Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

An African American landmark at historically Black Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina is undergoing a restoration project thanks to three grants from the National Park Service Historic Fund’s African American Civil Rights Grant program and its HBCU grant program.

The grants, totaling almost $2 million, will be used to rehabilitate the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House located on Elizabeth City State University’s campus. Rosenwald schools are known for providing educational avenues for Black students in the southern United States during the era of segregation. The school is the only one of its kind still intact among college campuses in North Carolina.

“After so many years of work – planning, securing funding, and maintaining momentum through several challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic – it is thrilling to be at this stage of the project,” said Melissa Stuckey, associate professor and director of public history at the University of South Carolina and former professor at Elizabeth City State University. “We are seeing work completed, involving ECSU students, faculty, and staff, and collaborating with new partners. Getting to this point is the realization of a dream conceived of and worked toward by many members of the ECSU family, past and present.” 

In addition to the restoration effort, the university received two more grants from the National Park Service and Institute of Museum and Library that will be used to create exhibits in the restored buildings. Upon completion of the construction project, the buildings will serve as the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

“The completed project will not just tell the history of ECSU’s Rosenwald School,” says Dr. Stuckey, “but will be a hub for faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to share their stories and tell their histories together.”

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