Hart Island Project.

I knew, of course, that New York City has a potter’s field. That knowledge, however, did not blunt the impact of drone footage of laborers burying in long trenches the plain wooden coffins of coronavirus victims. The pine boxes, startlingly pale against the dark slash of subsoil, stacked edge to edge, two deep.

More than one million New Yorkers have been buried on Hart Island since the late 1860s. In early April 2020, as hundreds, then thousands, died a day from Covid-19, the city began to bury unclaimed bodies, at least temporarily, on the island.

Hart Island Project, a nonprofit group that has pushed for more public access and awareness regarding the island, published the drone video. The Project has created database (with map) of burials on Hart Island since 1980 and Traveling Cloud Museum, an interactive storytelling platform that provides information about each person, including “a clock that measures the period of time they have been buried in anonymity until someone adds a story, image, epitaph, sound or video.

Hart Island Project’s work and website are powerful models for what might be done to restore to memory the dead of Rountree, Odd Fellows, and Vick Cemeteries.

For more regarding initial efforts to identify Hart Island’s dead, please see “Finding Names for Hart Island’s Forgotten,” a story by Cara Buckley published 24 March 2008 in the New York Times:

“For her part, Ms. [Melinda] Hunt believes that Hart Island should allow public visits, at least once a year, though Stephen Morello, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said security would be a concern because inmates work there. Ms. Hunt also said the need was urgent for Hart Island’s burial records to be available in a centralized database, an expense that Mr. Morello said the Correction Department did not have the resources to cover. Thousands of records, handwritten in ledgers, were lost in a fire in the 1970s. Ms. Hunt said she would be applying to a state arts foundation for money to post the records online, and to collect the stories behind them.

‘People have the right to know where their family members are buried in the city,’ she said. ‘I’m trying to show a hidden part of American culture that I think is important, that I think is overlooked. These are public records. They belong to the people of New York.’”

Hat tip to Renee Lapyerolerie.


During this pandemic, my work for the recovery of East Wilson’s black cemeteries is a banked fire, but it still burns. Please watch this timely mini-documentary for a deeper understanding of what is at stake on Lane Street and why I care.

Hat tip to Debbie Price Gouldin. Thank you!

New school open.

More details from the opening of the Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute, also known as the Independent School, which opened after African-American students boycotted Wilson public schools.

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Wilson Daily Times, 12 November 1918.

Episcopal priest Robert N. Perry and Baptist minister Fred M. Davis were placed at the school’s head. (As principal and vice principal?) Samuel H. Vick was appointed chairman of the board of directors and Dr. William H. Phillips, secretary. The school was incorporated, and $2400 raised for its operation. The school was to have a high school department (which the Colored Graded School did not.) And most surprisingly, the school building, on Vance Street near Pender, had been the old (white) Methodist church and had been moved several blocks across the tracks to the site.

Cemetery records request update, no. 6: re the removal of graves from Oakdale cemetery.

Here’s my most recent request for public records, made 25 February 2020 to the Wilson Cemetery Commission:

Under the North Carolina Public Records Law, G.S. §132-1, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of the following public records related to the Old Negro Cemetery (also known as the colored cemetery, Oakdale or Oaklawn Cemetery) and Rest Haven Cemetery:

  • Any and all documents showing the identity of persons buried in the Old Negro Cemetery during the period of its active existence
  • Any and all documents related to the Old Negro Cemetery
  • Any and documents showing the identity of persons whose graves were moved from the Old Negro Cemetery to Rest Haven Cemetery in or before 1941
  • Any and all documents, including but not limited to maps, plats, surveys and photographs, showing the location of graves and grave markers in the Old Negro Cemetery at the time the City of Wilson or the Cemetery Commission moved graves from the Old Negro Cemetery to Rest Haven Cemetery in 1941
  • Any and all documents, including but not limited to maps, plats, surveys and photographs, showing the relocation of graves and grave markers to Rest Haven Cemetery from the Old Negro Cemetery in 1941

Oakdale was the cemetery located near present-day Cemetery Street. The request was spurred by this article.

The reply? The Cemetery Commission has no documents responsive to this request.

Lane Street on a breezy winter morning.

Two minutes, 49 seconds, of Lane Street on a breezy winter morning.

Sandy Creek spilling from the culvert under Lane Street.

The road, walking southwest.

The high bank of Rountree cemetery with its crown of honeysuckle and privet and catbrier and blackberry bramble.

Across the road, the low bank marking the cemetery’s western half. Note the daffodils. Sandy Creek flows just behind the trees; the houses crouch in its flood plain.

Just past the ditch marking its boundary, the gravestones of Odd Fellows Cemetery hove into view.

Between the Dawson and Tate family plots, Irma Vick‘s leaning concrete marker is visible at the edge of the woods. Hers is the outlier of the Vick family plot, which is otherwise overgrown.

A remnant of the cemetery’s wall; I enter the old gateway.

The cemetery looks empty. It is not.

The two tall marble markers are Dave and Della Hines Barnes, from the back. Presumably, other members of the Barnes and Hines family lie in their marked plot, but no stones are visible.

The city erected the two pillars at the entrance to the parking lot. They are, inaccurately, engraved “Rountree/Vick.” The parking lot bears the scorch marks of a torched vehicle. It is rarely visited by anyone with good intention.

Vick cemetery as playground.

The monument and its towering shrubs.

Video shot by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2020.

Timeline of cemeteries.

Between 1865 and 1975, African-Americans in the town of Wilson buried their dead in at least eight cemeteries — two in the area of present-day Cemetery Street and six along what is now Lane Street. From 1895 to about 1925, five of the cemeteries operated simultaneously. They often were referred to collectively and interchangeably as “the colored cemetery.” Similarly, the three cemeteries on the eastern end of Lane Street are colloquially known collectively as “Rountree cemetery,” though Rountree is but one of the three.  I’ve created this timeline to better understand the arcs of their usage, which, at this point, are baffling.


1870 — Washington Suggs purchased a lot adjacent to “the grave yard lot” and the African church. Suggs’ land was south of downtown between the railroad and what is now Pender Street. [Was this an African-American cemetery? If so, when was it established? If not, where were mid-nineteenth century black folk buried? It seems to have been located in the same general area as the later Oakdale cemetery.]

1895 — Per the 4 July Wilson Daily Times, the county commissioners took up the question of a “suitable burying ground for the colored people.” [Was there none? Or was it that the old one had been “unsuitable”?]

1897-1899 — The Funeral Register of Wootten and Stevens, Undertakers of Wilson, North Carolina, November 18, 1896-June 27, included burials of African-Americans, dozens of whom were interred in Oakdale (in one instance, called Oakwood) and generically labeled “colored” cemeteries, as well many rural graveyards.

1897 — Trustees of Rountree Missionary Baptist Church bought one acre of land “beginning at a stake on the path leading from the Plank road to the Stantonsburg road where a small branch crosses said path.” [This appears to be the half of Rountree cemetery that lies on the northwest-side of present-day Lane Street. The widening of the street for paving in the 1990s reduced the size of this lot.]

1897 — As reported in the 1 October 1897 issue of Wilson Daily Times, the Town of Wilson “paid on the account of Oakdale Cemetery 49.20.”

1898 — Rev. Owen L.W. Smith purchased from the Town of Wilson, in the person of Mayor John F. Bruton, lot 7, F Street, Section North, of Oakdale Cemetery (col’d). [This is the only evidence I have found of a formal layout for Oakdale.]

1900 — On October 8, Mount Hebron Lodge No. 42, Prince Hall Masons, purchased a lot from Cain and Margaret Artis near the Colored Graded School, Charley Battle, Cain Artis and Daniel Vick. [This is the Masonic cemetery. I was initially confused by the reference to the school, but a contemporaneous topographic map shows that Lane Street once extended parallel to Nash Street, across then-open fields, to meet Stantonsburg Street [now Pender] at the approximate location (and in the path of) today’s Black Creek Road. ]

1900 — Hannibal Lodge #1552, Order of Odd Fellows, purchased a lot on what is now Lane Street. Tax records list no deed reference for the purchase.

1904 — The topographic map of Wilson shows empty spaces at the locations of Oakdale, the Masonic and Rountree cemeteries.

1906 — Trustees of Rountree Missionary Baptist Church bought one acre of land bordering a canal [Sandy Creek.]

1908 — The Wilson city directory listed Oaklawn cemetery (colored) on Cemetery Road near the Atlantic Coast Line Railway, Berry Williams, keeper.

1908 — T.M. Fowler’s bird’s-eye map of Wilson shows only a blank expanse of ground above and below Cemetery Street.

1909 — Calvin Blount‘s will referred to a one-acre lot adjacent to G.W. Sugg, Cater [Daniel C.] Sugg, and the colored cemetery.

1910 — On July 15, the Daily Times reported Henry Hagans‘ escape through the colored cemetery [Oakdale/Oaklawn] after shooting a woman.

1911 — On December 12, the Daily Times reported two commissioners had been appointed to investigate complaints about drainage problems at the colored cemetery. [This would have been Oakdale/Oaklawn.]

1912 — The Wilson city directory listed Oaklawn cemetery (colored) on Cemetery Road near the Atlantic Coast Line Railway, Blount Moore, keeper.

1913 — The town of Wilson purchased 7.84 acres from Samuel and Annie Vick adjacent to the “colored Odd Fellows cemetery track.” [Presumably, after less than 20 years, Oakdale/Oaklawn was not only experiencing serious drainage issues, it also was crowded and becoming hemmed in by residential expansion.]

1916 — The Wilson city directory listed Oaklawn cemetery (colored) on Cemetery Road near the Atlantic Coast Line Railway.

1922 — The Wilson city directory listed Oaklawn cemetery (colored) on Cemetery Road near the Atlantic Coast Line Railway.

1923 — The plat map of D.C. Suggs‘ property shows a blank area labeled “colored cemetery.”

1924 — Per 1940 news article, the last burial in the Cemetery Street cemetery took place in this year.

1925 — The Wilson city directory listed Oaklawn cemetery (colored) on Cemetery Road near the Atlantic Coast Line Railway.  The Business Directory section lists only Maplewood under the “Cemeteries” heading.

1925 — A soil survey of Wilson County shows the Masonic cemetery and a combined Odd Fellows/Vick cemetery, but not Oakdale.

1925 — Per an article published in the Daily Times on February 10, Samuel H. Vick requested that city board of aldermen provide an awning for the colored cemetery [likely, Vick] and repair roads leading to it. An alderman noted that the “old cemetery” [Oakdale] was on valuable land.

1925 — Per notice published in the Daily Times on December 2, a trustee offered for sale a lot owned by Nathan Hines south of Suggs Street “beginning at a corner near a ditch on the South East corner of the colored cemetery on Sugg Street.” [Suggs Street runs parallel to and a block north of Cemetery Street.]

1927 — Per notice published in the Daily Times on July 16, a trustee offered for sale six acres owned by D.C. Suggs and wife, north of Contentnea Street [Cemetery Street, see below] and adjoining the Calvin Blount land on the west, John Ratley and S.H. Vick on the east, and the colored cemetery and A.S. Woodard on the north.

1928 — Oaklawn is no longer listed in the Wilson city directory, and no “colored” cemetery is listed under the heading in the Business Directory section.

1930 — Oaklawn is not listed in the Wilson city directory, and no “colored” cemetery is listed under the heading in the Business Directory section.

1932 — In a notice of sale published on March 31 in the Daily Times, a lot is described as beginning at the corner of S.H. Vick and Dollison Powell‘s land on “the colored Masonic Cemetery road.” [

1937 — Per letter and article published on September 24 and 30 by the Daily Times, Camillus L. Darden and others requested paving of the road leading to the “negro cemetery.” [This is most likely a reference to Vick cemetery.]

1940 — On August 30, the city manager published in the Daily Times a notice of removal of graves from the abandoned cemetery on Cemetery Street, in which there had been no burials in 16 years, to “the new cemetery for the colored race, situated near the Town of Wilson, N.C., and known as Resthaven cemetery.”

1941 — On November 6, the Daily Times published a brief article on the removal of graves from the old Negro cemetery [Oakdale] to Rest Haven cemetery.

1941 — Cemetery Street had been called Contentnea as far back as 1922 (see above), but the change apparently was not made official until graves were moved from Oakdale to Rest Haven. The change did not take; Cemetery Street was so-called in both the 1941 and 1947 city directories and still is today.)

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1941.

1949 — On November 7, the Daily Times reported a dispute between Harry Howell and Carl Ward, who each purchased the same plot in the colored cemetery in 1934. Howell had recently requested that the cemetery commission remove Ward’s wife from the lot and place her body in another. [This dispute likely involved Vick cemetery, but maybe Rest Haven.]

1953 — On January 8, the Daily Times reported that farmer J.J. Skinner found a stolen safe “at the old colored cemetery just outside Wilson.” Skinner, who lived nearby, had cut through the cemetery on the way to his fields. [This was likely Rountree/Odd Fellows/Vick cemeteries.]

1958 — On February 10, the Daily Times reported a stolen truck abandoned on a rural road “near the old Colored cemetery one mile east of Wilson.” [This, too, was likely Rountree/Odd Fellows/Vick.]

1967 — On June 10, the Daily Times ran a photograph of dumping at “Rountree cemetery.”

1968 — On 3 March, the Daily Times ran a notice seeking volunteers for a clean-up at Rountree cemetery.

1983 — Per the Daily Times on 19 May 1996, the Cemetery Commission “heard” the city owned Vick in this year and spent $10,000 on a partial clean-up.

1989 — On 18 February, the Daily Times ran a full-length feature article on Ben Mincey‘s attempts to maintain Odd Fellows cemetery.

1990-1991 — The city cleared Vick cemetery with a bush hog and began public discussions about clean-up and maintenance.

1994-1996 — As detailed here and here, the city cleared Vick cemetery of gravemarkers, graded and seeded the site, and erected a single monument commemorating all buried there.

2015 — Wilson County Genealogical Society published Wilson County Cemeteries, Vol. V: The Two City-Owned African-American Cemeteries, containing alphabetical listings of 11,472 burials in Rest Haven cemetery and 650 burials in “Rountree-Vick” cemetery. The latter were largely derived from death certificates issued in the 1940s to 1960s.

2020 — In response to Public Records Law request, the city of Wilson confirms that it cannot produce any record of the identities of those whose grave markers it removed from Vick cemetery or provide any documentation of the decision to destroy those markers.

The removal of graves from Oakdale cemetery.

Wilson really has not done right by its dead.

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Wilson Daily Times, 6 November 1941.

Some notes:

  • “the town had condemned the land to build several roads through it” — No mention of poor drainage conditions in the cemetery. Rather, a suggestion that the unnamed city alderman’s 1925 comment about the cemetery occupying valuable land had gained traction.
  • “the old negro Wilson cemetery over near Stantonsburg street” — Stantonsburg Street (now the lower section of Pender Street) ran just east of the cemetery.
  • “Dozens of graves” were moved to “the newer Rest Haven cemetery” — There were surely hundreds of people, not dozens, buried in Oakdale. Were unmarked graves left behind? Does the Cemetery Commission have records of this disinterment and reburial in Rest Haven?
  • “Most recent grave in the old cemetery that could be found was dated 1902” — This can only be true if they were not looking hard. The notice of removal of graves, published in 1940, stated that the last burials were in 1924.
  • “the cemetery is at least 50 years old.” — This roughly corroborates the founding of Oakdale as 1895, when county commissioners took up the question of a “suitable burying ground for the colored people.”

The bookmobile is dedicated.

On 10 March 1951, The Norfolk Journal and Guide covered ceremonies marking the dedication of the Wilson County Negro Library‘s bookmobile. The photo postdates the era generally covered in this blog, but is included for its depiction of several member of the Negro library’s African-American board, as well as Rev. Howard Farmer, a leader in the Elm City community.

Left to right: Willie Mae Hendley Freeman, Anna Douglas Johnson, William Hines, librarian Sarah E. Jenkins, Rev. Howard W. Farmer, Mayor Littlejohn Faulkner, James Whitfield, city manager T.F. Green, county commissioner Thomas Daniels, and Dr. G.K. Butterfield Sr.

Thanks to Tammy Medlin, local history/genealogy librarian at Wilson County Public Library, for bringing this image to my attention.

Fulfilling a need: Wilson County Negro Library, 1943-1964.

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More great Black History Month programming from Wilson County Public Library! On 15 February 2020, local history librarian Tammy Medlin will present a history of the Wilson County Negro Library, founded by African-American women in the early 1940s. No registration necessary; please come learn more about this vital community institution.

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

I post this information from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Leadership Forum as a public service announcement and as a reminder to myself of the possibilities for funding for futures of Rountree, Odd Fellows and Vick cemeteries.

Grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes representing African American cultural heritage. The fund supports work in four primary areas: Capital Projects, Organizational Capacity Building, Project Planning, and Programming and Interpretation.

Grants made from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will range from $50,000 to $150,000. In 2019, the National Trust awarded $1.6 million to 22 projects. Read more about them here. Since establishing the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s National Grant Program in 2017, the National Trust has invested $2.7 million in 38 diverse preservation projects across the country.

Read the answers to some of our frequently asked questions here. It will be updated as new questions come in.


Grant-funded projects must focus on African American cultural heritage. If applying for capacity building activities, the organization’s primary mission must be focused on African American cultural heritage.

Public agencies, 501(c)(3), and other nonprofit organizations are eligible. Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.

No more than three grants will be awarded in any two-year period to a single grantee. Only one grant will be awarded per organization in any grant round. Only one type of grant will be awarded for each project phase.Grant recipients from the inaugural 2018 African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund National Grant Program are eligible to apply.

If an applicant is invited to submit a full application, the applicant will be required to become an organizational level Forum member of the National Trust to move forward with the application process. This requirement is designed to engage the applicants with the larger preservation community as they work through the project. More information on Forum can be found here, and more details will be provided if an applicant is selected to move forward in the process (see “Application Process” below).

Application Process

There is a two-step process to receive a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund:

1. Letter of Intent 
Deadline: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm local time.

A preliminary indication of interest and capacity. All Letters of Intent must be submitted through the National Trust’s online grant application system, by the deadline, or they will not be reviewed. A link to the application system is included at the bottom of this page.

2. Application
Deadline: May 1, 2020
The Letter of Intent review period will take approximately ten weeks. All applicants will be notified of their status at the end of this initial review period. If the applicant’s Letter of Intent is accepted, a full application will be requested. Instructions on how to complete the full application will be sent only to those organizations moving forward. You will have approximately five weeks to complete and submit the full application once you receive a notice to proceed.

New this year and grant round
, National Trust staff members will engage with the prospective grantees during the full application stage, and they will offer their assigned applicant technical support and advice to ensure they are submitting competitive grant proposals. Each staff member will act as the National Trust liaison, conduct sites visits as appropriate, and help applicants craft grant proposals. This collaborative engagement will benefit our selection process and grant-making.

Grant Conditions

Grants from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund may be used to fund up to 100% of the proposed project. While matching funds are not required for this program, projects that are leveraging additional investments are strongly preferred. The following grant conditions apply:

  • If the project involves a property, the grant recipient must either own the property or have a written agreement with the property owner stating that the grantee has permission to undertake the grant-funded project.
  • Grants or any matching funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  • Any documents or plans for preservation work that result from the project must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • Any construction projects must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • Unless prior written approval of a bid waiver is obtained from the National Trust, at least three (3) competitive bids/quotes must be obtained for any procurement of services that exceed $50,000. This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by National Trust grant funds.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgement of National Trust and its philanthropic partners’ financial support in all printed materials generated for the project. As part of the grant agreement, a toolkit for promoting the grant will be provided to each grantee.
  • Consultants must be approved by the National Trust before grant funds are disbursed. Board members of the application organization cannot serve as consultants unless appropriate conflict of interest procedures are followed and documented.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Within one year from the grant disbursement date, the project must be completed, and a final report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted. If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, the grant funds must be returned.
  • Applicants must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or sexual orientation. This obligation also extends to disabled veterans, Vietnam-era veterans, and handicapped persons.
  • Additional grant conditions may be required by the National Trust’s philanthropic partners. They will be outlined in the grant contract.

Eligible Activities and Expenses

Grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places representing African American cultural heritage, such as sites, museums, theaters, sports venues, churches, schools, universities, and landscapes. Grants awards may be made for activities and projects in the following categories:

Capital Projects

  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of historic places and structures, including bricks-and-mortar construction and planning costs
  • Applicants can request up to $150,000 and can direct up to 15% of awarded grant funds for construction planning and documents

Organizational Capacity Building

  • Hiring new staff to increase the organization’s capacity (funds can be used to support salaries and benefits for grant-supported staff.) Applicants can request up to $150,000 for a two-year period 
  • Increasing current part-time staff to full-time in order to advance preservation priorities. Applicants can request up to $100,000 for a two-year period
  • Convening board, governance and nonprofit management trainings and organizational development activities such as strategic planning. Applicants can request $50,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs. 

Project Planning

  • Obtaining the services of consultants with expertise in the areas such as preservation architecture, business development, engineering and environmental studies, legal issues, fundraising and financial sustainability, organizational development, education, etc. to develop plans for implementation by organization
  • Development of viable business plans, feasibility studies, preservation plans, engineering and environmental studies, architectural plans, etc.
  • Applicants can request up to $75,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs

Programming and Interpretation

  • Sponsoring preservation conferences and workshops
  • Designing and implementing innovative preservation education, scholarship, mapping, and interpretative programs
  • Collaborating with artists, creatives, and scholars to re-imagine interpretation and programming, while advancing new approaches to storytelling and public engagement
  • Designing, producing, and marketing printed materials or other media communications
  • Applicants can request $50,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs

Up to 10% of awarded grant funds may be used for organizational overhead costs. Grants awarded for Capital Projects and Programming and Interpretation may include funding for both the planning and implementation of those projects. In the case of Capital Projects, up to 15% of awarded grant funds may be used for construction planning such as architectural and engineering services, code review, drawings, specifications, and geotechnical services.

Ineligible Activities and Expenses

  • Supplementation of existing staff or faculty salaries; volunteer reimbursements
  • Capacity building activities other than hiring new staff, increasing current staff from part-time to full-time, or board/governance development and nonprofit management training
  • Catering, entertainment, food and beverage costs
  • Costs associated with constructing new buildings or structures, including the creation of monuments and statues
  • Costs associated with creation or maintenance of archival collections (books, documents, ephemera, etc.)
  • Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date


The National Trust, in consultation with the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund National Advisory Council, will select grant recipients by considering, among other points, the following criteria:

  • The historic significance of the property to be assisted and its association to African American cultural heritage
  • The extent to which the requested assistance will make a difference in preserving, restoring or interpreting the historic property or site, including what other funds might be leveraged by an existing award
  • The level of local support for the project, demonstrated through letters of support and information collected on the full application such as site visitation information, volunteer statistics, and other related metrics
  • The potential of the project to be a catalyst for further positive action to benefit other historic properties, neighborhoods or communities
  • The adequacy of plans and resources for future maintenance of the property or the continuation of activity for which grant support is requested
  • The ability and willingness of the applicant to carry out the proposed plans or activity within the project’s time frame if awarded
  • The amount of additional resources being brought to the project, either through additional cash investments or donated materials and services


While this is not an exhaustive list, there are several themes we are particularly interested in:

  • Activism and Protest Movements
  • Achievement and Innovation (education, science, business, politics, etc.)
  • Architecture and Black Architects
  • Arts, Culture, and Creative Expression
  • Cemeteries and Burial Grounds
  • Education (Not Rosenwald School Specific)
  • Free Black Settlements and Agricultural History
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Sacred Places and Churches
  • Landscapes of Slavery
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Statewide African American preservation organizations
  • Reconstruction Era Sites
  • Rosenwald Schools
  • Women’s History
  • LGBTQ History
  • Cities (addressing issues of displacement, gentrification, and affordability, and advancing solutions for historic redevelopment)

How to Apply

A Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted using the National Trust’s online grant application system. The LOI form will capture basic information about your organization and your project. When completing the forum, you may need the following items:

  • An IRS letter of determination (nonprofit applicants)
  • A list of major donors to your organization or project
  • Up to three photos of your site, if applicable


Click here to access the Letter of Intent form. (Please note: You will be taken to the National Trust grants application system where you will need to create a user profile for your organization. This is a separate login than your National Trust login.)  If you have questions please email us.