MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis’ first church congregation of color has received a grant of $548,000 for preservation.

This week, the Collins Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church received a preservation grant of $500,000 for construction costs for repairs and improvements. A pre-preservation planning grant of nearly $48,000 was also awarded to the church for assessment/analysis of structural evaluation.

Located on Washington Avenue, the historic church was built by slaves in 1841.

The church was rebuilt in the late 1800s after it was burned to the ground by white mobs during the Memphis Massacre in May 1866. The Collins Chapel Church has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1991.

Historic Memphis icons like Ida B. Wells, W.C. Handy and Alberta Hunter all worshipped at the Collins Chapel.

It is only by God’s grace, mercy and blessings that Collins Chapel continues to thrive by receiving these wonderful grants for example and has survived here for nearly 181 years.

Rev. Bethel L. Harris – pastor of Collins Chapel Church

The grant was received from the African American Civil Rights grant program of the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.