The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Brent Leggs on preserving historic Black churches

Brent Leggs joins Washington Post Live on Wednesday, Feb. 1. (Video: The Washington Post)

Black churches have long been centerpieces of spirituality, community organizing and civil rights activism. Brent Leggs, who leads the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, joins The Post’s Robin Givhan to discuss a recent multi-million-dollar grant to preserve Black churches and better serve the needs of their communities.

Click here for transcript


“We created the Action Fund in 2017 in the aftermath of Charlottesville. We all remember that moment where culture, heritage and public spaces collided in negative and violent ways … Our purpose is to leave a lasting and permanent contribution on the American landscape. And to uplift African American struggle and achievement that is foundational to understanding the full American story." - Brent Leggs (Video: Washington Post Live)
“It's critically important that we preserve the physical evidence of our past ... That we preserve the profound stories that are embodied in the walls, landscapes and cemeteries stewarded by African American churches." - Brent Leggs (Video: Washington Post Live)
“The Black church is often struggling to find its identity in a more complex American society. And it feels like there’s a disconnect … We're hopeful that by interpreting the historic Black church's civil rights legacy ... That they can harness the power of those legacies to engage a new generation of activists within their walls to carry their legacies forward." - Brent Leggs (Video: Washington Post Live)
“What we're seeing in Florida is certainly disappointing. And it speaks to the ongoing fragility of recognizing that our nation once had a racist past. And that, that history and that legacy is pervasive in all aspects of modern society." - Brent Leggs (Video: Washington Post Live)

Brent Leggs

Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund & Senior Vice President, National Trust for Historic Preservation