SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A $500,000 grant has been awarded to help preserve a historic church near downtown Shreveport.
Old Galilee Missionary Baptist was founded by former slaves and was visited by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.
"Old Galilee Missionary Baptist Church has been an important landmark in Northwest Louisiana for generations and served as a beacon of hope during the Civil Rights Movement," Congressman Mike Johnson says in a statement announcing the grant.
The church formerly located at 854 Williamson St. was founded in 1877 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
King spoke at the church in 1958 and 1962, "... effectively initiating the Civil Rights Movement in Shreveport," a historic marker says.
"Strategies which led to Caddo school desegregation also were mapped out here."
Preserving the Old Galilee Missionary Baptist's history "... sends a message about what we value as a nation and reminds young Americans about the sacrifices and struggles that made their freedom and opportunities possible," Johnson says in the statement.
"I am honored to represent this congregation in Congress and grateful they have been recognized for their immeasurable impact on our community, state and country."
The funds for Old Galilee Missionary Baptist are part of $12.6 million in grants earmarked for 51 projects in 24 states, including 3 in Louisiana, that preserve sites and highlight stories related to the African-American struggle for equality in the 20th century.
The grants were announced Monday by the Interior Department and the National Park Service.