The federal government is providing $1 million to help preserve two Orangeburg facilities with ties to the civil rights movement.
Trinity United Methodist Church on Boulevard Street will receive a $500,000 Historic Preservation Fund grant for preservation and repairs from the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service. It will be used for the third phase of the church's preservation project.
The All-Star Bowling Lanes Center for Creative Partnerships will also receive a $500,000 Historic Preservation Fund grant toward the restoration of the Russell Street building.
“I can't tell you how excited we are about the grant,” All-Star CCP President and CEO Ellen Zisholtz said. “It is huge. It is really exciting. We are going to get going on it.”
All-Star Bowling Lanes was recently added to the African American Civil Rights Network, a group of properties, facilities and interpretive programs which present a comprehensive narrative about the people, places and events associated with the African American civil rights movement in the United States.
Preliminary plans for the All-Star renovation project include developing space for films, museum exhibitions, education programs and community meetings, as well as what Zisholtz described as “the first-ever civil rights bowling alley.”
The $500,000 grant will go toward architectural plans, removing all hazardous materials, replacing the roof and putting in new electrical, plumbing and security systems.
The targeted completion date for the work is the summer or fall of 2022.
On Feb. 8, 1968, three students were killed and 28 others were injured when S.C. Highway Patrol troopers opened fire on a crowd of protesters following three nights of escalating racial tension over efforts to desegregate the All-Star Triangle Bowl. The incident has come to be known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
South Carolina State College students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with 19-year-old Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, were killed.
All-Star CCP, which is a social justice organization, purchased the Russell Street All-Star Triangle Bowl last year for the eventual location of the Orangeburg National Center for Justice.
It has purchased the bowling alley, the large empty space next to the bowling alley and half of the parking lot.
“This will be a huge tourist attraction,” Zisholtz said.
She said, “The Orangeburg Massacre is not known around the country even though it was a few years before Kent State and a few years before Jackson State. We will get this known nationally.”
In addition to the bowling alley, Zisholtz said the building will include a lunch counter with plans also for a gift shop and outdoor dining.
Over the past three years, Trinity has received $1 million in African American Civil Rights grant funding through the Historic Preservation Fund.
Members and friends have contributed over $100,000.
Grants have been used to update the church's electrical system, the waterproofing of the walls in the educational wing of the church, the installation of a new HVAC system in the educational wing and addressing water intrusion and safety issues.
The money has also been used to restore and refurbish the windows in the sanctuary of the church and address water intrusion problems with the church’s exterior walls.
The total restoration is estimated to cost over $2 million.
Founded in 1866, Trinity served as the headquarters for the civil rights movement in Orangeburg.
National leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkins visited Trinity for events attended by people across the region.
Strategy meetings and training sessions were also regularly held at the church.
Students from South Carolina State and Claflin would gather in the church’s basement where they were fed and trained on how to execute nonviolent protests.
Due to its prominent role in the civil rights movement, Trinity was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
The church’s edifice, completed in 1944, is being restored to return it to its original grandeur.
The ongoing restoration project, once completed, will allow for the expansion of the church’s ministries and ensure that a sound foundation remains for future generations.
The USNPS announced Tuesday it has awarded $15 million toward African American civil rights history. There are 53 projects in 20 states.
Established in 1977, the HPF is authorized at $150 million per year through 2023 and has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations.
For more information, visit: www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/07-27-21-nps-awards-15-million-to-help-preserve-african-american-civil-rights-history.htm