DENTON — The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust have awarded thirteen African American Heritage Preservation Program grants totaling $1,000,000 to Maryland nonprofit groups for FY22. These grants offer assistance to organizations and private citizens in their sponsorship of projects involving acquisition, construction, or improvement of sites related to African American heritage. This year’s grant awards range from $48,000 to $100,000.

“Our administration is pleased to provide this funding and support the preservation of buildings, sites, and communities of historical importance to the African American experience in Maryland,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “The partnership between MHT and MCAAHC is critical to promoting African American heritage all across Maryland.”

The St. Paul Church on Beauchamp Road in Denton is one of the earliest African American churches in Caroline County. The associated cemetery has burials dating back to at least the 1840s. In 2000, a non-profit organization was formed simply to preserve St. Paul United Methodist Church and its grounds. According to the preservation group, the church and its burial grounds were originally deeded to its founders on Nov. 17, 1883. The church building was purchased from the white Concord United Methodist Church and it’s believed the building was constructed in the early 1800’s.

Organizers of the nonprofit recalled the church was a vibrant place of worship for the local community through the 1960’s. Memberships started to dwindle as family members passed on and or moved from the area. Due to this, membership declined, and the church was closed in the early 1980s and the grounds were about to be abandoned.

With the grant award of $100,000 the church will be used to promote community education and awareness of African American culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. AAHPP grant funds will also advance a major ongoing restoration of the structure.

The mission of MCAAHC is to interpret, document, preserve, and promote Maryland’s African American heritage, to provide technical assistance to institutions and groups with similar objectives, and to educate Maryland’s citizens and visitors about the significance of the African American experience in Maryland and the nation. MCAAHC is housed within the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.

Online applications for FY23 AAHPP funding will be available in spring 2022 on MHT’s website

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