In 1984, the Alabama Historical Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, created the Black Heritage Council (BHC) to advocate for and advise the Commission on the preservation of African-American historic places in Alabama. At the time of its founding, the BHC was the first African-American advisory council of a state historic preservation office created in the country. In fact, the first members of the Black Heritage Council, including the Chair Emeritus and Founding Member Louretta Wimberly, assisted other states with setting up similar advisory councils.

The primary mission of the Black Heritage Council is to advocate for the preservation of African-American historic places in Alabama. It is the only statewide organization whose sole mission is the preservation of African-American Historic Places. The BHC includes a 21 all-volunteer board which consists of members throughout the state and representing public and educational institutions. The Council has played a key role in assisting communities throughout the state to document, interpret, preserve and promote African-American historic places like the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Town of Hobson City, First Baptist Church in Selma and many others.


The Black Heritage Council hosts quarterly meetings that are open to the public; partners with communities to sponsor preservation forums; co-sponsors Alabama's historic preservation conference; assists groups and individuals with the documentation and preservation of individual historic African American properties or historic districts.

If you have questions about upcoming preservation programs and activities sponsored by the Black Heritage Council, please contact us at


Nominations Now Open for the 2019 Preservation Awards

The Alabama Historical Commission and the Black Heritage Council are seeking nominations for the 2019 Historic Preservation Awards. Recipients will be honored during the Alabama Preservation Conference, held in conjunction with the Alabama Historical Association Annual meeting April 25-27, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Tuscaloosa.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories:

Distinguished Service Award: Since 1969, the Alabama Historical Commission has celebrated achievements in preservation by presenting the Distinguished Service Award to individuals and groups whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.

Roy Swayze Award: This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a private owner in the restoration of a major Alabama landmark.

Idella Childs Award: Each year the Black Heritage Council recognizes outstanding preservation projects that highlight Alabama’s African-American history and culture. The late Idella Childs established an enviable record as a preservationist of Alabama’s black landmarks. The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 5. 



Alabama Historical Association Annual Meeting - April 25-27, Registration Open

The Alabama Historical Association’s annual meeting will take place from  April 25-27 in Tuscaloosa at the Embassy Suites. Registration options include single day participation or for the entirety of the conference. Thursday's speakers and presentations center on the theme of Preservation and features sessions by Dr. Richard Bailey, Jackson A. Prather, Mary Shell, William S. Gardner, Mary Lue Essex, Dr. Scott Bridges, J. Brett Dennis, Lindsey Baird, Ella Sykes, Dr. Caroline Swope, Stella Simpsiridis, Collier Neeley, Chloe Mercer, Taylor Stewart, Katie Stamps, and Lunch Keynote speaker, Joseph Grinnan, M.A. Project Archaeologist, SEARCH. 

Book your hotel room at the Embassy Suites in Tuscaloosa by calling (205) 561-2500 and use group code AHH. The special room rate will be available until March 25th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. The Embassy Suites will serve as the main venue for the meeting. Click here to register for the conference.

The AHA has a wonderful slate of papers and tour sites lined up for its annual meeting. Many of the sites visited during pilgrimages and annual meetings still exist because of the work of the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, along with their partners, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Black Heritage Council.  The AHA is partnering with these groups to create an extended conference this year as a bicentennial celebration to highlight the work the ATHP, AHC, and BHC do to preserve important sites throughout the state. 



The Black Heritage Council sponsors historical plaques commemorating Alabama's African American historic sites that are at least 40 years old.


If you did not find your questions addressed here, please contact us.


All citizens are encouraged to join the Black Heritage Council network which is free and open to everyone. Please email your name, mailing address, and phone number.

Council board membership is by appointment only. If you would like to complete a membership form to be considered by the nominating committee, please email your contact information and resume to


Learn more