MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Five historically Black colleges and universities in Alabama are getting funding to preserve historic places on campus.
Alabama State University, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. completed his dissertation and civil rights leaders like Fred Gray graduated, is one of those institutions getting $500,000 for preservation projects. The school’s G.W. Trenholm Hall will undergo renovations in the fall.
“So yeah, a lot of history in this building,” ASU History and Political Science Department Chair Derryn Moten said.
Moten said the ASU building hasn’t changed much since 1947. The money will help improve bathrooms and faculty spaces, and update plumbing and electrical systems.
Moten said ASU is thrilled to be receiving this funding.
“We can’t talk about Black history and Black culture without talking about Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They trained and educated the students that went out and made that history,” he said.
Other schools receiving money include Miles College, Alabama A&M University, Stillman College and Selma University. Each is getting roughly $500,000 from the National Parks Service Grant Program, supported by Congresswoman Terri Sewell.
Stillman College Executive Vice President Derrick Gilmore said the money will transform the Sheppard Library into a civil rights museum.
“We also look forward to it being an informational and educational access point for our students to understand the history of the institution, to understand the institution’s role in the civil rights movement,” Gilmore said.
At Miles College, Provost Jarralynne Agee said the funding will go to preserve the oldest building on campus, Williams Hall.
“This is the building where many of our civil rights icons lived, matriculated, and come up with ideas that helped change, literally, our world,” Agee said.
Agee said that within the building, they’ll be adding a center for economic and social justice, artwork and artifacts from the civil rights movement, as well as class spaces.
The National Parks Service has awarded these grants for HBCUs since the 1998s and this year, Alabama got $2.5 million out of the $9.7 million available nationally.