• Cultural Preservation Leadership Summit Shapes Agenda for a Fuller Telling of the American Story

    April 8, 2019

    A community of America’s thought leaders and cultural influencers convened in New York City on March 28-29, 2019, to articulate an innovative agenda for preserving African American history and stories as an engine of social justice through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. In partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, and The JPB Foundation, the summit capitalized on the national spotlight and momentum around the Action Fund to create a nation where all Americans see their stories, history, and potential in the African American historic places that surround us.

    Action Fund Advisory Council co-chairs Darren Walker and Phylicia Rashad kicked off an evening of music and conversation at the historic Apollo Theater, with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and Action Fund Advisory Council co-chair Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. What followed was a day of dynamic and inspirational dialogue with a think tank of leaders from every sector—the arts, business, policymaking, academia, preservation, and more. We explored a forward-looking future and the role of cultural entrepreneurs, arts activists, preservation philanthropists, students, filmmakers, playwrights, and other new voices in shaping and defining our emerging social movement called the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

    From our panelists and moderators like Richelieu Dennis, Linda Wilson, Adam Pendleton, Daniel Beatty, and Yoruba Richen, to the next generation of cultural preservation professionals, to the Action Fund Advisory Council members Sherrilyn Ifill, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Evelyn Higginbotham, Irvin Henderson, Rep. Terri Sewell, and Dana Bourland, these and other speakers made this landmark event a success. They continue to inspire and motivate new forms of partnership, interpretation, and community.

    The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is the largest nonprofit campaign ever undertaken to elevate and celebrate African American history in the places where it happened nationwide. The Action Fund is investing $25 million to save the places where African American artists, activists, and achievers of every generation made their mark and moved us all closer to America’s founding ideals. An esteemed National Advisory Council of America’s most respected and penetrating thinkers and leaders guides and directs this effort.

  • National Trust Speaks on African American History and Green Book on Today Show

    February 13, 2019

    On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Brent Leggs spoke as part of a Today Show panel about a new documentary from the Smithsonian Channel, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom. During the segment, Leggs and his co-panelists, including documentary director Yoruba Riche, Emmy Award-winning journalist Carol Jenkins, and public health expert Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell, took a brief look at the history and legacy of the Green Book travel guide.

    To learn more about the documentary and the National Trust's work to tell the full history of African American people and places, watch the video.

  • New Action Fund Video From Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Phylicia Rashad, and More

    February 11, 2019

    Today, while many historic places are remembered for their national importance, others have not been fully acknowledged for the role they play in the fabric of American society.

    When we share these places’ stories with the world, we amplify the voices of those who have been historically silenced. We ensure that every American can see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story and in our national landscape.

    Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Aldis Hodge, Marcus Scribner, and Phylicia Rashad are united by the places that matter to them—from a childhood church to a tiny Afro-Caribbean neighborhood in Miami to an elite educational institution for African Americans to the Lorraine Motel, all of these places contribute to America’s full history.

    Learn more about these places and find out how you can get involved through the video below.

  • Marking the One-Year Anniversary of Charlottesville

    August 10, 2018

    As we mark the one-year anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville last August, we want to pause for a moment to thank you, the friends and supporters of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, for responding to hate and violence with vision and humanity.

    With you, we are doing the work of justice by telling a fuller American story. With you, we are lifting up the stories of African American artists, activists, and achievers, whose courage across every generation moved our nation closer to its founding ideals. And, with you, we have launched the Action Fund, the largest private campaign ever undertaken to preserve African American history in the places where it happened. We have received gifts totaling $6 million towards our goal of $25 million. Thank you.

    Your passion and generosity are making it possible for the National Trust to uplift the largely overlooked contributions of African American places, from Nina Simone’s childhood home in rural North Carolina to Chicago’s South Side Community Art Center to Memphis’ Clayborn Temple. With the philanthropic support of our donors, we have awarded grants totaling more than $1 million to advance African American preservation throughout America, at places as diverse as New York’s free community of Weeksville, African American homesteader sites across the Great Plains, and the Civil Rights sites of Birmingham.

    Excavating and elevating these places and stories allows for a thorough reckoning with the complex and difficult history of race in our country, which is essential in overcoming intolerance, injustice, and inequality. As the National Trust’s Action Fund Director Brent Leggs suggests so elegantly in a Fast Company article on the events in Charlottesville, we can only understand ourselves as a country—who we are and who we aspire to be—when we have a fuller sense of who we have been over the years, together.

    We have much work ahead, but in this solemn week, we hope you will take heart from the progress we have made over the past year. Thank you for standing with us to create a stronger, more united America, one where all people see their stories and potential in the places that surround us.

    With our thanks and admiration for your support,

    Darren Walker
    AACHAF Co-Chair

    Phylicia Rashad
    AACHAF Co-Chair

  • On MLK Day, Let’s Tell the Whole American Story (from Time: Ideas)

    January 15, 2018

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.

    photo by: Carol Highsmith

    The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    “On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day dedicated to the legacy and history of a man who committed himself to sharing and growing the civil rights movement, we must remember that what we choose to save and celebrate has a direct impact on people’s understanding of themselves. It shapes us and sends a message about what is possible in our own lives. And it has the power to influence and inspire generations to come.”

    Read more in today’s TIME ideas piece, authored by National Trust President and CEO Stephanie Meeks, and Ford Foundation President, and African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Advisory Council Chair Darren Walker: On MLK Day, Let’s Tell the Whole American Story.

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The Mother Road turns 100 years old in 2026—share your Route 66 story to celebrate the Centennial. Together, we’ll tell the full American story of Route 66!

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