Tuskegee University receives $ 750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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September 28, 2021

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Dr Carla Jackson Bell, co-IP

The Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science and Management (TSACS) received a three-year grant of $ 750,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation Board of Trustees approved the grant to support a cross-institutional partnership between Tuskegee University and the University of Pennsylvania for preservation education, awareness and practice centered on black heritage.

This joint prize totals $ 1.5 million between Tuskegee University and the University of Pennsylvania, with financial resources shared 50/50. These resources will be directed to a few areas of joint activity and implemented through coordinated and complementary investments that build capacities for conservation education, awareness and practice focused on black heritage. Specific activities include curriculum development, joint field projects, infrastructure development, additional support to faculty and professional staff, development of digital humanities applications, research on management models and workforce development infrastructure. Other budgetary priorities of Tuskegee University are project coordination staff, visiting professors / junior professors and student internships.

“Funding from this grant enables Dean Carla Jackson Bell and Dr. Kwesi Daniels to build on the vision to achieve the school’s mission of embracing Booker T. Washington’s historic legacy of ‘learning to do by doing, ”said Tuskegee University President Dr Charlotte. P. Morris. “The expanded program in the areas of historic preservation, conservation and protection of our historic buildings will be a major asset to the history and legacy of Tuskegee University.”

Two years ago, the Department of Architecture at Tuskegee University and the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania entered into a teaching-fieldwork-research partnership, supported by the JM Kaplan Fund, which resulted in the formation of the Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites in 2020. The objectives of the new activities focus on building the capacity of HBCUs, other stewardship organizations and black professionals, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) to fill historical deficits in the ability to train, command and direct preservation efforts of all kinds (technical, design, documentation, storytelling, redevelopment). Ultimately, this work will transform the field of preservation nationwide by creating and opening up opportunities and the capacity to seize them.

Dr Kwesi Daniels
Dr Kwesi Daniels, PI

“Tuskegee is well positioned to create a new model of degree of preservation, centered on preservation strategies serving the community, financial sustainability and multifunctional sites, targeting built environment management issues as well as history. public, archiving and interpretation-tale. ” “The curriculum is the centerpiece of all the effort, connecting practice, policy, community impact and bringing generational change in the field of preservation,” said Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, professor and dean of the School of Architecture and Science and Management (TSACS) and Co-PI grant.

Tuskegee will be the central point of work organization. The proposed funding expands their teaching of historic preservation in the formal curriculum and through outreach projects with partners. UPenn’s CPCRS, with the NTHP African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund as a collaborator on the project, will help increase the capacity and assert the potential of Tuskegee, AAACRHSC and an emerging consortium of heritage sites in Philadelphia. Our collaborations will create replicable partnership models for other traditional / academic preservation programs nationwide.

“The field of historic preservation, long dominated by institutions marked by white privilege, has historically had a blind spot on many issues of importance to black heritage, from lists and leadership to public policy and opportunities for university studies, ”said Dr Kwesi Daniels, Acting Manager of Architecture and PI Grant. “The partners will jointly explore several options for expanding the preservation program at Tuskegee – considering a range of undergraduate and graduate options, possibilities including under-registration or other direct partnerships with UPenn,” and trade-based training programs directly linked to workforce development programs.

In addition, other members of the grant team include Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and Dr. Randall Mason, who teaches in the graduate program in Historic Preservation and is a professor in the city and region department. Planning at UPenn.


About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its fundamental belief that the humanities and the arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence and freedom found there. Through our grants, we seek to build righteous communities enriched with meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can flourish.

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