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Five HBCUs in Alabama to receive $2.5M in grants from National Park Service 

Alabama State University, Stillman College, Miles College, Alabama A&M University and Selma University will each get $500,000 for repairs.

Alabama State University, Stillman College, Miles College, Alabama A&M University and Selma University, five historically Black colleges and universities in the Yellowhammer State, will each receive $500,000 from the National Park Service to make updates and renovations to historic buildings on their campuses. 

“For more than 180 years, historically Black colleges and universities have provided high-level academics, opportunities, and community for generations of students,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams in his announcement Friday of the Alabama grants and those to other HBCUs. “These grants enable HBCUs to preserve the noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing story of these historic institutions.”

The National Park Service has given five HBCUs in Alabama $500,000 each to make updates and renovations to historic buildings on their campuses. (Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP, File)

“Alabama’s HBCUs have played such a pivotal role in shaping the history of our nation, and I was so proud to help make this funding available, which will be used to preserve these cherished institutions,” Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell told the Selma Times-Journal. 

Officials at the schools were thrilled at the news.

“On behalf of everyone at Selma University, we are elated to receive the grant award,” said its president, Dr. Stanford E. Angion. “We are so appreciative of Congresswoman Sewell’s support of the university. This funding will go a long way in helping our students at Selma University and the entire community of Selma, Alabama.”

At Alabama State University, Derryn Moten, chair of the History and Political Science Department, told WHNT: “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.” That school will be doing renovations to its historic G.W. Trenholm Hall. 

Stillman College plans to use its funds to convert 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,” said Derrick Gilmore, the college’s executive vice president, per the Times-Journal. 

Miles College provost Jarralynne Agee said her school’s grant will help preserve the oldest building on campus, Williams Hall.

“This is the building where many of our civil rights icons lived, matriculated and came up with ideas that helped change, literally, our world,” Agee added, according to WHNT. 

Per the Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama A&M will use its funds to restore and renovate its Carnegie Hall Library. 

Since 1998, the National Park Service has awarded these grants to HBCUs. The Alabama schools were awarded $2.5 million out of the $9.7 million available.

Among other HBCUs awarded grants are North Carolina A&T State University, which will repair its World War Memorial Stadium, the oldest minor-league ballpark in the state; Mississippi Industrial College, set to address repairs at a recently acquired property nearby; and Morehouse College, whose Samuel T. Graves Hall will get window rehabilitation.

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