Application and Instructions

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Black and white photo of John Lewis and other activist in front of the Lincoln Memorial
Young John Lewis (center) is surrounded by fellow speakers and organizers of the March on Washington

US Information Agency; NARA: 542056

Introduction

The African American Civil Rights Network (Network) was created with the passage of the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-04) to recognize “the importance of the African American Civil Rights movement and the sacrifices made by the people who fought against discrimination and segregation.” The Network is established within the National Park Service (NPS), who oversees the process for adding properties, facilities, and programs to the Network. These must have a direct and verifiable connection to the African American Civil Rights movement.

Defining Resources (Properties, Facilities, and Programs)

These are also referred to as resources throughout the website and its documents.
  • Properties: The physical location of an event or pattern of events, or a location associated with a significant individual or group. For instance, the home of Medgar and Myrlie Evers is a Property; so is the Lorraine Motel.
  • Facilities: Locations that may or may not have been standing during the specified time period, but that are dedicated to collecting and interpreting the history of the movement. Examples include (but are not limited to) an archive, a library, or a museum.
  • Programs: A tour, performance, educational curriculum, website, art installation, or other way that the history of African American civil rights is presented or explained to the public.

Sample Applications

Example applications for property, facility, and programs respectively may be found below in PDF form.

Property Sample | Facility Sample | Program Sample

Supplemental Documents

Interested applicants can apply via the AACRN electrontic application form. Please create an account and begin a new application. Be sure to upload any relevant documents, e.g. Determination of Eligibility (DOE) form, letter of owner consent, etc. Examples of these forms are available below.

If you have any questions about completing the electronic application, submitting your application materials, or which attachments may be required, please contact Network staff for assistance.

Determination of Eligibility Worksheet
Letter of Consent - Entity
Letter of Owner Consent - Individual

Criteria & Application Process

Interested applicants can apply via the AACRN electrontic application form. Please register for an account and begin a new application. Please fill out the form and upload any relevant documents, e.g. Determination of Eligibility (DOE) form, letter of owner consent, etc., which can be found in the Supplemental Documents section above. You can edit any existing application prior to submission. Once the application is submitted, however, it cannot be edited further. Applicants can keep abreast of the status of their application on their AACRN profile or via automatic email communitication from the system.

If you experience any technical problems submitting your application materials, please contact program staff for assistance.
  1. Date Submitted. Record the date you fill out the application.
  2. Select Property, Facility, or Program (resource), according to the definitions given above. If in doubt about which category applies, please contact program staff for assistance. It is possible that your property may fall into more than one category; if so, you may select all that apply.
  3. Name. Record the name of the property, facility, or program. This name that will be used in the official listing if it is added to the Network.
  4. Street Address, City, State, Zip Code, County. Record the full physical address of the resource under consideration. If the resource does not have a physical address (e.g. a website or online program), type N/A. You will record the web address later in this section.
  5. Facility Type. If your resource is a Facility, choose one or more of Archive, Library, Research Center, or Other. If Other, please provide a descriptive word or phrase (e.g. Museum). If your resource is not a Facility, leave this line blank.
  6. Program Type. If your resource is a Program, choose one or more of Public Program, Tour, Performance, Living History, Exhibit/Art, Website, Curriculum-based Education, Youth Program, or Other. If Other, please provide a descriptive word or phrase. If your resource is not a Program, leave this line blank.
  7. Address Not For Publication. If you wish to have the physical address kept from being made public in publications, notices, or any other format, check this box. If you do not wish to keep it private, leave the box blank.
  8. NPS African American civil rights Grant. If your property or facility has received a civil rights grant from the NPS, please check this box. Please see the NPS Civil Rights Grant Program site for more information if needed.
  9. Website. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether the resource has a website. If there is a website, provide the address in the next box. If there is not a website, type N/A.
  10. Open to the public. If the property, facility, or program is open to the public, check Yes and provide the days and hours of operation. If it is not open to the public, check No and type N/A.
  11. Visitor Phone number. If the resource has a phone number for visitors, check Yes and provide the phone number. If there is not a visitor phone number, check No and type N/A.
According to the Act, all properties wishing to be included in the Network must be either a unit of the NPS (for example, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site), or listed in, or eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). (Note: this requirement does not apply if your resource is a Facility or a Program) The NRHP is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation; it is administered by the NPS in partnership with State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO or THPO).

Each applicant must provide information about the property if it is already listed, or arrange for the SHPO or THPO to provide a recommendation as to the unlisted property’s eligibility for the NRHP. The SHPO or THPO may provide this recommendation in one of two ways. First, property owners can request that the SHPO/THPO use the Determination of Eligibility worksheet. Second, the SHPO or THPO may write a letter containing its evaluation. Include the worksheet or the letter with your submission (see List of Attachments, below). Please be aware that the SHPO or THPO may require photos or other documents to evaluate an unlisted property. You can find contact information for SHPOs here and for THPOs here
  1. Is Property Listed. Check Yes if the Property is already listed in the NRHP; No if it is not; or Not a Property if your resource is a Facility or a Program.
  2. Listed Name. For listed properties, provide the name as recorded on the NRHP listing.
  3. If No. For properties not listed, check whether the SHPO or THPO has evaluated the property and recommended it as eligible for the NRHP, and attach the Worksheet or letter described above.
  4. Summary. For all Properties, whether listed currently or not, provide a summary of no more than 200 words that explains how the resource under consideration is connected to the African American Civil Rights movement. This is just a summary. You will have the chance later in the form to expand on the connection.
Ownership Type. Select the appropriate box to indicate whether the resource is owned by an individual, non-profit, or local, state, or federal government.

Please provide current information for the owner or owners of the resource under consideration if a property. If there is a point of contact for the application in addition to the owner, provide the point of contact’s name and information as well. Please note: all applications must be accompanied by an owner consent letter. Owner consent letter templates can be found in the section above.
In this section, you have the opportunity to expand on the summary you provided on the previous page. Please describe, in 1200 words or less, the property, facility, or program and how it is connected to the African American Civil Rights movement.

For a property, focus on the its connection to important events or people in the civil rights movement, and place them within the movement’s overall background. If your property is already listed in the NRHP, the existing NRHP documentation will be a good place to start. Request copies from the SHPO or THPO, or search for it on the National Register's website. Whether or not your property is listed, another useful publication is the NPS publication Civil Rights in America: a Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, which identifies broad themes in civil rights history as well as the people, events, and places that represent them.

Remember that the goal of the Network is to share the stories and educate the public about this critical period in American history--your explanation should demonstrate how adding the resource in the Network will do that. Supporting evidence must be documented in the application through specific citations that would allow the reader to recreate the research. Properties should physically reflect the time period of the important event or person; facilities or programs should be able to demonstrate evidence of or plans for public engagement. Engagement can be in the form of education, research, or interpretive activities. Refer to the sample applications (see property application, facility application, and program application respectively) on our website for assistance if needed, or contact program staff, who will be happy to provide help. The use of timelines, website analytics, visitor statistics, or other supporting information can be useful in making your case, but please keep this section to 1200 words--you can attach other supporting documents as part of the package if needed (see below).
Depending on the details of your proposal, you may need to submit attachments for your application to be considered, in addition to this completed form. Review the following information to determine which of the attachments listed here apply.
  1. National Register Eligibility: This only applies if your resource is a Property, as explained above, and if it is not already listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If not, you may submit either the Eligibility Worksheet referenced above and available on our website, which should be completed by your State or Tribal Historic Preservation Office; or your SHPO can provide you, in lieu of the worksheet, with a letter containing its recommendation concerning the property’s eligibility for the NRHP.
  2. Property Owner Consent. If the person completing this application form is not the property's owner, the owner must provide written consent for the property to be considered for conclusion in the Network. We have provided templates for your use if desired.
  3. Additional Documentation. If you wish, you may provide additional photos, brochures, maps, webpage screenshots, or other documents that further illustrate the resource. These materials can be used to supplement the text describing the resources’s association with the African American Civil Rights movement, and, in the case of a Property, illustrate its appearance to help demonstrate that it retains its historic character. Any materials must be submitted as pdfs. Do not submit jpegs, Word documents, or other formats.
Interested applicants can apply via the AACRN electrontic application form. Please register for an account and begin a new application. Please fill out the form and upload any relevant documents, e.g. Determination of Eligibility (DOE) form, letter of owner consent, etc., which can be found in the Supplemental Documents section above. You can edit any existing application prior to submission. Once the application is submitted, however, it cannot be edited further. Applicants can keep abreast of the status of their application on their AACRN profile or via automatic email communitication from the system.

If you experience any technical problems submitting your application materials, please contact program staff for assistance.

The NPS accepts applications for the Network and reviews them for eligibility on a rolling basis throughout the year. Receipt of your application will be acknowledged within seven days of your submission. If required information is missing (e.g. the owner consent letter or the National Register information), we will request the missing information before completing a final review and assessment of all documentation. The review process is expected to take a few months; new additions to the Network will be announced several times per year.

This is not a competitive program; all resources that meet the criteria and documentation requirements will be added to the Network. All applicants will be contacted directly and told of the outcome. If you would like an update on the status of your application, please contact Network staff.

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Last updated: February 10, 2021

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