Preserving African American History

Fort Monroe First African Marker. Photo: Patti Ferguson (permission granted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

How should we think about history when there’s nothing to support a narrative?

Tiffany Tolbert, associate director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, says that “just because it’s not there doesn’t mean that we should ignore history”.

As we know, many of the places where significant African American history occurred have been neglected and have gone unrecognized for the important role they hold in the fabric of American society.

  • The Jaqueline Hunt House is part of the African American Heritage Trail on Martha's Vineyard. Photo taken by Fallon Aidoo and courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Prospective Trail Site on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard. Photo taken by Fallon Aidoo and courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Olivewood Cemetery in Houston, Texas. Photo courtesy Beau B/Flickr
  • Black American West Museum and Heritage Center is Colorado. Photo: Ottawa Harris (permission from the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
  • Green Book Mapping Project - North Carolina African American Heritage Commission

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes that Black history is American history. Following the 2017 violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia the Trust launched the African American Cultural Heritage Fund with the intention of preserving, protecting and expanding America’s historical narratives.

The National Trust recently awarded 40 sites and organizations over $3 million in grants to preserve African American history. We’ll hear about the mission and work of the African American Cultural Heritage Fund and we’ll learn about this year’s grant recipients. Some grantee’s are a pleasant surprise.

Cover: Fort Monroe First African Marker. Photo: Patti Ferguson (permission granted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation).

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