(BEAUFORT, S.C.) – The National Park Service announces the first eight community sites to be included in the newly established Reconstruction Era National Historic Network. The national network launched in March 2020, will connect sites across the country who provide education, interpretation and research for the period of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction Era (1861-1900) is one of the most fascinating and misunderstood periods in American History and includes stories of freedom education and self-determination.

The new community sites added to the network include several Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) created during Reconstruction, a site manged by the South Carolina State Park system which interprets the stories of freedom and tenant farming, and a school which was created shortly after the Civil Ward to provide education to the formerly enslaved. Specifically, they are Allen University, Benedict College, Claflin University, Clinton College, Mather School, Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site, South Carolina State University and Voorhees College.

Allen University
Benedict College
Claflin University
Clinton College
South Carolina State University
Voorhees College

Mather School and Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site.

“The Reconstruction story is a national story,” said Scott Teodorski, Superintendent. “It includes sites from all over the country. Some of the sites are manged by the National Park Service and many are not. The Reconstruction Era National Historic Network provides an opportunity to connect these sites and to connect visitors to their stories as part of the Reconstruction Era. We are very excited to welcome these new sites to the network and look forward to working with them.”

The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law on March 12, 2019, outlined the creation of the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network. This network manged by Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, includes sites and programs that are affiliated with the Reconstruction Era, but not necessarily managed by the National Park Service. This network is nationwide and works to provide opportunities for visitors to connect to the stores of Reconstruction. For more information about the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, visit: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/reconstruction/network.htm.

For more information about Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, visit www.nps.gov/reer or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ReconstructionNPS.

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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.