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The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched the Preserving Black Churches Project with a majority of the $20 million donation from the The Lily Endowment.  According to the project’s website, the funds will be used to “reimagine, redesign, and redeploy historic preservation to address the institution’s needs and the cultural assets and stories they steward.”  In other words, there is an effort to protect and restore black churches in the U.S.  The money will be used for repairs as well as establish a national grant to fund staffing and operations, increase digital documentation and media relations and create a special fund to address “imminent threats.”

St. James AME Church of Mayfield, Kentucky was one of the first churches selected to receive $100,000 in assistance from the fund.  St. James AME, founded in 1868, was heavily damaged during the tornados that hit the state in December 2021.  According to Newsweek, Senior Pastor Reverend Ralph Johnson said that the church needed all of the help it could get.

The black church has always served as the focal point in the black community for civil rights, human rights, community involvement, empowerment, civic engagement and more.  On its website, http://www.savingplaces.org, the National Trust for Historic Preservation makes an official statement on why it’s more crucial than ever to preserve black churches.  The website also requests that you share your email in order to be notified about when grants are open for applications.