Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to receive federal grants

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to receive federal grants
Birmingham's famed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church will receive a $500,000 National Park Service grant for restoration, repairs and preservation. (Michael Tomberlin/Alabama NewsCenter)

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church are among 39 historical and preservation projects in 20 states receiving grants from the National Park Service.

The NPS has allocated the grants, totaling $7,750,000, to preserve sites associated with the civil rights movement.

The Anniston Freedom Riders Monument in Anniston and Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma are also selected to receive funding.

Sixteenth Street Baptist is one of 39 sites significant to civil rights history that will receive grants from the National Park Service through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program. (Carol Highsmith/Library of Congress)
Sixteenth Street Baptist is one of 39 sites significant to civil rights history that will receive grants from the National Park Service through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program. (Carol Highsmith/Library of Congress)

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church will receive $500,000 for building preservation, repairs and restoration. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will receive $47,003 for its Preservation Leadership Training program at the A.G. Gaston Motel.

A grant of $469,375 was awarded to the city of Anniston for the upkeep of the Freedom Riders Monument. Selma’s Historic Brown Chapel AME Preservation Society will use a grant of $500,000 to address the church’s structural, electrical and roofing needs.

The funding is a part of the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, created in 2016 to document and preserve sites and stories pertaining to the African-American experience in the 20th century. States, tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations and historically black colleges and universities applied for grants from the program.

“Through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, we’re helping our public and private partners tell unique and powerful stories of the African-American struggle for equality in the 20th century,” said National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds, according to the NPS press release.

The NPS’ 2008 study, Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, acted as the key reference point for determining the eligibility of proposed projects, including documentation, surveys, interpretation, education, oral histories, planning and building preservation.

The money for the grant program was appropriated through the Historic Preservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to support projects without using tax dollars.

This story originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

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