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Rep. James Clyburn

Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. James Clyburn has introduced legislation to reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Historic Preservation Program.

In 1998, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessed the nation’s HBCUs and identified 712 historic sites and buildings worthy of preservation. The restoration and preservation would require $755 million, the GAO determined then. Congress responded by authorizing and appropriating funds to implement the program, and, to date, 59 institutions in 20 different states have benefitted.

But, lawmakers have not allocated funds to the program since the recession struck. Clyburn hopes his colleagues will help him revive it—though with Republicans in charge, it is unclear whether such a bill will gain any traction.

“The structures on these campuses across the country are living testaments to African American history and deserve to be stabilized and restored,” the South Carolina Democrat said.  I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to preserve our nation’s history.”