(Montgomery, AL) The Alabama Historical Commission was recently awarded a National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) grant through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to develop a five-year Strategic Plan for the Black Heritage Council (BHC). The BHC is using the funds to enhance the organization’s advocacy and outreach efforts across the state. Grants from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places representing African American history. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, protects significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.

In 1984, the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC), the State Historic Preservation Office, created the Black Heritage Council (BHC) to advocate for and advise the Commission on the preservation of African American historic places in Alabama. At the time of its founding, the BHC was the first African American advisory council of a state historic preservation office. The BHC includes a diverse, all-volunteer board consisting of members from around the state. It has played a key role in assisting communities with documenting, interpreting, preserving and promoting African American historic places like the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Town of Hobson City, First Baptist Church in Selma, and many others.

 The preservation planning initiative project, “Plan 2025”, is funded by a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the AHC and BHC selected the Ballard House Project team based in Birmingham to complete Plan 2025 and help shape the Council’s vision for the future.  Implementation of the new plan is expected to begin in July 2021. 

In December 2020, the Black Heritage Council saw a change in its chair position and welcomed a new staff person at the AHC. Tuskegee-based attorney Lateefah Muhammad was elected by the Council to serve as Chair of the 25-member organization.  Muhammad said, “I am delighted to join the leaders of this team of preservationists to advance our presence among our network of preservationists, and to advance our work in preservation especially among African Americans in the cities, towns and communities of our great state.”

“There are so many African American people and places in Alabama who need the services our organization provides,” said Muhammad. “Our history, our knowledge, our leadership and our resources in the area of preservation will be shared as we grow during the next few years.  My hope and prayer are that the Black Heritage Council will step up to the plate and assist the Commission in helping those African American people and places. And, I also hope and pray that all of our partners, associates and other stakeholders in preservation will aid us in this great work as we engage them and us to do more.  Statewide organizations like the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama Historical Association, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, and national ones, like the National Trust for Historic Preservation, are all included.”

Prior to being elected ChairMuhammad served for almost six years as a member-at-large helping to advance preservation projects across the state. Outgoing chair is Frazine K. Taylor, who served for over a decade in that capacity, will remain as a member-at-large.

The AHC also welcomed Madison Hunter as the new Black Heritage Coordinator. Madison has a degree in English from the University of South Alabama and interned with the Black Heritage Council in 2018. She will serve as administrative staff assisting the BHC members in carrying out their mission.

To contact the Chair of the Black Heritage Council, Lateefah Muhammad, by email, send information to bhcchairlateefah@gmail.com. For general information about the Black Heritage Council, or the Alabama Historical Commission, visit www.ahc.alabama.gov, or contact the staff at 334-230-2678 or blackheritagecouncil@ahc.alabama.gov.

 

 

About the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission

In 1984, the Alabama Historical Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, created the Black Heritage Council (BHC) to advocate for and advise the Commission on the preservation of African American historic places in Alabama. For more information please visit ahc.alabama.gov/blackheritagecouncil.

 

About the Alabama Historical Commission

Located in historic downtown Montgomery at 468 S. Perry Street, the Alabama Historical Commission is the state historic preservation agency for Alabama. The agency was created by an act of the state legislature in 1966 with a mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places. AHC works to accomplish its mission through two fields of endeavor: Preservation and promotion of state-owned historic sites as public attractions; and, statewide programs to assist people, groups, towns, and cities with local preservation activities. For a complete list of programs and properties owned and operated by the AHC, hours of operation, and admission fees please visit ahc.alabama.gov.