St. Johns Cultural Council has announced $50,000 in funding from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Council’s project is one of only 40 selected from more than 600 applications from organizations across the United States.

According to Christina Parrish Stone, St. Johns Cultural Council’s Executive Director, the funding will support the St. Johns County African American Heritage Trail and a celebration in June 2024 with local partner organizations. “We are grateful to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund for their support of our dedication to telling stories about African American achievement and resilience in St. Johns County,” said Parrish Stone.

The funding helps St. Johns Cultural Council to continue public programs and services pertaining to African American cultural heritage and sites including Fort Mose Historic State Park, ACCORD Museum and Freedom Trail, Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center (LMCC), Lincolnville Historic District, the SEA community, Beluthahatchee Park, Butler Beach, and the St. Augustine Beach Hotel.

The Council will utilize grant funding for the development of a new St. Johns County African American Heritage Trail, as well as activities and performances next year at various locations. Celebration events will be scheduled to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the civil rights demonstrations in St. Augustine that were central to the movement and eventual passage of the Civil Rights Act. “The St. Johns County Cultural Council will continue to create, promote, and raise awareness about the history of the area while increasing visitor engagement,” she said.

St. Augustine is home to a city known for its fusion of African American, Indigenous, and Spanish colonial history, and represents the southernmost point of the Gullah Geechee National Heritage Corridor. St. Johns County is comprised of some of the most historically significant imprints in the state of Florida.

“The Action Fund’s investment in and celebration of 40 historic African American places illustrates our belief that historic preservation plays an important role in American society,” said Brent Leggs, executive director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and senior vice president, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The history embodied in these places is emblematic of generational aspirations for freedom, the pursuit of education, a need for beauty and architecture, and joys of social life and community bonds,” he said. “That’s why the Action Fund believes all Americans must see themselves and our shared history in this year’s grantee list if we are to create a culturally conscious nation.”

St. Johns Cultural Council is one of 40 sites to receive a total of $3.8 million in grant funding to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes that represent African American cultural heritage. With more than $91 million in funding, the Action Fund is the largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places.

Since 2017, the Action Fund has received an unprecedented total of 5,638 funding proposals requesting $655 million, and since 2018, the Action Fund has supported 242 grantee projects through its investment of $20M. For more information, visit the website.