Virginia Humanities awarded grant for historic preservation

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A local organization is one of fewer than two dozen across the country to receive a grant supporting the preservation of African-American history.

Virginia Humanities is one of 22 organizations to receive such a grant from the national trust for Historic Preservation's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

The $60,000 grant will support Virginia Humanities' work with the Virginia General Assembly African American Cultural Resource Task Force.

According to a release, this task force seeks to promote more inclusive cultural heritage preservation and place-based learning across the Commonwealth.

For the past year, the task force has been listening to local partners in more than two dozen communities across Virginia, and it has sponsored four major public programs on preserving land and teacher African-American history and culture.

This is the second year for the task force, which is focused on "addressing the 'structural barriers' affecting cultural heritage preservation in Virginia."

"We're working closely with local communities and other partners, including colleges and universities, to diversify a profession that's incredibly homogenous," said Justin Reid, the director of African-American Programs at Virginia Humanities. "At the same time, we have to redress the sytems and policies that perpetuate inequity in cultural heritage preservation. This grant will help us do that."

The release says the action fund is a multi-million, multi-year national initiative that aims to uplift overlooked African-American contributions by protecting and restoring African-American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans who were connected with historical sites across the United States.

"The recipients of this funding shine a light on once lived stories and black culture, some familiar and some yet untold, that weave together the complex story of American history in the United States," said Brant Leggs, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund's executive director.

Virginia Humanities was selected for the funding from a pool of more than 450 applications, which requested more than $40 million in requests for support.

The release says this further illustrates the growing need for additional protection, preservation and restoration of spaces or social and cultural significance to the African-American communities.

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