In case you haven’t seen this post on the MDAH website, they are announcing a bricks-and-mortar grant program for civil rights sites. As you may recall, a few weeks ago W. White ran a very helpful summary list of the Mississippi sites mentioned in Charles E. Cobb, Jr.’s recent book On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. Another not-to-distant post here on MissPres “Another Vanishing Civil Rights Landmark” ignited a good discussion about Civil Rights sites and included a listing of several sites that aren’t traditionally thought of as “Civil Rights sites.”
This grant program might go a long way toward helping out some of the more endangered Civil Rights sites. From the description, it seems that properties that will be open to the public or have heritage tourism potential will be the focus of the grant.
New Grant Program Targets State’s Civil Rights Sites
A new grant program will distribute more than $2 million to projects across the state related to the civil rights movement. The Mississippi Civil Rights Historical Sites Grant program will assist in paying the costs for repairs, renovations, and improvements to eligible sites. The Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History will determine which properties to recommend for funding to the Mississippi Development Authority at their regular meeting on July 22, 2011.
“The Mississippi legislature’s establishment of the Civil Rights Historical Sites Grant program provides a means for significant preservation projects across the state to move forward,” said MDAH director H.T. Holmes. “The opportunities for heritage tourism are constantly expanding, and we look forward to participating in this important initiative.”
Eligible properties must be associated with a significant event, action, or person from the civil rights era in Mississippi, 1945-70. Sites that will be open to the public will receive priority during the considerations. Grant recipients must enter into a twenty-five-year preservation and maintenance covenant that safeguards the state’s investment by providing MDAH oversight of alterations to the building during that time.
The maximum grant any project may receive is $210,000. Recipients must provide a twenty percent match of either cash or in-kind contributions. Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursable basis once all work is completed and approved by MDAH.
The deadline to apply is May 6, 2011. Application forms and instructions are available online. For more information, call 601-576-6940.