Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Memphis to Get $570,000 in Grants to Preserve Civil Rights History

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 3:47 PM

click to enlarge Sanitation workers marching in 1968
  • Sanitation workers marching in 1968


The city is getting $570,000 in federal grants to rehab the interior of Clayborn Temple and to develop the Memphis Heritage Trail, which will highlight Downtown sites significant to the Civil Rights Movement.


The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service (NPS) announced Memphis would receive the grants Monday, as a part of the larger African American Civil Rights Grants Program.


Under the program, $12 million will be allocated toward 51 projects in 21 states — all aimed to “highlight stories related to the African American struggle for equality in the 20th century.”


The lion's share of Memphis’ $570,000 will fund the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development’s efforts to restore the sanctuary inside Clayborn Temple, the site from which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands of sanitation workers during the march in 1968.

click to enlarge Inside of Clayborn
  • Inside of Clayborn


HCD will also get $50,000 to create the Memphis Heritage Trail. Planning manager for HCD Felicia Harris said the primary purpose of this project is to “identify cultural assets, specifically around African-American history and culture.” The city's interactive 'I Am A Man' commemorative plaza being constructed on the corner of Pontotoc and Hernando will be featured on the trail.

click to enlarge 'I Am A Man' commemorative plaza rendering
  • 'I Am A Man' commemorative plaza rendering

The remaining $20,000 will be given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S. to preserve the history of the sanitation workers strike and Clayborn Temple.


U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said a key piece of the Interior's and the NPS's mission is to “help preserve and tell America’s story.”

click to enlarge Sanitation workers marching in 1968
  • Sanitation workers marching in 1968

“The grants will benefit places across the nation that help tell an essential piece of that story through the African American struggle for civil rights and equality,” Zinke said.


Funding for the grants are through the Historic Preservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil leases. To see all 51 project across 24 states, visit the NPS website.


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