The City of Newburgh has been awarded $50,000 in federal grant funding through the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Program. The grant will help record and document the history of the African American community in Newburgh from the 19th century, with a focus on the community’s culturally significant sites and historic neighborhoods.
The award is made possible through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.
The grant will allow the City to support the work of its community partners to conduct an oral history and archival research project which will serve to inform the recontextualization and reperiodization of the East End Historic District (EEHD) National Register nomination as well as Civil Rights-era curriculum for K-12 in the Newburgh School District.
In addition, this award will allow for the City’s Department of Planning and Development to implement a significant part of its long-term efforts in preservation, anti-displacement, and racial justice through planning. The grant funding will also allow the project to highlight the long-term effects of 20th century planning practices in and around the EEHD, such as urban renewal, anti-Black lending practices, suburbanization and white flight, and other policies that directly affected the African American community.
The City will use the funding to conduct a comprehensive, community-led African American oral history. To support this, up to 40 current and former residents of Newburgh who are descendants of African Slaves and families and/or affected by Urban Renewal will be sought. An oral history facilitator will be procured and tasked with coordinating the process of Oral History collection. The outcomes will include visual and written companions to the oral histories collected, and a written report synthesizing findings.
The project will also fund the procurement of a Historic Preservation Consultant who will translate findings into an update of the EEHD nomination. Outcomes of the work will include an expansion of scholarship at a national level, as well as increased representation of the African American community in local preservation efforts.
The City will also procure an educational consultant to review findings alongside curricula benchmarks for grades k-12 and prepare recommendations for future curriculum development. The recommendations will lead to the development of educational curricula and related materials that will enhance the teaching of local and African American history.
This project is designed to have long-term impacts on many and varied aspects of civic life through documentation, intergenerational engagement, education, and planning. It is anticipated that the work and efforts invested in this project will have meaningful long-term benefits for the residents of Newburgh in History and Heritage; Historic Preservation and Urban Planning; Education and Youth Empowerment; Community Restoration and Healing; and Organizational Growth and Capacity-Building.
The award is part of over $15 million in funds granted to states to help preserve sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality. Details about the award can be found on the National Park Service website at https://bit.ly/3AfVnXB.
For more information on this grant please reach out to the City of Newburgh’s Department of Planning and Development at (845) 569-9400.