Federal investments in local preservation projects is encouraging

Published 7:33 pm Sunday, January 21, 2024

Two recent national grants bring good news for Natchez and beyond.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded Beulah Missionary Baptist Church $150,000 from the Preserving Black Churches program of the African-American Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The grant will be used to restore the steeple and windows of the 111-year-old historic church building in Natchez, helping maintain it for generations in the future.

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Also this month, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $1 million match grant for the Center for American History project at Historic Jefferson College.

The project, under the direction of the Mississippi Department of Archives and history, will establish a preservation field school based at the historic college site and develop an interpretive center to share stories about the rise and fall of Mississippi’s cotton kingdom era.

The innovative field school will provide high school and college students with skills needed to help preserve historic structures, ultimately helping develop a workforce trained in skills necessary for historic preservation.

Both these grants are significant, as they represent federal funding that benefits and strengthens our community. Here in Natchez and Adams County, we have long understood the value and importance of preserving our history – all of our history – to study, learn and remember.

Any time our local projects receive federal funding, it’s an affirmation of sorts that others see the importance and value as well. And that’s good news.

We look forward to the benefits these grant funds will bring to Beulah Missionary Baptist Church and the projects at Historic Jefferson College, and we’re glad to see the investment of federal dollars in our community.