National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name The Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama, 1865-1972
Reference Number 64501182
State Alabama
County Dallas
Town Selma
Street Address N/A
Multiple Property Submission Name The Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama, 1865-1972
Status Accepted 6/26/2013
Areas of Significance
Link to full file
The Civil Rights Movement in Selma, the seat of Dallas County, Alabama, has deep roots. From 1865 to 1875 the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the process of Reconstruction across Alabama brought an uncertain but welcome degree of freedom to the lives of African Americans in Selma. Uncertainty came from two directions: (1) the actual commitment of the federal government to enforce its own laws in a region overtly hostile to even the presence of the federal government, and, (2) the real threat of intimidation and violence. From the beginning, Reconstruction was violent in Selma and Dallas County. As early as August 1865, Maj. J.B. Houston, provost marshal for the Freedmen's Bureau based in Selma, was reporting a dozen cases of white-on-black violence in his jurisdiction and admitted that these cases were but a small part of those that have actually been perpetrated [sic]. The Freedmen's Bureau combined with various white missionary groups to give limited support and encouragement to the newly emancipated African American citizens of Selma. Most of the gains made came from African Americans themselves as they created churches, schools, and cemeteries as key community-centered institutions, the first steps to asserting their place not only within the society but also within the actual physical landscape of the town.


Weekly List Search Page

Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria