Civil Rights Framework

Four images representing civil rights. Suffragists holding a banner for National Woman Suffrage Association; MLK waving to crowd on National Mall; picketers holding signs promoting LGBTQ rights; and an Asian American family standing outside with luggage.
Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites (2008)

National Historic Landmarks Civil Rights Framework


In 2000, Congress directed the National Park Service to prepare a nationwide study of the story of American civil rights. Completed in January 2002 (rev. 2008), Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, represents the first chapter in a larger study on the history of civil rights that will help the National Park Service evaluate proposals for new National Historic Landmarks.

The National Park Service is proceeding with more detailed studies of additional chapters in the civil rights story by evaluating the long history of issues regarding equal access to public accommodations, education, housing, employment, and voting rights.

Four volumes in the series are currently available:

  • Civil Rights in America: Racial Desegregation of Public Accommodations (2004, rev. 2009). Available for download (accessible PDF 4.2 MB)

  • Civil Rights in America: Racial Desegregation in Public Education in the United States (2000) and supplement (2004). Available for download (accessible PDF 8 MB); supplement available for download (accessible PDF 1 MB)

  • Civil Rights in America: Racial Voting Rights (2007, rev. 2009). Available for download (accessible PDF 2.9 MB)
  • Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing (forthcoming).

Upcoming Studies

Consultants are working with the National Historic Landmarks Program to complete two additional theme studies within the Civil Rights Framework: Civil Rights in America: A History of Racial Employment Discrimination and Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing (forthcoming).

Last updated: January 30, 2020