National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants
For questions or assistance with the following grant process, contact Kelsey Lamkin.
African American Civil Rights Grants
The African American Civil Rights Grant Program (Civil Rights Grants) documents, interprets, and preserves sites and stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens. The 2008 NPS report Civil Rights in America, A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites (PDF) serves as the foundation reference document for the grant program and for grant applicants to use in determining the appropriateness of proposed projects and properties. The grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and administered by the NPS. This competitive grant program provides grants to states, tribes, local governments (including Certified Local Governments), and nonprofits. Non-federal matching share is not required, but preference will be given to applications that show community commitment through non-federal match and partnership collaboration. Grants will fund a broad range of planning, development, and research projects for historic sites including: survey, inventory, documentation, interpretation, education, architectural services, historic structure reports, preservation plans, and “bricks and mortar” repair.
Applications for $15.5 million in FY2020 funding are now available. With the 2020 round of funding, the past restriction that projects be related to African American Civil Rights in the 20th century has been broadened; grants made after October 1, 2020 must still relate to Afircan American civil rights, but are no longer limited to the 20th century. For history grant applications the opportunity number is P21AS00199. For preservation grant applications the opportunity number is P21AS00200.
Funded Projects Announced
The National Park Service announced more than $12.2 million in grant projects on Friday, September 13, 2019. This is the third year that NPS has awarded grants through the African American Civil Rights grant program, which awarded $12 million in fiscal year 2017 and $8 million in fiscal year 2016.
Funded Projects in 2017
In 2018, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior announced the FY2017 African American Civil Rights grants from the Historic Preservation Fund. NPS has awarded over $12 million in funding for 51 projects in 24 states that will preserve, document, and highlight sites and storeis associated with the African American Civil Rights movement.
Funded Projects in 2016
The projects below were announced on January 12, 2017.Alabama Birmingham Civil Rights Institute – $47,003
Preserving History, Building Community: Preservation Leadership Training at the Gaston Motel
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will use grant funding to provide Preservation Leadership Training. This will involve the A. G. Gaston Motel, which was a luxury motel for African Americans during the segregation era and often acted as a meeting place for civil rights activists. The preservation leadership training will include African American focused preservation goals and will be a part of a collaborative learning experience.
Alabama City of Anniston – $496,375
Anniston Freedom Riders Monument
The City of Anniston project focuses on the site of the Anniston Greyhound Bus Station where attacks on Freedom Riders occurred in 1961 as they attempted to make their way to Birmingham. Grant funds will restore the bus station to its appearance at that time through the restoration of historic materials, recreation of historic conditions, and stabilization of the roof.
Alabama Historic Brown Chapel AME Preservation Society Inc – $500,000
Preserving Brown Chapel AME from Electrical, Roofing and Structural Needs
Brown Chapel AME in Selma, Alabama was the starting point of the 600 person march to Montgomery across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. The protesters were attacked on their march and the event later became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Brown Chapel AME was the start of multiple other marches following Bloody Sunday which received national attention. Grant funds will provide structural and electrical restoration and rehabilitation, fix the moisture infiltration issue, and repair the roof.
Alabama Sixteenth Street Baptist Church – $500,000
Preservation, Repair and Restoration of the Historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was the site of a racially motivated bombing where 19 sticks of dynamite exploded, surrounding the building. Four young girls died in the 1963 attack and many others were injured. Grant funds will allow for window repairs, restoration of the exterior lantern and towers, and lead abatement.
Arkansas City of Little Rock – $499,372.56
Preserving Central High – A Civil Rights Monument
In 1957, after the Supreme Court Decision in Brown v. Board, 9 black students attempted to enroll at the all-white Central High. This resulted in action from the Governor, asking the National Guard to stop the students. The NAACP worked to get a federal injunction to stop the National Guard and police escorted the students to school but later had to be removed due to protesters outside. The next day, 1,000 US Army troops escorted the 9 students to school. Grant funds will work towards fixing moisture infiltration issues and repairing structural issues.
California The City of Riverside – $50,000
City of Riverside African American Civil Rights History
This project will focus on filling the holes left by previous research, survey, documentation, and designation efforts of African American community resources. By conducting an African American Civil Rights Movement Context and Survey, the city will develop a local context that ties into the National Framework for Civil Rights.
District of Columbia District of Columbia Office of Planning – $37,000
African American 20th Century Civil Rights Heritage Trail
The DC Historic Preservation Office will use grant funds to create a mobile-aware website titled, “An African American 20th Century Civil Rights Heritage Trail” which will include 100 sites that will both individually and collectively tell the stories of people and groups in the struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans. The trail will include sites from multiple time periods defined in the National Framework for Civil Rights.
District of Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D.C.- $50,000
Mapping Segregation in Washington DC: Legal Campaign to End Racially Restrictive Covenants
The Historical Society will use grant funds to create a website with layered interactive maps to show segregation in DC. It will document the segregation of DC’s schools, housing, playgrounds, and other public spaces. The website will be designed to grow and expand.
District of Columbia National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S. – $50,000
Enhancing Understanding of Rosenwald Schools through Web GIS and Story Maps
The National Trust will use grant funds to create the Rosenwald Schools Mapping Project. Rosenwald schools were funded by Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears Roebuck and Company, and were created specifically for the purpose of African American schools. This project will aggregate data into one database on Rosenwald Schools across the country, standardize survey data, and create story maps to interpret these sites for the public.
District of Columbia Smithsonian Institution – $49,616
Civil Rights and Neighborhood Change in Washington, DC
The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum will use grant funding to create a new exhibition, “There Goes the Neighborhood”, which will highlight the sites and stories of the Civil Rights struggle in DC. They will use already completed oral histories and extensive research to help with the interpretation for the exhibit.
Georgia Ralph David Abernathy III Foundation Inc. – $451,571.15
Restoration of the Historic West Hunter Street Baptist Church
The West Hunter Street Baptist Church is where Dr. Abernathy preached. Dr. Abernathy was a key figure in the Civil Rights movement, working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many trainings occurred at the site, including non-violence training, and many important decisions were made there, such as choosing to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the first time in 1963. Grant funds will work on a conditions assessment, architectural and engineering plans for the building, and hazardous material abatement.
Idaho Idaho State Historical Society -$50,000
Untold Stories: The African American Civil Rights Movement in Idaho
The Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, along with other partners, will use grant funding to collect background research and oral histories to identify and document historic sites related to the Civil Rights movement in Idaho. Once sites have been identified, a multiple property form to pursue listing for those sites on the National Register of Historic Places will be completed.
Illinois Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois – $250,000
Preservation of the Oscar Stanton De Priest House National Historic Landmark
The Oscar Stanton De Priest House is a National Historic Landmark where De Priest, a prominent Chicago politician, fought for civil rights, especially anti-lynching laws. De Priest worked closely with the NAACP and along with his wife helped form the Flying Squadron. Grant funds will help repair the roof, fix the facade, and work on stopping water infiltration to the building.
Iowa City of Iowa City – $16,052.38
National Register Nomination and Interpretation of Federation Home and Tate Arms
This two-part project by the City of Iowa City will begin by using grant funding to create two separate National Register nominations for two buildings associated with African American Civil Rights through housing equality at the University of Iowa: Federation Home and Tate Arms. Part two will be the creation of interpretive signage, as well as digital and print media to educate the public about the history of those two buildings, which functioned as housing for African American students who were barred from living in student dormitories despite being students at the university.
Kansas Saint Marks AME Church of Topeka Kansas Inc. – $231,804
St. Mark’s A.M.E. Church Rehabilitation
Saint Marks AME Church was led by Reverend Oliver Brown, who was the lead litigant in the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case, which deemed segregated schools unconstitutional. Grants funds will be used for roof and masonry restoration, window repair, and ceiling repairs.
Kentucky Kentucky Center for African American Heritage – $50,000
The Kentucky Civil Rights Movement Exhibition
The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage will use grant funds to create an educational exhibit on the Civil Rights movement in the area focused on 10 sites that were significant in the struggle for equality. While previous research has been done, no museum exhibit or interpretive program has been created to depict the story of Kentucky’s Civil Rights movement in detail.
Louisiana Holy Rosary Redevelopment – $450,000
Holy Rosary Institute Main Building Stabilization
The Holy Rosary Institute was founded as a vocational and technical school for African American females in the early 1900s, a time when educating neither African Americans nor women was a popular activity. Grant funds will cover window restoration, roof repair, wall & ceiling repairs, and other stabilization efforts.
Louisiana Kemper and Lelia Williams Foundation Inc -$23,360
New Orleans Civil Rights Movement Oral History Project to Preserve First Person Testimony
The Foundation will use the grant funding for their project, “The New Orleans Civil Rights Oral History Project” which will focus on two separate time periods, 1954-1964 and 1964-1976. There will be 50 hours of audio histories as well as 10-15 video histories that will be completed as part of the project. The interviews will revolve around people associated with 11 sites around the city and their stories of the time. These histories will be available to the public at no cost and will potentially be a part of a radio series to help disseminate the information to the public.
Louisiana Leona Tate Foundation for Change, Inc. – $500,000
Civil Rights Museum for the McDonogh 19 Building
In 1960, three African American students were escorted by Federal Marshals into a previously all-white school, McDonogh #19, making them the first African American to attend a formerly white school in Louisiana. After the 3 students joined, all white students left and for two years, those 3 students were the only ones who attended McDonogh #19. Grant funds will include a historical consultant for during rehabilitation, stabilization, and interior rehabilitation.
Maryland Lost Towns Project, Inc – $48,000
Beaches and Ballfields: Contested Recreational Spaces and the Struggle for Civil Rights
This project will use grant funds to do a survey and inventory of recreational and leisure areas for African Americans during the Civil Rights era in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This project will include many aspects including archival research, oral histories, and GIS based story maps.
Maryland Morgan State University- $49,828
1320 Eutaw Place: Lillie Carroll Jackson’s Home for Freedom
This two part project will use grant funds to collect oral histories from people regarding Lillie Carroll Jackson, a prominent Civil Rights activist in the Baltimore area. After completing these oral histories, the findings from such interviews will be used as the basis for preparing a National Register nomination for her house, 1320 Eutaw Place.
Michigan City of Hamtramck – $50,000
Hamtramck Stadium Pre-Development Plan
Hamtramck stadium played a large role in segregated sporting in the 20th century. It became a home for Negro League baseball throughout the 1930s. This grant will fund a pre-development plan, including conditions assessment, construction estimates, and architectural plans and specifications.
Michigan Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)- $49,500
Detroit’s African American Civil Rights History 1900-1970
MSHDA along with partners will use grant funding to complete a multiple resource property documentation for Detroit’s Civil Rights history from 1900-1970. The project will begin with a reconnaissance level survey and will include an intensive level survey of a minimum of the 30 most significant sites found. A survey report and a minimum of four National Register nominations will be completed as part of the project.
Missouri Lincoln University of Missouri- $500,000
Mitchell Hall Preservation and Rehabilitation
In 1942, Lincoln University became the first black university in the U.S. to offer a School of Journalism, which was housed in Mitchell Hall. They continued to be the only journalism degree at a Historically Black College or University for 25 years. Grant funds will go towards foundation repairs, roof repairs, and mold removal from the interior of the building.
Mississippi Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County Inc – $500,000
Restoration of Tallahatchie Co. Courthouse
The Tallahatchie County Courthouse is the site of the Emmett Till murder trial. Till was a 14 year old lynching victim who was kidnapped, beaten, killed, and thrown into a river by two white men. At the trial, an all-white, all-male jury acquitted them. They later confessed in an article for Look magazine. Grant funds will restore the courthouse to its appearance from the trial in 1955, including ceiling and electrical work.
Mississippi Historic Natchez Foundation – $50,000
Research, Interpret, and Preserve the Civil Rights History of Natchez and Adams County
The Historic Natchez Foundation will use grant funds to survey Adams County for sites associated with the Civil Rights movement. The survey will then be used to prepare a National Register nomination as well as a Civil Rights Trail. While Natchez has a long African American history, only one district is listed on the National Register for its association with Civil Rights.
North Carolina Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice – $237,575
Pauli Murray Family Home Interior Restoration
Pauli Murray was a civil rights activist, lawyer, educator, writer, and later on, priest. She fought against Jim Crow laws and led many successful protests in Washington D.C. and other areas. The site of her house is an NHL. Grant funds would go towards, lead abatement, wood repairs, moisture control, and interior finishes.
North Carolina Sit-In Movement, Inc. -$50,000
Project for the International Civil Rights Center & Museum
Sit-In Movement, Inc. will use grant funds to plan and create new sections of their exhibitions revolving around Civil Rights, and more specifically the sit-in movement started by NC students at a whites only lunch counter. The new sections to the exhibit will largely look at the Jim Crow era and its effects. This project would also instruct interpreters on the new additions to the exhibits.
New York Society for the Preservation of Weeksville – $50,000
An Oral History Project to Archive Witnesses to Social & Economic Justice in Weeksville
Weeksville was a small area started by former slave, James Weeks. They built up the community until 1900, when there were about 500 families in the area, but 50 years later it was virtually gone. The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville will use grant funds to conduct training workshops on conducting oral histories and then use volunteers to collect the oral histories with the help of a professional. Then the stories will be curated, put in an exhibit, placed online, and integrated into tours of Weeksville.
New York Town of North Hempstead, NY- $50,000
Long Island Luminaries: Untold Stories of the Civil Rights Era
The Town of North Hempstead historically had a large population, a high percentage of which were members of the KKK. This led to continuing violence between the white and African American communities and local law enforcement. Grant funds will be used to conduct an oral history project of local residents from that era. Beginning with an outreach campaign to determine local residents to tell their stories of the area’s Civil Rights struggles. Video oral histories will then be collected, and with a local TV partner, produced into a feature along with historic footage and historian commentary.
Ohio Ohio Historical Society – $50,000
Civil Rights Movement in Ohio: Evaluating and Nominating Historic Properties
The Ohio State Historic Preservation Office will use grant funds to research, identify, and evaluate significant sites in Ohio that played a role in the African American Civil Rights movement. This research will lead to a multiple resource property cover and National Register nomination.
Rhode Island Rhode Island Historical Society – $49,557.76
African-American Struggle for Civil Rights in Rhode Island: The 20th Century
The Rhode Island Historical Society and partners will use grant funds for a research and documentation project. While RI has completed survey regarding Civil Rights in Providence and Newport, many other areas remain unsurveyed for connections with Civil Rights. Research on historical surveys, oral histories, and other resources will be combined with new surveys and oral histories to work towards a statewide survey of historic sites associated with the Civil Rights movement. The survey will be completed with a report as well as new recommendations for the National Register.
South Carolina Coastal Carolina University – $104,798.06
Sandy Island Cultural Initiative
The Sandy Island School was the only educational opportunity for the small community made up of descendants of former slaves. The one room schoolhouse had few resources and older students took a boat to the mainland for school. They still use a school bus boat today. Grant funds will go towards roof repairs, exterior and interior restoration, and waterproofing.
South Carolina Historic Columbia Foundation – $293,000
Rehabilitation of the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House
Modjeska Simkins was known as the matriarch of civil rights in SC. Simkins worked with the NAACP and was appointed to the chair of the Columbia branch. Her home also functioned as a meeting place for the NAACP, including visitors such as Thurgood Marshall, who were not allowed to stay at city hotels. Grant funding includes work on building stabilization, water remediation, roof replacement, and repairing of doors.
South Carolina University of South Carolina – $49,997
South Carolina Civil Rights Teacher Institute
Through the University’s new Civil Rights Center, grant funds will be used to hold a week-long Civil Rights Teacher’s Institute to help create lesson plans on Civil Rights in SC for 8th and 11th grade students. The Institute will use sites such as the Modjeska Simkins house to help discuss issues that were occurring at that time. Once the lesson plans are completed, they will be sent to all South Carolina school districts, as well as be available to the public via the Civil Rights Center’s website.
Tennessee City of Memphis, Division of Housing and Community Development – $400,000
Clayborn Temple Preservation Project
Clayborn Temple was the strategy center for the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis. The event ended with violence against protesters who had retreated to the Clayborn Temple. Grant funds will go towards repairing the truss system for the roof and other ceiling and roof work.
Tennessee Soulsville Foundation – $47,500
Give A Damn: Stax Records and Social Justice
The Soulsville Foundation will use grant funds to create a new exhibit at Stax Records targeting the Civil Rights and social justice initiatives started there in the 1960s and 1970s. Oral histories will play a large part in the exhibition, as will the music generated from Stax at the time, and the stories of musicians and their role in the local Civil Rights movement.
Virginia City of Danville, Virginia – $413,269.05
Williams Community Resource Center
The site was home to the Williams family, who were heavily involved in the local civil rights movement and fought for the desegregation of public facilities in the area. Grant funds will allow for asbestos remediation and interior rehabilitation.
Virginia Virginia Department of Historic Resources – $404,821.04
Third Street Bethel AME Church Rehabilitation and NR Nomination Update
The Third Street Bethel AME Church served as a location for African Americans to safely meet and plan for issues revolving around the community. Grant funds will allow for roof repair, water remediation, and interior rehabilitation.