On Monday, February 28, the Florida Department of State released the ranked list of applications and scores for its African American Cultural and Historical Grants, following three days of panel hearings and review. Four St. Augustine, Florida projects ranked in the top third of more than 150 applicants and will be awarded $2,933,500 in grants.
The purpose of the grant program is to provide funding for construction projects at facilities in Florida which highlight the contributions, culture, or history of African Americans. Priority was given to projects that encourage the design or construction of a new facility or the renovation of an existing facility in an area with great cultural significance in which no facility exists; enhance the beauty or aesthetic value of facilities named for significant African Americans; or restore facilities on the National Register of Historic Places.
The St. Augustine based projects awarded funding include Friends of Lincolnville, Inc. with $1,000,000 for restoration of the historic Excelsior High School, home of the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center; the Florida State Parks Foundation with $933,500 for construction of a representation of the historic circa 1738 Fort Mose at Fort Mose Historic State Park; Zion Missionary Baptist Church with $500,000 for restoration of Zion Baptist Church in West St. Augustine; and the St. Johns Cultural Council with $500,000 for the St. Augustine Beach Hotel and Beachfront, recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places at a level of national significance for the civil rights movement in connection with the 1964 wade-ins to protest segregation.
“St. Augustine is home to more than 450 years of African American history. The Friends of Lincolnville and the Fort Mose Historical Society have worked tirelessly for decades to share that history, often in spite of limited resources,” said Christina Parrish Stone, Executive Director of the St. Johns Cultural Council. “These grants will allow the organizations to continue their important work, and share that work in a way that’s more accessible to the public,” she said. “The Cultural Council is honored to also receive funding that will help us recognize and celebrate the brave civil rights activists who fought segregation at St. Augustine Beach.”
The St. Johns Cultural Council is committed to working with Fort Mose and the Lincolnville Museum, along with other organizations including the SEA Community and the ACCORD Civil Rights Museum and Freedom Trail. “We are dedicated to broadly promoting the African American culture and history of St. Johns County so that our residents, tourists, and prospective visitors will be aware of its tremendous local and national significance,” said Parrish Stone.