Application and Instructions

Black and white photo leaders of the March on Washington standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial
Leaders of the March on Washington. From left to right: A. Philip Randolph, Joseph Rauh, Jr., John Lewis, Floyd McKissick. August 28, 1963.

Photograph by Rowland Scherman, 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.

Network Members

Explore the list of Network Member Properties, Facilities, and Programs and read about each resource.

Definitions of Properties, Facilities, and Programs Resource Types

For definitions of each resource type click on one of the bars below. Properties, Facilities, and Programs are referred to as "resources" throughout the AACRN website and in its associated documents.

Properties: The physical location of an event or pattern of events, or a location associated with a significant individual or group.

Examples of various types of Properties in the Network

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. This includes (but is not limited to) facilities such as archives, libraries, and museums.

Examples of Facilities in the Network

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.

Examples of Programs in the Network

Criteria for Joining the Network

Resources seeking to join the Network must meet the following criteria as definied in the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 (Public Law 115–104, Section 308402 (c)(2) and (c)(2)) .

Meeting these criteria is a requirement for membership in the Network.

  • Connection to the African American Civil Rights Movement. The Property (see Definitions section above) must have a verifiable connection to the U.S. African American Civil Rights Movement. Properties must be directly associated with a person, group, or event connected with the Movement. The connection must have been during the actual time period of the Movement.
  • Permission. The applicant must have the permission of the resource owner in order for the resource to become a part of the Network.
  • For Properties. All Properties must either be listed in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. This does not apply to Facilities or Programs. For more information, see the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) Status section below under Application Form Information.
  • For Facilities and Programs. Facilities and Programs are able to meet the criterion for joining the Network through their interpretive or educational activities that seek to engage the public in learning about the Movement.

National Park Service Resources seeking to join the Network:

  • The NPS resource must be listed in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The NPS resource must "relate to the African American civil rights movement during the period from 1939 through 1968" (Public Law 115–104, Section 308402 (c)(1)).

Apply to Join the Network

Interested applicants can apply via the Network's electronic 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. For sample applications and supplemental documents see the relevant sections below.

For detailed instructions about the electronic application form and the application process see the Application Form Information & Application Process sections below.

If you experience any technical problems submitting your application materials, please contact Network staff for assistance. Applicants can keep abreast of the status of their application on their AACRN profile or via automatic email communication from the system.

Sample Applications

Example applications for property, facility, and program resources (in Adobe PDF format).

Property Sample | Facility Sample | Program Sample

Supplemental Documents

In addition to your completed application form and depending on the details of your proposal, you may need to submit supplemental documents as attachments for your application to be considered. For more information see the Attachments section below.

Supplemental Documents templates:
Determination of Eligibility Worksheet
Letter of Consent - Entity
Letter of Owner Consent - Individual

Questions

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.

You can also visit the Network's Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] page for answers to questions about the Network itself and membership in the Network.

Application Form Information & Application Process

Note: You can edit any existing application prior to submission. Once the application is submitted, however, it cannot be edited further.

Application Form Information

  • Date Submitted. Record the date you fill out the application.

  • Element Type. See the Defining Resources (Properties, Facilities, and Programs) section at the top of this webpage for definitions of Element types. Select Property, Facility, or Program. If in doubt about which type applies, please contact Network staff for assistance. It is possible that your property may fall into more than one category; if so, you may select all that apply.

  • Element Name. Record the name of the property, facility, or program. This is the name that will be used in the official listing if the resource is added to the Network.

  • 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.

  • Congressional District. Record the U.S. Congressional District in which the resource is located.

  • If a Facility. (For Facility resource only.) If your resource is a Facility, choose one or more from 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.

  • If a Program. (For Program resource only.) If your resource is a Program, choose one or more from 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.

  • 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 visit the NPS African American Civil Rights Grants Program site for more information if needed.

  • 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.

  • Website. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether the resource has a website. If there is a website, provide the website address in the next box. If there is not a website, type "N/A".

  • 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".

  • 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 African American Civil Rights Network 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).


If a Property, is it listed in the National Register of Historic Places? Each applicant must provide information about the property if it is already listed in the NRHP. You can a check the NRHP database to see if the property is currently listed. You can also contact your SHPO or THPO to see if the property is listed.

- Check "Yes" if the Property is listed in the NRHP.
- Check "No" if it is not listed.
- Check "Not a Property" if your resource is a Facility or a Program.

If Yes. For listed properties, provide the property name as recorded on the NRHP listing.

If No. For properties not listed, check whether the SHPO or THPO has evaluated the property and recommended it as eligible for the NRHP. You can find contact information for SHPOs here and for THPOs here. Please be aware that the SHPO or THPO may require photos or other documents to evaluate an unlisted property.

For properties not listed, the SHPO or THPO may provide a recommendation in one of two ways:

  1. The property owners can request that the SHPO or THPO complete the Determination of Eligibility Worksheet

  2. The SHPO or THPO can write a letter containing its evaluation.

Include either the completed worksheet or the letter with your application (see the Attachments section below).

Summary. For all Properties, regardless of whether they're currently listed or not listed in the NRHP, 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.

Owner/Manager Contact Information. Please provide current information for the owner or owners of the resource under consideration if the resource is 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 Supplemental Documents section above.

For all types of Element, describe the Element and the history of its association or significance to the African American Civil Rights Movement.

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 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 is a good place to find information. You can search for your property on the National Register's Database webpage or request copies of the NRHP nomination from the SHPO or THPO. Whether or not your property is listed, another useful publication is the National Historic Landmark Program's 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 those themes.

Remember that the goal of the Network is to share the stories and educate the public about this critical period in American history--your description should demonstrate how having the resource join the Network will help meet this goal.

What to know when writing the description:

  • 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 in the Sample Applications section above for assistance if needed, or contact Network 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 the Attachments section 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.

National Register Determination of Eligibility. This only applies if your resource is a Property, as explained above [National Register of Historic Places Status section], and if it is not already listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If not, you may submit either the Determination of Eligibility Worksheet which should be completed by your SHPO or THPO; or your SHPO can provide you with, in lieu of the worksheet, a letter containing its recommendation concerning the property’s eligibility for the NRHP. (See the National Register of Historic Places section above).

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 inclusion in the Network. Templates of owner consent forms can be found in the Supplemental Documents section above.

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’ 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.

Note: All materials must be submitted in the Adobe PDF format. Do not submit jpeg/jpg image files, Microsoft Word documents, or other files in non-Adobe PDF formats.

Application Process

Please fill out the electronic application form and upload any relevant documents, e.g. Determination of Eligibility (DOE) form, letter of owner consent, etc., (See sections above for more information).

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 communication from the system.

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

The NPS accepts applications for the African American Civil Rights Network and reviews them for eligibility on a rolling basis throughout the year. Receipt of your application will be acknowledged within seven (7) days of your submission. The review process can be expected to take several months; new additions to the Network will be announced several times per year.

If required information is missing (e.g. the owner consent letter or the National Register information), Network staff will request the missing information before completing a final review and assessment of all documentation.

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 2, 2023

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