Selma, Alabama (WIATMore) — The National Park Service is awarding a $1.5 million grant to protect Selma’s civil rights custody, including the historic Brownchapel AME Church.
Reverend Leodis Strong says the church was the headquarters of the Civil Rights March, which was crucial to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, and Selma to Montgomery all three came from here, planning, strategy sessions and worship sessions,” Strong said.
This is one of three locations in Selma, along with the Tabernacle Baptist Church and the University of Selma.
Sewell says donations to the church help address termite damage and other structural needs.
“We’re 7 in Alabamath Congressional Districts – We are the custodians of America’s history. We do not own this history, but we are on a mission to preserve it and be the caretakers of this amazing history.
Pastor Strong says the goal is to make the church look like it did 57 years ago. While renovation deals with structural improvements, he says the project is about keeping his 1965 spirit alive.
“When we think of sacred places, they remind us of who we are. Our identity. Our soul, our spirit, our essence. It’s not just brick and mortar, but spirit,” Strong said.
Strong says the economic impact will be greater for smaller communities as more people check out historic sites. He said he was very happy when he found out about the funding.
“Lord, have mercy. Hallelujah happy, hallelujah happy,” Strong said.
While the church is undergoing renovations over the next 18 to 2 years, services are still being held a few blocks away elsewhere, Strong said.
https://www.wkrg.com/alabama-news/selmas-brown-chapel-ame-church-receives-historic-preservation-funding/ Selma’s Brown Chapel AME Church Receives Historic Preservation Fund