Frequently Asked Questions

The Network was established through the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 sponsored by Congressman William Lacy Clay and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump (Public Law 115-104) in January 2018. The Network was created to serve as official recognition for the people, places, and events involved in the modern struggle for African American civil rights. In addition to instructing the National Park Service to coordinate the addition of sites to the Network, the Act also provides for the production of other educational materials and the creation of a logo.
There are 3 types of resources. A property is 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 in Memphis, Tennessee. Facilities are 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 during that time. Examples include (but are not limited to) an archive, a library, or a museum. A program can be 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.
The following are criteria for inclusion of non-NPS sites:
- A verifiable connection to the African American civil rights movement. Properties, as defined above, must be directly associated with a person or event in the movement at the time.
- All properties must also either be listed in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (this does not apply to facilities and programs). Learn more about the
National Register. Facilities and programs will meet the criterion through their interpretive or educational activities that seek to engage the public in learning about the movement.
- Finally, for any proposed addition to the Network, permission of the owner is required.

The following are criteia for inclusion of NPS sites:
- Be listed in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

  1. Through an application process. Please note that this is not a competitive process; if your proposal meets the criteria for inclusion, it will be added to the Network.
  2. National Park Service (NPS) units and programs that have been determined to relate to the movement between 1939-1968 will be grandfathered into the network, as stipulated in the law.
  3. Congressional designation: these additions can occur as needed throughout the year.
  4. Secretarial proclamation: these additions can occur as needed throughout the year.
No. Inclusion in the Network is entirely honorific. It shows that you, as the property owner, understand the connection your property has to the civil rights movement, and that you wish to share that information about this critical period of American history
Inclusion in the Network is one way to nationally recognize your property, facility, or program as a significant contribution to the African American Civil Rights movement. The Network commits to sharing those stories to help others understand and appreciate their importance to America today. The applicant, unless otherwise specified, will receive a letter informing them of their property, facility, or program’s inclusion, and a certificate. In addition, members will be eligible to use the program logo in limited fashion, with permission. The National Park Service will provide assistance or guidance with research or the production of educational materials for Network properties, facilities, and programs if requested.
The application process involves completion of a short application form, including any required supplemental materials. Instructions and the application may be found on the Join the Network section of this site.
Properties that have received a NPS Civil Rights Grant have already had their connection to the civil rights movement researched and verified, thereby satisfying one of the criteria for inclusion in the Network (see above for criteria).
The African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 did not appropriate any funding for the Network, therefore funds are not available to properties, facilities, or programs designated in the Network. Properties and facilities may apply for grant programs administed by the NPS. Please consult the State, Tribal, and Local Plans and Grants Division for more information.
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. To find out if your property is listed, consult the National Register’s Research page, or contact your State Historic Preservation Officer.
A good starting point is the NPS publication, Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites. While it may not speak to your specific property, the Framework identifies broad themes in the civil rights movement as well as many of the people, places, and events that represent them. Additionally, if you know or think your property has been listed in the National Register or has been evaluated for it, consult the National Register documentation on file through one of the methods indicated in the previous question.
AACRN banner MLK

Last updated: May 12, 2020


  • Site Index