WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown announced that the National Parks Service’s (NPS) African American Civil Rights Grant Program has awarded a total of $1,431,960 in grant funding to projects across Ohio to help preserve sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality. The funding compliments Brown’s legislation, the African American Civil Rights Network Act, which was signed into law in 2018. Brown’s bill, which he introduced with then-Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), also established a National Park Service (NPS) program to educate the public and provide technical assistance for documenting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the civil rights movement.

The funding includes:

  • $500,000 for the Cleveland Restoration Society to stabilize the exterior envelope of Cory United Methodist Church;                           
  • $380,000 for the Ohio Historical Society to preserve the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati;    
  • $498,030 for Gem City Hilltop Community Development and Housing Inc. to improve the Linden Community and Recreation Center in Dayton; and       
  • $53,930 for Miami Valley Housing Opportunities Inc. to improve the Fifth Street YMCA in Dayton.                  

“By working with our National Park Service to honor the key sites and moments of the civil rights movement, we are preserving the legacy and struggle of those who risked their lives to demand full and equal participation in our democracy,” said Brown. “It’s important to learn from their stories, and the Civil Rights Network is one small way we can continue educating future generations of Ohioans.” 

Since Brown’s bill was passed into law, numerous sites in Ohio and across the country have been included in the African American Civil Rights Network. Anyone who owns, works with, or knows of a property, facility or program that helps tell the story of the African American Civil Rights Movement can learn more about how to join the Network here

Sen. Brown has also introduced bipartisan legislation to help set up a voluntary, nationwide network of African American burial grounds and to provide federal assistance to ensure the burial sites are preserved and maintained for future generations.

Last December, the Senate unanimously passed Brown’s African American Burial Grounds Network Act. Brown originally introduced the bipartisan legislation in 2019, with then-Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), after visiting Union Baptist Cemetery in Cincinnati following news reports of vandalism at the cemetery and the cemetery’s call for much-needed repairs. Union Baptist Cemetery was founded in 1864 and includes the remains of former slaves, African American Union soldiers and civil rights activists. Brown is set to reintroduce his African American Burial Grounds Network Act this year and is pressing his colleagues in both the House and Senate to pass this important legislation.