The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF), a campaign by the National Trust for Historic Preservation  today announced it is investing $3 million in 40 African American landmarks across the U.S. to help shift the narrative around the value of Black life and correct the omissions in the American story. 

The fund, which was launched in November 2017 in response to the conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, and death of Heather Heyer surrounding a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, has granted $50 in its four-year history to protect historic Black places in need of protection and preservation. A $20 million donation was made earlier this year by philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, and $30 million was given in years prior by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

This latest grant, the largest single disbursement in the program’s history, was given to 40 places across the categories of capacity building, project planning, capital, and programming and interpretation. 

“The recipients of this funding exemplify centuries of African American resilience, activism, and achievement, some known and some yet untold, that tells the complex story of American history in the United States,” said Brent Leggs, AACHAF executive director. “With urgency and intention, the nation must value the link between architecture and racial justice, and should fund these and other cultural assets to ensure their protection and preservation.”

Lonnie Bunch, the first African American and first historian to serve as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, explained, “These grants will positively impact 40 communities nation-wide and result in the creation of a visible, preserved legacy of African American contributions.”

Since its inception, the National Trust has funded 65 historic African American places via AACHAF. The National Trust’s 2021 Endangered Historic Places List also included several historic Black places that are in need of protection and preservation efforts, and two of them will receive funds from the $3 million pledge: Threatt Filling Station in Oklahoma and George B. Williams Nursing Home in Georgia.

The 40 African American landmark grantees are:

Alabama African American Civil Rights Consortium  (Birmingham, Alabama)  

Save Harlem Now!  (New York City, New York)  

4theVille  (St. Louis, Missouri)  

Houston Freedman’s Town Conservancy  (Houston, Texas) 

African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard  (West Tisbury, Massachusetts)  

Historic Athens   (Athens, Georgia) 

Indiana Landmarks  (Indianapolis, Indiana) 

Black American West Museum and Heritage Center  (Denver, Colorado) 

Walnut Cove Colored School  (Walnut Cove, North Carolina)  

City of Sacramento  (Sacramento, California)  

Cherokee State Resort Historical Park  (Hardin, Kentucky) 

Para la Naturaleza  (San Juan, Puerto Rico) 

History Colorado African American Heritage Trail  (Denver, Colorado)  

Fort Monroe Foundation  (Fort Monroe, Virginia)  

Asbury United Methodist Church  (Washington, DC)  

Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ  (Chicago, Illinois) 

Hotel Metropolitan Purple Room  (Paducah, Kentucky) 

The League of Women for Community Service  (Boston, Massachusetts)  

Sarah Rector Mansion  (Kansas City, Missouri)  

Karamu House  (Cleveland, Ohio)  

Threatt Filling Station  (Luther, Oklahoma)  

National Marian Anderson Historical Society and Museum  (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 

New Granada Theater  Hill CDC (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 

Huston-Tillotson University  (Austin, Texas)  

Hampton University  (Hampton, Virginia)  

Firestation 23  Byrd Barr Place (Seattle, Washington) 

Robbins Historical Society and Museum  (Robbins, Illinois) 

Mount Zion Baptist Church   (Athens, Ohio)

The People’s Community Development Corporation (Syracuse, New York) 

St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center  (Durham, North Carolina)  

Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home  (Camilla, GA) 

North Carolina African American Heritage Commission Green Book Mapping Project (Raleigh, North Carolina)  

Montpelier Descendants Committee  (Orange, Virginia) 
Prince Hall Masonic Lodge  (Decatur, Georgia)  

Descendants of Olivewood Cemetery  (Houston, Texas)  

Palmer Pharmacy Building  Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation (Lexington, Kentucky)  

Oakland Public Library  (Oakland, California)  

Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society  (Sapelo, Georgia)   

St. Simon’s African American Heritage Coalition  (St. Simon’s, Georgia)   

National Negro Opera Company  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 

Video courtesy the National Trust for Historic Preservation