MONTGOMEry, Ala. (WIAT) — Five historically black colleges and universities in Alabama are receiving funding to preserve historic places on campus.
Alabama State University, where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. completed his dissertation and where civil rights leaders like Fred Gray graduated, is one such institution receiving $500,000 for preservation projects . The school’s GW Trenholm Hall will undergo renovations in the fall.
“So yeah, a lot of history in this building,” said Derryn Moten, chair of ASU’s history and political science department.
Moten said the ASU building hasn’t changed much since 1947. The money will help improve bathrooms and faculty spaces, and update plumbing and electrical systems.
Moten said ASU is thrilled to receive this funding.
“We can’t talk about black history and culture without talking about historically black colleges and universities. They trained and educated the students who came out and made that history,” he said.
Other schools receiving money include Miles College, Alabama A&M University, Stillman College and Selma University. Each receives about $500,000 from the National Park Service grant program, supported by Congresswoman Terri Sewell.
Stillman College executive vice president Derrick Gilmore said the money would turn the Sheppard Library into a civil rights museum.
“We also look forward to it being an informational and educational access point for our students to understand the history of the institution, to understand the institution’s role in the civil rights movement,” said Gilmore.
At Miles College, Provost Jarralynne Agee said the funding will be used to preserve the oldest building on campus, Williams Hall.
“This is the building where many of our civil rights icons have lived, enrolled, and come up with ideas that have literally helped change our world,” Agee said.
Agee said in the building they would add an economic and social justice center, artwork and artifacts from the civil rights movement, and classroom spaces.
The National Parks Service has provided these grants to HBCUs since 1998 and this year Alabama got $2.5 million of the $9.7 million available nationwide.