OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) received a $75,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) to continue its historic survey of all-Black towns in Oklahoma.
African Americans who settled in Oklahoma established more than 50 identifiable all-Black towns between the end of the Civil War and 1920.
All-Black towns grew in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
When the Land Run of 1889 opened yet more “free” land to non-Indian settlement, African Americans from the Old South rushed to newly created Oklahoma, considering it a kind of “promised land.”
Today, 13 of the towns remain.
SHPO officials say the $75,000 grant for SHPO is part of $1.2 million in Underrepresented Community Grants for 21 projects across the nation.
“Since 2014, the Underrepresented Community Grants program has provided $5.75 million to better tell the varied histories and stories of all Americans so that they may one day no longer be called underrepresented,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams.
Grant recipients will survey sites and produce National Register of Historic Places nominations or amendments for diverse communities through its Underrepresented Community grant programs.