Stillman College to Add New Civil Rights Museum and Digital Learning Center

Since the National Park Service announced its recent multimillion-dollar funding for HBCUs, Stillman College has shared its plans for how the money will be used. Find out more in the Release by Stillman below.

Campus library to add civil rights museum and digital learning center

Stillman College has taken an important step in its plans to revamp the historic Sheppard Library.

The National Park Service has awarded Stillman College $500,000 to upgrade technology and infrastructure at Sheppard, which will be transformed into a civil rights museum and digital learning center.

Stillman is one of five HBCUs in the state of Alabama receive funding through the NPS Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). Each of the five HBCUs received $500,000 as part of a Investment of $9.7 million by NPS in HBCUs nationwide.

Stillman President Dr. Cynthia Warrick said the creation of a civil rights museum on campus will highlight the contributions of Stillman students, faculty and staff to the fight against racial injustice and inequality. in Tuscaloosa.

The Italian marble columns and wrought iron capitals of the Sheppard Library are among the outdoor spaces being renovated.

“One of the things I noticed when I got to Stillman was that we had no information about Stillman and his role in the civil rights movement in our community,” she said. . “No one talks about the role of Stillman students with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the sit-ins or Bloody Tuesday, or how Winsborough Hall was a haven for students protesting segregation. .

“Telling the story of Stillman College through a civil rights lens is important.”

Additionally, the Sheppard Library will be upgraded to include faculty development and digital learning spaces for Stillman students and community members.

Stillman is working with consultant Tim Lewis, who designed The Gateway: Alberta’s Innovation and Discovery Center and The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, to guide the design of technologies and museums during the renovation.

This funding is NPS’s second recent investment in the Stillman campus. Dead man recently announced a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to help repair the roof and facade of Winsborough Hall, which will be refurbished and redesigned as a residential center for active seniors.

NPS’ recent financial interest and commitments to preserving and refocusing historic structures on campus builds on its Planning Grant for Sheppard awarded two years ago. These funds were used to develop a report on historic structures, which identified several structural areas for immediate attention, such as the restoration of the Italian marble columns and wrought iron capitals, which came from the Cochran Plantation house. The college received another external funding to restore the columns, and the new round of NPS funding will allow the college to repair the building’s roof, wiring, alarm systems, HVAC, and egress and regression crossings, said Adrienne Royster, director of sponsored programs for Stillman College.

“I am delighted to see Stillman rewarded with these [NPS] funding opportunities – they are well deserved and very timely,” Royster said. “These funds will realize Dr. Warrick’s vision to see this campus prosper and serve our students, faculty and staff, as well as our community.

The Sheppard Library opened in 1956 and is named after William H. Sheppard, a former student of Stillman and one of the first black men to become a missionary for the Presbyterian Church. He helped fight colonialism and the exploitation of the Congolese people by Leopold II of Belgium.

HPF funding for Sheppard and other HBCU projects in Alabama was aided by U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (AL-07), who is leading the congressional effort to increase funding for the National Park’s Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Service to preserve civil rights and HBCU sites. campus. Sewell serves as vice-chairman of the HBCU Congressional Caucus.

“Alabama HBCUs have played a critical role in shaping our nation’s history, and I was so proud to help make this funding available, which will be used to preserve these cherished institutions,” said Sewell. “As vice chair of the Congressional HBCU Caucus, I remain committed to ensuring the vitality of Alabama HBCUs. Fighting for funding like this will continue to be one of my top legislative priorities.

The NPS grant requires the college to match 20% of the funding amount. To support the Sheppard Library renovations, you can donate online, by check or in cash:

  • On line:
  • Mailing address: Institutional Advancement, 3601 Stillman Blvd. Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
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