Restoration of historic black church to start

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Construction begins this week on a project that will turn a historic African American church building into a cultural and heritage center largely devoted to the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois.

Clinton Church Restoration, the nonprofit that formed to save the roof of the former Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church at 9 Elm Street, will begin those repairs and roof replacement work on Wednesday.

A kickoff celebration will begin there at 12:30 p.m. and will mark the start of long-awaited work, after three years of intensive fundraising and planning for the National Register site.

The roof has been patched or covered with tarps several times since the Clinton nonprofit formed to save the property, and this work is part of the first phase of the larger project designed by African-American firm, Huff + Gooden Architects, and local architect Pamela Sandler.

Started in 2016, Clinton Restoration was created in response to dismay over the deterioration of what is the oldest black church building in Berkshire County.

The group has raised close to $1 million for the project, and recently announced a new, $75,000 grant from the Jane & Jack Fitzpatrick Trust.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.

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