Talladega College’s band outside Foster Hall

TALLADEGA, AL – Talladega College has been awarded two African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund grants from the National Park Service (NPS). The College will receive a $500,000 grant for its Foster Hall Interior Preservation, Restoration, and Rehabilitation Development Project, and a $50,000 grant for Talladega College and the Civil Rights Movement: A Watershed in History.

“This is extremely significant news for the College, for the community and for individuals throughout the nation who value the preservation of history,” said Dr. Bill C. Hawkins, President of Talladega College. “We recently transformed the campus by constructing three new buildings simultaneously. Now, thanks to the National Park Service, we will be able to begin renovating one of our most important historic buildings.”

Talladega’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement Seddrick T. Hill, Sr. added, “The $500,000 grant will help us restore Foster Hall, which was the heart and soul of the College for over one hundred years. The $50,000 grant will enable us to conduct research, document history and create educational materials that details Talladega College’s extensive role in the civil rights movement.”

Foster Hall was the first facility built specifically for Talladega College after the institution was established in 1867. Construction began in 1869 and was completed the following year. It was named in honor of Rev. Lemuel Foster,, a staunch abolitionist from Blue Island, Illinois, who donated most of the funds needed to construct the building. Foster Hall served as a residence hall for female students and faculty and included dining facilities for the entire school. it was the site for numerous civil rights planning meetings. The building closed in 1980 after a fire ravaged the interior. It has remained closed for four decades.

“Alumni still talk about their memories of Foster Hall. They reminisce about how beautiful the interior was, about what the building meant to them, and about its role in the civil rights struggle,” said Hill.

Funds from NPS for Talladega College and the Civil Rights Movement: A Watershed in History will aid Talladega in documenting stories about the College’s civil rights activities, including Talladega College’s 1961 march on Anniston, Alabama. The march was organized after Dr. Arthur L. Bacon, a Talladega College senior at the time, was assaulted at the Southern Railway Station in Anniston.

The National Park Service (NPS) is awarding $14 million in African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund grants to fund 51 projects across 20 states and the District of Columbia.

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About Talladega College

The oldest private Historically Black College in Alabama, Talladega College was founded in 1867 by two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrent. Talladega College is the home of the renowned Hall Woodruff Amistad Murals, which received rave reviews from the New York Times during a three year, eight-city tour. For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.

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