Your vote can help historic Ebenezer Baptist Church win grant money

Now that primary day has come and gone in Georgia, it’s time to move on to another big election:

Vote "Partners in Preservation," early and often.

Launched on Wednesday by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express in honor of the National Park Service's Centennial year, the campaign will award a total of $2 million in grants to help preserve historic sites that are located within national park units. The public can vote on which of the nominated sites — there are 20 of them in all — should get their requests fully funded. The sites with fewer votes will still get smaller portions of the $2 million pie and each site also will receive a $10,000 participation grant.

And not to try and skew any votes, but … historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta is among the "candidates" in the running. Situated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site in the heart of Sweet Auburn, the church that was Dr. King's spiritual home will use its grant money to preserve the exterior of the church.

“The historic church … was the site of many meetings and rallies led by Dr. King,” the Partners in Preservation campaign notes. “(It) sits at the center of America’s Civil Rights movement.”

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The competition will be fierce. Other big-name candidates in the campaign, which runs through July 5, include Denali National Park in Alaska (its grant money would go towards preserving the rustic, former superintendent’s office); Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, California (to preserve the Alcatraz Guardhouse); and Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota (to preserve Borglum View Terrace, site of the sculptor’s original studio). Ebeneezer Baptist is the only site in Georgia, although Great Smoky National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina is another Southern site on the list.

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To see the full list of eligible sites and cast your votes, go to www.VoteYourParks.org. You can vote for up to five parks per day and also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park sponsored by National Geographic.

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