Museum of African American History Awarded Grant
The 1772 Foundation has awarded a grant of $47,530 to the Museum of African American History [MAAH]. Located in Boston and Nantucket, MAAH’s mission is to preserve and interpret the contributions of people of African descent, and those who have found common cause with them, in the struggle for liberty, dignity, and justice for all Americans. Its exhibits and public programming share the rich legacy of African American accomplishment in New England from the colonial period through the 19th century. MAAH centers on four preeminent historic sites: in Boston, the African Meeting House (1806) and the Abiel Smith School (1835) and, on Nantucket Island, the African Meeting House (c.1827) and the Seneca Boston-Florence Higginbotham House (c.1774). Grant funds from The 1772 Foundation will be used to replace the gutters of the Abiel Smith School and to develop comprehensive, 50-year maintenance plans for the four buildings on the Museum’s two campuses.
The Abiel Smith School was the first building in the nation to be constructed as a public school for African American children. It is located beside the African Meeting House, in what was the heart of Boston’s African American neighborhood. The building remains an enduring testimony to black craftsmanship and to the early struggle for equal education. Hundreds of students attended classes there until a bill to end segregation in Massachusetts public schools passed in 1855. The Abiel Smith School now houses special exhibit galleries and serves as the base for school-group visits and numerous educational programs, along with a caterers’ kitchen and the museum store.