Preservation Texas announces new Texas Rural African-American Heritage Grants program

Local News

A bronze statue outside the Texas Capitol portrays one of Terry’s Texas Rangers riding a horse. Terry’s Texas Rangers, or the 8th Texas Cavalry, fought throughout the Civil War (1861-1865). According to the State Preservation Board, Terry’s Texas Rangers earned a reputation as determined fighters through their numerous engagements throughout the conflict. (Nexstar Photo/Andrew Choat)

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Preservation Texas organization recently announced that it is now accepting preliminary applications for its new Texas Rural African-American Heritage Grants program, made possible by a $750,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant from the National Park Service.

According to a news release, the new program will provide matching grants of up to $75,000 to support the stabilization, preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of at least 10 rural African-American historic buildings throughout the state that had institutional or commercial uses, including schools, churches, lodge halls and theaters.

“We have designed the Texas Rural African-American Heritage Grants program to support some of the most endangered buildings in our state,” Evan Thompson, Preservation Texas’s executive director, said in the release. “This funding will be transformative, providing up to $75,000 per project to stabilize, rehabilitate, and restore at least ten endangered rural buildings associated with Black history, from the Civil War through the modern Civil Rights era.”

Through this program, the Preservation Texas organization is looking for projects located in rural communities, places throughout the state with a population of fewer than 50,000 people. The locations, which need to be owned by nonprofit organizations or municipal/county government entities, should also be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the time projects are completed, which is September 2024.

“One of the desired outcomes of the program is to support rural economic development through historic preservation,” Thompson said in the release. “These projects will also reinforce the significance of rural African-American history in Texas while nurturing rural heritage tourism, ensuring that important historic landmarks are protected for generations to come that can serve as outstanding examples of preservation… We have found that in recent years, rural African-American heritage sites, such as schools, lodges, and churches, are most desperately in need of financial support and have been largely left neglected by traditional preservation programs. We want to be able to deliver the financial resources needed to save these imperiled places in rural Texas.”

Preliminary applications for this grant program are due on Jan. 4, 2022. For more information, visit the Preservation Texas website.

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