Federal grant to document early African American life in Newburgh

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NEWBURGH – The City of Newburgh has been awarded $50,000 in federal grant funding through the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Program.

The grant will help record and document the history of the African American community in Newburgh from the 19th century, with a focus on the community’s culturally significant sites and historic neighborhoods.

The grant will allow the city to support the work of its community partners to conduct an oral history and archival research project which will serve to inform the recontextualization and reperiodization of the East End Historic District National Register nomination as well as Civil Rights-era curriculum for K-12 in the Newburgh School District.

The award will also allow for the city’s Department of Planning and Development to implement a significant part of its long-term efforts in preservation, anti-displacement, and racial justice through planning.

The grant funding will also allow the project to highlight the long-term effects of 20th century planning practices in and around the Newburgh’s East End Historic District, such as urban renewal, anti-Black lending practices, suburbanization and white flight, and other policies that directly affected the African American community.

The city will use the funding to conduct a comprehensive, community-led African American oral history. To support this, up to 40 current and former residents of Newburgh who are descendants of African slaves and families and/or affected by Urban Renewal will be sought. An oral history facilitator will be procured and tasked with coordinating the process of oral history collection.

The outcomes will include visual and written companions to the oral histories collected, and a written report synthesizing findings.