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State preservationists meeting here

Heritage Council wants to save African-American historic sites

The Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission has identified 30 historical sites on a driving tour of Covington County set for today.

But only one of those is listed on a historic register, one of many reasons the organization is holding a Community Preservation Forum in Andalusia on Saturday.

“Covington County has 17 listings included in the Alabama Register of landmarks and Heritage, 10 listings included in the National Register of Historic Places (counting historic districts as one listing) and five cemeteries listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register,” Dorothy Walker, Alabama Historical Commission Black Heritage Council Liaison said. “Of these, there is only one primarily African-American historic site that has been registered in the entire county and that is the Hardin Street Cemetery which was listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register in 2008. There are no African-American historic sites in Covington County listed in the Alabama Register or the National Register.”

The Council’s goal with Saturday’s forum is to spotlight African-American historic places that are or were in Covington County and provide information to the communities on how to document, register, preserve and/or promote the African-American historic places in Covington County.

Walker said the group is expecting about 50 participants in Saturday’s forum, which will be staged at the Woodson Learning Center, 1201 C.C. Baker Ave.

“We have folks coming from as far away as Huntsville and Tuscaloosa to attend the event,” Walker said. “We are pleased that it will be a diverse group of presenters, which include the African-American Heritage Society of Covington County and the Covington County Historical Society along with preservation and museum professionals as well as historians from across the state.

Saturday’s programs begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3. The Forum will feature information on the following topics:

  • State and federal programs to assist individuals, towns and communities with registering and preserving historic places
  • Proper ways to document, register, care for and clean church, family cemeteries/grave stones
  • Saving family, church, school records/photographs/newspapers/books
  • How to get a historical marker for a site
  • Andalusia’s plans for the Bicentennial celebration
  • Finding funding for preserving historic places and related projects
  • History of black schools and communities in Covington County, Ala.

Although a pre-registration was held, Walker said those who have not preregistered are welcome to join them.

This program is being supported by the City of Andalusia, Covington County Commission, African-American Heritage Society of Covington County and the Covington County Historical Society.