MAYFIELD, Ky. — A new effort to preserve historic Black churches in the United States has received a $20 million donation that will go to help congregations including one that was slammed during the tornado that killed more than 20 people in Mayfield, Kentucky, last month.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation says Lilly Endowment Inc. contributed the money to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
It will serve as seed funding for the Preserving Black Churches Project.
The first recipient is St. James AME Church, founded in 1868 just three years after the Civil War, and badly damaged during the tornado that ripped through Mayfield, Kentucky, in December. It will receive $100,000.
With only 15 or so active members, all of whom are older, St. James AME needs all the help it can get, said the Rev. Ralph Johnson, presiding elder of a church district that includes the congregation.
In total, the project plans to assist more than 50 Black churches nationwide over the next three years.
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