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Rep. Terri Sewell Announces $3.5M for Civil Rights Landmarks in Ala.

Terri Sewell
The Birmingham Times

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell on Tuesday announced over $3.5 million in federal grant funding through the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve historic African American Civil Rights landmarks throughout Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.

In Birmingham, the funding includes $500,000 for the Rehabilitation of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Phase 4; $500,000 for the Preservation and Repair of St. Paul United Methodist Church and $345,000 for the Rehabilitation of the Historic Bethel Church.

“Even as we remain laser focused on doing everything within our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19; we must still remember the importance of investing in the preservation of the remarkable history of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District,” Sewell said.

“Our history is one of joining together as a community to persevere in the face of insurmountable odds, a history that we are collectively leaning on in the face of this pandemic. I am grateful for this meaningful investment from the National Park Services, understanding that in reflecting on our history we may forge a better future,” she said.

Securing funding to insure the preservation of crucial civil rights history throughout Alabama’s 7th Congressional District has been one of Sewell’s top priorities since coming into office, and she has worked to secure adequate funding through the National Park Service. In addition to funding for sites in Birmingham, money also went to locations in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Selma.

“We are ecstatic about all of the support we have gotten from Congresswoman Sewell,” said Charles Everett, of Mt. Zion AME Church in Montgomery, which received $500,000. “It was because of her that I learned about the grant funding available to Mt. Zion AME Church, and because of her that I have been able to lead a team of members of the Mt. Zion Center Foundation in developing the grant we just received. We repeat the mantra that “When God gives the vision, provision will always follow.”

“We are excited over this award,” said Juanita Owes, Montgomery City-County Public Director, which received $470,601. “This grant will provide an opportunity for us to preserve this historic building and continue the legacy of service to the population of citizens in that area of the city. It is so important and vital to the rebuilding and preservation of the west side of Montgomery, Alabama.”

“The Alabama Historical Commission is deeply appreciative of Congresswoman Sewell’s dedication to our state and her ongoing efforts to illuminate the world-changing history made here in Alabama,” said Lisa D. Jones, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, which received a total of $100,000. “These funds are specifically enabling AHC to preserve and highlight the saga of the 1961 Freedom Rides as they occurred in Montgomery.”