Selma, AL – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced that the National Park Service (NPS) will award $750,000 to Selma University to preserve the historic Pollard Hall. The funding is part of a $9.7 million investment by NPS to preserve historic structures on the campuses of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Each year, Rep. Sewell leads the congressional effort to increase funding for the NPS Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) to preserve Civil Rights sites and HBCU campuses. Sewell proudly serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional HBCU Caucus.
“I’m thrilled to announce that the National Park Service is investing $750,000 to preserve the historic Pollard Hall on the campus of Selma University!” said Rep. Sewell. “This funding will enable Selma University to make critical repairs to Pollard Hall to ensure that the rich legacy of this cherished institution lives on for generations. Each year, I’m proud to lead the effort in Congress to increase funding for the National Park Service Historic Preservation Civil Rights Grant Program to preserve Alabama’s Civil Rights sites and HBCUs. As Vice Chair of the Congressional HBCU Caucus, I will continue fighting for funding like this to ensure the vitality of Alabama’s HBCUs!”
“The historic structures on Selma University’s campus are dear to us and tell the story of a people who banded their meager resources to build a better life for themselves and their posterity,” said Selma University President Dr. Stanford E. Angion. “These structures must be preserved and shared with the public. I am tremendously grateful to Representative Terri Sewell and the National Park Service for helping us to move forward in our efforts to preserve the rich history of Pollard Hall.”
“These grants enable historic educational institutions to preserve the story of African American education and the campuses where new experiences and stories continue to evolve today,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grants program, the National Park Service supports our HBCUs in the preservation of their historic campus structures and history.
Built in 1916, Pollard Hall of Selma University, founded as the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School in 1878, served as an administrative center for visitors, a meeting place for major figures in Black education, such as Booker T. Washington, and a home for several university presidents. Pollard Hall is a contributing resource to the proposed Selma University Historic District. This grant project will help repair the roof, HVAC system, and electrical and plumbing systems and install an elevator. The grant recipient will also contribute $496,414 in matching funds.
The funding announced today is part of a $9.7 million investment by NPS in HBCUs nationwide. Since the 1990s, the National Park Service has awarded over $60 million in grants to over 80 of the remaining active HBCUs. These grants work to preserve the historic structures on HBCU campuses, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
More information can be found here.