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Today, members of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and community leaders throughout Birmingham gathered to announce the official launch of a month-long campaign to win national funding supporting historic preservation restoration efforts at the church.
Below is a video of the campaign announcement/press conference.
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church has been chosen as one of 20 finalists across the U.S. to compete for $150,000 in grant money through the annual Partners in Preservation campaign, a project of American Express and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Main Street America.
How to vote now
The grant competition’s winners will be decided through public voting, which is open today, September 24 through October 26. Sixteenth Street Baptist Church invites the community to “lift every voice” in support of the Birmingham project by visiting www.16thStreetBaptist.org or texting “MAINSTREET” to 52886 to vote each day of the competition. Voters may submit 5 votes at once per email address per day. Winners will be announced October 29.
The church, designed by African American architect Wallace Rayfield, was built in 1911. A meeting place throughout the Civil Rights Movement, in 1963, a bombing orchestrated by Ku Klux Klan members killed four young girls on their way from Sunday School to the church service. The event galvanized the movement leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2017, the Sixteenth Baptist Church, along with several nearby buildings and places was designated as part of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument by President Obama.
Birmingham secured a grant in 2017
This is not Birmingham’s first entrance in the Partners in Preservation national campaign. Last year, REV Birmingham along with the Alabama Theatre and community leaders successfully secured a $120,000 grant from Partners for Preservation campaign to restore the ALABAMA sign on 18th Street.
As a Main Street America organization, REV Birmingham nominated Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and is working closely with the church to run the month-long campaign for votes. If the church wins, they would use the $150,000 grant to install protective glass on the outside of all the church’s recently-restored stained glass windows as well as make repairs to the cupola and twin bell towers.
“The tragic death of four little girls in the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church diminished our world in ways that we cannot fathom,” said church pastor Rev. Arthur Price. “Yet, this terrible act of terror motivated a movement to support the passage of long overdue civil rights changes in our country. Sixteenth Street Baptist Church will always be a place of service, a place of significance, and a place of social change. Please help us to preserve it by lifting your voice!”
Lift your voice today and everyday until October 26.