Miles College was awarded a grant of almost $500,000 from the National Park Service, Department of Interior to preserve and restore Williams Hall as part of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund.
Miles was one of 18 schools – and the only school in Alabama – to receive a portion of the $7.7 million in grants awarded. The monies are designated for the preservation of historic structures on campuses of HBCUs.
“We are honored to be one of the recipients of this grant from the National Park Service,” said Miles College president Bobbie Knight. “This grant provides a significant contribution to the restoration of historic Williams Hall, breathing life back into a building that has played an indelible role in the history of our institution and has a significant position in our future.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) was instrumental in helping Miles College secure the $499,869.
“I am thrilled that Miles College will be receiving nearly $500,000 for historic preservation from the National Park Service,” Rep. Sewell said. “I have fought to create this funding specifically for historic preservation on HBCU campuses since coming to congress. HBCU campuses have played a pivotal role in American history, especially in our nation’s struggle for civil rights, and those sites must be preserved.
“We must continue to invest in HBCUs like Miles College. We need them now more than ever. Protecting our HBCUs continues to be one of my top legislative priorities, and I will never stop working to ensure their vitality.”
Williams Hall is the oldest building on the campus of Miles College, erected in 1907 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been in disrepair for several years. The preservation, renovation and rehabilitation of Williams Hall will document, and preserve the site of many stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights in the 20th Century.
The school intends to restore Williams Hall to its historical appearance while extending the usable lifespan of the building with modern and designed spaces for academic, teaching and museum offerings. Once Williams Hall has been restored, the college plans to use the building as a teaching museum to honor the founders, students, alumni, and the college’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Knight said she was extremely appreciative of Sewell for help advocating for Miles College in Washington, D.C.
“Our grant writing team at Miles was diligent in pursuing this opportunity, as well, and should certainly be commended,” said Knight.