The Atlanta Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), in collaboration with Morris Brown College, is proud to announce being selected as the recipient of a $75,000 Planning Grant for Fountain (Stone) Hall from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Of the 52 organizations to make it to the final round, the Atlanta Branch project, titled “Of the Wings of Atalanta: Preserving Atlanta’s Story from W.E.B. Du Bois’ Office in Fountain Hall,” was one of 22 selected for the 2019 cohort of grantees. The Atlanta Branch of ASALH will work closely with Dr. Kevin James, Interim President of Morris Brown College, on behalf of a restoration and rehabilitation plan for Fountain (Stone) Hall.
Morris Brown College’s Fountain (Stone) Hall is a National Landmark (1974) contributing to the Atlanta University Center (AUC) historic district. Built in 1882 for Atlanta University, it represents the long freedom struggle for educational and social equality unavailable elsewhere for African Americans post-Civil War. Its elevated site is called “Diamond Hill,” the oldest part of AUC’s campus. Stone Hall, one of Atlanta University’s original buildings, was the office of renowned educator Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois when he wrote “Souls of Black Folk” (1903). The building became part of Morris Brown College in 1932 and was later renamed for A.M.E. Bishop William A. Fountain, former president of Morris Brown College. Of all the AUC institutions, Morris Brown College is the only school founded by African Americans.
The exterior of Fountain (Stone) Hall has not changed over time. The clock tower remains the iconic logo of Morris Brown College. The goal of this grant collaboration is to develop a preservation plan to reactivate the building for Morris Brown College and the community, and to have the bell inside the tower, partially inscribed with “Dedicated to the Education of Youth, Without Regard to Sex, Race or Color,” ring again. Dr. Candy Tate, Chair of the Atlanta Branch Hallowed Grounds Preservation Committee responsible for authoring the grant, shared, “Touching the bell and looking through Du Bois’ window toward downtown Atlanta are inspiring, and we want others to experience this history. It is an honor to work with Morris Brown’s administration and dedicated alumni to help achieve their strategic space plans for accreditation with this Landmark asset.”
Founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the mission of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community. Locally, the Atlanta Branch of ASALH mission is promoting the study of Black history, bridging the gap between university and youth. For more information on the Atlanta Branch, please email ASALHAtlantaBranch@gmail.com.