black bar with title, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and the arrowhead

Banner: Chappell Administration Building at Allen University and Miner School Building at Howard University
Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Program Details

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12232 and established the White House Initiative on HBCUs. The Initiative was created to provide a structure to help HBCUs have access to, participate in, and benefit from Federally funded programs.

Since then Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have all signed Executive Orders to reaffirm the mandate begun by Carter, further strengthening the HBCU grants program and giving it national attention.

An outgrowth of the 1980 White House Initiative on HBCUs was the Secretary of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Initiative, established to identify, and restore those historic structures on HBCU campuses considered to be the most historically significant and physically threatened – the likelihood of loss of the structure if work was not performed as soon as possible to save it. It was also established in direct response to the needs of many of the historically black colleges and universities, which were presented with critical rehabilitation needs, but lacked the resources to repair these buildings.

To determine the most historically significant and physically threatened structures, a questionnaire was sent to all HBCUs requesting documentation about their historic buildings. This survey was completed by 46 HBCUs, and a list of 144 buildings were identified. From these, a Field Assessment Team, composed of the Department of the Interior and private sector preservation professionals selected 12 buildings as the most historically significant and endangered buildings on HBCU campuses (this number was ultimately reduced to 11). To make the determination they used the following criteria:

1. Historical Significance
2. Architectural Integrity
3. Threat

After selecting these 11 buildings, they provided each school with a condition assessment of each (identified) building. This assessment identified problems and offered recommendations. The first 11 schools selected to receive federal funds under this program were:

1. Morris Brown College – Gaines Hall - Atlanta, Ga

2. Shaw University – Leonard Hall - Raleigh, NC

3. Savannah State University – Hill Hall - Savannah, Ga

4. St. Augustine College – St. Agnes Hall – Raleigh, NC

5. Tougaloo College – The Mansion – Tougaloo, MS

6. Bethune-Cookman College – White Hall – Daytona Beach, FL

7. Morehouse College – Graves Hall – Atlanta, GA

8. Howard University – Howard Hall – Washington, D.C.

9. Hampton University – Virginia Hall – Hampton, VA

10. Spelman College – Packard Hall – Atlanta, GA

11. Loockerman Hall – Delaware State University – Dover, DE

HBCU grant funds are appropriated from the Historic Preservation fund (HPF), and administered by the National Park Service.



For more information, contact Linda Hall at 404-507-5779, or

Did You Know?
Did you know that Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory is listed as one of the 11 most endangered historic places of 2009 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation?

History in the Halls: Discover a never-ending quest for knowledge at Georgia’s Dorchester Academy.  Thousands learned and lived here, from African-American youth in the 1890s to rights activists in the 1960s.

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