WASHINGTON (AP)—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.
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 more than $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 money will be used to address critical funding gaps for the preservation of African American historical sites, including memorializing some places 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 National Trust named Shockoe Bottom one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2014, and is working to add a memorial park to the area.
“The preservation challenge there is how do you memorialize this place and keep the story alive to inform future generations,” she said.