A church in Selma, Alabama hit by a tornado and another in Atlanta where the NAACP’s first convention took place are among the 31 historic Black churches across the United States to receive funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Since it was launched in 2021, the Action Fund’s Preserving Black Churches initiative has given $9.8 million to over 80 churches and congregations in the United States.
As in year’s past the funding gives churches the means to restore buildings, plan for future projects, establish and grow endowments, and manage programming. In this latest round of funding the grant totals range from $50,000 up to $200,000. This allows congregations to address issues such as building repairs following natural disasters, demolition, water filtration, and mold contamination. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has also supported the renovation and restoration of other building typologies beyond the ecclesiastical, including university buildings, landscapes, and historic sites.
“Black churches have been at the forefront of meaningful democratic reform since this nation’s founding. They’re a living testament to the resilience of our ancestors in the face of unimaginably daunting challenges,” said Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., historian and advisor to the Action Fund in a statement. “The heart of our spiritual world is the Black church. These places of worship, these sacred cultural centers, must exist for future generations to understand who we were as a people.”
The 31 churches receiving grant money in this year’s iteration hail from all across the U.S. from Washington, D.C., to Louisiana, up to Montana. They demonstrate a broad range of architectural styles, from clapboard to Romanesque Revival. Each of the projects will receive grant money under one of the five categories outlined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Planning Grants, Endowment & Financial Sustainability, Organizational Capacity, Programming and Interpretation, and Capital Projects.
The full list of grantees is reproduced below and additional information can be found here.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church — Fort Valley, Georgia
Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Moore’s Chapel AME Zion Church — Cleveland, Arkansas
Calvin Memorial Presbyterian Church — Omaha, Nebraska
St. Peter’s United Methodist Church — Oxford, North Carolina
Henderson Chapel AME Zion Church — Rutledge, Tennessee
Ward Chapel AME Church — Cairo, Illinois
Taveau Church — Cordesville, South Carolina
Endowment & Financial Sustainability
Town Clock Church — New Albany, Indiana
Programming & Interpretation
Mt. Zion AME Church — Skillman, New Jersey
Guidance Church of Religious Science — Los Angeles, California
Yardley’s AME Church — Yardley, Pennsylvania
The House of God Church — Nashville, Tennessee
Shiloh Baptist Church — Cleveland, Ohio
Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church — Atlanta, Georgia
Union Bethel AME Church — Great Falls, Montana
First Zion Baptist Church — Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church — Houston, Texas
Central United Methodist Church — Jackson, Mississippi
Washington Chapel CME Church — Parkville, Missouri
Beulah Missionary Baptist Church — Natchez, Mississippi
Jacob’s Chapel AME Church — Mount Laurel, New Jersey
St. Augustine Catholic Church — New Orleans, Louisiana
St. James AME Church — New Orleans, Louisiana
St. Paul AME Church — Lexington, Kentucky
Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church — Watertown, New York
Mother Bethel AME Church — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tabernacle Baptist Church — Selma, Alabama
First Missionary Baptist Church — Thomasville, Georgia
Campbell AME Church — Washington, D.C.
St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church —Augusta, Kentucky