The Delta National Heritage Area has announced its 2018 grant awards, and one of the Delta’s most photogenic country churches, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Estill, has received money for an important bricks-and-mortar preservation project. The clapboard church with a corner tower has clearly been suffering for a while since its congregation disbanded, and its roof has been leaking worse and worse, so this project gives us all new hope that this historic place will survive and maybe even be revived.
From the DSU news website:
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) has awarded over $200,000 in grants for fourteen projects focused on cultural and heritage development in communities across the Mississippi Delta.
The funded work focuses on the MDNHA’s five themes: The River and the Land, Culture of the Delta Blues, Moving Toward Freedom, Wellspring of Creativity, and Diverse Communities. The grants support learning opportunities for students, museums, documentary films, and the historic preservation of Delta landmarks.
“With this year’s round of funding, MDNHA has now provided almost $550,000 for a wide range of community projects that promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Chair of the MDNHA Board of Directors. “We had a record number of applications this year from over 30 organizations, and the Board is grateful for their participation and commitment.”
“We were fortunate this year in that the proposals addressed most components of MDNHA’s mission, goals and central themes, allowing us to fund a more diverse range of projects,” said Meg Cooper, Chair of the MDNHA Grants Committee. “We were able to make some grants in communities not previously served, and for some really unique projects.”
“MDNHA is working to build and expand a network of community resources and organizations that work together to promote the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, MDNHA executive director and director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, which serves as the management entity for MDNHA. “With this third year of funding through our partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service, this network is a critical part of our mission of preserving, perpetuating and celebrating the heritage of the Mississippi Delta.”
Grant recipients and their funded projects include:
Mississippi Heritage Trust, Jackson, MS – $24,500 to support preservation of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church building in Estill, Washington County, MS, by installing a metal roof, securely storing church pews and furnishings, and engaging the congregation and other residents in developing a long-term plan for use of the building.