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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Largest U.S. Fund Announces $3M In Grants For Black History Sites



The Turf Club
Grantee: Asbury Park African American Music Project, Inc. | Asbury Park, New Jersey

An African American music venue, the Turf Club is the last structure representing the vibrancy and history of Springwood Avenue. Located in the heart of the Black community and its once-thriving commercial and entertainment district in Jersey’s Asbury Park shore community, the Club building will be rehabilitated to help save the vacant landmark.

Blue Bird Inn
Grantee: Detroit Sound Conservancy | Detroit, Michigan

Detroit’s Blue Bird Inn, the birthplace of bebop jazz and haven for the Black community before Motown, was a victim of neighborhood disinvestment. “The Bird” will undergo a rehabilitation of its interior and its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, with the hopes of becoming an archive as well as a gathering space and music venue once more.

Quinn Chapel AME
Grantee: Develop Louisville | Kentucky

Louisville’s Quinn Chapel AME has a long history of civil rights involvement dating from its congregation’s establishment in 1838, when it was known as the “Abolitionist Church” to the present. The building’s electricity, which is critical for the church building’s future rehabilitation and reuse, will be restored.

Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
Grantee: Brown Chapel AME Church Preservation Society | Selma, Alabama

In 1965, civil rights marchers—including the late Rep. John Lewis—met at the historic 1908 Brown Chapel AME Church before they attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge and were beaten and attacked by state troopers on the day known as “Bloody Sunday,” which became the catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Water and termite damage will be addressed, along with replacement of the tower cupolas’ structural beams.

Historic Kappa House
Grantee: Historic Kappa House Restoration Foundation | Washington, D.C.

Constructed in 1908 by architect Leon Dessez, who also designed the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory, the Historic Kappa House is a Georgian-style architectural gem. Owned by the D.C. Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. since 1949, it was the first home purchased by a Black Greek letter organization in the nation’s capital. Rehabilitation of the building’s third and fourth floors will ensure continued use as a community resource.

James Weldon Johnson’s Writing Cabin
Grantee: James Weldon Johnson Foundation | Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Noted poet, writer, songwriter and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson, known for the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sought creative refuge in this small wooden cabin set in a quiet hemlock grove. The cabin’s roof, chimney, and foundation will be stabilized and repaired for future use as a writing study and studio for scholars and authors.

Mound Bayou Bank
Grantee: Mississippi Heritage Trust | Jackson, Mississippi

Founded by businessman Charles Banks described by Booker T. Washington as “the most influential Negro businessman in the United States,” the 1904 Mound Bayou Bank served as the symbol of progress, entrepreneurship, and commercial enterprise for the prospering Black community in Jackson. An exterior rehabilitation will secure its future use as a museum and visitors center.

Coggswell-Taylor House and Jackson Street Store
Grantee: Montana Heritage Commission | Virginia City, Montana

Business pioneers Minerva Coggswell and Jack Taylor lived at and operated businesses in these buildings for over sixty-five years. The 1866-67 Coggswell-Taylor House and Jackson Street Store will be stabilized and rehabilitated, telling the stories of African American pioneers and entrepreneurs who made their homes and lives on Montana’s mining frontier.

King Solomon Masonic Lodge #1
Grantee: New Bern Preservation Foundation | New Bern, North Carolina

In continuous use since its construction in 1871, King Solomon Masonic Lodge #1 was the first African American masonic lodge established in North Carolina. The center of New Bern’s Black community, its interior walls, ceilings, and floors will be repaired, and its mechanical systems replaced.

Okahumpka Rosenwald School
Grantee: Okahumpka Community Club | Okahumpka, Florida

Of the 120 schools for African American students built in Florida through a partnership between educator Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, only 23 remain. The vacant Okahumpka Rosenwald School, built in 1929 for the children of Black rural farm workers and laborers, will have its foundation stabilized and roof and windows restored.

Eldorado Ballroom
Grantee: Project Row Houses | Houston, Texas

Once listed in the Green Book as a “must-visit” destination for African Americans in Houston’s Third Ward, the Eldorado Ballroom has a unique history as a retail space and first-class musical venue that welcomed music legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. This project will repair and restore the site’s ground- and second-floor windows.

Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles
Grantee: Second Baptist Church | Los Angeles, California

Paul R. Williams, the first Black architect in the American Institute of Architects (AIA), was known for his Modernist style and influential work throughout Los Angeles. Designed by Williams in 1926, and later becoming a civil rights sanctuary in the mid-twentieth century, the vacant Second Baptist Church will conduct much-needed structural repairs and replace deteriorated wooden trusses before it can reopen the historic church building.

Shaw University’s Tyler Hall
Grantee: Shaw University | Raleigh, North Carolina

For more than a century, Tyler Hall has served students at Shaw University—the oldest HBCU in the South—as a library and community hospital. The windows will be repaired and restored, and the HVAC system replaced.

Stillman College’s Winsborough Hall
Grantee: Stillman College | Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Built-in 1922, Winsborough Hall was the first female residence at Stillman College and the first school for Black women supported by the Presbyterian Church. Throughout the years, the “honors dorm” became a refuge for students during the Civil Rights Movement. The roof will be repaired and the site reused as a senior citizen living space, creating a multigenerational campus experience.

Home of Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson
Grantee: Whirlwind Johnson Foundation | Lynchburg, Virginia

Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson was a force behind the integration of tennis. A coach to two African American grand slam champions, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, Dr. Johnson disrupted the tennis landscape and made space for generations of Black athletes to train on his backyard courts. Rehabilitation of his home’s foundation, the exterior (including roof), porch, windows, and doors will ensure his legacy remains.

Whitney Plantation’s Store
Grantee: Whitney Plantation | Wallace, Louisiana

Known for their deliberate interpretation of plantation life from the viewpoint of the enslaved, the Whitney Plantation will revitalize the storefront of its Plantation Store (c. 1890), allowing its Jim Crow-era history to continue to be told.

Dumas Pharmacy Building
Grantee: Dumas Building Restoration Foundation | Natchez, Mississippi

The Dumas family built two commercial buildings between 1906 and 1913 that contained doctor and dentist offices, a pharmacy, and a soda fountain that acted as a resource and business hub within the Black community. The roof will be repaired and stabilized on both buildings.

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Grantee: Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Houston, Texas

The National Buffalo Soldiers’ Museum, located in the 1925 Houston Light Guard Armory building, is home to one of the largest private collections of African American military artifacts. Funding will go towards repairs to the building’s wall, steel base, and exterior brick masonry to better preserve and protect its collection.

Learn more about the Action Fund and the 2022 recipients HERE.



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