IDNR receives $75k grant to recognize African American heritage properties in southern Ill.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Park Service to recognize African American heritage properties in southern Illinois.
According to a spokesperson for the IDNR, Illinois was one of 21 projects in 16 states and the District of Columbia to receive funding from the Underrepresented Community Grants (URC) program through the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service.
This project is a collaborative effort between the Ill. State Historic Preservation Office, a division of the IDNR, and the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University.
“Southern Illinois has a unique and compelling story about its connection to Black history--a story that’s gone largely untold,” said IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie. “This grant will help IDNR take an important step forward as we seek to ensure these properties get the recognition they deserve and that the stories of underrepresented communities are told accurately and with proper context.”
URC was established in 2014 to help state, Tribal and local governments to diversify listings in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the country’s official list of properties that merit special attention and preservation.
“The State of Illinois is grateful to receive this grant from the National Park Service,” said State Rep. Justin Slaughter, House chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “It’s critically important to continue shedding light on Illinois’ cultural sites and to connect the shared history of southern Illinois and African American communities.”
The grant will be used to produce National Register nominations for three resources associated with Black history in southern Illinois. Additionally, the project will amend the existing National Register nominations for the following sites:
- Saline Springs: to reflect the use of African American slaves owned or leased from Kentucky by salt production operator John Crenshaw
- Illinois Iron Furnace: to reflect the diverse makeup of the Furnace community and workforce
- Carrier Mills Archaeological District: to reflect the African American heritage of the Pond Settlement, also known as Lakeview
Additionally, a plan will be produced to research other African American heritage sites in the area.
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