The mission of Clinton Church Restoration is to restore and repurpose the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, as a vibrant cultural heritage center that interprets the life and legacy of native son W.E.B. Du Bois, honors the 130-year-old history of the church and its first female pastor, Rev. Esther Dozier, and celebrates local African American history and culture.
A Brief History of the Effort
In November 2016 about 25 people from the community gathered to discuss options for purchasing, restoring, and preserving the history and legacy of Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in Great Barrington. Present were elected officials, members of the former congregation, local historians, activists, preservationists, civil rights scholars, W.E.B. Dubois scholars, and concerned citizens.
All share a love for the church building, and a desire to see it preserved. This was a strategy meeting and did not include “programming” or discussions on the ultimate use, as there is some urgency to acquire the property and implement some stop-gap measures to prevent further damage from the leaking roof.
A solution for the purchase of the church was proposed, which included creating a new nonprofit organization to hold title to the building (at least through the acquisition/restoration phases) and partnering with the regional nonprofit Housatonic Heritage, which agreed to provide fiduciary services.
Clinton Church Restoration, Inc. incorporated as a Massachusetts nonprofit in November 2016 and received tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status in November 2017.