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Grants aim to save history at Black colleges, universities

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A national nonprofit organization is giving more than $650,000 in grants to help five historically Black colleges and universities to help preserve their campuses.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation this week announced the grants through its HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative.

The Washington-based trust aims to help the institutions develop campus preservation plans, which it called "a roadmap for preserving and celebrating the historic and hallowed places important to their institutional legacy."

"There are 105 HBCUs across the country, and their infrastructure needs are increasingly urgent," the National Trust for Historic Preservation said in announcing the grants. "These campus-wide plans help keep legacy as an essential part of any future improvement, development, or maintenance."

The grants are going to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida; Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi; Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina; Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.

In Raleigh, Shaw University will be able to develop rehabilitation plans for its historic buildings, the trust said. It also aims to advance its goal of connecting its campus back to downtown Raleigh while removing public access barriers.

In Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University will develop a plan for the Historic Quad, which consists of five historic buildings, the trust said.

In Mississippi, Rust College will develop a plan for its historic campus and the adjacent former Mississippi Industrial College campus, which it acquired in 2008, officials said. Its goals are to address deferred maintenance of historic buildings and plans for incorporating Mississippi Industrial College's remaining buildings into the campus landscape.

In South Carolina, Voorhees College will address deferred maintenance and make plans to rehabilitate historic buildings such as Menafee Hall and Massachusetts Hall, the trust said.

Florida A&M's Black Archives, Architecture Department, and Office of Facilities have developed rehabilitation projects for Sunshine Manor, the Carnegie Library, and Gibbs Cottage. A campus-wide plan will help the institution develop strategic plans to preserving additional building, officials said.