This year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places released Wednesday in Washington highlights the growing impact of storm surge and rising seas on the Boston Harbor Islands, as well as focusing on locations important to Black history and the civil rights movement.
The annual list, compiled by the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation, aims to shine a light on buildings, neighborhoods and byways seen at risk of disappearing if they are ignored.
The Boston Harbor Islands are part of a national and state park, with “historic resources dating back 12,000 years, including the most intact Native American archaeological landscape remaining in Boston, historic Fort Standish, the Boston Light, and more,” according to the National Trust.
Climate change and rising sea levels are making storm surges more intense and speeding up erosion on the islands, putting archeological sites at risk. By adding the islands to the list, the National Trust urges more funding to mitigate storm surge and erosion and to document and protect the islands’ historic and natural resources.
Among the places relating to Black history are camp sites along a 54-mile route from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, used by civil rights marchers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and Congressman John Lewis; the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home in Camilla, Georgia, which was the home of Beatrice Borders, a Black midwife who used the space to serve communities in southwest Georgia during the Jim Crow era; and the Riverside Hotel, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which opened in 1944 by Mrs. Z.L. Ratliffe as a boarding house for Black people and served as one of the only Black hotels and boarding homes in Jim Crow-era Mississippi.
Another property on the list is the Threatt Filling Station and Family Farm in Luther, Oklahoma. What started in the early 1900s as the 150-acre family farm expanded to include a ballfield, outdoor stage, bar and a filling station – the only known Black-owned and -operated gas station along Route 66 during the Jim Crow era. The National Trust said the site was a safe haven for Black travelers and the farm also reportedly gave refuge to Blacks displaced by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Being on the list is important to raise the profile of underreported places in Black history, and the importance of educating about – and helping preserve – all of these historic venues.
To see the full list: https://savingplaces.org.