New U.S. Senate legislation would increase substantially the amount of federal aid to preserve and restore historic buildings at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
"Like so much of our infrastructure, many of the buildings that make up these schools are literally falling down," said Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (DIll.), sponsor of the legislation, S. 1676.
The bill seeks $377.5 million for HBCUs, a level much higher than the approximately $8 million the U.S. Interior Department provides for restoration in two separate grant programs, she added.
Moseley-Braun's plan also comes on the heels of a U.S. General Accounting Office report documenting the need for $755 million to restore and preserve more than 700 historic structures at Black colleges. Of these structures, 323 already are on the National Register of Historic Places, while the others are eligible for historic status under national or state rules, or are viewed as historic by the colleges.
Alabama's Talladega College has thirtytwo historic properties and would need $13.2 million to restore and preserve them, Moseley-Braun said.
But the federal government in 1998 provided only 54 million of its parks and public-land funds for HBCUs, she said. …