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Miles College Awarded a $499,869 Grant to Preserve, Restore Williams Hall

Article Date:
Adminstration, Latest News, News and Media

For Immediate Release: 
April 24, 2020
Media Contact: 
Ashley J Sutton
Director of Public Relations 
Miles College awarded a $499,869 grant to preserve, restore Williams Hall


FAIRFIELD, Ala. – Miles College was awarded a $499,869 grant from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior to preserve and restore Williams Hall.

Miles was one of 18 schools – and the only school in Alabama – to receive a portion of the $7.7 million in grants awarded during this round of funding. The monies are designated for the preservation of historic structures on campuses of HBCUs.
“We are honored to be one of the recipients of this grant from the National Park Service. This grant provides a significant contribution to the restoration of historic Williams Hall, breathing life back into a building that has played an indelible role in the history of our institution and has a significant position in our future,” said Miles College president Bobbie Knight.
Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund, which uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, providing assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) was instrumental in helping Miles College secure funding for Williams Hall through the Historic Preservation Fund.
"I am thrilled that Miles College will be receiving nearly $500,000 for historic preservation from the National Park Service,” Rep. Sewell said. “I have fought to create this funding specifically for historic preservation on HBCU campuses since coming to congress. HBCU campuses have played a pivotal role in American history, especially in our nation’s struggle for civil rights, and those sites must be preserved.
“We must continue to invest in HBCUs like Miles College. We need them now more than ever. Protecting our HBCUs continues to be one of my top legislative priorities, and I will never stop working to ensure their vitality."
Williams Hall is the oldest building on the campus of Miles College, erected in 1907 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the sight of several epic events during the Civil Rights Era, the building has been in disrepair for several years. The preservation, renovation and rehabilitation of Williams Hall will document, and preserve, the site of many stories related to the African American struggle to gain equal rights as citizens in the 20th Century.
The school intends to restore Williams Hall to its appearance at that time while extending the usable lifespan of the building by providing modern and purposefully designed spaces for academic, teaching and museum offerings. Once Williams Hall has been restored, the College plans to use the building as a teaching museum to honor the founders, students, alumni, and the College’s role in the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement.
President Knight was effusive in the appreciation she has for the assistance Rep. Sewell provided on the federal level as well as those who worked hard at the College to secure the funding.
“We are extremely appreciative of Rep. Terri Sewell for her assistance in advocating for Miles College in Washington, D.C. and are indebted for her tireless service to our district,” Knight said. “Our grant writing team at Miles was diligent in pursuing this opportunity, as well, and should certainly be commended.”

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