Local Landmarks receive African American historical preservation grants

EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Three South Carolina sites and organizations will receive a total of $285,000 to preserve African American history.

The grants are awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation through its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

The site of the 2015 deadly mass shooting, Emanuel African American Methodist Episcopal Church, has been awarded $150,000.

The church needs “major structural repairs,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

On Edisto Island, the Hutchinson house is set to receive $85,000 to bring it back to life.

The house was built in 1885 by a freed slave, Henry Hutchinson, as a gift to his wife.

The property stayed in the family until 2016, when the Edisto Island Open Land Trust bought the property to restore it and share it’s history to the community.

John Girault, the executive director for the Edisto Island Open Land Trust says the funds are just a start in their goal to spread a piece of history that would have disappeared with the dilapidated building.

“It’s a story of success, which is what we want to tell,” Girault said. “We want to help this family celebrate their lives after the civil war and after enslavement and their success.”

In addition to the landmarks, the South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation will receive 50,000 dollars.

Michael Allen is with the foundation’s commission. He says the funding will go toward educating generations to come.

“How can we reach a new generation of individuals across the great state of South Carolina who may want to take up the mantle that we took up 25 years ago,” Allen said.

Across the country, $1.6 million in grants have been given to 22 sites and organizations. South Carolina is the state with the most grants awarded.

“This state is a leader in our nation in preserving African American history and culture,” Allen said. “I think receiving these funds bear out that.”

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