Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation's Potential as a Path for Equity

Under the auspices of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and funded by the Ford Foundation and The JPB Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation presents Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation's Potential as a Path for Equity. This report seeks to elevate emerging ideas, research, observations, and questions on the critically important issues of equitable development, social justice, and the practice of preservation.

At the heart of this project is the central question: How can preservation be a force for advancing equitable development and social justice in African American neighborhoods and other communities of color?

While not intended as a definitive research study or comprehensive analysis, this report reflects both past and current progress, and explores, uncovers, and advocates for expanding the role that cultural heritage and its preservation can and should play in the equitable growth of our communities.

Preserving African American Places seeks to understand the implications of place-based injustice and their impact on the preservation of African American cultural heritage, as well as to identify preservation-based strategies for equitable growth and development that respect the historical and present-day realties and conditions of African American Neighborhoods.

Each section acknowledges the ever-shifting research and conversations around preservation-based strategies for equitable development and was informed by engagement with more than 100 advisors, partners, and stakeholders across the country.

Throughout, the report drills deeper into our understanding of some unique strategies and uses of preservation in urban African American neighborhoods, with focused attention on the cities of Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisville, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

Additional resources include 10 interactive maps—linked below—to explore the data the National Trust examined in our study, as well as a compendium of entitled written and researched by the 2018 cohort of African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Research Fellows entitled, Perspectives of Neighborhood Change (to be released later this fall).

Again, this report joins an already active conversation, and it’s far from the final word. We hope that preservationists use it as a launch pad to engage, consider, and act for a more equitable future through preservation.

Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation's Potential as a Path for Equity

This report seeks to elevate emerging ideas, research, observations, and questions on the critically important issues of equitable development, social justice, and the practice of preservation.

Interactive Maps

Atlanta, Georgia

Explore demographic and context data across 112 census tracts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Birmingham, Alabama

Explore demographic and context data across 62 census tracts in Birmingham, Alabama.

Chicago, Illinois

Explore demographic and context data across 777 census tracts in Chicago, Illinois.

Los Angeles, California

This new report seeks to elevate emerging ideas, research, observations, and questions on the critically important issues of equitable development, social justice, and the practice of preservation.

Louisville, Kentucky

Explore demographic and context data across 187 census tracts in Louisville, Kentucky.

New York, New York

Explore demographic and context data across 2,041 census tracts in New York, New York.

Oakland, California

Explore demographic and context data across 110 census tracts in Oakland, California.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Explore demographic and context data across 368 census tracts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

St. Louis, Missouri

Explore demographic and context data across 105 census tracts in St. Louis, Missouri.

Washington, DC

Explore demographic and context data across 173 census tracts in Washington, D.C.

Join us for PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation event of the year, October 27-30, 2020.

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