Douglass School Project receives NPS grant

By Johnny Szlauderbach

NEWS — MAY 24, 2024

Douglass School Project, an FFNHA partner based in Higginsville, MO, recently received a $209,800 award from the National Parks Service through the African American Civil Rights grant program. Part of the award has been earmarked for an historic structure survey which would outline steps to be taken to move forward with the restoration of the Douglass School. The remaining money would be used to replace exterior windows to prevent further damage to the building.

Douglass School Project was one of 39 organizations across the country to receive the AACR award, which focuses on the preservation of sites and stories direclty associated with the struggle of African Americans to gain equal rights.

The 1925 Douglass School building served the African American students of Higginsville and the surrounding area until the Brown v. Board decision in 1955. Of the original 20 school buildings that served “Little Dixie,” only two survive. A museum and learning center will be established at the Douglass School to preserve the region’s history.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) builds awareness of struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Established by Congress in 2006, FFNHA covers a unique physical and cultural landscape across 41 counties and 31,000 square miles. It promotes three diverse, interwoven, and nationally significant stories: frontier settlement, the Missouri-Kansas Border War and Civil War, and enduring civil rights disputes. FFNHA inspires respect for multiple perspectives and empowers area residents to preserve and share these stories, achieving its goals through interpretation, preservation, conservation, and education for all residents and visitors. It is one of 62 federally recognized National Heritage Areas across the United States.