A $25 million fund is being set up through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to Ensure Preservation for Black Historical Sites.
WSAV Channel 3 reported a new $25 million fund is being set up through the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help ensure that historical sites important to African American history are no longer endangered
With the removal of Confederate statues and monuments around the country, black historical sites have prone to vandalism. White Nationalist and extremist have sought retaliation because of the removal of Confederate monuments.
Many African American historical sites have not been properly preserved, and already lost to history, like Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia.
Shockoe Bottom was the center of Richmond’s slave trade, second only in importance to New Orleans between 1830 and 1865, but much of it has been paved over.
The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, announced Wednesday, will be financed through partnerships with groups like the Ford Foundation and the JPB Foundation, and already has almost $3 million on hand.
“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, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The preservation challenge there is how do you memorialize this place and keep the story alive to inform future generations,” she said.
The fund was created during the discussion on whether Confederate monuments and memorials should be taken down.
“We were concerned that the narrative around historical monuments and markers that was all about tearing things down,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “While we think there is a role to play in determining what monuments should remain, we believe that it is equally as important to create monuments and markers for people whose stories have not been told.”
Walker leads a diverse panel advisory panel make sure their decisions include as much of the diversity of the African-American population as possible.
The panel includes Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, chairwoman of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History; actress Phylicia Rashad; and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.