PT Announces Texas Rural African-American Heritage Grant Recipients

Preservation Texas’s 2022 Most Endangered Places list included a thematic listing for Rural African American Heritage Sites statewide. Since the beginning of our Most Endangered Places program in 2004, Many sites associated with African-American heritage have been included. While some have been saved, others await preservation. 

Texas Rural African-American Heritage is threatened in part because of changing demographics over the last century, as many late 19th and early 20th century places have been left without a purpose and have fallen into disrepair. In the years following Emancipation, hundreds of Freedom Colonies were founded by Black men and women in Texas and across the nation. A recent National Historic Landmark theme study by the National park Service identified rural African American churches, schools, and masonic lodge halls as key sites that document efforts by newly emancipated men and women to build institutions to support these new Freedom Colonies. These buildings are important landmarks and are often the only remaining vestiges of these largely vanishing, nationally significant communities. 

In order to support endangered Rural African-American Heritage sites, Preservation Texas applied to the National park Service’s Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants program, which focuses on rural preservation, for a $750,000 grant to provide desperately needed funding for these fragile surviving Freedom Colonies. Preservation Texas narrowed the focus of its program to institutional and commercial buildings, to raise awareness of the plight of the over 600 rural Texas Freedom Colonies that once existed through the preservation of community landmarks.  The National park Service agreed, and through a fiercely competitive program, awarded the full amount to Preservation Texas. 

The goal of PT’s Texas Rural African-American Heritage Grants Program is to not only stabilize and restore historic buildings, but to ensure that they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, create new economic opportunities through revitalization, serve as role models for preservation in rural Texas, and ensure that our rural African-American heritage is protected.

Preservation Texas has named eleven rural African-American heritage sites which have been awarded grants for preservation through a competitive process, and included on our 2022 list of Texas’s Most Endangered Places. Over the next two years, these sites will benefit from important investments to ensure that they survive. Each site has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places; two of them are already listed, and the remaining nine will be listed by 2024.

Watch the announcement video on YouTube!


The sites are as follows:

BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH c. 1919
Tennessee Colony (Anderson County)
$75,000


BRENHAM NORMAL & INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE c. 1900
Brenham (Washington County)
$75,000


CONCORD ROSENWALD SCHOOL 1925
Mount Enterprise (Rusk County)
$75,000


FIRST INDEPENDENT BAPTIST CHURCH 1918
Corsicana (Navarro County)
$50,000


JAMISON-THOMPSON-WEATHERFORD BUILDING 1930
Texarkana (Bowie County)
$50,000


MACEDONIA SCHOOL 1942
Linden (Cass County)
$50,000


MOUNT VERNON A.M.E. CHURCH 1921
Palestine (Anderson County)
$75,000
*Already listed on the National Register


MOUNT ZION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 1893
Belton (Bell County)
$75,000
*Already listed on the National Register


OLD MASONIC HALL 1901
Lufkin (Angelina County)
$75,000


PALACIOS COLORED SCHOOL 1939
Palacios (Matagorda County)
$35,000


WESLEY CHAPEL 1916
Corsicana (Navarro County)
$75,000