Accepting Ideas for 2020 Micro Grants for Preservation Work

We’re in our 5th year of giving away micro-grants to help fund preservation work in the city. If you have a good idea to help preserve a historic building or place in Baltimore or help revitalize a historic neighborhood, we’d love to hear from you! The process is easy: simply fill out the online application and hit send by Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

We’ll pick the five most promising ideas and give them a chance for one of two $500 grants, two $250 grants, or one $50 grant. The awards will be made on October 22, 2020 at a virtual pitch party. Over Zoom, supporters of each idea will get three minutes to pitch them and at the end, the crowd will cast virtual ballots to decide which ideas receive the micro grants. Whether funded or not, we will promote all the ideas and projects to help them garner attention and volunteers.

The types of eligible projects are endless, and as long as they relate to Baltimore’s history, heritage, historic buildings or historic neighborhoods we will consider them. Past award winners include: restoring leaking masonry at a historic church, launching an after school arts-based safe space program in a historic neighborhood, supporting archaeological efforts at a historic furnace, and providing supplies for a community trying to provide access to a neighboring park. The sky’s the limit!

The amount of the award ($50, $250, or $500) may not be enough to complete an entire project. That’s OK. The goal is to help spark new and support existing neighborhood-level preservation work. You don’t need to be a nonprofit organization or even a formalized group to be eligible. Individuals and small groups are welcome! Complete rules can be found on the application.

And you can now register for October 22’s Virtual Preservation Pitch Party! 

Seeking Proposals for Contract Researcher

Baltimore Heritage is seeking proposals to undertake a survey of African American heritage sites within the Old West Baltimore National Register Historic District. The work will include documenting historic sites in a spreadsheet format and preparing Maryland Inventory of Historic Places forms for five places.

Update: With regard to COVID-19, this position does not require in-person contact or in-person meetings. It does require research that could include accessing physical collections and archives at places like the Pratt Library, the Afro-American archives, and other repositories. Currently, these are closed to visitors and re-opening schedules have not been announced. If it is determined that accessing physical collections is a necessary part of this research, and these places remain closed for an extended period of time, we will work with the contractor to adjust schedules and expectations.

The deadline to apply in August 21, 2020.

To apply, please follow the instructions in our Request for Proposals. 

For questions, please contact Baltimore Heritage director Johns Hopkins at 410-332-9992 or hopkins@baltimoreheritage.org.

 

Read our position on this issue

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In 2017 then Mayor Catherine Pugh removed three memorials to the Confederacy and one statue of the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision that were erected with racist motivations and caused pain for many in our Baltimore community. Standing in our city today, there are other public monuments whose presence memorialize the oppression of Black people and people of color. These are also painful. For too long, too many people in the historic preservation movement have either discounted the ongoing harsh suffering that some public memorials are causing, or have remained silent. Since 1960, Baltimore Heritage has been Baltimore’s city-wide historic preservation nonprofit organization. We believe that we have an obligation to address this issue directly and that now is the time to speak out clearly. Below is our position.

  • We support the removal of public monuments that were erected with racist intent to memorialize white supremacy.
  • We believe that there are monuments standing in Baltimore today that continue to cause pain for many.
  • We support a process to discuss steps that we as Baltimoreans can take regarding our public memorials that is open to all, validates different points of view, considers creative approaches, and has goals of fostering reconciliation and creating a public realm where all feel welcome.
  • We believe that any actions taken to standing monuments should be done by city officials to ensure public safety.
  • We believe that our elected officials in Baltimore City have an obligation to lead a discussion over public memorials and we as an organization commit to participating.

—Johns Hopkins, Executive Director

Mapping Sites of Baltimore’s Slave Trade on This Juneteenth

Baltimore Heritage is thrilled that Juneteenth is receiving more attention this year. This day commemorates when the last enslaved people received news of emancipation. In recognition of this profound holiday, we would like to share some information on Baltimore’s role in the slave-trade in the 19th century. One of our dedicated volunteers, Richard Messick, has spearheaded this research and in his guest blog below, he gives us some insight into what he has found. Thank you Richard!

I once took a tour at Hampton National Historic Site by Park Ranger Anokwale Anansesemfo called “Forced Servitude at Hampton.” The tour described the variety of labor used by the Ridgely family to operate their estate: indentured servants, prisoners of war, and the enslaved community. It was a profound and moving experience that sent me off on a research project to learn more about slavery in Baltimore.

After its incorporation in the late 18th century, the population of Baltimore grew very quickly. One of the many “trades” that grew along with the city was the sale of enslaved people. Two things contributed to this phenomenon. First, local farmers had shifted from a labor-intensive tobacco crop to the growing of cereal grains, which required less work. This caused a surplus of slave labor. Secondly, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. This new machine could quickly and easily separate cotton fibers from their seeds. From this, the cotton industry became incredibly profitable, which caused an increase in the need for cheap and enslaved labor in the South.

The market for the sale of people that grew up in and around Maryland was extensive. From here, I began locating and mapping the places in early 19th century Baltimore where enslaved people were sold. One resource in particular, Ralph Clayton’s book, Cash for Blood: The Baltimore to New Orleans Domestic Slave Trade, was very helpful. Although many of the associated buildings no longer exist, the overall map shows the deeply interwoven relationship between the trade of human beings and our streets of Baltimore.

— Richard Messick