ASU Gets $493-K Grant From National Park Service

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National Park Service Awards ASU $493-K for Historic Preservation of G. W. Trenholm Hall

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU

Alabama State University has been awarded a grant totaling $493,200 to assist in the structural preservation of George Washington Trenholm Hall. The funds were awarded by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior.

ASU will share in more than $9.7 million in grants awarded by NPS to support 20 projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in ten states. NPS explained that the grant was awarded without expending tax dollars.

ASU’s G.W. Trenholm Hall is one of several historic structures at the University that were utilized by organizers of the modern civil rights movement. The historic building was the setting for many visits by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and currently houses academic classrooms and faculty offices, including the Department of History and Political Science. 

"This grant will assist the University in our efforts to renovate, restore and preserve historic campus buildings. We are extremely grateful that George Washington Trenholm Hall was selected by the National Park Service to be one of the recipients of these transformational grants," said ASU President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr. "We are also most appreciative of the efforts of Congresswoman Terri Sewell and her staff, and we wish to thank her for her support of Alabama State University.”


ASU political science professor, Dr. Bella M. Keita, is the chair of the grant committee for the department of History and Political Science. The committee was responsible for submitting the application that secured the grant for the University. Those ad hoc committee members whose scholarship, expertise, help and assistance helped make the grant awarded to the University included: Dr. Sabella Abidde, Dr. Aaron Horton, Dr. Michael Markus, Dr. Alecia Hoffman, Dr. Regina Moorer, Dr. William Taylor, Dr. Bertis English, and the department's chairman, Dr. Derryn Moten.

"We are very pleased that the National Park Service grant that has been awarded to ASU will help us conduct many renovations in G.W. Trenholm Hall while at the same time highlighting the many important historical contributions of the late ASU faculty member Thelma Glass and her fellow members of the Women's Political Council who were instrumental in supporting the Montgomery Bus Boycott," Keita said. 

Keita explained that the grant funds will help with a number of critical renovations and technological updates, particularly enhancements to Thelma Glass Auditorium, roof repairs, modernizing classrooms and making the building more accessible to persons with disabilities. 

"Through this grant that is made possible by the National Park Service, we will make our building a structure that is modernized and one that our students will be proud of using," Keita stated.


G.W. Trenholm Hall is named for ASU's fourth president, who was in office from 1920 - 1925. Born in December 1871, he was one of 11 children of two formerly enslaved persons. He died while in office at ASU just shy of his 54th birthday. 

Trenholm Hall has quite an eventful past as it once served as the campus library and was the location where Dr. King came on many occasions to conduct research for his successful doctoral dissertation. 


NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge stated that HBCUs have been an important part of the American education system for more than 180 years, providing high-level academics, opportunities, and a community setting for generations of students. 

"The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program provides assistance to preserve noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing story of these historic institutions," Benge said.


The NPS explained that the grants are awarded to support the physical preservation of National Register-listed sites on HBCU campuses. Since 1995, the NPS has awarded $77.6 million in grants to 66 HBCUs with the U.S. Congress appropriating funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. Applications for another $10 million in funding will be available in the Winter of 2021. 


More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.