Historic Reaves Chapel Nears Restoration Completion: A Testament to Navassa’s Heritage

By María Alejandra Trujillo, BNNBreaking.com

In Brunswick County, North Carolina, a significant piece of African American history is being brought back to life. The Reaves Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, with roots dating back to the late 1800s, is undergoing a major restoration project. This endeavor, initiated in 2019, not only aims to repair the church’s deteriorating foundation but also to preserve the rich narrative of its past for future generations.

Reviving History Through Restoration

The project, led by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and supported by the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation, seeks to accurately represent history amidst tendencies to rewrite or ignore it. According to Jesica Blake from the Coastal Land Trust, this restoration is crucial for connecting people with their heritage. Henry Robbins of the Cedar Hill/West Bank Heritage Foundation emphasizes the importance of factual historical representation, and how the project strives to fulfill this objective. The church, once relocated to Cedar Hill Rd. in the 1920s, has become a symbol of resilience and community spirit.

Community Engagement and Challenges

Community involvement has played a pivotal role in the advancement of the restoration process. Local figures, including Bridge Presbyterian Church Pastor Doug Cushing, have highlighted the communal support in preserving this historical monument. Despite significant progress, there’s still a considerable amount of work to be done, including interior refurbishments, electrical installations, water systems, landscaping, parking lot creation, and the addition of outdoor restrooms. Funding remains a critical challenge, yet the community’s optimism and dedication continue to drive the project forward.

Looking Toward the Future

The restoration of Reaves Chapel is more than just a construction project; it’s an endeavor to honor and maintain the integrity of the African American experience in Brunswick County. As the chapel inches closer to its completion, it stands as a beacon of historical preservation and a testament to the power of community. The project not only aims to restore the physical structure of the chapel but also to rekindle the connection between the present and the past, ensuring that the stories and struggles of those who came before are not forgotten.

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