SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – On Monday, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) announced that the National Park Service (NPS) was awarding Livingstone College a $500,000 competitive federal grant to assist in Phase III of the rehabilitation of Carnegie Library on the campus.
“Providing economic opportunity for all is a crucial mission for me in Congress and it all starts with education,” Budd said. “I’m proud to announce that Livingstone College won these federal dollars and this new funding will help them complete the Carnegie Library rehabilitation project. This project will help preserve the historic character of this iconic building on Livingstone’s campus.”
This is the third such grant the college has received for the library. The National Park Service announced the first award in August 2018. The second grant award was made in the spring of 2020, a welcomed announcement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The award was made possible through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. It is part of $7.7 million in grants to 18 projects in 12 states for the preservation of historic structures on campuses of HBCUs.
“HBCUs have been an important part of the American education system for more than 180 years, providing high-level academics, opportunities, and community for generations of students,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program provides assistance to preserve noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing story of these historic institutions.”
The first grant award was designated for Phase I, which included the engineering architectural survey, water infiltration work to stabilize the foundation, and roof repairs/replacement.
“The Livingstone College family is deeply thankful for the continued support of the National Park Service in ensuring that the Andrew Carnegie Library is preserved for future endeavors of the City of Salisbury and the students of Livingstone College,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “The library provides beauty and style to the College campus and the West End community, where it is located. It presents a distinctiveness that aptly represents the enduring legacy of the first classically educated African-American architect, Robert Robinson Taylor, a native of Wilmington, NC. The library is an enduring tribute to the generosity of the Andrew Carnegie Foundation to the education of African Americans in the early 1900s, as well as now.
“We are indeed proud to be the current stewards of this iconic building, as it is truly a labor of love for the Livingstone family. Finally, we want to express our appreciation to Congressman Ted Budd and his office for his support in our effort to secure these grant funds.”
The library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is named after the 19th century industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who funded many libraries with 18 of them being on the campuses of HBCUs. But there are only two academic libraries that were allowed to use the donor’s first name: the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie. Pa., and Livingstone College.
Livingstone’s library was funded with $12,500 in 1905 at the behest of Booker T. Washington. The library was designed by Robert Robinson Taylor, the first academically trained African-American architect in the United States. Many of the bricks were fired in the campus kiln. Campus brick mason students laid many of the bricks.
“This grant is important not only to Livingstone College but to our broader community, because it preserves an important and noteworthy historic structure, still in use today,” said Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander. “This building holds not only the stories of the past, but those of the present and now can continue to hold the stories yet untold. I thank Congressman Ted Budd for all the support from both he and his staff since the beginning of this project in 2019.”
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