provide $50,000 in matching funds.


Famicos Foundation - $750,000

Preservation of St. Marks Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland

Cleveland played a pivotal role in the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Several national civil rights organizations were present and active in Cleveland, working with local groups towards the passage of Ohio’s Civil Rights Act, the election of Carl Stokes as Cleveland’s first African American mayor, and the desegregation of Cleveland’s public schools. St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church was a prominent site for African American activists to gather during that time. The applicant will rehabilitate the property for use as a community center and commercial space. The applicant will provide $8,244,272 in matching funds.


Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society - $739,400

Evans House Rehabilitation – Oberlin

The Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society will complete the rehabilitation of the Wilson Bruce Evans home in Oberlin, Ohio. The house was built by an African American abolitionist and Underground Railroad operative. It was inhabited by his descendants, educators who sought to provide quality schooling for people of color in Jim Crow America. The House will open to the public as a historic building and educational center telling the Evans family, Oberlin’s historic African American community, and more broadly, the story of the long struggle for racial equity and justice in the United States. The applicant will provide $30,000 in matching funds.

South Carolina

Clemson University - $55,625

Clemson University African American History Video Project - Clemson

Fort Hall and Tillman Hall are two National Register listed properties on the Clemson University campus. The project will produce nine educational videos that examine the journey from the antebellum period when enslaved persons labored on the John C. Calhoun’s Fort Hill Plantation upon which Clemson was built to the civil rights movement when Harvey Gantt desegregated Clemson after winning a lawsuit and registering for classes in Tillman Hall on January 28, 1963.

South Carolina

University of South Carolina - $4,250,000

Preservation of the Florence C. Benson Elementary School, an equalization school and a resource associated with segregation in Columbia, SC – Columbia

The Florence C. Benson Elementary School was an equalization school and a resource associated with segregation in Columbia, SC. This rehabilitation project will transform an underutilized historic structure into a vibrant building on the University of South Carolina (USC) campus to house academic and administrative programs and provide space for students and the community to gather. The elementary school, built with the intent to keep South Carolina schools “separate but equal” and to avoid racial integration, is now part of USC’s campus.

South Carolina

South Carolina Rural Education Grassroots Group - $750,000

Stabilization and Preservation of the former Edgewood School, an Equalization School, Now serving as Edgewood Community Center –Ninety-Six

Edgewood School, built in 1956, was part of the equalization program when states built “separate but equal” facilities to resist desegregation in the wake of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. This project will stabilize and rehabilitate a second section of the school, now the Edgewood Community Center. The building serves as a multi-generational community center providing a safe space and programs that promote health and wellness.

South Carolina

Center for Creative Partnerships - $750,000

Preservation of All Star Bowling Lanes – Orangeburg

All Star Bowling Lanes has direct significance to African American civil rights having played a critical role in events leading up to the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. This project underscores the role that South Carolina played in America’s search for racial justice and represents the opportunity to elevate the Bowling Lanes to a “National Center for Civil Rights.” Built in 1962, the bowling lanes are amazingly intact, but long-term neglect has created urgent needs. The goals of Phase 3 will be the creation of a functional interior in a clean, safe building.


Property Power and Preservation - $750,000

Griggs Business and Practical Arts College Rehabilitation – Memphis

Griggs Business and Practical Arts College was founded ca. 1916 by Emma Griggs. She was one of many influential black women born just after the Civil War who created schools and community organizations that became the building blocks of flourishing black urban centers. This project will rehabilitate the building that will serve as the home for a technology startup accelerator and provide housing for participants attending the business accelerator or nearby medical institutions. The applicant will provide $875,445 in matching funds.


Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities – $258,005

Rehabilitation of the Historic Parker Sydnor Cabin in Mecklenburg County – Clarksville

This ca. 1880s log cabin was formerly part of the nearby Prestwould Plantation. First owned by Lovice (Vicey) Skipwith, a former slave from Prestwould, the cabin is significant as the home for several generations of African Americans from Reconstruction to the late 20th century. Parker Sydnor, a skilled carver of local grave markers, lived in the cabin in the 1930s and 1940s. The project will include engineering and architectural services and building stabilization and rehabilitation.


Woodville Rosenwald School Foundation - $22,967

Oral History and Artifact Collection Project to preserve history of the Woodville Rosenwald School and other African American Schools - Gloucester

The project will collect oral histories, documents and artifacts related to the experience of African Americans attending Gloucester schools before desegregation. The collected oral histories will be shared with the community through an online database, a traveling kiosk, and an audio/visual display in the Woodville. Rosenwald School. The information will be stored at the Swem Library of the College of William and Mary. The applicant will provide $5,000 in matching funds.


City of Harrisonburg - $180,260

Lucy F. Simms School Rehabilitation and Preservation Project – Harrisonburg

Grant funds will complete a rehabilitation and preservation project at the Lucy F. Simms Center, formerly an African American school integrated in 1965 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The project will rehabilitate the building’s original windows to remove significant corrosion and repaint the windows and lintels. Now known as the Lucy F. Simms Center, the building is a community center housing two nonprofit organizations that serve the city’s youth and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Increased energy efficiency and the continued preservation of the property will result from this funding.


City of Hopewell - $750,000

City Point House - Shiloh Lodge Preservation Project – Hopewell

With almost 200 years of active use, including over 140 years as Shiloh Lodge #33 of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia Free and Accepted Masons, the Lodge is now in urgent need of rehabilitation to ensure its history is safeguarded and to support future adaptive use. This project will rehabilitate and preserve the City Point House-Shiloh Lodge as a museum and community gathering space. The project will honor the extensive and lasting history of the African American community within Hopewell, Virginia, and serve as a catalyst for economic development. The applicant will provide $124,256 in local matching funds.

AACR Award Press Releases

The African American Civil Rights Grant Program was first appropriated by Congress in FY2016. Visit the African American Civil Rights Grant Program to learn more about upcoming grant opportunities and how to apply.

Prior Awards

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    Last updated: April 30, 2024