e owe it to ourselves, our ancestors, and our future generations to preserve—and share—the full American story. Sometimes preserving that story means working through a difficult past to create a more inclusive future. Sometimes it means amplifying the voices of those who historically have been silenced. No matter the approach, we believe every American should be able to see themselves, their history, and their potential in both our collective story and our national landscape.
To encourage this growing movement, the National Trust and its partners are working to raise $25 million to create and invest in the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund—the largest preservation campaign ever undertaken on behalf of African American history. Our mission: to draw attention to the remarkable stories that evoke centuries of African American activism and achievement, and to tell our nation’s full history.
Indeed, the stories and places of African American culture and heritage have always existed, but too often have not been fully acknowledged for the integral role they play in the fabric of American society.
We are committed to crafting a narrative that expands our view of history and, ultimately, begins to reconstruct our national identity, while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for our diverse historic places.
In the Action Fund's inaugural year, we awarded 16 grants, totaling more than $1 million, to preservation organizations across the country, with funding going to support the preservation of sites and stories of black history. These grants covered work in communities from Birmingham to the South Side of Chicago, including sites of struggle and strength.
We also used the Action Fund to provide grants to African American historic sites and empower youth through Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE Crew). At our National Trust Historic Sites, we modeled innovative approaches to interpreting and preserving African American cultural heritage.
And through it all, we worked on the ground with communities and cities to protect significant historic places and elevate their stories through our National Treasures program.
In the coming year, we will continue work on key preservation efforts, including conducting research exploring the impact that preservation has on contemporary urban issues that disproportionately affect communities of color—equity, displacement, and affordability. Additionally, support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will continue, from celebrating their history to advocating for the reauthorization of the HBCU Historic Preservation Program, which ensures that their histories and legacies are preserved.
“Without a thorough reckoning with the complex and difficult history of our country, especially when it comes to race, we will not be able to overcome intolerance, injustice, and inequality. We have an opportunity with this Fund to broaden the American narrative to reflect our remarkably rich and diverse history.”Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
African American Cultural Heritage Stories
African American Cultural Heritage SitesView More