The Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission will hold its Community Preservation Forum on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The forum will be held virtually on Zoom beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. There will be a lunch break at noon, with the Forum resuming promptly at 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.
This year’s theme is “Preservation of African American Churches, Schools, and Cemeteries.” Topics will include documenting church history, church schools, cemetery restoration and burial monument repair, challenges and best practices unique to African American cemeteries, and copyright and other legal information pertinent for preserving historical items. Historian and author Dr. Richard Bailey will kick off the event with a presentation on the significance of preserving history in the Black community.
The Council’s Programs Committee has assembled other dynamic presenters for the Forum including Rev. James Ephraim, interim director and project manager for the restoration of the Anne Manie Campus in Wilcox County, Alabama; Mr. Matt Gage, Director of The University of Alabama, Office of Archaeological Research (OAR) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Mr. John Lanier, board member of The Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens Maintenance and Perpetual Care Association, Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama; Attorney LaConya Murray, founder of Off the Mark IP Solutions based in Montgomery; and Dr. Shari L. Williams, executive director of The Ridge Macon County Archeological Project in south Macon County, Alabama.
In 1984, the Alabama Historical Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, created the Black Heritage Council (BHC) to advocate for and advise the Commission on the preservation of African American historic places in Alabama. At the time of its founding, the BHC was the first African American advisory council of a state historic preservation office created in the country. The primary mission of the Black Heritage Council is to advocate for the preservation of African American historic places in Alabama. It is the only statewide organization whose sole mission is the preservation of African American Historic Places. The Council includes volunteer members from throughout the state and is presently led by Tuskegee attorney Lateefah Muhammad as chair and Mr. Elvin D. Lang of Montgomery as vice-chair.
Since 1999, the Black Heritage Council has held the Forum in communities across the state. Host committees in each location help the Council identify areas to provide technical assistance and highlight historic places that need to be preserved. The Council utilizes this insight to work with the Alabama Historical Commission and its staff, led by Executive Director Lisa D. Jones, in its mission to protect, preserve and interpret Alabama’s historic places.
“Programs like these are a critical part of identifying historic places and providing important information for their preservation,” Jones said. “This is a great opportunity for people to learn more about what to look for in their community, and what resources are available to protect their history.”