National Park Service grants to boost Auburn University research projects

Researchers from the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction (CADC) and the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University recently received grants from the National Park Service (NPS) to continue their documentation and preservation efforts of civil rights and African-American history.

A team of CADC faculty, including Gorham Bird, Junshan Liu, Hunter McGonagill and Richard Burt, are overseeing an Alabama-wide restoration and preservation project focusing on Rosenwald Schools – nearly 400 schools built in Alabama between 1912 and 1932 to serve as educational institutions for African-American children. The team’s research efforts received $499,799 in NPS funds for the stabilization and exterior rehabilitation of Tankersley Rosenwald School in Hope Hull.

“Our team is thrilled and honored to have the support of the National Park Service through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program,” Bird said. “This award highlights the need to preserve sites that contribute to all of American history, especially the Rosenwald Schools of the isolated rural South. This grant enables our team to provide preservation expertise to a rural non-profit organization for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the closed Tankersley Rosenwald School in Hope Hull, Alabama.

Tankersley School has been vacant for decades, but more recently was at risk of collapse due to water intrusion which led to structural failure. The scope of the project includes working with a preservation contractor to stabilize the building, complete a historic structures report, and develop a preservation scope of work for the rehabilitation of the exterior of the historic building. The CADC team will be supported in this work by professors Keith Hébert and Elijah Gaddis from the College of Liberal Arts and Danielle Willkens from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Researchers from the Department of History at Auburn University will use National Park Service funding for a project called “Memory and the March: Oral Histories with Selma’s Foot Soldiers” focused on identifying walkers from the Bloody event. Sunday of 1965 in Selma. (contributed)

The African American Civil Rights Grants, totaling more than $16.2 million, will benefit 44 projects in 15 states and support the preservation of sites and history related to the African American struggle for freedom. ‘equality. This project is supported by an African American Civil Rights Grant, provided by the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the NPS, Department of the Interior.

Additionally, an Auburn-led project titled “Memory and March: Oral Histories with Selma Foot Soldiers,” led by Hébert and Gaddis of the Department of History, received $46,588 in NPS funding.

“The National Park Service has recommitted its resources to identify, preserve, and interpret resources related to the nation’s African-American history in a profound way that greatly expands the ability of rural Black community partners to collaborate with institutions such as Auburn University to transform the way our nation remembers its tumultuous past while considering how best to move forward in a time of great change,” Hébert said. “By elevating the stories of the Rosenwald School buildings and Bloody Sunday foot soldiers, these projects will enable our country to better understand how black Alabam people have historically challenged racially segregated social order to build vibrant communities and claiming the realization of a vision of a more perfect and equitable union.

Congress appropriated funding for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program in fiscal year 2021 through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf, assisting in a wide range of preservation projects without spending taxpayer dollars, in an effort to mitigate the loss of a non-renewable resource to the benefit preservation of other irreplaceable resources.

Established in 1977, the HPF is authorized $150 million annually through 2023 and has provided more than $2.7 billion in historic preservation grants to states, tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. lucrative. Administered by the NPS, HPF funds may be appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources.

Learn more about NPS historic preservation programs and grants.

This story originally appeared on the Auburn University website.

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