• "The Fight to Preserve African-American History" Featured in "The New Yorker" Magazine

    January 27, 2020

    Why Do Old Places Matter Mt. Zion Rosenwald School Exterior

    The National Trust is proud to share that the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is the subject of an article in The New Yorker titled, "The Fight to Preserve African-American History."

    Appearing in the February 3, 2020, issue (under the headline "Rescue Work"), the article by Casey Cep explores how "activists and preservationists are changing the kinds of places that are protected—and what it means to preserve them."

    Read the article online to learn more about the Action Fund, executive director Brent Leggs, and the many partners and advocates who are helping save places that help tell our full American story.

  • Grants Now Available: African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

    December 9, 2019

    Telling the Full American Story

    If you or someone you know has a historic place such as a site, museum, or landscape representing African American cultural heritage, you’ll want to learn more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.From capital projects to organizational capacity building, there are many ways that you can put this funding to use within your community.

    Letters of intent for the program are due January 15, 2020 by 11:59 pm local time.

    Learn More

  • National Trust Awards $1.6 Million in Grants to Organizations Dedicated to Preserving Black History

    July 5, 2019

    On July 5, 2019, at the 25th annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, the National Trust announced more than $1.6 million in grants to 22 sites and organizations through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Now in its second year, the Action Fund has granted a total of $2.7 million since its launch in November of 2017.

    In his announcement from Center Stage at this year’s Essence Festival, Brent Leggs, executive director of the Action Fund, underscored the importance of this work, noting, “The recipients of this funding shine a light on once lived stories and Black culture, some familiar and some yet untold, that weave together the complex story of American history in the United States.”

    The Action Fund is a $25 million multi-year national initiative aimed at uplifting the largely overlooked contributions of African Americans by protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation. This year’s awardees include the home of Negro League Baseball phenom Satchel Paige; the Emmett Till Memorial Commission; ‘The Forum’ in Chicago’s Bronzeville; and more.

    This year’s funds, provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, were awarded to key places and organizations that help the Action Fund achieve its mission of protecting, restoring, and interpreting African American historic sites and uncovering hidden narratives of African Americans and their contribution to the American story. Grants were given across four categories: capacity building, project planning, capital, and programming and interpretation.

    “Beyond saving important African American heritage sites, the Action Fund is helping Americans understand more deeply who we are as a nation,” remarked Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “We applaud the ongoing work of the Action Fund in calling greater attention to the diversity of American history and lifting up narratives that have been too long neglected or forgotten.”

    External review for grant applications was provided by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

    Learn more about all 22 awardees.

  • African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Grant Spurs Restoration of Original Windows in Chicago Art Center

    June 12, 2019

    On June 12, 2019, the South Side Community Art Center kicked off the restoration of the building's original windows through a grant provided by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund in July 2018. The 1892 Classical Revival home in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood was converted into an art center in 1940, one of nearly 100 art centers in the country established by the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project in the 1940s.

    Since then, the Art Center has served as a cultural and artistic hub in Chicago, fostering emerging African American artists and showcasing established talent while connecting South Side residents to art through exhibits, classes, lectures, and other community programming.

    The Art Center's window restoration grant was part of more than $1 million provided by the Action Fund last year to support the preservation of sites and stories of black history. The next round of Action Fund grants will be announced on July 5 at Essence Fest in New Orleans.

    Watch the video below to learn more about South Side Community Art Center and the window rehabilitation grant, and stay tuned for an additional project at the Art Center through the National Trust's HOPE Crew (Hands-On Preservation Experience) program on June 17-18, 2019.

  • Hands-On Preservation Project Completed in Atlanta's Herndon Home Museum, Thanks to Action Fund

    June 11, 2019

    On June 11, 2019, the National Trust's Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE Crew) program completed a project at The Alonzo Herndon Home Museum in Atlanta, the historic home of Atlanta’s first black millionaire and founder of Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

    Under the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF), HOPE Crew performed work on the property, part of its partnership with the Fund II Foundation to engage African American youth in learning preservation trades at sites tied to African American achievement and activism.

    “The historic Herndon Home, owned by one of the most prominent black families in Atlanta’s history, provides a lens to explore and engage with the city’s role as a center for black business, education, and culture,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the Action Fund.

    The crew members were provided by Greening Youth Foundation, a black-owned nonprofit youth corps based in Atlanta. Over a period of several days, the all-African American team carefully repaired, scraped, and re-painted the back porch and elements of the home's front facade under the supervision of a local master craftsman.

    “Rising from slavery to become one of the wealthiest African Americans in the South by 1927, Alonzo Herndon exemplifies the best of what our community can achieve and contribute,” says Linda Wilson, executive director, Fund II Foundation.“Herndon built a business empire, a part of which still exists today, 114 years later. His empire not only enriched his life, but the lives of those in the community he served through good business practices and civic responsibility.”

    Through this and several more projects occurring throughout summer 2019 (including the Pittsburgh home of author August Wilson, the home of John and Alice Coltrane in Long Island, Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and six-week intensive internships for architecture students enrolled at two HBCUs), the Action Fund and HOPE Crew will work to proactively engage diverse youth in preserving places tied to African American activism and achievement nationwide.

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Now more than ever, we look to our history for courage, comfort, and inspiration. We've assembled a collection of resources to help our community stay engaged with the places we love.

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