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Interior Department announces civil rights grants

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Four Deep South states are getting nearly $6 million to preserve sites and highlight stories related to the African-American struggle for equality in the 20th century.

The Interior Department says Alabama is getting $2.3 million for nine projects, Mississippi is getting $1.3 million for four projects, and Louisiana and Georgia will each get about $1 million for four projects.

In all, about $12.6 million in African American Civil Rights Grants will go to 51 projects in 24 states.

Alabama’s grants include $500,000 to help restore the Mount Zion A.M.E. Church annex where Martin Luther King Jr. got his first civil rights leadership role as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. The Perry County Commission is getting the same amount to restore and rehabilitate the county courthouse.

A project to save Wechsler School, Mississippi’s first brick school built with public money for African-American children, will get $500,000. Quitman County will get $50,000 to develop a Marks Mule Train and MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign Interpretive Trail.

The Georgia State University Foundation is getting $50,000 to nominate U.S. civil rights sites to the World Heritage List, and the Ralph David Abernathy III Foundation is getting $490,000 to preserve and restore the West Hunter Street Baptist Church, where he preached from 1961 until his death in 1990.

In Louisiana, the city of Shreveport is getting $500,000 to help turn a former church into a civil rights museum, and a foundation in Bogalusa is getting almost that much to help rehabilitate a home where civil rights leader Robert “Bob” Hicks held meetings.

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