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Millions in grants will preserve Black churches and landmarks

Emmett Till (264510)
Emmett Till

On Thursday, July 15, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced more than $3 million in grant funding for the preservation of Black historic sites, including several churches, reports Religion News.

“African American historic places have been undervalued for decades. This part of the preservation movement is working to catch up,” said Brent Leggs, founding executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which will distribute the money.

Among the 40 organizations receiving funding are four historic Black churches.

“The four churches represent the through line of the role of the Black church in the Black community,” Leggs said. “They’re spaces that support the religious health of the Black community, but they’re also safe havens and spaces for community programs that uplift the broader culture.”

He said these churches also represent some of the contributions of Black women to American history, such as Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in 1955 after being accused of flirting with a White woman.

Till-Mobley held an open-casket funeral for her brutally beaten son at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago. Till’s funeral drew national attention to racial violence and catalyzed the civil rights movement.

The church is among the grant recipients for structural repairs of its nearly century-old building.