Alabama church of ‘Bloody Sunday’ on endangered places list

May 3, 2022, 5:19 PM | Updated: May 4, 2022, 6:54 am
File - Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at Brown Chapel AME...

File - Then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala., on March 4, 2007. The church tops the 2022 list of the nation's most endangered historic places, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

(AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

Like religious congregants all over, the people of historic Brown Chapel AME Church turned off the lights and locked the doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic because it wasn’t safe to gather for worship with a deadly virus circulating. For a time, the landmark church that launched a national voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, was off limits.

What members found when they returned was heartbreaking: Termites had eaten so much wood that parts of the structure weren’t stable anymore, said member Juanda Maxwell, and water leaks damaged walls. Mold was growing in parts of the building, where hundreds met before Alabama state troopers attacked voting rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in 1965 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“It’s in horrible shape,” said Maxwell. “It’s a tough time. Because we were closed for a year it exacerbated the problem with water coming in.”

The red brick church, with distinctive twin bell towers and a domed ceiling, tops this year’s list of the nation’s most endangered historic places, according to the Washington, D.C.-based, National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit organization which works to highlight and preserve sites that are in danger of being lost. Other places on the list include:

— Chicano/a Murals painted on the sides of buildings in Colorado and inspired by the human rights and cultural movements of the 1960s and ’70s.

— The Deborah Chapel, a Jewish mortuary building established in 1886 in Hartford, Connecticut.

— Francisco Sanchez Elementary School, the closed centerpiece of the town in Umatac, Guam.

— Minidoka National Historic Site, where more than 13,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II in Jerome, Idaho.

— Camp Naco, a base for Black Buffalo Soldiers dating back to 1919 along the U.S.-Mexican border in Naco, Arizona.

— Picture Cave in Warrenton, Missouri, which holds indigenous artwork dating as far back more than 1,200 years by the Osage Nation.

— Brooks Park Art and Nature Center, the home and art studio in East Hampton, New York, of James Brooks and Charlotte Park, who were important in the abstract expressionism movement in American art.

— Palmer Memorial Institute, a boarding school built in 1902 for Black youths in Greensboro, North Carolina.

— Olivewood Cemetery, an African American burial ground in Houston, Texas, dating to 1875 and containing more than 4,000 graves.

— Jamestown, the site in Jamestown, Virginia, where enslaved people first arrived in America and where the first publicly elected assembly in the United States met.

Brown Chapel, the first African Methodist Episcopal church in Alabama, was the site of preparations for a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965, when police beat marchers led by the late Rep. John Lewis, then a young activist. Weeks later, thousands gathered there before the Selma-to-Montgomery march led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Maxwell is part of a group of Brown Chapel members serving on a foundation that’s trying to raise money for repairs estimated to exceed $4 million, she said. The church, located in a public housing community, has only a few dozen members in regular attendance, so it’s relying on grants and outside donations to fund the work.

The National Park Service already has provided a grant of $1.3 million for restoration of the church, which was constructed in 1908 by a formerly enslaved Black builder, A.J. Farley, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

“Our goal is to try to receive over $3 million in grants to do the foundational work. After that we hope to get in more private donations,” Maxwell said.

With members unable to gather in the building since repair work began in October, Maxwell said, the few who still attend continue meeting online.

“We’re Zooming. The pastor is searching for a place,” she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sri-lankan former captives Nilojan Vasanthakumar, 20, Uthayakamar Mary Edid Prema, 50, Sharujan Gia...
Associated Press

Sri Lankans describe abuse as Russian captives in Ukraine

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A group of Sri Lankans held captive by Russian forces in an agricultural factory in eastern Ukraine said Saturday that they were beaten and abused for months before escaping on foot as the Russians withdrew from the Kharkiv region this month. Recounting their ordeal to reporters in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Eastern Michigan University faculty ratify new contract

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Faculty members at Eastern Michigan University have voted to ratify a new four-year labor agreement with the school. The Eastern Michigan University chapter of the American Association of University Professors said Friday that 96% of its members voted in favor of the deal which would include pay raises and more favorable […]
1 day ago
FILE - The NASA moon rocket stands on Pad 39B before a launch attempt for the Artemis 1 mission to ...
Associated Press

NASA delays moon rocket launch due to potential hurricane

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA is skipping next week’s launch attempt of its new moon rocket because of a tropical storm that’s expected to become a major hurricane. It’s the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no astronauts, a follow-up to NASA’s Apollo moon-landing program of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Names of victims in suburban Chicago shooting released

OAK FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The names of three people found shot outside a suburban Chicago home and the man believed to have killed them before fatally shooting himself have been released. They were identified Friday by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as Carlos Gomez, 44; Lupe Gomez, 43; Briana Rodriguez, 22; and Emilio […]
1 day ago
FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris displays a map showing abortion access by state as she speaks d...
Associated Press

Abortion is a matter of ‘freedom’ for Biden and Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The way President Joe Biden sees it, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade was not just about whether a woman has a right to obtain an abortion. “It’s about freedom,” Biden said at a private fundraiser in New York this past week. Vice President Kamala Harris takes an even bolder approach when […]
1 day ago
Survivor Zhu Pingfan, 41, from Hunan province, China, recuperates in a hospital bed, Saturday, Sept...
Associated Press

Chinese survivors had no food, water on sinking boat

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (AP) — Chinese survivors from a boat that sank near a Cambodian island, killing three people and leaving eight missing, said they embarked on what they believed would be a short-term fishing job and ended up without food and water aboard the vessel and their belongings taken away. Cambodian authorities said Friday they […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Alabama church of ‘Bloody Sunday’ on endangered places list