Building a Network of Historic Black Towns & Settlements
In many places across America, there lies a hidden history not very known to all. The history of the people of African descent and the towns they established are a part of the American story. We exist to highlight the truth of the many historic communities that remain hidden in plain sight.
The mission of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. is to work collaboratively to actively preserve and promote the heritage, history and culture of these historic places by utilizing their human, environmental, built (engineering, landscape, architecture), arts and humanities resources to nurture economic development and to support an enhanced quality of life for their residents, neighbors and fellow Americans.
The vision of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. is to protect and preserve for future generations the heritage, history and cultural traditions of Alliance members such that those who follow will have the ability to assume active stewardship, to understand, interpret and appreciate these historic places through the lenses of their inhabitants.
We are widely recognized for creating a platform for historic black towns across America to come together and build relationships. Through our many partnerships we have been able to form an alliance of towns, colleges, universities and organizations that support the mission of the HBTSA.
In 2013 the mayors of five of America’s most representative historic Black towns and settlements (Grambling, LA; Mound Bayou, MS; Eatonville, FL; Hobson City, AL; Tuskegee, AL) began to discuss ways to individually and collectively preserve and promote the heritage and culture of their communities thus forming an alliance.
In September of 2014 the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc. (HBTSA) was incorporated and recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
The mayors received funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation through an Innovation Grant. The grant focused on a few items including:
- Development of an endangered/threatened historic resource mitigation plan and initiation for each community.
- Strategic plan development for implementing active formal stewardship mechanisms and education, as appropriate for each community.
- Historic preservation ‘theme based’ cultural tourism development, including marketing, programming, exhibit planning, and advanced interpretation and exposure of collective national historic content.
- Development of model community based and interstate educational programs.
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