The Association of African American Museums in partnership with the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network is pleased to announce over $300,000 in grant awards to 14 sites, organizations, and museums.
Through preservation, commemoration, interpretation, and education, the historical resources in this list of award grantees tell the stories of the people, places, and events associated with the African American Civil Rights Movement. They will help to broaden the public’s understanding of the Black Freedom Struggle in the United States. In a recent interview, Dr. Vedet Coleman-Robinson, Executive Director of the Association of African American Museums stated, “We are honored to be able to partner with the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network. It is a privilege to have this phenomenal partnership that means so much to so many.” Dr. Turkiya Lowe, Chief Historian for the National Park Service stated, “The grant program in partnership with the Association of African American Museums is a crucial step in advancing the study and preservation of African American Civil Rights history. This $300,000 in awards will not only make huge strides for the field, but will also help to ensure that these often overlooked and underrepresented stories are given the recognition and respect they deserve.”
Learn more about this year’s grantees below:
The Ballard House Project, Inc.
Part of the Birmingham Civil Rights Historic District, the Ballard House is a community cultural space that reflects the ongoing determination of African American people to fight for human dignity, equality, and the basic rights of American citizenship. The Ballard House Project will center on little-known African American early resistance movements in and around Birmingham from World War II to the early 60s. Through educational programs, community dialogue events, and the development of a digital master timeline, the Ballard House Project will educate and inspire inter-generational audiences and groups around Birmingham, Alabama’s Civil Rights history.
Jack Hadley Black History Museum, Inc.: Perra Bell Library Accessibility & Preservation Project
The Jack Hadley Black History Museum honors the legacy and gift of Perra Bell by means of a namesake Library Accessibility & Preservation Project. Perra Bell taught African American history at Towson State University in Maryland for over twenty years. In this time, she collected a treasure trove of documents related to African American history and experiences along with her detailed notes. This collection was bequeathed to the Jack Hadley Black History Museum upon Perra Bell’s death in 2019 and will be digitized and displayed for the benefit of local youth and visitors.
Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center
Tuskegee Continuum of Selma to Montgomery Marches 1965: Uncovering the Rest of the Story
While Tuskegee is well known for its association with notable figures in African American history like Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver or the Tuskegee Airmen and the Tuskegee Study, the city is not known for its significant civil rights history. The Tuskegee Continuum of Selma to Montgomery Marches project will create a new community and national resource for educating the public on Tuskegee Civil Rights history and the struggle for African American human rights through a multimedia production.
Riverside Hotel African American Historic Preservation Center: Documenting the Legacy of the Riverside Hotel and Mrs. Z.L. Hill
The entrepreneurial spirit of an exceptional Black woman, Mrs. ZL. Hill had the vision to not only establish a Black hotel but an ability to overcome an environment grounded in the oppression of Blacks in Clarksdale, Mississippi. As a contribution to civil rights, her hotel offered a sanctuary to black boarders, travelers, musicians, and diners earning a listing in the famed Negro Traveler’s Green Book. This project will focus on documenting the oral histories related to Mrs. Z.L Hill, hotel patrons, and local community members.
Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture: Maryland’s Year of Civil Rights
With 2024 being the 60th anniversary of signing the Civil Rights Act, the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture will deliver original programming and participate in platforms with community partners to commemorate this groundbreaking legislation and its milestone year. “Maryland’s Year of Civil Rights” educational programs will highlight civil rights heritage sites throughout Maryland and youth & educational programs that will engage audiences of diverse abilities, ages, and backgrounds.
National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM)
This is Hip Hop Exhibition Series: Part 4 – The South
NMAAM is preserving, educating the world on, and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop with an extensive exhibition of four quarterly exhibits within the museum that will illustrate the four US regional versions/interpretations/voices of the genre, with plans for these exhibits to eventually travel to other locations throughout the country. The four quarterly exhibits will be created in-house by the museum’s exhibitions staff and will include rarely seen images through a variety of mediums (illustration, photography and videography) that have documented Hip Hop throughout its evolution over the last 50 years.
The Echo Project Research & Oral History Expansion
Laurens, South Carolina
The exploration of civil rights history in Laurens County provides a contextual framework to the civil rights history of America as a whole. By documenting the oral histories of family members and direct descendants of Black political, religious, and economic leaders from the Reconstruction era to the civil rights movement, The Echo Project will contribute to the public archive of information about this era for future generations.
San Diego Museum of African American Fine Art: We Stand on Their Shoulders
San Diego, California
The San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA) has developed an exhibit entitled “We Stand on Their Shoulders” to highlight Black San Diegans who have led the way in the struggle for Civil Rights. What differentiates this exhibit from a traditional art exhibit with images and curated statements physically present, is that it is being presented in Augmented Reality (AR) and will be installed in the Marie Widman Park which is located within the newly designated San Diego Black Arts + Culture District in the San Diego neighborhood of Encanto.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
ASALH Conference Interpretive Training Workshop
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is in DC. The mission of this association is to create and disseminate knowledge of Black History. ASALH does this by promoting, researching, preserving, interpreting, and sharing information about black life, history, and culture with the global community. You can find ASALH helping with oral, public, and local projects and their host essay contest for undergraduate and graduate students.
Center for Creative Partnerships (CCP)
The nonprofit Center for Creative Partnerships (CCP) is located in Orangeburg, SC. CPP focuses on the redevelopment of Orangeburg. The center focuses on the conscience and social justice projects through the arts and humanities. By doing this, they can restore and maintain long-term viability, culture, and community icons.
For over thirty years, the Hurston/Wright Foundation has stood firm. This project started through the partnership of Marita Golden and Clyde McElvene in 1990. Their shared passion for Black literature began an impactful nonprofit supporting black writers’ development. This foundation has helped inspire black writers on how to portray black lives in their writings.
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
The history of Sixteenth Street Baptist goes back to 1873. Sixteenth Baptist Church was the first colored Church in Birmingham. The present Church was completed in 1911 by Mr. Wallace Rayfield and under the supervision of T.C. Windham. This Church served many purposes during the Civil Rights Movement. This Church was bombed in 1963, killing four and injuring more than 20.
The King Center
The King Center is a natural site where people can pay respects to Dr. King. The site focuses on King’s philosophy of nonviolence. The site was created in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolence can be found in Atlanta, GA. It has been visited by nearly a million worldwide.
Sanctuary Spaces: Black Brooklyn 1939-1968
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn’s Sanctuary Spaces serves as a gathering place, screening room, and gallery for the community. In the midst of a rapidly changing landscape often attributed to gentrification, Sanctuary Spaces looks to share the Black Brooklyn of the past with today’s youth by means of AR (augmented reality) & VR (virtual reality) technology, lectures, exhibits, and tours. By means of the Black Brooklyn 1938-1968 project, Sanctuary Spaces will connect the dimensions of art, archive, culture, community, media and technology for inter-generational audiences and promote Brooklyn’s history and culture.
Learn more about and join the AACRN here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/civilrights/join-the-aacrn.htm