Celebrate Black History Month with Preservation; $25 Million Fund to Protect African American Sites

By: Aisha Powell (@aishapowell_)

February is the beginning of Black History Month, where celebrate the lives and plights of African-Americans throughout history. As we celebrate the lives of the many African American leaders of today and the past, a new $25 million fund to help protect and restore African American historical sites has been initiated.

The African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) was started by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Preservation who partnered with other organizations to help ensure accuracy in America’s history by helping to rehabilitate historically black sites and uncover new ones by addressing funding gaps between black sites and other sites.

Black history month, like most other minority focused events, was created due to the lack of appreciation for black achievements throughout history. In 1926, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), sponsored Negro History week. The week soon inspired the local community to host events, lecturers and celebrate. The founders Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland had always been dedicated to educating and promoting black achievements. As more people recognized the need for the celebration, it turned into a month, which is today’s Black History Month. However, funding to maintain black history, culture and sites hasn’t always reflected the need.

“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African-Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” said Stephanie Meeks in an interview about the initiative. 

While the National Trust for Historic Preservation Preservation pledges a commitment to expanded the history being told in America, by acknowledging contributions made to the US by black Americans that have gone unknown. The funding also with help teach African American youth how to preserve sites with their HOPE Crew program and advocate for underrepresented communities in regards to getting more funding.

The partnership includes Ford, JPB and Open Society with additional funding from Hewlett, Nathan Cummings, Doris Duke Charitable, and MacArthur foundations. With Phylicia Rashad as their ambassador. To support the National Trust for Historic Preservation Preservation visit their website at savingplaces.org.

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