Baltimore's Chinatown. Photo from Wikipedia.

Maryland Receives Federal Grant to Study State History of Asian American Communities

07/13/2020
By Preservation Maryland

The Maryland Historical Trust, in the Maryland Department of Planning, has received a National Park Service Underrepresented Communities Grant to study Asian American communities in the state.

Since the National Park Service program’s creation in 2014, almost $3 million Underrepresented Communities Grants have been awarded to projects that help diversify the nominations on the National Register of Historic Places.

In this most recent grant round announced in early July, the National Park Service awarded $750,000 in Underrepresented Community Grants across 18 projects to eight states, six tribes, two local governments, the District of Columbia, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Funded projects that seek to diversify the historic record include a study of Women’s Suffrage in Washington, DC, African American history across Oregon, and LGBTQ National Register Nominations in New York State.

Nearly $50,000 was awarded to the Maryland Historical Trust, the state’s Historic Preservation Office, to conduct a Historic Context Study of Asian American Communities in Maryland. In a previous round, Calvert County received funding from the Underrepresented Communities Grants to prepare National Register nominations for six sites associated with Piscataway Indian Native American settlement in rural Maryland.

ADDRESSING A NEED

Numbers reported in 2010 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation put nominations representing women and racially and ethnically diverse places at just 8 percent of listings on the National Register. Moreover, the National Park Service itself published a figure that just 3 percent of all listings in 2004 were associated with African American, Hispanic, or Asian heritage. In 2016, it was calculated that .005 percent of the more than 90,000 properties on the National Register included LGBTQ significance.

That is all to say that there is more to be done.

Preservation Maryland commends the National Park Service and the Maryland Historical Trust for supporting and undertaking a Historic Context Statement of Asian American Communities in Maryland. We also thank for the Maryland Historical Trust for their support of Preservation Maryland projects that are bringing to light Maryland’s suffragists and LGBTQ citizens – in two exciting on-going public history projects.

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