Efforts to restore historic Beulah Cemetery win grant to preserve Delta Region’s culture and history

Published 11:25 am Thursday, November 9, 2023

Efforts to clean and restore Historic Beulah Cemetery will benefit from a nearly $25,000 grant designed to help preserve the Delta Region’s culture and history.

The National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with Jefferson National Parks Association (JNPA), on Thursday announced the award of $186,781 in Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative (LMDI) grants. This year’s awards will benefit 11 projects across five states and support the continued preservation of the Delta Region’s culture and history.

“Through the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative grant, NPS supports communities in the Mississippi Delta working to highlight the region’s rich history,” said Kathleen Bond, superintendent of Natchez National Historical Park and NPS chair of the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative. “The LMDI program provides up to $25,000 in grant funds for a wide variety of projects ranging from preservation projects to heritage festivals.”

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Five Mississippi-based projects are included in this year’s grant, including the restoration of Beulah Cemetery, which was created in 1884 as the final resting place for Vicksburg’s African American residents. The Vicksburg Tabernacle NO. 19 Grand United Order of Brothers and Sisters received a $24,900 grant to restore the cemetery by clearing up downed trees; repairing fences; filling in holes from erosion and repairing select headstones.

“Because of LMDI grants, communities across the Lower Mississippi Delta Region can protect and preserve the region’s culture, history and heritage,” said David A. Grove, president and CEO of JNPA. “We are glad to partner with the National Park Service in supporting these efforts.”

As the co-administrator of the program, JNPA is responsible for managing the online application process and distributing funding to recipients.

The LMDI grants fund a variety of projects, from building stabilization and museum exhibits to music heritage and cultural programming. This year’s grants will support projects including the creation of an exhibit highlighting the role of women on the Ozark Frontier between 1800 and World War II; the restoration of the Beulah Cemetery, a final resting place for members of Vicksburg’s African American community and a film featuring Duncan Morgan, a brick mason from Natchez who has worked for decades to preserve historic structures in his community.

Established in 1994, the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative has provided more than $3 million in grants to organizations exempt from federal income tax, such as non-profit organizations, tribal groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and state and local governments. Administered by the NPS in partnership with JNPA, LMDI funds may be appropriated by Congress to support the Delta’s cultural entities in their work toward research, interpretation and preservation goals for the region’s cultural resources.