• Honoring Faith Ringgold: Preserving Her Home and Studio

    May 3, 2024

    The world of African American art lost a champion after the passing of multimedia artist Faith Ringgold on April 12. Born in Harlem, Ringgold delved into themes of gender, race, and class through painting, sculpture, and performance art, but was most well-known for her intricate and colorful story quilts – oversize canvases painted with narrative scenes of everyday life in Black America.

    In addition to displays of her work across various museums and public spaces around the world, Ringgold’s home and studio in Englewood, New Jersey became a vault of artistic treasures. In 2022, she and her daughters, Michele and Barbara Wallace, and their Anyone Can Fly Foundation received a $75,000 grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to transform Ringgold’s home and studio into a space to showcase the work of artists of the African diaspora from the 18th century onward. It was a rare opportunity for the fund to preserve a home and studio in partnership with an artist during their lifetime.

    “Faith Ringgold showed incredible foresight by recognizing the need to preserve her artistic legacy for future generations,” said Lawana Holland-Moore, director of fellowships and interpretative strategies for the Action Fund. “It is rare to have the artist themselves weighing in on planning for what that vision could look like.”

    The preservation of Ringgold’s home and studio has always been with the intention for it to serve as inspiration for future generations of creatives. Since receiving the grant from the Action Fund, Ringgold’s family has continued its mission to transform the home into a center for research, education, exhibitions, and cultural programming, ensuring that it will be the cornerstone of her artistic legacy. The Action Fund is looking forward to continuing to bring Ringgold’s vision to life.

    "It was an honor to work with Faith Ringgold and her family to develop a plan for protecting her incredible legacy before her passing,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the Action Fund and senior vice president at the National Trust. “While she is no longer with us, we are thankful to support ongoing efforts to preserve her memory, home, and studio and the incredible works she produced there.”

  • Support Preservation of African American Burial Grounds

    June 16, 2023

    Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, Midland, Georgia. Volunteer clean-up day organized by the Hamilton Hood Foundation at Pierce Chapel African Cemetery in Midland, Georgia.

    photo by: Hamilton Hood Foundation

    Pierce Chapel African Cemetery, Midland, Georgia. Volunteer clean-up day organized by the Hamilton Hood Foundation at Pierce Chapel African Cemetery in Midland, Georgia. The work of the Foundation provides a model for other community- and descendant-led efforts to identify, protect, preserve, and interpret historic African American cemeteries across the country.

    Juneteenth (June 19th) marks the day in 1865 when Union Army General Granger issued General Order No. #3 announcing in Galveston the freedom of over 250,000 enslaved people in the state of Texas. Today, we observe Juneteenth in order to recognize and honor that history.

    We’d like to take a moment on this anniversary to highlight the work that is being done to preserve and protect Black burial sites—and share what you can do to help.

    This year, Pierce Chapel African Cemetery was listed as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2023. Established circa 1828, it is one of the oldest burial grounds for Africans enslaved at several plantations in Harris County, Georgia, and their descendants. Estimated to contain up to 500 burials in two acres of land, the cemetery is a landscape of tribute and memory, with archaeological evidence of cultural traditions that trace back to West Africa.

    The cemetery has deteriorated over time and suffered damage due to recent use of heavy construction equipment. The descendant-led Hamilton Hood Foundation is leading efforts to raise awareness about this significant place and preserve Pierce Chapel African Cemetery and its stories for future generations.

    The dedicated volunteers that have been protecting and preserving these burial grounds could soon get additional support. The African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, passed in December 2022, authorizes the National Park Service to establish a $3 million annual grant program to aid preservation efforts across the country.

    Public advocacy by supporters like you can make a difference, and Black cemeteries, like Pierce Chapel, need your voice now more than ever to ensure the program is fully funded by Congress so the program can be implemented as intended.

    Sign your name to let your elected officials know you support preserving these sacred landscapes to tell the stories of Black America’s unimaginable sacrifice and remarkable achievements. Ask them to support the newly authorized African American Burial Grounds Preservation Program by approving full funding of $3 million in FY 2024 appropriations.

  • African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Receives $20 Million MacKenzie Scott Grant

    June 16, 2021

    Lewis Latimer House Museum, Flushing, New York

    photo by: Lewis Latimer House Museum | Adrian Sas

    On June 15, 2021, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced that she has awarded a grant of $20 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The National Trust is one of 286 organizations across the country and around the globe that will receive a total of $2.7 billion in grants from Ms. Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett.

    “This inspiring gift,” said Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the Action Fund, “is an affirmation that our work to elevate the significance of Black culture in American history matters, and that preservation of historic landmarks is a form of equity. We are grateful to Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett for their investment, which scales up our commitment to preserve and tell overlooked stories of African American achievement that are fundamental to the nation itself.”

    Read the press release to learn more, and dive deeper into the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund here.

  • Learn How Preservationists Are Honoring the Legacy of Mary Cardwell Dawson

    February 1, 2021

    In the February 2021 issue of Opera News, learn more about Mary Cardwell Dawson, the founder of the longest-running, all-Black opera company in the United States, and the place where her vision took shape: the National Negro Opera Company house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    Understanding the current condition of the National Negro Opera Company house is critical at this moment. Standing vacant for decades, the building has deteriorated as a result of weather exposure and vandalism, prompting its listing on the 2020 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

    The National Trust has partnered with the NNOC’s owner, Jonnet Solomon, the Young Preservationists Association (YPA), and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to help save the building. Together they are utilizing a $4,000 Intervention Fund grant awarded by the National Trust to assess the existing building conditions and prepare a report with recommendations and cost estimates for emergency stabilization.

1 - 5 of 20 updates

Announcing the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

See the List