African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund announces 31 historic Black churches to receive funding


African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund announces 31 historic Black churches to receive funding

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia is in need of repair to its exterior and windows. (Nick-philly/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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.

Planning Grants

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

Taveau Church in South Carolina features a wood-frame antebellum structure. Funding will restore the building’s structure and involve the community in sustainability efforts. (Ammodramus/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0/)

Henderson Chapel AME Zion Church — Rutledge, Tennessee

Ward Chapel AME Church — Cairo, Illinois

Taveau Church — Cordesville, South Carolina

Town Clock Church in Indiana was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Grant money will support continued maintenance. (Bedford/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

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

Organizational Capacity 

The House of God Church — Nashville, Tennessee

Capital Projects 

Shiloh Baptist Church — Cleveland, Ohio

Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta is not only the oldest predominantly Black congregation in the Atlanta metropolitan area, it was also the venue for the first National Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1920.(JJonahJackalope/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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

Following a tornado in January 2023, the Tabernacle Baptist Church, will use the grant funding to replace its deteriorated lead-coated copper dome roof. (Nyttend/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

Tabernacle Baptist Church — Selma, Alabama

First Missionary Baptist Church — Thomasville, Georgia

Campbell AME Church — Washington, D.C.

St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church —Augusta, Kentucky