Federal grants help Auburn University and entrepreneurs preserve history: CEG


A multidisciplinary research team from Auburn University will use National Park Service grant money to work with a preservation contractor to stabilize Tankersley Rosenwald School in Hope Hull, Alabama, to complete a report on the historic structures and to develop a scope of preservation work for the rehabilitation of the exterior of the historic building. (Photo courtesy of Auburn University website)

A multi-disciplinary research team from Auburn University will use money from a recent National Park Service (NPS) grant to work with a preservation contractor to stabilize the crumbling Tankersley Rosenwald schoolhouse in Hope Hull, Pennsylvania. Alabama, one of many schools built for African American children in the first half of the 20th century.

A total of $499,799 in NPS funds has been awarded to the Research Team Improvement Project in the town of Hope Hull, just southwest of Montgomery.

Researchers from the Auburn College of Architecture, Design, and Construction (CADC) and the College of Liberal Arts received the NPS grants in late May to continue their efforts to document and preserve the history of African Americans and civil rights.

Additionally, the mix of faculty and students will write a Historic Structures Report (HSR) and develop a scope of preservation work for the rehabilitation of the exterior of the historic building.

A team of CADC faculty, including Gorham Bird, Junshan Liu, Hunter McGonagill, and Richard Burt, are overseeing an Alabama-wide restoration and preservation project focused on Rosenwald — nearly 400 learning centers built across the state between 1912 and 1932.

They are supported by Keith Hébert and Elijah Gaddis, professors at Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, and Danielle Willkens of Georgia Tech.

Tankersley School has been vacant for decades, but more recently was at risk of collapse due to water intrusion which led to structural failure.

“Our team is thrilled and honored to have the support of the National Park Service,” Bird said on Auburn University’s website. “This award highlights the need to preserve sites that contribute to full American history, especially the Rosenwald Schools of the Separate Rural South. This grant allows our team to provide preservation expertise to a rural nonprofit organization fund for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the closed Tankersley Rosenwald school in Hope Hull.”

Alabama is one of 15 states to receive civil rights grants

The Hope Hull Project is supported by an African-American Civil Rights Grant, provided by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and administered by the NPS, part of the US Department of the Interior.

The grants, which total 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 equality.

Additionally, another Auburn-led project titled “Memory and the March: Oral Histories with Selma’s Foot Soldiers,” led by Hébert and Gaddis of the university’s history department, 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 black rural 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 world and an equitable union,” he continued.

Congress appropriated funding for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program in fiscal year 2021 through the HPF.

According to the Auburn University article, the fund derives its revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf, helping a wide range of preservation projects without spending taxpayer dollars, while striving to mitigate the loss of a non-renewable resource to aid in conservation. 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. HPF funds may be appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources.


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