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Brown Chapel to hold groundbreaking ceremony next week

The Historic Brown Chapel AME Church Preservation Society, Incorporated Foundation will be having a restoration groundbreaking on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The Preservation Society received $1.3 million from the National Park Service (NPS)-African American Civil Rights Grants for restoration and repair work to the 113-year-old Historic Brown Chapel AME Church.

The foundation paid $23,500 for the three grants being submitted.  The foundation’s architect, Richard Hudgens, led the Church’s examination and study along with structural and electrical engineers.

Brown Chapel was built in 1908 and is a complex edifice.

After all studies were completed, Hudgens compiled and submitted plans for structural restoration and repairs of Brown Chapel on March 10, 2019 to the NPS for review and permission to take the next step.

Permission was given by NPS to proceed last year.

The contractor chosen for the historic restoration work was the Lathan Company of Mobile, owned by Jerry Lathan.

The Statement of Work that will be performed for the three grants involves the restoration of the interior and exterior of the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church: Architect and Engineer services, Foundation (structural) repairs, Interior rehabilitation, including attic, ceiling, walls, balcony, and fixtures and Electrical upgrades.

Grant Manager Juanda Maxwell said the restoration is important to preserving the historic building.

The 111-year-old building served as the headquarters of the Selma Voting Rights Movement of 1965 where many notable Civil Rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke.

“The restoration and repair of Historic Brown Chapel AME Church is absolutely the most wonderful announcement the Foundation could make,” Maxwell said. “The Church was built-in 1908 and through struggle gave birth to The Voting Rights Act for this county.  The legacy of Brown Chapel is being a beacon for justice, service, and reconciliation.”

Here are the Foundation Board of Directors: Dr. Leroy Maxwell, Chairman; Bishop Harry Seawright, Presiding Prelate, Juanda Maxwell, Project Director and Funding Chairman; Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Denson, Presiding Elder; Al Perry, Treasurer ; Rev. Leodis Strong, Pastor; Nancy Sewell, Secretary, Brown Chapel AME Church, Johnny Moss, Aubrey Larkin and.James Dawson.