Historic black church to be turned into community center

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) — A historic black church in Massachusetts will be turned into a community center to celebrate a local town’s African-American history and culture.

The Berkshire Eagle reported the Clinton African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church building in Great Barrington will be repurposed.

The church was purchased in May. The nonprofit Clinton Church Restoration, which includes some of the last remaining church members, raised $100,000 to save the church, which stopped operating in 2014.

The church building was built in 1887 as blacks from the south migrated to the area. The church is a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area’s African American Heritage Trail. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The center will include tributes to Great Barrington native and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois.